I’m really excited about this post! It’s my first beauty post on this blog…I usually only write about fitness, nutrition, and personal development. However, I’m also super passionate about finding healthy ways to be beautiful, so I thought it would be fun to start doing some posts about what I’m learning in that area too!
I have pretty damaged hair. They say you always want what you don’t have, and that is definitely true with my hair- I want blonde, straight, VS Angel hair, but I have dark brown, curly hair- and by curly, I mean like Annie the Orphan curls- super, super tight. So, I’ve been highlighting it, blow drying it, and straightening it for YEARS. When you take all of those chemicals and heat, and mix them with 2 pregnancies and a thyroid disorder, you end up with terribly dry, damaged hair that breaks off in the oddest places.
So, I’ve decided to embrace my natural hair, and try to grow long, healthy, natural locks!
I’ve been doing a TON of research on how to do this, and here’s the plan I’ve come up with for 2015…I’m praying, praying, praying this works, and that I love the finished product :/
I’m going to do progress updates every month to let you know how it’s going- and I’ll include pics, of course
7 Steps to Growing Healthy, Long Hair
1. Cut off the Damaged Hair
Pretty much every blog I’ve read and YouTube video I’ve watched has started with this step. I guess when your hair splits at the end, that split continues to climb up the hair shaft until it eventually just breaks off. So, to really grow long, healthy locks, you have to start with hair that isn’t damaged. For me, that was a 3.5 inch haircut- not happy about it.
And, because my hair was very blonde, I also decided to dye it one, last time to my natural color, so the outgrowth isn’t terrible throughout this process.
Here’s my before and after picture :/ I knew this was going to be a big change, and I’d hate it initially, so I feel like I was pretty prepared. Nonetheless, this stinks.
2. Minimize Cleansing
There are tons of opinions on how you should/shouldn’t wash your hair. One thing I’ve found across the board, though, is that you should minimize the frequency. Most women with beautiful, healthy hair, said they only wash their hair once or twice a week- regardless of how they washed it.
The reason is that there are natural oils in our scalp that are meant to self-clean and nourish our hair. When you wash your hair- even with completely natural products- you strip your roots and scalp of those oils, and they need to replenish. Unfortunately, washing your hair frequently, means those oils need to replenish themselves A LOT, so over time, you start NEEDING to wash your hair all of the time, because your oil ducts have adapted to your routine, and over-produce.
I’ve read there is a terrible transition phase where your hair will be super greasy or straw like while your oil ducts adapt to your new routine. It can supposedly last anywhere from a few days to a few months :/
My plan is to start washing my hair once a week starting this week. I’m pretty nervous about how this is going to work, and how long this whole transition phase will last :/
3. Use All-Natural Products Free of Chemicals–
This is a big one- some people support the whole no-poo method where you either don’t use anything but water to cleanse your hair, or you use a combination of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Others use shampoo and conditioner, they just make sure they are only using pure, all natural products that have absolutely no chemicals, sulfates, or artificial ingredients.
I’m going to try the baking soda/ACV method. Once a week, I’ll be mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with a pint jar of water, and will apply to my roots, and massage into my scalp. One I rinse that out, I’ll pour a pint jar of half water, half apple cider vinegar over my hair- that’s the conditioner.
4. Use a Wooden Brush and Comb
I had never heard of this until I started researching all of this. I guess high-quality wooden brushes are amazing for your hair, because the wood absorbs the natural oils from your roots, and releases it throughout your hair shaft as you brush your hair. The comb is for wet hair straight out of the shower, and the brush is for your dry hair.
This the brush and comb I purchased through Amazon- they had very good reviews. The comb is Eco Tools, which is the brand I use for my make-up brushes, and I LOVE them. It also comes with a headband that I’ve be using every night to keep the fly aways in tact while I sleep. The brush is great so far- it’s really gentle on my hair. I have no idea if it’s actually working- time will tell But, it definitely doesn’t pull at my hair like my old brush did.
5. Oil Your Hair– This is actually a middle eastern tradition that is supposed to really help condition and nourish your hair. In a nutshell, you choose a good quality oil, and you rub it all over your hair the day or night before you’re going to wash it- you can leave it in for as little as a an hour or as long as overnight. Some of the oils that were recommended were Coconut, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Jojoba oil, Sunflower Seed oil, pretty much any oil that is cold-pressed and organic.
I’m using Jojoba oil, because it’s light, and good for people with fine hair. I don’t think I can sleep with an oily mess of hair, so I’m going to oil my hair once a week in the morning, and then wash my hair that evening.
These are also the oils that I will be using daily to help with styling, and frizz during this transition period.
6. No Heat
This is by far the hardest one for me. Some people say to minimize heat to once a week, but others say you should cut it out altogether. If you have thick, coarse hair, I’ve read that you can get away with more heat, because your hair won’t damage as easily as someone with fine hair.
I have fine hair, so I’m going to cut it out completely for 2015. This is sooooo hard for me. My hair is naturally curly, and it’s not a pretty curl- if I sleep on wet hair, I wake up looking like Annie the Orphan- I’m not kidding- I may take a picture just to prove it. So, I’ve done a ton of research on how to manage curly hair without heat, and the following things are helping a TON!
- Always sleep in a protective hair style- this means that your hair is pulled back into some type of bun or braid to keep it from going all crazy while you sleep. I’ve been sleeping with it in a bun on the top of my head, and then I wear a head band. This is doing WONDERS for my hair. The after picture above is me using this method. My hair was wet the night before. I let it air dry until it was slightly damp, then I brushed it into a ponytail at the top of my head, but I didn’t use a hairy tie to secure it- just my hand. Then I twisted into a bun, and secured with a bobby pin. When I wake up in the morning, it’s a bit lioness looking, but I can tame it down with a little bit of Jojobo oil, and I’m good to go. It’s not my favorite hairstyle, but it works for now.
- Use braids to manage your hairstyle- I’m used to having side swept bangs- that won’t work without a blow dryer and straightener, so now I’m braiding that front strand of hair to keep it maintained until it grows out- otherwise I bobby pin it up or to the side. I love the look of side braids or messy buns, but with the 3.5 inch haircut I just had, that doesn’t work right now :/
7. Dusting Your Split Ends
I think this will be huge for me, but I haven’t tried it yet. My hair grows terribly slow, but it also gets split ends and breakage really easily, so no matter what I do, I just can’t get it long. I either have to cut off the ends, and then I’ve made no progress, or I just don’t trim it, and then it splits and breaks- ANNOYING!
Dusting is a technique where you take a shear, and cut off a tiny amount every 6-8 weeks- like maybe an 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. This only works if you’re following the tips above, so you don’t have a ton of split ends and breakage that has a chance to travel up your hair shaft.
The other method is only trimming your split ends often- like every week. Here’s a great video on how to do that.
So, there you have it- 7 steps to growing long, healthy hair. I’m committing to these 7 steps for the entire year of 2015, and I’ll be giving you updates every month.
Here we go!