Hair Care 101. Because I've been doing it wrong my whole life
So I need to preface this by saying I am not one of those people with a hair care routine. I buy whatever shampoo and conditioner smells good from the grocery store, I don't use any additional products, I don't use a hairdryer, and I get a haircut literally once a year. I've also never had a regular hairdresser so no professional has ever got to know my hair long enough to tell me how to deal with it. Now all of this didn't really seem that bad to me until I went to the best hairdresser I've ever been to and she changed my freaking life!
I booked an appointment with her because she specializes in curly hair and I have a burning desire to have big curly hair. I do have a natural wave to my hair but since I never learned how to take care of it it wasn't living up to it's potential! That being said, a lot of these tips are specific to naturally wavy/curly hair.
SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
- What to get: For fine hair you should only be using shampoos that are clear. Creamy shampoos are usually heavier and weigh hair down so if you have coarse or very curly hair that might be better for you. I had been using the organix egg shaped shampoos that you get from the grocery store and she told me she doesn't like those. That they still contain harmful ingredients and not to buy it. After my hair appointment I told all this to my friend Amanda and she suggested using either Shea Moisture or Carol's Daughter. Both of which you can get at Ulta and I think even Target carries them. I ended up buying Shea Moisture because it seemed like a really good company with trustworthy, natural ingredients and several of their products donated to different organizations. They also had a curl guide up to show you what products work best for what type of curl. I got Coconut and Cactus Water Head in the Clouds Shampoo and for conditioner I got Argan Oil & Almond Milk Smooth & Tame Conditioner.
- How often: I knew you shouldn't wash your hair every day because it strips the natural oils but I definitely didn't have any sort of rhythm to when I was washing. She told me I should pick specific days out of the week and that will make it easier. So for me I wash my hair twice a week on Monday and Thursday.
- How to wash: Ok so she did not tell me this but I learned this pretty recently that I had been using shampoo and conditioner wrong my entire life. Like you're only supposed to shampoo your roots and then you let the soapy water rinse through the rest of your hair but you do not lather your entire head like they do in pantene commercials. And then for conditioner you do not apply it to your roots - you apply it to your mid section down to the ends. It makes total sense! All shampoo commercials are a LIE!
- A note about shampoo with no parabens, sulfates, and blah blah blah. I HATED this shampoo the first time I used it. Shampoos without those chemicals don't really lather which takes some serious getting used to. I felt like my hair was still super oily after and like it was a big mistake and never going to get better. BUT I just put my hair in braids and waited for my next hair wash day and it was better the second time. It got easier to figure out how to use the product. If you make the switch, you'll probably hate it at first. It's really weird to use a shampoo that doesn't lather AT ALL but it gets better and easier the more you use it!
Here are a couple of helpful articles that explain what parabens are, why they're used, and how & why you can avoid them.
- 10 Things No One Ever Tells You About Parabens & Sulfates
- Should People Be Concerned About Parabens in Beauty Products
- This is not a specific article but instead an entire website about safe cosmetics! It's a project of breast cancer prevention partners and it has a wealth of information!! I highly recommend giving this a look. Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
- No matter what your hair type you should stop drying your hair with a towel. Terrycloth has not touched my hair since my hair appointment and it never will! It creates frizz and was messing up my chances of having curls.
- Always use a leave in conditioner. Apply it when your hair is super wet - you should be able to hear a squishy noise from all the water in your hair if you scrunch it up. Spray the conditioner mid section down to ends. I got Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Yogurt Hydrate and Repair Multi-Action Leave In and it smells soo good! I love it.
- To promote waves/curls and also give some volume you can try plopping. I definitely do not have the hang of this technique - my hair never seems to fully dry once it's wrapped up. But you basically bend over so your head is upside down and you plop your hair down in it's natural curl pattern on an old t shirt and then wrap the t shirt around your head like a turban and let it dry. If you need a visual check out this youtube video.
- An alternative for natural curls is to twist sections of your hair into tiny buns and let it dry. You don't want your hair soaking wet for this, just damp enough so that it can dry into the curls. I did this to my hair the other day and it worked so well! I sectioned my hair into about 7 buns and secured it with a bobby pin. You also want the buns to be kind of loose - if they're too tightly wound then it won't dry all the way through.
- Don't brush your hair! Girls with reaaal curly hair already know this rule but it applies to wavy hair gals too! Don't brush your hair after you wash it unless you're going to put your hair in braids or some kind of up-do. Also in this same category, use a natural boar brush. It is the most effective at distributing the natural oils in your hair. Also, I fucking hated this brush! It doesn't go all the way through your hair like an acrylic brush and instead felt like it was just skimming my hair. You have to work in sections and you have to have a very firm hand to brush completely through. I still don't totally have the hang of it but I think it will get better. I keep using it because I can definitely tell that it's not pulling out my hair like the acrylic brush was and while it is annoying to use my hair looks way healthier when I use this brush.
- Say you go swimming or you sweat a lot at the gym or your hair is just feeling dirty but it's not quite hair wash day yet. You can massage your scalp as if you are washing your hair while you're in the shower. This will help to rinse away dirt/sweat and also to distribute the natural oils at your roots. Note that anytime your hair gets wet you should re-apply your leave in conditioner!
- If your hair is feeling super oily put it up in braids! I now have a hair routine for when my hair is oily before hair wash day and it regularly includes french braids and it is so not a complaint! It takes a minute for your hair to get used to a new routine and products so if it's still oily between washes then just put it in braids.
- Don't touch your hair! You know how you're not really supposed to touch your face because it creates oil on your skin well who would have thought same goes for your hair! She told me when I do touch my hair to do it with intention and not just as a habit because it's adding unnecessary oil on my hair by doing so.
- Dry shampoo. I didn't see one by Shea Moisture or I probably would have bought it. I got one from my hair dresser directly that she ordered for me but it hasn't arrived and I can't remember the name of it. I know Lush has a dry shampoo that I've used before and remembered liking so that's a safe bet. But again just look at the ingredients to make sure you're not using anything with harmful ingredients like parabens and sulfates.
That is all! I've only been in this routine for about a month so far so I'll plan to do an update on my hair after doing this for an extended period of time! Please enjoy this photo below of my glorious curly hair. I could actually cry I'm so happy with them!!