The hair is often described as one's crowning glory. Ask anyone and they are
sure to agree . . . if your hair looks good, you automatically feel good! Some
appearance experts go so far as to say that the hair is the single most important
factor in looking neat and well put-together. Hard-to-handle hair is the
number one beauty complaint of women!
• Healthy hair is reflective of healthy life style habits and overall good
health. Eat a well-balanced diet, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and get sufficient
rest/sleep. Medications and health conditions can and do influence hair condition.
• Hair changes as the body changes. Hair growth, hair loss, and replacement are natural, normal
processes throughout the life cycle. As the body ages, growth and replacement are slowed, which
may give individuals the impression they are balding. Balding is a hereditary condition but can also
be linked to general body health (recent surgery, diet, medications, chemotherapy, hormones, stress).
• Keep hair clean and shiny! Shampoos do matter, as some are harsher than others; select them
carefully. Hair and scalp may not need to be washed as often as the body ages/matures, but do not
neglect it. How often you wash your hair depends on the type of hair, the weather, your physical
activity, and perhaps even your occupation.
• Properly shampoo your hair. A proper, thorough brushing should precede every shampooing. Lather
well once or twice using your fingertips, not nails, to work the lather outward from the scalp. Use
lukewarm (not hot) water to rinse. Rinse well! Daily shampooing will not make the hair fall out, but
it can cause breakage depending on hair type. A clean scalp encourages hair growth.
• Dandruff shampoos can strip hair color. If using a color, select a non-alkaline shampoo. Rinse hair
in lukewarm water. Hot water speeds color fading.
• Hair style is more critical than hair color! Keep yourself and your hair style up-to-date. Re-evaluate
your hair cut and style periodically; what looked good at age 20 may not at age 40 or 60. A proper
hair style as well as hair color can make you look youthful and natural.
• Leave long hair to the very young; long hair (below chin-length) adds years to the appearance. If
you like long hair, wear it swept up in a twist or chignon--don't pull it back in a knot at the neckline!
Tight ponytails and cornrow braiding over a period of time can encourage a form of hair loss.
Written by: Linda Heaton, Ph.D.
Extension Specialist, Textiles & Clothing