6. Don’t rub your hair after the shower
No matter what you’ve seen on the shampoo commercials, rubbing wet hair vigorously after stepping out of the shower does not healthy hair make. “After washing your hair, let your towel do the absorbing, instead of rubbing. This will help prevent damage and split ends,” Sideli says.
7. Use two ponytail holders while you work out
Exercise may be great for your body, but it certainly isn’t doing your hair any favors — especially if your locks are long, curly, thick or all of the above. To prevent wear and tear on your hair at the gym, Christianson suggests, “When you’re working out, put a second band down at the bottom of the ponytail to keep your hair from getting tangled.”
8. Try a coconut oil treatment
Here’s one at-home remedy that Layland swears by to revive tired hair that has seen better days — use a coconut oil hair mask, applying the very same coconut oil you keep for cooking in your kitchen. Leave the mask on for a minimum of an hour, or overnight with a cap, to moisturize the hair and scalp.
Though Erica Aker, 20-year beauty industry veteran and trichologist who focuses on hair loss and scalp disorders, is a proponent of coconut oil’s health and beauty benefits, she cautions, “Be careful not to overuse coconut oil. Too much oil can cause an extreme buildup on the hair. Alternating this treatment with other moisturizing treatments will yield the best results.”
9. Try a mayonnaise treatment
Mayonnaise may not be the most nutritionally sound food choice, but you still have full permission to use it on your hair. Like coconut oil, mayonnaise is another great moisturizer for dry and brittle hair, Aker explains. “The oil in mayo leaves hair feeling soft and more manageable,” she says. “One tablespoon goes a long way. Let sit on hair 30 to 45 minutes with a plastic cap.”
10. Try an egg treatment
As a source of protein in the diet, eggs can help to strengthen the hair, and when used as a beauty treatment, your favorite breakfast food may help to prevent breakage after the fact. But Aker says, “Beware, too much protein can have adverse effects and cause breakage when used too often. This treatment works best by using it sparingly and in conjunction with moisturizing conditioners.” As a treatment, Aker recommends, “Crack an egg, beat it until yolk and whites are mixed. Put egg on hair with a plastic cap for 15 to 20 minutes.”
11. Try a sugar treatment
No matter how sparse your cupboards may be, at the very least, sugar is likely to be the one natural beauty ingredient you have lying around the house. Aker says sugar works amazingly well as a scalp exfoliation treatment. “Just like your skin needs to be exfoliated, so does your scalp. The sugar crystals deeply cleanse the scalp, promoting a healthy environment for hair growth,” she says. Aker recommends mixing 2 tablespoons of sugar with a gentle shampoo, parting the hair in 1/4-inch sections and gently scrubbing with the mixture and a new toothbrush until you’ve covered the entire scalp.
Originally published Jan. 2014. Updated Aug. 2016.