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Hair care

Girl wearing hair curlers.

Short, long, curly, straight, up, down. Hair options can seem endless! Not all of what makes your hair look good comes from the outside, though. Good nutrition, exercise, staying away from tobacco, and other healthy habits can help your hair shine!

Here are some other tips for hair care:

If your hair is oily: Try washing your hair every day. You may also want to try shampoos that are made for oily hair. It can also help to stop using hair products that have oil in them, like pomades.

If your hair is dry: You may want to shampoo less often and use a moisturizing shampoo.

If you see white flakes in your hair or on your shoulders: You most likely have dandruff. Try a dandruff shampoo. If it doesn’t help, your doctor may prescribe something stronger.

If you want to dye your hair:

  • Follow the directions in the package carefully, especially any warnings.
  • Do a test before using dye on your hair. Rub a tiny bit of the dye on the inside of your elbow or behind your ear. Leave it there for 2 days. If you get a rash, don't use the dye on your hair.
  • Wear gloves when you apply dye.
  • Talk with your doctor if your skin or scalp swells or gets itchy after using any hair product. Even natural products, such as henna dye, can cause an allergic reaction.

If you want to straighten your hair: You can use a relaxer product. But a relaxer can burn your scalp if you use it the wrong way. Make sure to follow any directions, and don’t leave it on too long. It’s also probably best not to try using a relaxer product by yourself. Get help to make sure you’ve put it on evenly and you get it all out when you’re through. Learn more about how to care for curly or kinky hair.

If you want to make your hair curly: You can use a permanent wave, or “perm.” Just like with a relaxer, make sure to follow any directions, and don’t leave it on too long. It’s also probably best not to try using a product by yourself.

If you use hairdryers, curling irons, or similar products: Be careful not to overuse them. Dryers, curling irons, and flattening irons can cause your hair to dry out or break. It’s a good idea to take a few days off from time to time.

If you swim in a pool a lot: Protect your hair from chlorine by wearing a swim cap or rinsing out your hair right after swimming. Soaking your hair with regular water before you put on your swim cap can also help.


Content last reviewed October 13, 2010
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.