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Hair Care Tips for Men

Keeping a Healthy Looking Head of Hair

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Man having hair washed in salon
Valentine/Getty Images

I've always found ads for products promoting "healthy hair" to be a bit funny. There's no such thing as healthy hair. Hair is basically protein and keratin with no blood supply or nervous system and has no reparative qualities. Hair is not alive, so it cannot be healthy. I prefer to use the term "well maintained" hair. Once damage has occurred, the only way to repair the hair is to cut off the damaged length. Of course, a healthy looking head of hair starts with a great looking haircut, but that's just the beginning. Like your car, your hair needs maintenance in order to preserve strength, elasticity, and shine. Following are my hair care tips for men.

Pat Dry
Towel drying is one of the biggest causes of damage to men's hair. When hair is wet, it is highly susceptible to damage. When the hair is rubbed with a towel, some of the hairs become tangled in the threads of the towel and become stretched to the breaking point, causing damage to the cuticle (the shingle-like outer layer of the hair), frizziness, and split ends. To properly towel dry, shake out the excess water and stroke your hair in the direction it grows, rather than rubbing the hair with the towel. Drying takes a bit longer this way but after a few haircuts, you'll notice the difference in the way your hair looks. Blow drying is also a common cause of damage to the hair. Excessive blow drying can dry out the hair and scalp. If you must use a blow dryer, apply a thermal styling spray or detangler to coat the hair and protect it from damage, use a wide-tooth comb to prevent pulling, and always leave the hair slightly damp. This will prevent over drying the hair.

Cool Off
Nothing feels better than a piping hot shower, but it's wreaking havoc on your hair and scalp. Very hot water strips too much of the essential oil from the hair and scalp and leads to dryness.

Avoid Chemical Treatments
Repeatedly coloring or perming hair can leave it damaged, dry, and dull. I recommend avoiding at-home chemical products and seek a good stylist for such services. A stylist will know how to properly prepare you hair and choose the best products for your hair type. Results from a trained professional will almost always look more natural than those which can be produced at home.

Use a Good Shampoo and Conditioner
A good shampoo and conditioner will help cleanse the hair, add moisture and elasticity, and smooth the cuticle to add shine.

Use the Right Tools
Don't use a brush on wet hair, when the hair is most vulnerable. When combing through wet hair, use a wide-toothed comb and gently work out any tangles. Avoid heated tools such as blow dryers or irons which can dry and damage hair.

Stay Healthy
The condition of your hair is often a reflection of the overall health of your body. Eat well, exercise, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and reduce stress in your life. Doing so will result in a healthier scalp and great looking hair. Living well and staying healthy will also increase the rate of hair growth.

Avoid Tight Hats
A tight hat (or ponytail) can cause "traction alopecia," a condition in which hair is pulled out of the scalp. If worn long enough, the damage can become permanent. A tight hat or ponytail can also cause damage to the cuticle and breakage.

Keep it Trimmed
Since the only real way to remove damaged hair is to cut off the damaged section, keeping your hair trimmed regularly will help eliminate split ends. Even if you're growing your hair out, make sure to get it trimmed about every six weeks, but make it clear to your barber or stylist that you only want enough hair removed to eliminate the damage.

Reduce Frizz
Low moisture and protein in the hair can cause frizz. To minimize this problem, use a good moisturizing conditioner. A slick, smoothing serum can be applied to add shine and give the hair a smoother appearance.

Maintain a Healthy Scalp
Hair starts from the scalp, so for hair that's sleek, strong, and shiny, make sure you take good care of your scalp by following our Scalp Care Tips.

Since hair is such a big part of your appearance, keeping it well maintained will make you more attractive. Following the simple guidelines above will put you on your way to a healthy looking head of hair.

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