[Updated June, 2020] If you thought that a proper hair care routine is only for the ladies, think again, sir. The modern man has several options for his hair. He can keep it extremely short and military-like, go bald by design, or even grow it long like a hippie. Whichever plan you choose, the first thing you will need for healthy hair is a care routine.
Washing Your Stresses
There is no particular formula to this one. Just go to the shower section of the store and find shampoo that smells great. There are way too many brands to keep up with, so just find one that works for you and keep it. I would recommend you go for sulfate-free shampoos as sulfate is known to dry the scalp and hair strands.
The idea of washing hair every day may appeal to you, (and many of us), but you may want to minimize it to thrice a week. Why is that? Because regular cleaning (with shampoo) strips the hair of all those natural oils that keep it healthy, leaving you with frizzled and lifeless stresses. If you have to wash it every day, then rinse it with plain water. Warm water is preferred to hot water as it prevents further loss of moisture.
If a conditioner weren’t on your shopping list for a hair care routine, you would need to incorporate it next time. If your hair is very short, then you can skip this step or buy a tube of shampoo that works as a conditioner too. If yours is at least three inches long, then you will need a designated product (the ends of your mane are the oldest, and so they are the most vulnerable to drying and splitting. Natural oils produced by the scalp will not travel to the ends if your hair is longer than three inches, and so you will need a conditioner to keep them moisturized and healthy).
Conditioners don’t have to be special, and so you can choose any brand that appeals to you. They contain ingredients that nourish hair strands from the follicle for healthier, softer, and tangle-free hair. After shampooing your hair, slap on a generous amount of conditioner and leave it in for about 3 minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly.
Did you know there was a formula drying your hair? In a good hair care routine you want to avoid toweling it vigorously, as this leads to tangling and breaking. Wet hair is quite delicate, and so we recommend pressing a soft towel on it and leaving it there to absorb water. After all, you want your hair damp and not bone-dry.
You don’t want to comb your wet hair, seeing as it is still delicate. Instead, run your fingers through it for detangling before blow drying. Heat is not your hair’s friend, but what to do when you have to be out the door in minutes? Use a good heat protectant spray, that’s what. It will prevent your hair from drying out as well as give you great results. Use the lowest heat settings and do not concentrate the dryer on one area of your head.
Slap On Some Moisturizer
Moisture is essential in a hair care routine. Washing and drying strip your hair of moisture, and now you have to restore it with the right products. Pomade is popular for hair management as it gives it some body especially when used on damp hair, and it also keeps it soft. You can use this every time you shampoo your hair (wax-based for coarse hair and water-based for thin hair). For less hold but still maintain moisture, a hair tonic is another option. Jojoba and olive oils are also easy to apply and excellent choices for a moisturizer.
Now Style Your Mane
And now you can style your hair however you want. This routine may seem long on paper, but it only takes a few minutes of your morning. If you follow through with it, you will notice fuller, healthier hair in only a month.
If your hair is thinning or you’re completely bald, you may want to incorporate a sunscreen for your scalp. UV rays will mercilessly burn your scalp during summer, leading to some degree of damage or even exposing you to skin cancer. Better safe than sorry.
Other Little Things to Consider
While these will not form part of a daily hair care routine, you will need to protect your hair from other things that could nullify your efforts. You already know that fine-toothed combs are not a guy’s hair best friend as they lead to hair breakage and thinning. Get yourself a wide-toothed comb to pass through your mane when styling.
Watch What You Eat
What goes through your mouth will be reflected on your hair and body. Healthy hair calls for a balanced diet, plenty of water, and a workout routine. Of course, a regular trim (every 4 to 6 weeks) will keep split ends at bay.
If yours is a ponytail, you want to avoid anything that could stress the edges. Tight hats and tight ponies will not work well as they will slowly erode the edges that could take years to grow back.
Watch Out For Chlorine
Whether you swim (in chlorinated water) every day or once in awhile, you want to keep the chlorine invasion minimal. Hair shafts absorb the chemical, which then strips them of sebum and causes the hair to dry. Water seeps into swimming caps, so you are safer applying a generous amount of conditioner before diving in, and then rinse it off after the swim.
Monthly Clarifying Cleanse
Try as much as possible to stick with a brand of products long enough to know what works best for your hair. Also, you want to avoid using too much oil because it could overburden your follicles. Over time, hair product builds up, and it could block the hair follicles or lead to excessive production of sebum. To remove this buildup, cleanse the hair with a clarifying shampoo once or twice a month. It is labeled as such, so it’s easy to find.
Two More Tips Just For You
Do not compromise the quality of your hair products. Cheap is expensive, so go for those with the right, organic ingredients, even if they are pricey. And… A little massage never hurt any head. It stimulates hair growth by regulating blood flow. And it feels oh so good!
About the Author: Justin Bounds is the founder of TheBarbr – a men’s hair care/grooming blog dedicated to provide useful advice, tips and tricks about the topic. He’s also the author of “How to Choose The Best Barber Clippers“. You can also learn more about his work on Twitter or Facebook.