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Top tips and advice for a daily routine that will help keep your Dancer’s hair healthy and well maintained
A dancer's hair, such an essential tool for every dancer is put through a lot; day after day, the yanking of hair into that perfect bun, the scraping back for that sleek salsa show and using cans of hairspray to achieve that frozen look. Do I even need to mention the hot irons and backcombing, the trying of new hairstyles and the scalp being bathed in sweat all day long?
Bobby pins and elastic bands, and a host of other accessories don't make it easy for your hair to let loose and for dancers split ends or an unruly cowlick are first-world problems. And after all of this, when the harsh reality of a potential receding hairline confronts us, we realize why hair care routine is especially so critical for us, dancers.
If you want your crowning glory to last you all of your dance career and years beyond that, you will need to pamper your hair and scalp today. Try these top tips from hair experts that will help keep your hair healthy and well maintained.
Stretch the time between hair washes by using the magic of dry shampoo. While the products don't cleanse the scalp, it can give you a clean look and keep your tresses ready for that performance hairstyle. But like all good things, don't abuse it; use it at reasonable intervals and adopt a safe organic product to avoid dry hair and product build-up on the scalp.2. Use Less Shampoo- a commonsensical approach
Use only half the shampoo you need and get your fingertips to do the real work of getting the grime out. Over-shampooing strips away lipids that boost shine and prevent breakage. And rinse and rinse and rinse again. Nothing dulls your hair as much as shampoo residue.
Always choose moisturizing or color-protecting shampoos as these will do the least damage (avoid products with alcohol). Hair is at its most delicate state when it's wet, so don't rub it vigorously or comb it when it is very wet as it leads to breakage. Detangle in the shower with a wide-tooth comb while you still have conditioner in your hair and gently towel dry after the towel has soaked most of the moisture.
For hair that sees chemical products heaped on it, a deep conditioning treatment restores moisture and balance. Once a week, invest in creamy deep-conditioning therapy with essential oils from the midshaft down. There are several store-bought options available, or you can make your own with natural ingredients from your pantry. Whisk the yolk of one egg with half a mashed avocado and a spoonful of honey. Massage onto damp, clean hair and leave for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
Invest in a filter on your showerhead to stop minerals and chlorine in tap water fading those gorgeous highlights. And on those rare off days when you are not dancing and catching up on the sunshine vitamin, mist on an SPF for your hair.
Understand what type of bun is preferred for an event. Some studios or instructors are OK with a low bun, near the neck, while others demand that the bun or ponytail be higher at the crown of the head. If it is optional, do your hair a favor and go easy on the hairstyle.
When you do the same hairstyle day after day, both the tautly pulled hair and the area around which the ponytail holder is wrapped suffer from the tension. Try different hairstyles (refer this blog post for ideas) and be innovative. There are several ways of doing your hair that will still give you the look of a bun, go ahead, explore and have fun!
A simple thing as a bobby pin can make or break your hair, literally and so needs the utmost consideration.
Gorgeous locks are synonymous with gorgeous dancers, and no matter how healthy a hair you may be blessed with, you won't be able to keep it up without giving your hair some extra TLC!
Spend time on a daily hair care regimen and your hair will thank you. Just add a few steps to your routine will go a long way in keeping your hair at its healthiest best.
1. At the end of a long day, as you unwind, massage your scalp to release the tension of where the bobby pins may have been resting, and release the stress of how tightly your bun was pulled. The best time to do this is right after letting your hair down, and then in the shower with warm water.
2. A daily routine needs the right products and tools; have at least two brushes: a paddle brush as well as a soft-bristled one. Products should include a great shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, and hair oils. Do try products that are safe and suit your hair by reading product labels.
3. Whether or not you choose to shampoo your hair each day, be sure to rinse at least and condition it after each rehearsal or performance. This ritual will help remove sweat and retain your hair's strength.
4. Leave-in conditioners – especially ones containing quinoa protein – can help to keep hair healthy from the inside out.
5. Massage hair oil into the scalp and wrap it in a bandana or a shower cap to aid complete absorption of the oil into the hair shafts. This helps restore the moisture that is sapped out by sweat
Whether you are preparing for a dance recital, a competition or a stage performance, keeping these tips in mind will benefit your mane tremendously.
-Before pulling it up into a bun, spritz your hair with water and run the conditioner through with your fingers
-When removing tangles, use a paddle brush – not a comb – since the paddle brush is better for you hair and scalp and less likely to rip your hair
-Use a soft bristled brush vs. a comb to get a smooth tight bun
-Blow-Dryers, flatirons, and curling irons are inevitable to achieve the style before a stage performance, but upgrading to less damaging products like ionic blow-dryers with 2,000-plus watts, ceramic irons, or the Coolway System, which straightens hair without going over 300 degrees are excellent ways to minimize the damage. Insist on using a heat-protective spray before styling
Hair reflects your health, and the cells that make up each strand of hair require a regular supply of key nutrients. Get the correct balance of protein, vitamins, and minerals to supply hair with all that it needs to remain shiny, lustrous and strong.
Include plenty of protein, or you risk having dry, brittle, weak hair. Extremely low protein diets may result in restricted hair growth and even hair loss. Chicken, turkey, fish, dairy products and eggs as excellent sources of protein along with vegetarian sources such as legumes and nuts.
Hair follicles and roots get their nutrition from a rich blood supply. When iron levels (serum ferritin) fall below a certain point, you may experience ammonia, affecting the hair growth cycle and resulting in hair fall and loss. Red meat, chicken, and fish allow for the iron to be readily absorbed by the body; vegetarians can include lentils, spinach and other leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and salad greens for their iron requirements.
Vitamin C is essential for absorption of iron, so eating high on vitamin C food like blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes in conjunction with iron-rich foods is most beneficial. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant so is used readily by the body.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that must be added as a supplement or taken as part of daily diet. Omega-3s are found in the cells that line the scalp and also provide the oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, trout, and mackerel are top-notch sources for omega-3 acids and avocado, pumpkin seeds and walnuts are rich plant-based sources of omega -3 acids.
Vitamin A is needed by the body to make sebum. Sebum is an oily substance created by our hairs sebaceous glands and provides a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp. Without sebum, we may experience an itchy scalp and dry hair. Include animal products and orange/yellow colored vegetables which are high in beta-carotene (which makes vitamin A) such as carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.
Scalp protection involves other vital minerals, notably zinc and selenium. A lack of zinc can be a leading reason for hair loss and a dry, flaky scalp. Fortified cereals and whole grains are an excellent source of zinc along with oysters, beef, and eggs.
Eat foods rich in vitamin E to combat the aging effects of the sun. Nuts are nutritional powerhouses for vitamin E and other minerals like zinc and selenium.
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin. Too little biotin could cause brittle hair leading to hair loss. Include biotin-rich foods such as whole grains, liver, egg yolk, soy flour, and yeast.
Dancing every day is a beautiful thing. But it takes work preparing and maintaining our bodies before, during and after, so that we can be the best dancer we can be, every day. Experience confidence and good health by taking the time out for calming and mindful routines that will keep your body and hair in top condition.