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5 Healthy Hair Habits

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Look around at some women you know with great hair. How do they get such luscious locks? Are they just lucky? Chances are, even if good fortune plays a small role, a bigger portion goes to how they take care of their mane. Adopt some or all of these five healthy hair habits and whip your locks into shape.

1. Follow a Routine

Mixed race woman brushing hair in the morning
John Lund/Marc Romanelli/Blend Images/Getty Images
Healthy hair begins with routine maintenance. How easy or complicated your routine is is up to you, but sticking with one is important. Everyone's regimen will differ, but they should all include cleansing, conditioning and moisturizing. Once you have all of the elements in place, it's vitally important that you follow this regimen -- there's a reason it's called a routine. Haphazard care will lead to hit-or-miss results. The women with the healthiest locks are the ones who put in the time to care for them.

2. Jump On the Protective Styling Bandwagon

Even if maximizing hair growth isn't one of your goals, protective styles can still benefit you. Keeping your hair up and away from drying and damaging elements keeps moisture in, allowing your mane to remain supple and soft. Many women instantly think "bun" when they think protective, and along with the idea of a pulled-back bun comes the idea of "boring." Protective styles are only limited by your imagination! Yes, a classic chignon works, but other styles you can try that will still keep your tresses in fantastic shape include:

Not only does this list illustrate how many options you have in protective styling, but these styles work for natural or straightened hair.

3. Trim As Needed

The ends of black hair can be especially fragile. They're the oldest parts of your hair and they're often the driest. You really have to pay special attention to your mane's ends to prevent them from becoming very dry and brittle. Even with the best care, however, trims are often a necessary part of healthy hair care. Ends can split or just become so dry that no amount of daily moisture makes a real difference. A trim is not a cut, however. As long as you follow healthy hair habits the majority of the time, you shouldn't need to trim more than 1/4 to 1/2 inch every few months. The more you practice wearing protective styles, the less you'll need to trim away.

4. Use the Right Tools

Women with healthy hair avoid certain tools, which they know are detrimental to their locks. These include scrunchies or ponytail holders with metal pieces, combs with teeth spaced too closely together or with rough edges, hard bristled brushes and old-fashioned heat tools with metal plates. You have many choices in hair care products and accessories that are designed to be gentle to your mane -- they're available in a wide price range, too, so you don't always have to spend big bucks to get quality tools. Only use tools and accessories that won't tug, pull or rip your hair out.

5. Protect Your Locks

One of the quickest, most inexpensive and easiest ways to keep your hair healthy is covering it at night. It's simple, but very effective. Choose a silky or satiny hair cover, slip it over your tresses and sleep well, knowing that your hair won't get caught on a cotton pillowcase, or allow the cotton to suck away all your hair's moisture. Not everyone likes covering her hair, though, so in lieu of a hair bonnet, try a silky or satiny pillowcase. It's just as effective and will go a long way toward ensuring you wake up with soft hair that's not dried out.
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