Everyone has a bad hair day, and we can all agree that they suck. But what happens when your bad hair day turns into a bad hair month?
As women, we put our hair through a lot. Coloring, drying, curling, straightening, you name it. Our hair gets abused, and this constant abuse can cause long term damage.
Today, we have a guest sharing her story about how she brought her hair back to life. Please welcome Katie!
I have always had thick, luxurious curls, but I noticed about two years ago that my hair started to really change. It had definitely lost its mojo. Its natural curl (that I had always bemoaned growing up) had dropped out and rather than being sleek, it looked frazzled and frizzy. I also was pretty sure it had stopped growing as fast and, actually, I believed it had stopped growing altogether.
Now, as I had always had what was considered great hair, it really troubled me and I went to see a dermatologist because I was worried there was something wrong with me. After a series of blood tests, there was, thankfully, nothing wrong with me and it was all down to hormones (getting older) and not treating my hair with the respect it deserved.
In my twenties, I took my hair for granted, over-straightened it, over-coloured it and yanked it straight with hair straighteners over and over again. By the time I had children my hair was showing the signs of damage and that’s why at the age of 45, it looked terrible. So I started a two year journey to get my hair looking great. These are the steps I took which restored my hair.
Let’s Start with a Few Interesting Hair Facts!
- Your hair can, if treated well, grow up to 6 inches a year (based on half an inch of growth per month).
- Curly hair shrinks by up to 30% and wavy hair shrinks by up to 5% when dry.
- If your hair is healthy, 90% of it is in the growth phase while 10% is in the “resting” phase, waiting to shed.
- The average person loses up to 150 hairs a day.
- It is better to wash your hair every two to three days as washing it daily strips it of natural oils.
- Massaging your head every day can increase hair growth by an extra 1 inch per year.
Making a Color Change
I thought very carefully about my haircare routine. One of the things I did was color it every four weeks without fail, to prevent unsightly roots coming through. I was careful about how this was done; always visiting a hairdresser, but perhaps the color was too harsh. So, I decided that in the future, I would ask that my colorist only use organic or vegetable colors to prevent irritating my scalp and stop it from producing healthy hair or heaven forbid, stop growing hair at all!
I switched to a range called Swarzkopf Essensity, which is very organic and gives great coverage. Often the chemicals in color are very harsh and aggravate the scalp – that’s why you get that itchy feeling post-colour.
It’s important to keep the scalp healthy so I invested in a shampoo brush which I use when washing and conditioning my hair. Scalp massage is an excellent way to stimulate hair growth because it encourages the hair follicles to open and push through hair as well as getting oxygen to the area and boosting blood supply. I also changed my hairbrush to a boar brush with natural bristles, far better than nylon bristles which tend to pull and snag.
Shampoo & Conditioner
I did a lot of research on my shampoo and conditioner. Sulphates are dangerous to hair. They are labeled on many shampoos and conditioners as SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate). Sulphates are only present in shampoo as a foaming agent, they don’t improve hair, and they are purely there for the lathering experience everyone has come to expect when washing hair!
The same sulphates are used in household cleaners – imagine how harsh they are. They can block up follicles and prevent healthy hair growth. They are completely unnecessary. I switched to sulphate-free products and invested in a very good treatment which I leave in for half an hour wrapped in a towel before conditioning.
I also do my own pre-wash treatment. Every time I wash my hair, I coat my dry hair with coconut oil (bought from a supermarket) and leave it on for half an hour before washing. This really helps to add shine and softness, conditioning the ends.
When combing through wet hair, I stopped using a brush because it can rip hair and cause snapping. Hair is at its most elastic when wet, so stretching it can inflict breakage. Instead, I used a teaser brush which has wide and flexible bristles and is kinder to hair. I finished by sectioning out each area carefully, before combing through.
Before styling, I made sure to use a heat protecting spray. Using straighteners, curling wands, curling irons, and crimpers administers very high heat and it’s important to protect your hair when using heated hair tools. I also stopped blow drying hair before using a heated tool. Too much blow drying coupled with heat styling products is too much heat on hair! I actually stopped using all these styling tools.
Of course, if I wanted a sleek blow dry with some curl, I used a good quality air styler with a rotating head instead of a hair dryer and brushes. These have ionic technology, so they banish frizz and smooth and shine as you style and they don’t apply heat direct to head through plates, blowing hot air instead.
Using Heated Styling Tools
If you feel you must use a styling tool, then the best materials to buy are tourmaline or titanium plates as these conduct heat evenly and safely, moisturizing as they curl or straighten. Again, the heat protecting spray was paramount.
Finish off with a little serum to keep hair smooth and shiny. Always buy a hair styling tool with a variable heat setting. Make sure to use the lowest temperature possible, especially when first getting used to a new styling tool.
Sunshine & Hair
Do remember the sunshine. When I go on holiday now, I invest in a good quality sun hat so my hair is covered when I am in the sun. This stops color lifting and the sun from drying out my hair. I also use a good quality sun protecting spray for my hair and cover it every morning going into the sunshine.
Finally, I use a conditioner all day on my hair so when I wash it at night, it is super soft and smooth. I try not to blow dry at all while on vacation, preferring to use the natural heat to dry off my hair at night. I twirl my hair into pin curl for a couple of hours before I went out. I only release the curls right before going out for dinner.
When swimming, I am careful to rinse my hair thoroughly. I apply heat protecting spray and conditioner and put my sunhat back on! If you swim for a hobby and you are swimming in a high chlorinated pool, use a swimming cap and wash with a great quality shampoo and conditioner.
Finally, I make sure that every 6 to 8 weeks I had a trim to get rid of any split and damaged ends. Healthy hair comes from within, so follow a good diet with plenty of protein and green vegetables.
My hair journey took two years to repair and I still continue with my hair routine. I am happy to report that my hair looks as good as it did in my thirties, I get regular compliments on how thick and lustrous it is. I am very mindful of how easy it is to damage hair so go easy on it; it’s easy to damage and harder to repair!
Katie Masters inspires busy women to achieve great salon hair styling at home every day. She writes about innovative ways to achieve salon styling results at home at HotAirBrushReviews.com.
Do you have any tips for keeping your hair healthy?
For more styling how-to’s, check out these posts:
- How to Get Incredible Curls
- How to Become a Master French Braider
- Hair Tutorial: Pretty Side Braid into Bun
- School Day Hairstyles for Little Girls
B & R