How to get soft hair

Soft and shiny hair is a sign of healthy hair. There is an endless range of products available to consumers to achieve the much-desired hair health. While there are chemical treatments that claim to make your hair shinier and softer, the offered results are not permanent. Moreover, the harsh chemical can damage the hair follicles and lead to several scalp problems in the long run. The chemicals used in such smoothing treatments can be irritating to the scalp and cause allergies. 

However, there are several other ways of getting soft hair without going to a professional hair salon. With a few ingredients that you will find easily, there are remedies to treat dry and dull hair. This article brings to you, all information about dull and damaged hair along with simple home remedies to turn them softer.

What causes hair to lose its softness?

There can be several reasons which could cause dry hair:

  • Dry scalp: our scalp produces oils from the roots. Our scalp and the hair growing close to it get greasy after 4-5 days of washing because of the accumulation of these natural oils. This also nourishes the hair and protects them from damage. Therefore if our scalp is dry, it means that our hair are not producing enough oils from roots. Dry scalp could also be caused due to ageing and use of harsh hair products.
  • Extended sun exposure: the heated sun rays can easily strip off the moisture from our strands. Just like our skin, our hair also get damaged from the sun exposure. Prolonged sun exposure can aggravate problems like dry scalp and lead to itching due to trapped moisture from sweat.
  • Use of heat styling tools: direct application of heat is the root cause of many hair problems like dryness and brittleness.  This happens because the protective layer of cuticle on our hair strands gets damaged from excessive heat exposure. Hair pressing irons cause the most damage and dryness because they are directly placed onto the hair. Blow dryers cause dryness due to tugging and pulling of hair strands. 
  • Shampooing hair daily: shampoos contains sulphates and parabens. These are artificial cleansing agents which are meant to remove the build-up and dirt from your hair. However, it is not necessary to clean and shampoo your hair every day. This not only strips them of their natural moisture, but also makes the hair extremely brittle and frizzy. Over time, this practise will make your hair lose its natural softness.
  • Hormonal changes: use of medicines which alter the hormone levels in your body can lead to brittle hair as well. Such medications include birth control pills and anti-depressants. 
  • Deficient diet: a balanced diet plays a very important role in determining our hair health. When our body does not get enough nutrients, our hair can turn brittle and very dry. Hair fall is also indicative of a deficient diet. Protein deficiency and lack of omega 3 fatty acids are the leading causes of lifeless, unhealthy hair.

Home remedies to get softer hair

Egg and olive oil hair mask

You will need:

  • 1 egg and
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

How to:

  1. Add the egg along with its yolk, to the olive oil.
  2. Mix together until well combined.
  3. Apply this enriched oil to your scalp but concentrate on the ends of your strands.
  4. Tie your hair in a bun and then cover your head with a shower cap.
  5. Allow the oil to work for at least 2 hours.
  6. Shampoo and condition as usual.
  7. Shampoo twice if you feel that the oil has not been completely washed out.

How this works:

  • Eggs are a rich source of protein and help to stop hair fall. Eggs also nourish the hair and add shine.
  • Olive oil is known to increase the softness of hair by adding immense moisture from the first application itself. 

Avocado and honey hair mask

You will need:

  • 1 avocado
  • 5 tablespoons of honey
  • Coconut oil

How to:

  1. Extract the pulp of one avocado and add the honey to it.
  2. Mash together to get a lump-free paste.
  3. Add a few teaspoons of coconut oil if the mixture is too thick for application.
  4. Apply the hair mask and let it stay for at least two hours.
  5. Shampoo and condition as usual. 

How this works:

  • Avocadoes are creamy in texture and help to fight hair frizz when used as a mask.
  • Honey adds a natural shine to the hair and helps to remove build-up from the scalp.

Coconut oil massage

You will need:

  • ½ cup of pure coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of vitamin E oil

How to:

  1. Add the vitamin E oil to the coconut oil.
  2. Heat this mixture until it gets warm.
  3. Do not overheat as hot oil could burn your scalp.
  4. While the oil is still warm, apply onto your hair ends and massage the oil in for about 15 minutes.
  5. Allow your hair to soak up the coconut oil overnight and then wash with shampoo.

How this works:

  • The particles of coconut oil are small enough to penetrate your hair and nourish them from within.
  • This oil, which is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial in nature, will help to treat problems like dandruff or scalp infections.
  • It is also rich in zinc, potassium and other fatty acids.
  • Coconut oil also helps to reduce the damage caused due to heat and makes the hair extremely soft. 

Aloe Vera gel

You will need:

  • Pure Aloe Vera gel

How to:

  1. Apply the gel onto your hair 30 minutes before washing them.
  2. Make sure you massage this gel into your hair. It will not leave a sticky residue when it gets completely absorbed.
  3. Shampoo as usual.
  4. After shampooing your hair, apply some gel again while your hair is damp.

How this works:

  • Aloe Vera gel is extremely hydrating for the hair and helps to add moisture.
  • It can also be used as a hair gel to reduce itching.
  • This remedy can be repeated as many times as you feel it is required and will help to bring back the natural softness of the hair over time.   

Flaxseed hair gel

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons of flax seeds
  • 2 cups of water, and
  • A few drops of vitamin E oil/Argan oil

How to:

  1. Add the flaxseeds to the water in a saucepan.
  2. Allow the water to boil. You will notice that the mixture begins to thicken and form into a gel.
  3. Allow the water to boil for five minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat immediately and strain the gel into another container. The gel will thicken as it begins to cool.
  5. Add a few drops of vitamin E oil while the gel is still hot and mix well.
  6. Allow the gel to cool down completely.
  7. Use this gel on your hair after you wash them. It does not leave any sticky residue and gets absorbed into the hair very quickly.
  8. Use this gel as a leave-in-conditioner every time you wash your hair.
  9. You can store this gel for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. 

How this works:

  • Flax seeds are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.
  • The gel contains hydrating compounds which not only add softness to the hair but also help to reduce hair frizz.
  • This hair gel is especially very effective for curly hair. 

Henna and yoghurt hair mask

You will need:

  • 5 tablespoons of henna
  • 1 cup of yoghurt
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil

How to:

  1. Mix all the ingredients and leave the hair mask undisturbed for 1-2 hours and then apply this mixture onto your hair.
  2. Leave it on your hair for 2 hours.
  3. Wash as usual.

How this works:

  • Henna adds a beautiful shine to the hair and helps to deep clean the hair without drying them out.
  • Yoghurt helps to deep condition the hair as well and over time, this remedy will help to make the hair smooth and manageable. 

Clay and honey treatment

You will need:

  • 5 tablespoons of fuller’s earth
  • 1/4th cup of rose water
  • 5 tablespoons of honey

How to:

This remedy includes using clay as a cleansing agent.

  1. Mix the fullers earth with rose water to form a thick paste.
  2. Do not add any oils to this mixture as that will leave the hair greasy.
  3. Wet your hair and apply this clay mixture onto your scalp, leaving the ends out.
  4. Massage for 5 minutes and then rinse off using cold water. Make sure you remove all traces of clay.
  5. Remove excess water from your scalp and apply honey directly to your hair.
  6. Saturate your hair from roots to the ends with honey and allow it to stay for ½ an hour.
  7. Wash with cold water. 

How this works:

  • Fuller’s earth is very effective for removing excess dirt from the hair. It absorbs all the grime and dirt from the scalp and leaves it clean without causing dryness.
  • Honey adds back the moisture to your hair to make them softer and shinier.

Myths and facts 

Using chilled water will help to heal dry hair While using cold water to rinse your hair will certainly help to prevent loss of moisture, using chilled water will only make your scalp drier.
Dry hair gets more dandruff Dandruff can be present on a dry as well as oily scalp. However, a dry scalp will flake more easily and may look like dandruff even though it is not.
Using a conditioner is not necessary While shampoo is a cleansing agent, it also makes your hair dry and brittle. Conditioner adds back the lost moisture and makes the hair softer. This step must not be skipped. 
Combing the hair is extremely important Excessive combing can lead to hair breakage and frizz. You hair can be detangled even when they are wet and combing is not always necessary.

Precautions to take for achieving softer hair

  • Do not use heat on your hair: the immediate result of using hot tools for hair styling seems very satisfactory. But the after effects are not so pleasant. Heat styling damages hair from within and leads to split ends as well. Use such methods only once a week.
  • Use heat protectant sprays: Heat protectant sprays can be used before stepping out in the sun to prevent hair from drying out. Simply spritz some heat protectant onto your hair after you have washed them and allow your hair to air dry.
  • Use a deep conditioning hair mask before every wash: The mentioned remedies are extremely effective when followed consistently. Use any one remedy every time before washing your hair to minimise the loss of moisture.
  • Don’t use hot water on your hair: Hot water can cause frizz to make your hair brittle. Instead, rinse your hair with cold water to lock the moisture in and prevent them from losing its natural lustre.
  • Don’t leave your hair untied for too long: This is because environmental exposure can lead to loss of moisture from the hair. When the hair is untied, they trap more dust and dirt while losing moisture. On windy days, tie your hair to prevent them from turning dry.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is co-washing?

Co-washing refers to cleaning your hair only using a conditioner and skipping the shampoo completely. 

  • Does co-washing work?

This method of cleaning is extremely effective for dry hair. It leaves your hair extremely soft and manageable. However, it won’t be very helpful if you use oil treatments prior to washing as conditioners alone cannot remove oils completely. 

  • How to co-wash your hair?

Wet your hair and make sure that your strands have absorbed the water. This will help the conditioner to get distributed evenly. Apply conditioner onto your hair and massage it from roots to the ends. Apply it the same way you would apply a shampoo but do not wash it. Allow your hair to absorb the conditioner for 5-10 minutes and then rinse using cold water.

  • Do sulphate free shampoos help in making hair softer?

Sulphate free shampoos are less harsh on the scalp. They do not remove as much moisture from your hair strands as regular shampoos. This makes the hair softer over time.

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