Men's Hair Care Manual
Let’s be honest, us guys care about our hair – a lot. Guys with hair well into their 50’s, 60’s and beyond are very often the envy of guys who have had to shave their heads, or are rocking the receding hair line. While there is no miracle cure for thinning or receding hair, follow the below men’s hair care strategies to help your hair look its best (for a condensed read - check out our Top 5 Hair Care Tips for Men article).
About the Hair
First, a little science about hair. Your hair grows from within follicles in your skin. The part of the hair inside the follicle (below the skin's surface) is known as the hair root, while the part you see protruding from the head is the hair shaft. At the base of the hair root, there is a little hair bulb where nutrients are received and stored, where new hair cells are formed.
Within the hair follicle is the dermal papilla (a cone shaped area at the base of the follicle which sends blood and nutrients to the hair bulb). There is also the sebaceous gland (or oil gland) which lubricates and keeps the hair healthy and shiny.
Taking nutrients from the dermal papilla, the hair bulb generates new hair cells. As these cells move up through the hair root, they mature through a process called keratinization, filling with fibrous protein and losing their nucleus. When the cell loses its nucleus it is no longer alive. By the time the hair emerges from the skin it is merely fiber made of keratinized proteins (in other words – your hair is really just a bunch of dead cells made of up of protein). In fact, your hair is approximately 91 percent protein, and is made up of long chains of amino acids. This is why our Daily Strengthening Shampoo is made primarily of protein and amino acids.
The point of shampoo is to cleanse your hair of dirt, unnecessary oils and to clean the scalp. A men's shampoo should NOT make your hair feel squeaky clean. If a shampoo does this, it means it is stripping the natural oils from your hair – which cause permanent hair damage, hair loss, and thin/flat looking hair. Your hair should feel clean, but slightly oily (not greasy) after shampooing it. Just about any shampoo you buy at the drugstore will strip your hair of its natural oils.
Shampoo no more than once a day, if possible, only 3-4x a week. Dry/flat hair from shampooing too much is the number one cause of thinning hair (outside of genetics). There is also no need to rinse and repeat, that was a marketing tactic made up by giant personal care companies to make more money.
What’s the purpose and is it necessary? Each hair strand is covered in tiny cells which look a bit like fish scales. Damage to these cells causes them to stick out, which makes the hair to look dull, rough and out of condition. Men's hair conditioners work by smoothing down these scales so your hair looks smooth, softer, and shiny again – in other words, they’re moisturizers for your hair. All men's hair types, even greasy hair, benefit from conditioning (if you have greasy hair, use a conditioner for men only in moderation 1-2x a week).
Whether a men's conditioner is necessary is a personal choice, if you feel your hair is dull and not very shiny looking, you should probably use a men's hair conditioner after every shampoo. We recommend everyone use a conditioner at least 1-2x a week. For more advice based upon specific hair types:
Short Hair: In general, short hair only requires a moisturizing shampoo. The same goes for short hair that feels oily to the touch. Use conditioner only 1-2x a week. However, if you have short curly hair, use conditioner with every shampoo. Short curly hair tends to be more dry and frizzy, so a good conditioner will tame it.
Longer Hair: The longer your hair is, the more likely you’ll need a conditioner. Oils produced by the scalp that naturally descend down the hair strand have trouble making it to the end of a hair strand. If you have long hair, condition it after every shampoo. If you have long, oily hair though, only condition the ends of your hair as the rest of it will already be very well conditioned naturally.
In all cases, it is important to choose a sulfate-free men’s hair conditioner in your men's hair care routine. Sulfates make a conditioner lather but also causes over drying, which defeats the entire purpose of a conditioner (the vast majority of conditioners contain sulfates).
How to Condition Your Hair: After shampooing, grab your conditioner for men and work it into your hair gently, making sure to especially work into the ends of your hair furthest away from the scalp. As for how long to leave it on, ignore whatever it says on the bottle – after massaging it in for a minute or so, you can rinse it out as leaving it in for longer provides no additional benefit.
Learn how to make your men's hair style even better by customizing your hair care routine based upon your hair type.
Maintaining a healthy scalp is one of the best things a guy can do for his hair care. Said simply, a healthy scalp = healthy hair. The scalp is responsible for the hair follicles, which are the bed from which hair grows. Keeping them as healthy as possible ensures strong hair growth and strands. Follow these steps for a healthy scalp:
The condition of your hair is often a reflection of your overall health. Eat well, exercise, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and reduce stress in your life. Living well and staying healthy will result in a healthier scalp, and also an increase the rate of hair growth.
Use the Right Tools
Don't use a brush on wet hair, when the hair is most vulnerable to breaking. When combing through wet hair, use a wide-toothed comb and gently work out any tangles. Also, avoid blow dryers or irons which can dry and damage hair.
Avoid Chemical Treatments
Repeatedly coloring or perming hair can leave it damaged, dry, and dull. We recommend avoiding at-home chemical products and seeking a good stylist for these services. A stylist will know how to properly prepare your hair and choose the best products for your hair type. Results from a trained professional will almost always look more natural than those done at home.
Nothing feels better than a steaming hot shower, but it wreaks havoc on your hair and scalp. Very hot water strips too much of the essential oil from the hair and scalp, which leads to dryness and itchiness.
Once or twice per week, remove dead skin cells and dirt from the scalp with an exfoliating scrub. A men's scrub made for the face is gentle enough to be used on the scalp. We only recommend this for guys with short or fine hair. Longer and thicker hair will be too thick to allow the scrubbing particles to reach the scalp effectively.
Try out a scalp massage as it helps promote blood flow to the scalp and relaxes the scalp muscles. Scalp massage also promotes hair growth. On top of it all, it feels damn awesome.
Use These Ingredients:
Use a men's shampoo that has both aloe and tea tree. Aloe moisturizers the scalp, preventing any itchiness, while tea tree oil stimulates it, causing hair growth.
Why does it happen? About 50% of men in their twenties have dandruff and luckily, that number drops as guys age. However, 2/3 of all people “suffer” from dandruff at one point in their lives. Dandruff usually shows up as white, flakes that pepper the skin and sometimes your neck and shirts. These flakes are dead skin cells that have been shed from your scalp. A common misconception is dry skin is the cause of dandruff, but that’s not the case. Most people with dandruff have oily skin, and research shows that the real culprit is a tiny fungus called “malassezia globosa”. Now, this isn’t anything abnormal – every human being has this little fungus on their skin. It only becomes a problem when the fungus grows too rapidly, and our natural renewal of cells is disturbed. This rapid growth causes skin cells to renew too fast, and thus, the skin cells bond with oil on the surface of your scalp resulting in white flakes.
Your scalp and hair have a natural balance that is disturbed every time you wash them. Most shampoos completely strip your hair and scalp of its natural oils and destroy the balance. This causes a need for conditioner and styling products, which act as a substitute for the oils that were stripped from your hair while shampooing. After washing your hair, your body also starts making sebum (oil) rapidly to restore the natural balance. Your hair then becomes oily, very fast and soon thereafter the malassezia globosa fungus starts to create dandruff. This is the reason using a natural shampoo for men is imperative, as it won’t strip these away these oils.
What’s the solution? Limit how often you wash your hair, and when you do, use a natural men's shampoo that contain high amounts of tea tree oil and aloe. Tea tree oil has natural anti-fungul properties, while aloe is the best moisturizer on the planet, prevent an itchy, irritated scalp.
Want to learn more on how to prevent men's dandruff?
By age 30, 50% of men start to lose the thick mane of hair they had on their head as a kid and into their 20’s. As time goes on, the hairlines begins to slowly recede until much of the scalp is shown on top of the head.
We’ll cut right to the chase – there is no magic pill, lotion, voodoo chant, or anything else that can stop thinning hair in men or hair loss in men. It’s almost all genetic. Right now, gene therapy looks the most hopeful option for dealing with hair loss but it’s still too early to know if that’s a viable option. The best option is a good defense, and that’s using natural men’s hair care products that promote hair growth and moisturize the hair to keep it strong and full.
Why does men's hair thin?
Thinning hair in men occurs when the diameter of the hair follicle begins to shrink. This takes place when dihydrotestosterone (DHT) attaches itself to the hair follicle (why DHT attaches to the follicle as we age is a whole scientific article in itself). If left unchecked, the follicle will eventually die and be unable to produce hair, so prompt action is recommended at the first sign of hair loss. Experts say that 95% of cases of male pattern baldness occur because of the effects of DHT on the hair follicles. How much DHT people produce depends almost entirely on their genetic make-up - the more that is produced, the greater and more widespread miniaturization is, resulting in greater hair loss in men. In case you are wondering, there is nothing you can do to prevent the growth of DHT, unless you really want to start screwing with your genes and hormones (not recommended due to crazy side effects).
Beyond DHT, constant use of hot styling tools, frequent shampooing, vigorous or frequent brushing, and too many hair care products can all lead to thinning hair.
Your best strategy against hair loss:
- Shampooing and conditioning hair, no matter how natural the products, can cause hair to grow weak over time as shampooing and conditioning are not “natural” to hair. The rubbing and rinsing also wears away at the hair strand, weakening it. Each wash rinses out scalp-borne nutrients, causing your hair to become brittle and break. Instead of daily hair washes, try to keep your shampooing routine to only 3-4x a week. Use a natural men’s hair conditioner every time you wash your hair to restore moisture.
- Towel drying is one of the biggest causes of damage to a guy’s hair. When your hair is wet, it is highly susceptible to damage. When you rub your wet hair with a towel, it causes damage to the cuticle (the outer layer to the hair). Blow drying can also dry out your hair and scalp. We highly recommend gently drying your hair with a towel and then letting it air dry.
- Avoid wearing tight hats (or ponytails) as they can cause "traction alopecia," a condition in which hair is pulled out of the scalp. If worn long enough, this damage can become permanent.
- Try out a scalp massage as it helps promote blood flow to the scalp, while also promoting hair growth. On top of it all, it feels damn awesome.
- Use a men's shampoo with these ingredients:
- Aloe is the ultimate moisturizer that not only plumps up hair, it moisturizes the scalp which creates the perfect environment for hair growth.
- Pro Vitamin B5 (or D-Panthenol) has been used for years in hair care products because it functions as a humectant that increases the water content of hair and improves its elasticity.
- Protein and amino acids are the basic building blocks of hair cells and feeding your hair these ingredients allow it to grow to it’s fullest, strongest potential via cell regeneration.