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The Damaged Diaries: 7 Must-Follow Tips for Healthy Hair

the damaged diariesWelcome back to the Damaged Diaries!

As you guys know, I'm currently on a journey toward healthy hair. At my last trim, I asked my stylist (the lovely Tatiana from Indianapolis salon Bambu) for her must-follow tips for preventing/remedying damage.

7 Must-Follow Tips for Healthy Hair

1. Say bye-bye to heat.

hair-dryer-noIt's hard to hear, but using heat on your hair - especially frequently - causes damage and breakage - and can even melt your hair (can you say 'ew'?). If you must dry your hair, let it air-dry as much as possible before drying on a low-heat setting. Instead of straightening your strands, try a loose braid, fishtail or bun; in lieu of a curling iron, test out no-heat curling techniques. The more heat-free you can go, the better off your locks will be.

2. Be wary of your brush.

Sorry, Marsha - brushing your hair 100 times a night really isn't the best thing for it.

Marcia Brady brushing hairBrushes create too much tension and can more easily snag strands of your hair which leads to breakage. Whenever possible, default to a wide-tooth comb instead of brushing. If you swear by your hairbrush, make sure you only use it on hair that's 90 percent dry (including a round brush for blow-outs). Brushing wet or damp hair, especially right after washing when it's most prone to tangles, can only lead to damage. If you're a curly-haired gal, leave a wide-tooth comb in the shower to use while you're conditioning, then lightly towel-dry your hair afterward.

3. Loosen your pony.

Rachel Bilson loose ponytailFrequent ponytails - especially tighter ones - put tension on your strands in the back and on top of your head, which can lead to breakage and cause fly-aways. If you tend to throw your hair up, mix up the height of your pony and only wrap your elastic a couple times.

4. Cheaper does not mean better.

No drugstore hair care brands

As you'll hear us talk about a lot on Loxa Beauty, drugstore haircare brands can wreak havoc on your locks. Drugstore brands tend to be filled with silicones, alkalines, acids and harsh chemicals that strip your hair of nutrient and color. Salon brands are specially formulated to protect your hair, are pH-balanced and offer the correct amount of proteins and other nutrients your strands need to thrive.

Give damaged hair a little extra love by deep conditioning once a week. Try Wella Moisturizing Treatment or Sebastian Drench Deep Moisturizing Treatment. Bonus: both are safe for color treated hair, which often seems to be extra damaged.

5. Balance your proteins.

hair proteinsLike your body needs protein to survive (it makes up most of your muscles, organs and immune system), so does your hair. Hair is made up of protein, and damaged strands are lacking in those proteins, due in large part to excessive heat, styling and tension. However, you can also have too many proteins in your hair, which can cause it to break off more easily. So if your hair is overly healthy or has too many nutrients, it can actually work against you. Use repairing products until your strands feel good, and then stop or reduce use.

Special note to my light-hair ladies: Blondes are more prone to losing proteins, especially when you frequently highlight your hair.

6. Trim, trim, trim.

haircutI can't stress this enough: Regular hair cuts are so important. Most people should trim their hair every four-to-six weeks; eight weeks can be pushing it. Consult your stylist for what's best for your type of hair - then stick to it. While you might think cutting your hair so often would prohibit growth, it actually promotes it - the more frequently you get a trim, the less your stylist has to cut off each visit.

7. Embrace the dirty.

second-day-hair-messy-ponyIt's recommend that you only wash your hair twice a week - thank god for dry shampoo, right? The finer your hair, the less likely you'll be able to go this long between washes, but it's something you should strive for. Washing more often is acceptable, though, as long as you're using good (read: salon formulated) hair products.

Need some second- (or third!) day inspiration? Check out these style ideas.

More questions? Want to share your story? Leave a comments below, or tweet us at @loxabeauty or @hannahshaner.

MORE: tips for healthy hair, improving hair health, healthy hair, damaged hair