The hustle and bustle of city life has some advantages, but urban pollution wreaking havoc on your hair is not one of them! Oxford Street, in London, for example has the worst pollution in the world, with high levels of nitrogen dioxide up to ten times beyond the legal limit, according to a study by Kings College London.


Lizzie Carter- Founder and director of Only Curls shares the following top tips to help city-proof your hair regime…

“Pollution can contribute to a higher sebum secretion rate. This can eventually block the hair follicles making your hair more prone to breakage. Dust and grime can also settle at the roots, causing an itchy scalp. Before shampooing try exfoliating your scalp. I like to mix a little brown sugar with my conditioner for a simple DIY exfoliating treatment. It sounds sticky, but when applied in the shower, the sugar quickly dissolves and rinses out easily.”

  1. Cleanse all the way to the roots

“Pollution and UV exposure both dry out the hair, unfortunately so does shampooing, so there is conflicting advice out there on how often you should be shampooing to reduce the effects of pollution. I recommend using a sulphate-free shampoo, such as Only Curls All Curl Cleanser (£16,, to reduce any drying effects caused by cleansing. How often you choose to wash depends on what works best for you, but I recommend at least once per week. Focus on the scalp, letting the shampoo run through the rest of the hair. This way you are cleaning the ends more gently, which is where you are going to see most of the dryness.”

  1. Condition, condition, and condition some more

“It’s important to combat the drying effects of pollution with regular conditioning treatments. Make sure you are using a conditioner with ingredients that are going to penetrate the hair. Only Curls All Curl Cleanser (£16.00, strikes again, as it is packed with natural oils that hydrate deep into the hair shaft. I also recommend regular deep conditioning treatments, look out for a hair masks containing protein- this will help to repair the hair from any damage that has occurred.”

“We’re always encouraging others to put down the hair straighteners and embrace their natural curls. If pollution is another thing damaging your hair, it’s yet another reason to limit the use of heat damaging tools (like curling irons or hair straighteners). If you do use these tools, make sure you are using a heat protection spray to limit the damage.”

“Antioxidants help protect hair follicles against damage from pollution. Antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, so make sure you are getting these in your diet for healthy new hair growth.”

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