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January 18, 2023 6 min read

We’re so excited to share our 7-day healthy hair challenge! 

We’ve talked a lot about these great tips individually over the years – each one based in research. This is the first time we’ve put them all together. Our goal with each day is to reinforce one healthy hair habit that we hope will be part of your ongoing routine. That’s how you’ll get the biggest benefit.

At the heart of this challenge is the recognition that healthy hair isn’t just about the products you use. Sure, products are important. Ingredients that nourish the scalp and strengthen hair are better for you and the planet. Cheap ingredients are known to irritate and weaken hair.  Healthy hair is also part of a system. This includes what you eat, how you take care of yourself, and how much you sleep.

We look forward to hearing more about your experiences with the Challenge!

Day 1: Shampoo right.  

One of the first steps to healthy hair is a good cleansing. Shampoo properly by choosing a gentle cleanser.  You’re not degreasing your kitchen pipes, so avoid harmful ingredients like sulfates, parabens, or phthalates. Embrace plant-based products that are rich in nutrients meant to soothe your skin, fortify your hair follicles, and encourage growth. 

The way you shampoo matters, too.  Make sure your hair is saturated with water. This will allow the shampoo to lather and spread more evenly.  Start at your scalp and focus on your roots.  If you are using a gentle sulfate free shampoo like ANTIDOTE, you can let your shampoo sit on your scalp for one minute before rinsing.

Don’t skimp on bottom-shelf products with ingredients you don’t recognize. These products contain ingredients that strip your hair of everything it needs to grow strong and healthy. They irritate your scalp and hair follicles, causing dryness and itchiness. Instead of helping, these cheap ingredients weaken your hair, making it dull and fragile. These products only benefit is that they cost less to you and make more money for manufacturers.

Learn more about proper hair washing from professional stylists at “Wash your hair right”

Day 2: Eat a hair-healthy diet. It’s never too late to start eating well. Nurture your body throughout your whole life and you’ll thank yourself when you’re older. Eat plenty of leafy greens, seafood, whole grains, and legumes. 

Iron and proper protein, vitamins D, C, and B, iron, zinc, and folic acid are essential to your inner and outer beauty. Antioxidants also play an important role in antiaging. They prevent free radicals from doing damage to your hair and skin. 

Grilled chicken, almond butter, eggs, yogurt, oatmeal, guava, berries, and bell peppers are all hair healthy foods. 

Cut back on the alcohol and sugar.Sugar hinders the absorption of protein. And protein is essential to your hair’s health, as it’s basically made up entirely of different proteins. And alcohol lowers the zinc levels in your body, another essential mineral

Day 3: Add some stress management techniques to your routine.

Life is stressful. Make sure you have the tools you need to take life on gracefully: with gratitude, peace, and wisdom. Stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, journaling, breathing techniques, and talk therapy can help. 

Our favorite stress management technique might be the easiest? Time outside.

Did you know that a walk in the woods is proven to improve your health? In Japan, it’s called “forest bathing” and is as simple as taking a walk along woodland path or sitting under a tree.  No cellphones, no conversation, just be in the moment. While winter might feel like time to stay indoors, think the opposite! Getting outside is proven to reduce stress and improve health. Since we are from Wisconsin, we know all about being outside in the winter. Invest in a good set of long johns and don’t forget a neck gaitor.

While you are outside more:

  • Don’t leave the house with wet hair. Cold air expands the hair cuticle and makes it more prone to breakage. 
  • Keep that frizz down with a leave-in conditioner. ANTIDOTE Avocado Styling Cream makes a great leave in conditioner that keeps hair flexible.
  • Minimize hat hair by wearing a hat lined with silk or satin.Popular fabrics like wool and cotton, can cause split ends and breakage. Better yet, ditch that fancy hat for a pair of earmuffs like 180’s that go behind the head.

Day 4: Pamper yourself with a hair mask.Hair masks lock in moisture that it needs to stay strong. It deeply hydrates your hair, keeping it clean and shiny. And while you’re at it, do a face mask and get in the tub! Create your own personal resting phase; your hair will thank you. 

What to look for in a hair mask?

A good hair mask strengthens your hair from within. Ditch those silicone conditioners – they dry out the hair strand, making it more prone to breakage. Instead, look for natural and essential oil-based products. These penetrate the strand, making it stronger and more flexible. Oils protect hair from the extreme cold and heat cycle common this time of year. ANTIDOTE conditioners are full of natural shea butter and avocado oil, powerful moisturizers that protect against environmental stress factors and is great for your scalp, too!

Treat yourself to a weekly deep conditioning treatment. Apply ANTIDOTE Jojoba Hair Repair to wet hair for 5-10 minutes to let ingredients penetrate the hair strand. Note that you’ll want to make sure that your hair is clean before your mask. If you’ve been using silicone-based products, these seal the hair cuticle and keep nourishing oils from penetrating deep. If this is the case, your hair mask will just sit on the surface and weigh your hair down. The result can be oily feeling hair. Not good! So use a good detox shampoo before hand and you might even need to wash twice.

Day 5: Scalp massage!

Here are 3 reasons why you should give yourself a scalp massage.  

  1. Scalp massage removes dirt that can clog pores and follicles - things like dead skin, product build-up, and environmental debris
  2. Scalp massage stimulates blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles - that means that it creates an environment that promotes hair growth
  3. Scalp massage helps create thicker hair by stretching hair follicles

"According to research, scalp massage increases hair thickness by stretching the cells of hair follicles. This, in turn, stimulates the follicles to produce thicker hair. It’s also thought that a scalp massage may help dilate blood vessels beneath the skin, thereby encouraging hair growth,"  Healthline.

There are 2 main types of scalp massage: dry and wet.    Learn more about these in our post “3 REASONS TO GIVE YOURSELF A SCALP MASSAGE TODAY.”

Day 6:  Get more sleep… at least 8 hours every day.

In The Truth About Beauty Sleep, WebMD’s Stephanie Jacob’s reports, “sleep may be the closest thing there is to a fountain of youth. Your body repairs itself and recovers while you snooze, and that leads to a long list of benefits for your looks.”  

A study published in the British Medical Journal, Beauty sleep: experimental study on the perceived health and attractiveness of sleep deprived people showed that well rested individuals were more attractive.

Board certified Sleep specialist, Dr. Michael Breus says that getting less than 6 hours of sleep will likely affect how you look and that getting an extra 1-3 hours can show an improvement in just a few weeks.

Sleep matters for healthier, fuller hair. “Hair loss, breakage, damage, and even growth can all be affected by lack of sleep”, Breus says. “Hair follicles (where hair growth begins) gain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from blood flow. Since blood flow decreases when we’re short on shut-eye, hair gets less food, it weakens, and it has difficulty growing.”

 A lack of sleep can lead to more stress, which is no good for how we feel and look.

Learn more about sleep in our blog post “Looking for the fountain of youth.“ 


Day 7:  Repeat

Our 7-day healthy hair challenge is all about reminding ourselves that healthy, beautiful hair is more than just one thing. It’s about looking good and feeling good, from the inside out. For sure, the products we use and how we use them make a difference for sure. Also, our diet, stress, and sleep all affect our hair.

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