Trichologist Philip Kingsley shares his secrets on how to mind problem hair.
Wash hair every day
Like skin, hair accumulates dirt, oil and dust during the day. This build-up provokes dandruff, absorbs light and slows the hair's growth rate by clogging up the follicles on the scalp. As well as cleansing the hair, daily shampooing increases the water levels in hair cells, improving elasticity and minimising breakages. Massage your scalp as you shampoo to dislodge any flakes, and stimulate the hair follicles for growth. Rinse thoroughly, as even a thin coating of shampoo or conditioner may leave hair limp.
Read the label
Your choice of shampoo should be based on the texture of your hair strands: fine; medium (often wavy hair); coarse (Asian, very curly or red hair); or Afro. Conditioner and styling products should address your hair length and appearance: limp hair needs body-building products that contain proteins, while frizzy hair requires moisture-resistant products that include silicone.
If you have dry, chemically damaged hair, use a brush with blunt, plastic bristles, as natural bristles are sharp, and they can cause hair breakage. Those with frizzy, curly and Afro hair should opt for a wide-toothed comb instead. Take care when you're combing after washing your hair, as hair stretches when wet, and over-zealous brushing can cause it to snap. Brushes and combs should be cleaned regularly - particularly if you suffer from dandruff or oily hair - to avoid transference of dirt and dead skin cells. Soak them in a basin of water, to which you've added a few drops of TCP and a teaspoon of washing soda.
Style it safely
The more you chemically process and groom your hair, the more you should look after it with the correct products, a regular trim, and a weekly deep-conditioning treatment. Blow-dry hair from wet to damp and, when it's possible, leave it to finish drying naturally. Take care not to blow-dry hair that is already dry - especially if you are prone to split ends, or have brittle hair - as doing so significantly lowers moisture levels. To create body in thinning or limp hair, tip your head upside-down and blow-dry from root to tip on a low heat, rather than pulling at your scalp with a round brush. Daily use of straightening irons also pulls at the hair. Book a non-keratin chemical straightening treatment every few months instead.
Eat for good hair
Protein is a vital dietary requirement for healthy hair, as 85pc of hair is composed of the protein keratin, which is responsible for hair strength, flexibility and elasticity. Include lean protein - such as eggs, fish, poultry, lean meat or cottage cheese - in your meals. If you suffer from dandruff or scalp psoriasis, eliminate dairy from your diet and reduce salt.
Make your own
To soothe a flaky or itchy scalp, mix equal parts of witch hazel and antibacterial mouthwash together, and apply in sections to washed, towel-dried hair. Lightly massage into the scalp and dry as usual.