Sleeping on a silk pillowcase can help prevent overnight damage.

Bold and beautiful: 7 keys to healthy hair

If you're like most people, you probably spend a good deal of time, money and effort on your hair.

Trying to achieve a lush, healthy mane, doesn’t come easy. You can change your style or color, but your hair's condition still goes a long way toward determining how good it will look.

The following are seven keys to having bold, beautiful, and, most importantly, healthy hair:

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Invest in a good brush. Most brushes have bristles made of plastic, which can snag and break your hair as you're brushing. Livestrong says to try a brush with boar bristles, or boar bristle with nylon, since they help smooth hair and distribute its natural oils without as much snagging. This type of brush also massages your scalp and helps seal your hair's cuticles, which results in a smoother, glossier finish.

And although you may have heard that you should brush your hair for 100 strokes every night before you go to bed, this is a myth, according to Prevention. Not only is it not necessary, but it actually causes excessive wear and tear.

Be gentle when your hair is wet.

When you shampoo, avoid extremes and don't use water that's too hot or too cold, according to Healthline. Some people say that cold water helps smooth the hair cuticle, but that's not true.

Hair is three times as vulnerable to breakage when it's wet, so Prevention says to gently squeeze and blot it with a towel instead of rubbing it. Use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair when it's wet, but don't over-comb or brush it.

Use conditioner.

Although you may be tempted to skip the conditioner to save time, the American Academy of Dermatology says it can benefit your hair in several different ways. It helps make your hair stronger and shinier while decreasing static. Conditioner can also help protect your hair from the sun's harmful UV rays.

Use conditioner only on the ends of your hair, especially if your hair is fine, since using it all over can make it look limp. And if you don't want to take this extra step but still want the benefits, choose a two-in-one shampoo that cleans and conditions.

Don't wash your hair more than necessary.

Depending on your hair type, Allure says you may not need to wash it every day. Water makes your hair swell from the inside, forcing the cuticle up, and over time, it causes frizz and breakage.

Start by skipping a day between washings and see how your hair feels and looks. If you think it looks too oily, try using a dry shampoo on days when you don't wash your hair.

Watch the drying.

The heat from a blow dryer can damage your hair, so if you can let your hair air dry overnight, you'll be saving time while protecting your hair. And if you'd like to get the "beachy wave" look that's popular, try sleeping with your damp hair in two loose braids.

According to Allureif you do use a blow dryer, try not to over-dry your hair, and use the cold-shot button on your dryer right before you finish. Otherwise, your hair continues to be damaged by the heat, even after you've turned your dryer off.

Clairol Nice and Easy hair coloring
Photo: Contributing Writer

Avoid excessive coloring.

If you color your hair, WebMD says to stay within your color group and try not to move more than three shades from your natural color. And think hard before getting that perm, since it weakens the hair shaft.

As you age, be prepared to adjust your hair coloring. Since your hair becomes thinner over the years, you'll need to use – or have your stylist use – weaker chemicals than the ones applied when you were younger.

Sleep on a silk pillowcase.

Pamper yourself with a silk pillowcase, and you'll be doing your hair a favor. Other materials can leave your hair roughed up and tangled when you wake up, but according to Ellesilk provides a more slippery – and gentler – surface. Your hair will avoid overnight damage and will be easier to brush and style in the morning.

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