Keeping one’s hair looking its best takes commitment. While we can choose our shampoo, conditioner and styling products, there is one element we cannot control: the weather. And the heat and humidity of a tropical climate often wreak havoc on our best haircare efforts. If you’re not planning to emigrate to somewhere cooler, read on for hair care tips to get around this bugbear.
Caring for your hair
According to Kim Fong, chief trichologist at Svenson Hair, practising a daily hair wash regime is best for those who live in a tropical climate (regardless of hair type). “The shampoo you use can play a vital role in protecting your hair, especially for chemically treated, frizzy or fine hair,” she says. She advises switching to one that is free of sodium lauryl sulphate and paraben to avoid subjecting your hair and scalp to the harsh chemicals. Conditioning is also a must after shampooing if you have fine, brittle, curly or kinky hair.
What about styling?
Unstyled hair is never a pretty sight (unless you’re one of the rare few who roll out of bed looking good). As we’ve mentioned, constant exposure to humidity and heat can complicate most haircare and styling efforts. You’ll want to avoid dimethicone and cyclomethicone commonly found in pomades and waxes. That’s because, when combined with sweat and sebum, they have been found to raise the incidence of inflammation and/or hypersensitivity on the scalp. Conventional hair-washing isn’t enough to rid the scalp of build-up. Hence most trichologists recommend deep cleansing treatments monthly or bi-monthly. If you must use styling products on a daily basis, opt for those that come with panthenol, which is a vitamin B compound that helps hair to retain moisture.
If regular trips to the salon are inconvenient, consider something closer home. The specialists at DrHair® Trichocare recommend the following hair care regimen:
- Double-cleanse using shampoo and warm water. The first round will remove the bulk of surface dirt and pollutants from our hair and scalp. The second round takes care of sebum and residues from styling products.
- Use a conditioning mask for hair repair. Wrap up your hair in a warm towel for five to eight minutes after application. Then wash off with cold water. Repair masks replenish the protein and hydration depleted by hair dryer usage. Finishing with cold water helps to close the hair cuticle layer hence locking in the nutrients.
- Apply an anti-hair loss solution that contains a variety of peptides to guard against a receding hairline and excess hair fall. This should also promote new and healthy hair growth.
Tip: look for treatment conditioner with hydrolysed keratin as well as squalene. Hydrolysed keratin does not clog pores and squalene is a natural heat-resistant ingredient that guards against sun and heat-damage.
Be careful around heat and humidity
It’s normal to sweat and secrete sebum. But poor haircare and high humidity in tropical climate can easily lead to a sensitive scalp, acne, excessive hair fall and aggravate preexisting conditions like psoriasis or eczema. Du Wentong, branch manger of Beijing 101 JCube, advises caution for those who are frequently exposed to the sun. “The scalp is prone to oiliness in tropical climates and hair ends are prone to becoming dry and brittle when exposed to excessive levels of UV rays,” he says.
Avoid these common mistakes
Living in a fast-paced society often means we don’t have time to engage in proper hair care. There are also those in the dark on the subject and simply do not know where to begin. One of the more common mistakes involves towel-drying. Instead of rubbing the hair vigorously, starting by dabbing with the towel from the roots up. This minimises damage to the hair follicles by reducing the tension on the hair. Secondly, consider investing in some form of heat protection for your hair to avoid dryness and thinning. Certain hair mists create a film on the surface of the hair and scalp, helping to dissipate heat while also providing UV protection.
Unless you’re planning to pull a Bruce Willis, taking good care of your hair should be a priority. You don’t want to experience “Hair today, gone tomorrow” since an ounce of prevention doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg.