Limp Hair

Long and limp hair
 
Q: When I wash my hair at night it always looks limp and flat in the morning. What am I doing wrong? Should I use different shampoo or conditioner? My hair is long, and I always let it airdry to avoid heat styling damage.
 
A: I assume that you go to bed with wet, or at least clam hair at night after you’ve washed it. The problem with this is that the hair dries while the weight of your head is pushing the roots and the rest of your hair structure flat against your scalp, face, etc. In the first place, the place where the volume of the hair should originate, the root, gets pressed flat. Thus, your hair automatically looks limp and pressed level against your scalp.
 
Also, even though heat styling can potentially damage your hair, by using the right products, styling aids and techniques, you can actually add volume and shine to the hair shaft, making it appear shiny, healthy and beautiful. For example, when you apply a heat protection product to hair and straighten the hair with a flat iron, you’re actually closing and sealing the cuticles of the hair structure, which gives it that lovely shine and look of vitality. But when you go to bed with wet or clam hair, those cuticles don’t close and can end up being pushed in the wrong direction.
 
Another thing to keep in mind is that the hair follicle continuously produces natural oils to coat the structure of the hair. So when you wake up in the morning, your hair has been washed 8-12 hours before. During this time, the hair follicle has been unceasingly producing sebum to coat the hair strand, in order to ensure healthy hair. But the water particles mix with this oily substance, making it more liquid and easily distributed among hair strands and along the length of the hair. The water particles also dilute the oil, so it appears dull and laden. The extra weight of these distributed oils contributes to the limp and flaccid appearance of the hair.
 
There are shampoos and conditioners available to combat limp and lifeless hair. Most of these will have the words “extra volume” or “for long, dull, lifeless long hair” on the bottle. But these products will most probably not help in your case, as I don’t think that your hair is the problem, but more the preparation technique you’re using, by going to bed with wet hair.
 
Rather try blow drying it dry before going to bed, and applying a tiny amount of silicone based smoothing lotion to seal the cuticle and block out elements such as humidity, etc. If you’re really bent on not using any heat styling utilities on your hair, air dry your hair 100% dry before going to bed, and then also apply a small amount of silicone based smoothing lotion on your hair. Your hair will still look flat because of the weight of your head resting directly on your roots during the night, but it should be more shiny and healthy looking at least.
 
The most beneficial method would be to style your hair in the morning, when the hair is 100% clean and the hair’s volume and luminosity can still be manipulated by means of blow drying with a large-barrel brush, and finishing off with a flat iron. Heat damage is a very real problem, but if you use the right products and techniques, it is easily possible to have beautifully healthy and shiny long hair, every day.
 
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See also:
 
Why do we have to dry our hair before we go to sleep?
 
Is it better to blow dry your hair or airdry?