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Hair care

Girl wearing hair curlers.

Short, long, curly, straight, up, down. Hair options can seem endless! Not all of what makes your hair look good comes from the outside, though. Good nutrition, physical activity, staying away from the sun, and other healthy habits can help your hair shine!

Here are some other tips for hair care:

If your hair is oily: Try washing your hair every day. You may also want to try shampoos that are made for oily hair. And stop using hair products that have oil in them, like pomades.

If your hair is dry: You may want to use a moisturizing shampoo made for dry hair. Also use a cream rinse or conditioner. You could also try shampooing less often.

If you see white flakes in your hair or on your shoulders: You most likely have dandruff. Try a dandruff shampoo. If it doesn’t help, your doctor may prescribe something stronger.

If you want to dye your hair:

  • If possible, you might consider having a professional do this for you.
  • If you are dyeing your hair at home, it’s best to get someone’s help.
  • Follow the directions in the package carefully, especially any warnings.
  • Do a test before using dye on your hair. Rub a tiny bit of the dye on the inside of your elbow or behind your ear. Leave it there for two days. If you get a rash, don't use the dye on your hair.
  • Wear gloves when you apply dye.
  • Talk with your doctor if your skin or scalp swells or gets itchy after using any hair product. Even natural products, such as henna dye, can cause an allergic reaction.

If you want to straighten your hair:

  • If possible, you might consider having a professional do this for you.
  • You can use a relaxer product at home, but it can burn your scalp if you use it the wrong way.
  • It’s best not to try using a relaxer product by yourself. Get help to make sure you’ve put it on evenly and you get it all out when you’re through.
  • Make sure to follow any directions, and don’t leave the straightener on too long.
  • Keep in mind that straightening your hair can damage it. Try not to straighten it too often. Some hairdressers say around once every two months is okay.

If you want to make your hair curly:

  • If you can, you might consider having a professional do this for you.
  • You can use a permanent wave, or “perm” at home, but it’s a good idea to get help.  
  • Make sure to follow any directions, and don’t leave it on too long.

If you use hairdryers, curling irons, flat irons, or similar products: Be careful not to overuse them. Dryers and other products that use heat can dry out or break your hair. It’s a good idea to take a few days off from time to time.

If you swim in a pool a lot: Protect your hair from chlorine by wearing a swim cap or rinsing out your hair right after swimming. Soaking your hair with regular water before you put on your swim cap can also help.

 

Content last reviewed April 15, 2014
Page last updated May 27, 2014

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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