Taking care of your crowning glory
Post Mag - Saturday, 28 December, 2002  Page 17
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We all have bad hair days but avoiding them could be as easy as choosing the right brush, following are some tips on washing your hair and using good hair care products!

The way you wash your hair can hinder or help your scalp, hair and style as well. Experts suggest that you should apply shampoo on completely wet hair and only on the hair nearest the scalp. By gently working the hair into lather around your scalp it concentrates the shampoo where the oils and impurities build up while allowing a smaller amount of shampoo on the ends of the hair follicle.

If you have long hair you can use your fingers to detangle both during the shampoo and during the rinse process. You should also avoid shampooing your hair upside down which tends to create additional tangles. After washing, gently squeeze the water from each section of your hair working from the roots out to the tips before combing out.

From moisturising, volumising, mint, rosemary or nectar rich conditioners, hair care products are a long list of variety and choices for every type of hair imaginable. Most shampoos will do the job but it is recommended that you purchase them in quantities you can use in a few months time.

Spoilage can happen faster depending on extreme heat, cold or even direct sunlight on the product's bottle.  Although gels and hair spray won't generally spoil there are signs to watch for in determining if your shampoo and conditioners have. First, the product may begin to separate or could look clumpy or perhaps thin and transparent at the top of the bottle. This is more likely to happen if there are several natural ingredients in the product.

Another sign of spoilage is if the formula appears discolored or yellowish in color. Last, spoilage can be evident in a deterioration of fragrance or smelling oddly. Although spoiled cosmetics can cause infections when used, the good news is that spoiled shampoos and conditioners don't cause much damage.

A well-made brush is a beauty investment that should last you for many years when taken care of correctly. Everyday we loose thousands of hairs that build up in our brushes along with the hair oils and scalp exfoliation. This debris can alter the performance of the brush and inhibit the look of the style you are trying to create.

To safely clean your brush start by using a comb to remove built-up hair. Continue the cleaning process by soaking your brush in a solution of hot water and a few drops of shampoo or mild detergent. Rinse and dry thoroughly prior to use.

Choosing the correct type and size of brush can also affect the overall condition of your hair and scalp. Thick, coarse hair that does not need additional volume can benefit from using a paddle brush because it can create a smooth look and style. The natural bristles are an excellent way to redistribute the natural hair oils evenly.

The bristles are also a good way to massage your scalp. A cushion style brush was also created for use with sleek hair styled in a straight cut due to its flat back design. However, this brush is best for medium-length hair. The flat back of the brush reinforces the hair's sleekness.

If you have wavy hair look for a round vented brush with rounded nylon ball tips that are molded as part of the bristle and not just attached to the top because they easily break off. Brushing your hair with a brush that is missing the nylon ball tips on some bristles can pull hair or cause breakage. Wavy and curly hair may also be frizzy at times when it is dry brushed, using a wide toothcomb can help avoid frizzy or flyaway hair.

If you have fine hair that is thin a vented brush can help you achieve a straight look. Use a brush with natural bristles. This will help stimulate the scalp, which nourishes the hair follicles. A thermal brush can help provide lift if you hold the hair away from the scalp as you blow dry. A barrel shaped thermal brush is available in four sizes. When used with the heat from a blow dryer the metal core of the brush heats up like a hot roller to create body and curl.

If you have long hair you may choose to remove the tangles with a pick or wide-toothed comb. You can also use a vented or round brush. The thermal brush is also available in a flat style for straight hair you can use with the heat of a blow dryer as described above. Flat brushes are made out of various materials but again; the metal base is more effective in smoothing and straightening the hair with the heat of a blow dryer. Choose a brush that is vented for faster drying time.

Whichever type of brush you use, you will want to hold your hair away from your scalp to create tension. This should only be done with dry hair not wet hair.