Always use hair tonic only after blow-drying hair

What are some of the basics to keeping my hair strong and healthy?

Mr Eugene Ong, founder and managing director of Urbanhair salon at Seviin at Tangs, shows you how.

1. Determine your hair type

Run your fingers from the tips of your hair to the roots, against the cuticles.

If the cuticles feel smooth, you have normal hair; if they feel rough, then you probably have dry and damaged hair. Another way to determine your hair type is to gently stretch a strand of wet hair. Healthy hair is elastic and will spring back to its original length; dry and damaged hair will either break or not snap back to its original length.

You know you have oily hair (and an oily scalp) if the hair shaft two or three inches away from the scalp is very glossy and constantly flat.

2. Shampoo the right way

Instead of slathering the shampoo on your head immediately, first lather it between your palms as foam grips dirt more effectively.

A dollop of shampoo the size of a 50-cent coin would suffice; add a little more if you have very long hair. This step also ensures that residue from the shampoo will not be left on your hair and scalp as foam washes away more easily.

3. Rinse thoroughly

At least once a week, use a clarifying or exfoliating shampoo to get rid of dead skin and residue build-up from hair products. This will boost the efficacy of any nourishing haircare products that you use later on.

4. Apply a mask

If you have dry or normal hair, use a hair mask to strengthen hair and smoothen the cuticles for shine and volume.

Apply the mask down the hair shaft - from about three inches away from the scalp - and along the hair cuticles to the ends to seal in moisture. Put on a shower cap for 10 minutes as a warm environment will help the products to better penetrate your hair. Rinse thoroughly. Skip the hair mask if you have oily hair as it will weigh your hair down.

5. Use a hair tonic

To maintain or get a head of healthy hair, use a hair tonic after every wash.

Always use it after you blow-dry your hair. This is because water will dilute the tonic or prevent it from penetrating your scalp.

The heat from the hairdryer will also open up the pores so they can better absorb the tonic.

Apply hair tonic only on the crown area as it will flow down to other areas naturally. Then massage the tonic into the scalp with your fingertips. There is no need to rinse it off.

This article was first published on June 26, 2015.
Get a copy of Urban, The Straits Times or go to for more stories.