How to Have Shiny, Healthy Hair
Recently, there’s been a resurgence in glossy, glass hair. This Instagram trend refers to hair so smooth and shiny to the point of being as reflective as glass. However, such vibrant and shimmering hair seems to elude many women. According to a study by Dove, 58% of women feel like they are constantly fighting against dull, dry hair. And that isn’t great for confidence either. According to a HairRx study on 1000 women, 80% of women aged 30 – 60 feel that the appearance of their hair influences their personal outlook. In this article, we’ll share some tips on how to have shiny, healthy hair.
1. Massage Your Scalp
Having a hair stylist massage your scalp is refreshing and may be the best part of a salon visit. While a scalp massage helps cleanse the hair, it has other benefits too. The journey to healthy hair begins at the scalp. According to a 2016 Japanese study published in the National Library of Medicine, it was discovered that a four-minute scalp massage every day for 24 weeks led to thicker hair. Supporting this finding is a 2019 study with 340 participants (Self-Assessments of Standardized Scalp Massages for Androgenic Alopecia). According to the study, 69% of the participants reported reduced hair loss.
It is believed that scalp massages stimulate blood flow in the scalp, bringing new blood cells to the area, thus rejuvenating the hair’s roots. Remember that each hair strand begins as a follicle, which can be found just beneath the skin on your scalp. Research shows that scalp massages stretch the cells of the hair follicles, which leads to thicker hair. A gentle massage also has the added benefit of exfoliation by not allowing dead skin cells or hair products to build up. By doing so, a massage reduces dandruff and stops an accumulation of hair products that can clog the pores in your scalp. For dry scalps, it can help improve sebum production. Here’s how to have shiny, healthy hair through a scalp massage regimen with a few easy steps:
- Use your fingertips to apply pressure to your head gently
- Move your hands in tiny circular motions, moving your hand periodically to cover the whole head
- Massage once or twice a day for 5 to 10 minutes a session. You can even do it while washing your hair, or you could purchase a scalp massager. Choose whichever works for you
2. Try Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
PRP therapy is somewhat similar to scalp massages. The process involves using platelet-rich plasma injectables to increase hair growth, helping the scalp support more robust and healthier hair. PRP is used to accelerate healing and has been used to treat conditions ranging from sports injuries to hair loss. When the body is injured, platelets arrive in droves to help stop bleeding (clotting) and promote healing. Researchers theorized that if they could extract a concentrated amount of platelets and move them to another part of the body, they could accelerate healing. Platelets trigger cell reproduction and stimulate tissue regeneration in affected areas. PRP is simply blood rich in platelets.
According to studies published in the journal Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and another featured in the Dermatologic Surgery, PRP therapy does work. It leads to hair growth, prevents hair loss, increases hair diameter, and hair density. Also, because the blood injected is your own, there is little risk of allergic reactions, unlike other injectables such as corticosteroids. However, while results are noticeable after six months, they are not permanent and may require additional injections as directed by a doctor.
3. Eat Hair Healthy Foods
One of the things that influence the health and sheen of your hair is nutrition. Your next outing should be to seafood restaurants so you can get some essential fatty acids. These, and in particular omega-3s, are vital for the health of your hair, skin, and nails. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and fatty fish are rich in omega-3. Other sources include flaxseed oil, canola oil, chis seeds, walnuts, soybeans, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts. Besides fatty acids, protein, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies can lead to poor hair quality. Here are a couple of foods that will aid you in your quest on how to have shiny, healthy hair:
- Eggs – are rich in protein and biotin. Your hair follicles consist mainly of protein, and a lack of it has been shown to lead to hair loss. As for biotin, you are unlikely to be deficient in it if you consume a balanced diet. However, it does promote hair growth in people who are biotin deficient. Eggs are also excellent sources of zinc, selenium, and other hair nutrients, which makes them a hair superfood. A good choice for anyone trying biohacking their hair.
- Berries – have vitamin C, whose antioxidant properties help protect hair against damage from free radicals. Vitamin C is also used to produce collagen, a protein that helps strengthen hair. The vitamin also helps the body absorb iron, a lack of which causes anemia leading to hair loss.
- Spinach – has vitamins A and C which aid hair growth, though too much vitamin A can produce the opposite effect.
- Beans – are another great source of protein, biotin, iron, and zinc, which all aid hair growth.
Your hair also needs vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid. B6 can be had from bananas, potatoes, and spinach. B12 is found in meat, poultry, and dairy, while folic acid is found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, beans, lentils, and other whole-grain produce. In short, a balanced diet is key to good hair.
4. Manage Your Stress
Excessive stress harms your body, including suppressing the immune system, accelerating aging, upsetting the digestive and reproductive systems, and increasing the risk of heart attacks. It throws your body all out of sorts and is also linked to hair loss. According to a study conducted by Harvard University researchers, a stress hormone was discovered to impair hair growth in mice. High-stress levels have been linked to these types of hair loss:
- Telogen effluvium – swaths of hair follicles are pushed into a resting phase which causes them to fall out in a couple of months while brushing or washing.
- Trichotillomania – an irresistible urge to yank out your hair in response to stress
- Alopecia areata – the immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing them to fall out.
- Neurodermatitis – stress triggering itching, dry scalp, flakes, and red skin
Reducing stress is necessary for a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle ensures the body is in good condition, which benefits your hair. Therefore, try some stress-busting techniques. Get active, eat healthily, meditate, connect with others, be assertive, and get enough sleep. Lack of good sleep can also lead to hair loss and thinning. If you have sleep apnea, a CPAP machine can help. Stress reduction is one way how to have shiny, healthy hair.
5. Reduce Heat Styling
Heat is not good for your hair. The cuticle is the outermost part of a strand of hair. It consists of tiny shingles that open up when exposed to heat or humid weather. In an open position, your hair is vulnerable to damage. Therefore, you want them closed because, in that position, they trap moisture in the hair, making it glow. H air dryers can cause hair damage, such as dry, rough, and dull hair color. To help reduce heat damage, use a lower heat setting while styling your hair. Also, hold the hair dryer at least 6 inches from your head, and don’t stay in one spot for too long.
One place where some heat is beneficial is while washing. Washing with hot water will open up the cuticle allowing nutrients from your conditioner to seep in and nourish the hair. After washing, rinse with cold water to lock in nutrients and moisture. Cold water seals and smoothens the cuticle to make your hair shine.
6. Use a Clarifying Shampoo or Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Hair products that haven’t been thoroughly washed out can accumulate on your scalp. This clogs the scalp’s pores and prevents the oil produced by the scalp from penetrating the hair. Too much hair product and debris can cause your hair to lose its sheen. To combat this, wash your hair and scalp with a clarifying shampoo at least once a week. If you can, use a shampoo free from sulfates and silicones, as these ingredients can strip your hair of moisture and cause buildup over the long run.
Don’t be overzealous with clarifying shampoos. Just as exfoliating after body waxing can harm the tender skin, too much clarifying shampoo can strip hair of both the good and bad. You can even try a clarifying apple cider vinegar rinse which will also help return the scalp to its slightly acidic natural pH value of 5.4 to 5.9. Hair products with a high alkaline pH increase the pH of the scalp. This can cause dehydration, irritation, and a change in healthy bacterial flora, thus contributing to skin ailments. Similarly, don’t use heavy conditioners, which can weigh your hair down and leave it greasy. If you are at a loss of what products to use, visit a local med spa or local hair specialist for product recommendations on how to have shiny, healthy hair.
7. Use the Right Brush
Using the right tool is critical for those on a quest on how to have shiny, healthy hair. Many hair stylists agree that using a boar bristle brush is the way to go. Gently brushing your hair pulls the natural oils secreted by your body from the scalp to the hair, thus acting as a natural moisturizer. Boar bristle brushes are best because they are gentle and less damaging, unlike metal or synthetic brushes.
When you brush, do so when the hair is dry. As mentioned before, you can use air dryers in a low heat; or even a cold setting which will close the cuticles. Wet hair is more fragile than dry hair and may snap during brushing. If your hair is curly/thick/tangle-prone, you can use a hair conditioning product or de-tangling spray to help smoothen it. Start with a wide tooth comb from the tip to the root for the best results before brushing. Then use a 100% wild boar brush to get that natural gloss and shine. Your boar bristle brush will take advantage of the natural oils produced by the sebaceous glands to share the sheen throughout your hair shafts.
8. Use Hair Oils
As much as you shouldn’t deposit loads of hair oil into your hair, they are great at how to have shiny, healthy hair. They are the fastest way to boost the moisture content in your hair. To avoid that greasy feel, use a lighter hair oil such as argan oil. Using it a couple of times a week should be fine. Afterward, you can use a warm blow dryer to get the shine. Remember, well-moisturized hair is shinier.
To top off the shine factor, you can use shine-enhancing hair color or even add highlights to add variation and pop. Alternatively, use a leave-in hair conditioner, as it may be hard for your natural oils to make it to the tips of your hair. You can assist that process by using a leave-in conditioner with hydrating properties, making your hair shinier and healthier over time.
If you are having trouble with how to have shiny, healthy hair, consider visiting a specialist just as you would a dentist. A trichologist specializes in treating hair scalp problems. You can also see a dermatologist, as they are trained in skin, hair, and nail conditions. But before that, do research as you are now and start with little changes. See what happens when you try this shampoo or that hair food. In the journey on how to have shiny, healthy hair, it’s unlikely you’ll require primary care but do seek help when you need it.