Healthy hair strategies that won’t break the bank

There’s a lot you can do to jump-start your hair rehab at little to no cost.

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When a new year rolls around there’s one part of your body that’s almost never ready: your hair. The holidays can leave it run down and ragged, and the post-festivities wallet fatigue can make you reluctant to fork out big bucks for your bangs. An effort to skimp doesn’t always spell a necessity to sacrifice, however. There’s a lot you can do to jump-start your hair rehab at little to no cost.

While no one knows your hair better than you, no one knows hair in general better than these A-list experts. Their advice—which is often as simple as wash, rinse, and repeat—may surprise you.

1. Go on a heat-styling diet

For the next few months, approach a heat-styling diet like you would a New Year’s resolution health kick: with a diligence that in time becomes a healthier approach to hair styling. Curling irons and wands, as well as straighteners, should be first on the chopping block. Experts like trichologist, Iain Sallis, warns against the everyday use of straighteners since they introduce “too much heat and make hair dry and frizzy.”

And, while the occasional blast of warm air—to avoid those inevitable hair icicles that form when you leave the house with sopping wet hair in the winter—won’t make your hair fall out, prolonged, repeated, and high-temperature blow-drying spells trouble. Moderation is key, according to celebrity hair guru, Ken Pavés, who is trusted by the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Victoria Beckham. He recommends only blow drying your hair for special events.

2. Make room for vitamins

Like every other part of your body, sometimes all your hair is craving at this time of year is a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables to regulate the madness. And, with all of the eating and drinking that your body carried you through during the holidays, the least you owe it is some tender, loving care and a heaping dose of all of the vitamins it craves.

Dr. David Bank, director for The Center for Dermatology, recommends foods rich in Vitamin C, biotin, and protein to promote collagen building, hair growth, and overall hair health. So, be sure to add foods like oranges, tree nuts, lean meats, and eggs to your next grocery list.

3. Whip up a DIY hair mask

Hair masks don’t have to be formulated in a factory or delivered in a fancy salon to revive the moisture in your dehydrated locks. You’re perfectly capable of putting together your own combination of healthy hair-promoting ingredients to create a deep conditioning hair mask. And, don’t worry: these recipes don’t require much culinary skill.

Dietician Carlene Thomas recommends taking full advantage of items you already have on your kitchen counter for a DIY hair mask made with olive oil, mayo, or avocado. Speaking of oils, Patrice Grell Yursik of Afrobella recommends using jojoba and coconut oils for everything from pre-shampoo treatments to hot oil treatments as well as to seal your ends after deep conditioning, all of which she does with her own curly tresses.

4. Ease up on the suds

Every gorgeous head of hair is at least partially beautiful because it’s also a clean head of hair. But that doesn’t mean you should leap to sacrifice your hair’s natural oils. Consider reducing the frequency with which you use shampoo. Danielle Messina of The Glamorganic Goddess swears by the clarifying abilities of a little baking soda added to your haircare routine. That is, of course, if you decide to wash your hair at all. Dermatologist, Jason Emer, recommends washing hair as infrequently as you’re comfortable with, since “the more you shampoo, the more you potentially remove oils needed to protect hair shafts and keep the scalp healthy and moisturized.”

5. Get your heart pumping

If you’re already having trouble keeping that other get-fit resolution you made this year, here’s another motivator: regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your hair. Exercise aids in a host of processes that help keep stress levels low, and high stress can lead directly to premature hair loss. Some experts believe the increase in blood flow fostered by physical activity is a promoter of hair growth. So think of those gorgeous, shiny locks as you jog. What more do you need to keep moving?

6. If all else fails, go for a trim

Haircuts are expensive—at least good ones. If you want a positive change, ask your stylist for a simple trim the next time you’re in the salon—it’s often cheaper than a full-on haircut. Celebrity hairstylist Michael Dueñas believes that establishing a proper hair trim schedule allows the locks to flourish while avoiding “unnecessary breakage and split ends.” If you’ve been neglecting your tresses’ need for regular trims, make this the year you reinvest in your hair!

Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilson is a freelance writer who shares her time between Paris and New York. Her writing has appeared on Teen Vogue.com, Teen, The Gloss, and Crushable. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, gawking at incredible street style, and trying new foods.