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Tips on maintaining healthy hair

Whatever your hair type or colour, the following tips given by Pantene should ensure that it is always healthy and shiny.

* How to select the right shampoo:

It is important to select a good shampoo, which should have optimum cleaning effect, a fine and creamy lather, optimum conditioning effect and be mild to the scalp.

Shampoo cleans the hair and scalp but too strong a cleaning effect will excessively remove natural sebum and may cause dry hair, dry scalp and flaking. Lathering is important to prevent hair damage during shampoo.

The hair cuticle is very weak and easily removed especially when the hair is wet. Fine, slippery lather decreases extra friction between hair strands during shampoo and thus helps prevent damage. You may want to avoid shampoo which causes strong squeakiness and difficulty in finger- combing during rinsing.

An optimum conditioning effect depends on personal conditioning needs. If you have very fine hair and an oily scalp, you should select a shampoo which provides less conditioning effect. However, if you have dry, damaged hair, you need more conditioning to condition your hair and prevent further damage.

* How to shampoo your hair:

Shampooing is a very important hair care process to keep your hair and scalp clean. It's the start of good hair care and shampooing properly is a key step to preventing damage and maintaining healthy and shiny hair. As always, remember that wet hair is easily damaged and hence, shampooing should be done very carefully.

Step 1 - Gently brush or comb through your hair. This process helps remove soil effectively and prevent tangles during shampooing.

Step 2 - Wet the hair completely with warm water. This pre-wash process washes out the dust and sweat on hair and scalp, and eases the spread of shampoo on the hair.

Step 3 - Pour a small amount of shampoo into your hand and apply it all over the head.

Step 4 - Lather on, massaging the scalp well with your fingers. Make sure not to scratch the scalp with the nails. The important thing is to strictly avoid stress and friction to the hair. You shouldn't rub your hair or comb through it during the shampoo as this causes stress which could result in hair damage.

Step 5 - Rinse off the shampoo completely. Use enough water and pay special attention to the nape and hairline area as any shampoo left behind here can cause scalp problems. Even with a 2-in-1 shampoo, rinsing properly is important. The 2-in-1 shampoos are designed to leave a conditioning effect even after complete rinsing.

Step 6 - Apply conditioner as needed. Conditioner makes your hair easier to comb and prevents damage and split ends. Spread the conditioner throughout the hair, especially the ends where you need conditioning the most. Then rinse off. If you have oily hair and oily scalp, don't put conditioner directly on the scalp. Rinse well to prevent limpness.

* How to dry your hair when using hair dryer:

Use dry and clean towel first, removing as much moisture you can from hair. Don't rub or strongly brush your hair. Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle hair. However, the ideal way is natural dry to prevent heat damage from hair dryer.

When using dryer, hair, which is made of protein, is easily damaged by heat. Keep the dryer at least 10 cm away from hair to avoid extra heat. Finish blowing quickly by doing enough towel drying prior to heat drying.

Don't keep heating one part. Also, use of a blow lotion and some styling products can help protect hair from heat damage. When you make curls, start with hot blow and switch to cool blow before releasing brush or curls. Curls made with heat become firm by cooling rapidly.

* Brush your hair the right way:

Brushing detangles hair, keeping hair strands aligned and spreading natural sebum from the scalp along the hair shafts. Brushing also massages the scalp and helps accelerate new hair growth by removing hair which would naturally fall out.

However, done the wrong way, brushing can also cause hair damage. A wrong brushing habit causes scratches on the cuticle where split ends and hair damage start. The right brushing practice is to start with the hair ends working towards the scalp.

Source: New Straits Times, By Muharyani Othman 
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