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The 4 biggest haircare mistakes you might be making, according to a trichologist

·4-min read
Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar
Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Many of us have our skincare routines down pat, but our scalp and haircare? Not so much. Often, in a bid for good hair days, we rush straight to the styling part and neglect the rest. Yet, if we paid more attention to our hair’s health, it would probably require less styling to look its best.

Highly sought-after hair specialist, Eva Proudman, tells Bazaar that haircare should mean more than the products we use on it. Here, the trichologist explains exactly how to optimise our hair by fine-tuning our regime, diet and daily habits.

Common haircare mistakes

Mistake 1: Not washing your hair enough

"One of the most common haircare myths I hear is that you shouldn’t wash your hair too often. However, from a trichologist’s point of view, this is not true. Cleanliness is key for keeping your hair healthy and your scalp clean and balanced, which means you should try to wash it at least every two-to-three days.

"The scalp is skin with complex sebaceous glands which produce sebum, causing the hair to become greasy if it builds up too much. It’s possible to wash your hair without stripping away its natural shine by using shampoo, conditioner and then a lotion to help nurture and strengthen the hair."

Mistake 2: Spending too little – or too much – on haircare

"While no haircare products offer immediate, miracle solutions, I would recommend investing in good quality formulations. Anything cheaper than around the five-pound mark will most likely be filled with harsher surfactants which can damage your hair. In contrast, don’t get too sucked in by the most expensive products (usually over £25/£30) – while they often contain high-performing, efficacious ingredients, it’s unlikely that the quantity will be enough to make a substantial difference. Therefore, you shouldn’t rely on hair products alone to boost your overall hair health."

Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar
Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar

Mistake 3: Using oils for the wrong reasons

"Hair oil has always been very popular; however, oil is occlusive, which means it sits over and wraps around your hair instead of soaking through to the cortex. Subsequently it isn’t as effective as people think for nourishing the hair. For this, instead of oils you should use products with ingredients that pull moisture in, such as glycerine. If you prefer to use natural oils in your routine, try coconut oil which has a small enough molecule to penetrate the hair cortex – the protein fibre of the hair."

Mistake 4: Neglecting your scalp

"Another common haircare mistake that people often make is forgetting to look after the scalp. You really should think of your scalp like your face, as it has the largest collection of sebaceous glands compared to anywhere else in your body. If you have very thin hair, or frequently experience hair shedding, then excess sebum will sit on your scalp and cause itching and flaking. Using a scalp wash and scrub once a month should help to keep this area clean and avoid too much build-up from forming."

Top tips for hair health

Offset stress with a balanced diet

"Firstly, your hair is made up of the protein keratin, which requires good-quality nutrition to help keep hair strong and healthy. If you are stressed, it is important to make sure you’re eating a balanced diet, full of healthy fats, proteins, and minerals."

Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy hair

"This vitamin is found in meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, and some fortified breakfast cereals. If you follow a plant-based diet it is really important to supplement this vitamin as it helps to promote healthy metabolism, as well as healthy skin and hair.

Vitamin E is also essential for maintaining hair health

"It contains potent antioxidants which contribute to a healthy scalp. It can be found in foods such as spinach, olive oil, and sunflower seeds."

Vitamin C is essential for helping build collagen

"It’s found in citrus fruits and vegetables such as broccoli and bell peppers. Collagen is the essential glue that holds the keratin hair fibre together."

Collagen supplements can help, too

"Collagen is also amazing for the hair as it contains the essential amino acids which help to build up keratin. These amino acids are also responsible for the strength and elasticity of hair and support its natural growth cycle. Collagen supplements are a great way to keep your intake up simply and easily every day.

"I take Absolute Collagen, a supplement with type one liquid marine collagen plus vitamin C. It can be taken in a way that best works for you – either straight from the sachet or mixed with food or drink including water, tea, smoothies or porridge.

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