Your hair is an excellent mirror of your overall health. Our bodies are extremely complex machines that depend on balance to function properly. When hair seems weak or damaged, that balance may be compromised. While sometimes improving your hair health is as easy as changing the formula of your shampoo, there may be other causes for hair damage that need to be taken care of. To improve the health of your hair, here are five useful tips:

Understand Your Hair

Hair texture and health vary a lot from one person to another. A hairstylist can help you narrow down the specifics of your hair in order to choose proper products and design a better beauty routine. What you need to consider:

  • Texture: Curly, wavy, frizzy and straight are only some of the possibilities
  • Length: You’ll need a different hair routine depending on the length
  • Scalp condition: You will need different products and a different routine depending on if your scalp is dry, oily or prone to allergic reactions

Once you’ve determined these factors, choose hair products accordingly. Your two essentials are shampoo and conditioner. Prefer those with no sulfates and low chemical composition, and keep an eye on how your scalp feels after using them to avoid a potential allergic reaction. Discontinue use if you feel an itch or of redness appears. Always apply shampoo from the scalp and work your way through tips. The third product that you want to consider is a hair mask for weekly or bi-weekly use. There are some great natural alternatives that include avocado, honey, and even beer. If your hair is overly dry or damaged, advanced hair supplements might be required. A simple online search may give you an idea of what’s available. If you are hesitating on which supplements to choose, ask your stylist.

Read More: 5 Ways to Take Care of Your Protective Styled Hair

Be Mindful or Hormonal Balance

Everyone experiences hormonal imbalances at certain points in life (teenage years or menopause for example). The first signs –and the easiest to spot– of hormonal imbalance begin at hair and skin level. Extremely dry hair or hair loss can be signs of hormonal disorders.

Gut Health and Nutrition

Research related to the gut’s health has lead scientists to believe there is a link between gut health and overall health. Gut problems (such as bad bacteria) can have a harmful effect on everything, including your hair. Proper and balanced nutrition is a key element if you want shiny and healthy-looking hair. Make sure to get all your nutrients and include food rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Some foods that may significantly improve your hair’s health are those rich in gelatin, such as bone broths and gelatine powders.

A Good Scalp Massage

Oils benefit hair health greatly. They improve blood flow to hair follicles, add shine and prevent breakage. The secret is not just to apply oils to your hair, but to deeply massage your scalp while doing it. Scalp massages increase blood and nutrient flow to your hair. They are also relaxing and soothing. The best oils for a scalp massage include argan, jojoba, almond, and coconut. If you are out of fancy oils, the good old olive oil is an excellent alternative.

Limit Heat

The heat from blow-dryers and irons can hurt your hair. If you use heat to style frequently, try using a protecting spray and choose a regenerating mask to use every week. Using a diffuser when blow-drying is a good way to avoid direct heat to your hair, but try to towel-dry at least once a week. A good alternative to curling irons is to use overnight curling tools that work with your hair’s flexibility instead of heat in order to achieve a particular style.

Consider the Weather and Environmental FactorsIf you are going to the beach, or live in a very sunny area, using a leave-in conditioner with sunblock is very helpful. UV rays can change your hair color and make it very dry. Weekly treatment is required if you swim constantly as salt from the ocean and chemicals from swimming pools can have a very harmful effect on your hair. If, on the other hand, you live in an area where winters are very dry, you will need deep moisturizing products.