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FEATURES Oct 7 2012 10:54PM

Roots vs. The Ends: Which is More Important When it Comes to Haircare?

by Antoinette of Around the Way Curls

I know this sounds like the age-old question, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” No matter how many ways you look at it, you can come up with an argument for both when it comes to your hair.  And whether you are transitioning or have natural or relaxed hair, we all wonder where we should put more of our energy…the roots or the ends of our tresses?
Going Back To Your Roots…
The reality is the “root” of your hair lies in a single hair follicle, which is the birthplace for a single strand of your hair. The true “root” of one strand of hair starts beneath your scalp not on top of it. Studies do show that taking care of your scalp can result in healthy roots. Healthy roots are a good indicator that your hair will be strong and growing. If your roots aren’t healthy, your strands will be looking at a much shorter life span than you desire!
Taking care of your roots…
Fact vs. Myth
Myth: “Greasing “your scalp is good for your roots.
I grew up believing that “greasing” my scalp was not only good for my hair but that it helped it grow. However, greasing your scalp with products that contain mineral oil, alcohol, or petroleum actually cause dryness and clog the hair follicle, which prevents growth. Mineral oil prevents water from absorbing into the cuticle (the outer layer of one hair strand) and can strip your hair of it’s natural oils causing dry, brittle hair, and breakage.
Water-based products are just good for your hair, but your scalp as well.  Oils like Jojoba oil and Olive Oil can be used to seal and lock in the moisture create by them. When applying the oil to wet or dry hair, be careful not over-apply. You can lightly massage a very small amount into your scalp to penetrate the roots, but be careful not to overdo it. You don’t want to clog your follicles with oil. 
While taking care of your roots is so important for your hair, taking care of your ends is just as important. Neglecting your ends can result in a lot of damage to your hair. Split ends are damaged ends that can spread like an ugly virus all the way up your hair shaft and cause damage to your entire hair strand.
How to Prevent Split Ends
Myth: There are certain hair products that can repair split ends.
While I wish this one were true, and I have tried many of these so-called magical split-end repair conditioners, the reality is, there is no such cure. Once the ends of your hair begin to split, they are split. The only way to protect your hair from further damage is to trim your split ends before the damage to your hair moves further up your hair shaft.
Here’s the good news. Split ends and shedding are inevitable. Your hair is supposed to shed and your ends will inevitably split. You can prevent damage to your hair by trimming your split ends every 6-8 weeks or if you’re like me, whenever I see one, I immediately cut it out of my life.
So the bottom line is that you have to take care of ALL of your hair—from the root to the end…and everything in between. Because your ends are the furthest point away from your scalp, your ends are the first to become dry. So keep your ends moisturized and you scalp healthy! 
Here are some other tips for taking care of your ROOTS and your ENDS:
Comb or Brush your hair with ease!!!  You should always start brushing your hair from end to root. Never start brushing your hair from the top down. You decrease the amount of breakage and damage to your hair when you avoid attacking your hair in the middle of your tangles. And remember to have PATIENCE! The more hair you have, the most patience you will need. I have found that fine curly hair is best brushed when wet while using a generous amount of detangling conditioner while those with thicker textures like to finger detangle on dry hair.

Ask your significant other or bff for a scalp massage Not only is this a great way to relax, but it’s also a great way to increase the circulation to your scalp—and ultimately the roots of your hair. The increase in blood flow to your hair follicle will make your hair less likely to shed as frequently and will keep your hair growing strong.
Eat healthy  Maintaining a healthy diet means that you are feeding your body the right nutrients to grow strong hair from root to tip. Foods that are specifically good for growing beautiful locks are: salmon, eggs, dark green vegetables, beans, whole grains, oysters, carrots, low-fat dairy products, and organic poultry.
Don’t wash your hair every day  Washing your hair strips your hair of its natural oils. Dry hair = brittle hair = breakage = damage. You NEED moisture! Your scalp produces its own natural oils that assist your daily conditioner in maintaining moisture in you hair. The dryer your hair, the more split ends you will begin to see.
Wrap your hair at night or sleep on a silk pillow caseProtect your hair, especially your ends, by wrapping your hair and covering it with a silk bonnet at night. If you don’t like wearing a scarf at night, a silk pillowcase also does the trick. Cotton and other fabrics are rough and case breakage.

And there you have it. Just like everything else in life, you’ve got to get in good with your roots to find that happy ending.


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