So many of you have asked me to write about my hair, so here goes.
I have really long hair. I always have.
It has never really been cut short, so what you see has been growing and been put through the crazy antics of my hectic life for a long time. That being said, it is really very healthy, so I'm going to share some tips and tricks and information on how I keep my hair so long and strong.
I grew up as a competitive swimmer. I swam into college, often averaging more than 5 hours a day in chlorinated water. Despite all of these "damage-prone" activities, my hair remained relatively damage-free. Every time I went in for a trim, the hairdressers would ask what I did with my hair and how I kept it SO smooth and healthy. First of all, in the same way that we know our skin and what foundation to choose, we should know our hair. Does your hair get oily every single day or does it remain fairly dry? There is no set way to wash your hair, so knowing what your scalp needs, lays the groundwork for good hair. Having a strict workout regimen also complicates this, as we usually have to wash our hair after tough and sweaty workouts! Those of us with naturally straight and fine hair usually have oilier hair as well -- it is our body's natural defense against having thin and breakable hair. The oil is actually GOOD for hair, although totally not attractive, it nourishes and conditions air better than anything available at the most expensive salons. At the root of each hair follicle is a sebaceous gland; this gland releases sebum (oil) that then works its way down the hair shaft to keep it hydrated and smooth.
Unfortunately no one likes oily hair, so we have to wash and condition it regularly. When I shampoo my hair, I place the majority of the shampoo on my scalp, letting mostly suds slip down to the very ends. This removes any oil and dirt residue that has collected at the top near my scalp, but keeps the bottom, oldest, and most delicate parts of my hair from being dried even further (shampoos natural tendency). After massaging in the shampoo, I condition my hair. Here things get fun.
I use normal conditioner most of the month, but probably twice a month I give myself a couple days of a deep condition. This allows me to afford life (because realistically no graduate student, college student, or young professional can afford $30 conditioner every day). But it also allows my hair to retain moisture and stay healthy, even when working on a budget.
My favorite commercial conditioner is any of the Biolage Advanced Conditioners. They all provide deep-conditioning benefits without coating your hair in a gummy paste after rinsing.
Another favorite way to condition my hair is with more natural products. Those of you that know me well, know that my mother raised me with the food pyramid and Rodale Organic Nutrition guides in my pre-K lunchbox. I grew up valuing not only natural and alternative health options, but also understanding that what goes into our bodies affects the way we look, feel, and perform. Our hair is a direct result of what goes into and onto our bodies!
Because of this, nutrition is paramount. You will notice that your freshman year of college hair is dull and life-like in comparison to your post-grad working businesswoman hair. This is because eating easy-mac and ramen (of which I was totally a culprit) is not a healthy way to treat your body or care for your beautiful locks.
Some nice alternative deep-conditioning treatments include:
~ Raw Eggs: Yes this seems disgusting, but raw eggs have so many beneficial properties for your hair. They are rich in protein, and since your hair is 70% keratin protein, this is very important for shiny, healthy hair.
~ Coconut Oil: Take a palmful of coconut oil and let it melt using the warmth of your hands. Then massage it through your hair and let it sit for a while. Sometimes even covering your hair with a shower cap to keep it in its warm and melted state is the best option!
~ Mayonnaise: This is a really good deep conditioning option, similar to the reason why the raw eggs are so good for you. However, instead of cracking eggs over your head in the tub this can help.
* What I want to warn everyone about with all of these natural methods of deep conditioning is that they produce better results in the long run over any salon deep-condition that I have ever gotten. That being said, make sure you rewash your hair after the deep-condition because otherwise your head is going to smell like a hoagie. My mom learned this the hard way once.
In addition to conditioning treatments and what I eat, I try to avoid heat as much as possible, this means limiting the number of times that I straighten, blow-dry, and/or curl my hair. I avoid brushing it wet, as this causes the hair strands to stretch and break more frequently than brushing it once it has dried. I also find that as much as I love bore-bristle brushes because they damage the hair less, they also cause it to become really frizzy. The Natural Bristle and Nylon Pin Brush from Sally Beauty Supply has been my go-to for the last four years or so. It has the natural qualities of the bore bristles, mixed with the smoothness that you get from the nylon pins. LOVE IT.
Anyways, that is all for now. If you have hair questions please leave me a message in the comments section below and I will get back to y'all!