You wash it, brush it, blow-dry it, straighten it, curl it, and put all kinds of products in it... so it's not really a question of if your hair is damaged, but of how bad the situation really is. But before you start feeling hopeless because you'd sooner sell your soul than give up your flatiron, you should know that just a few tweaks to your routine can make a huge improvement!
Over the past few years, I’ve changed up my hair-care game and it has made all the difference, so I wanted to share some easy tips you can use to keep your hair strong and healthy, too!
How often do you wash your hair a week? I have cut back to only once or twice a week! Before you cringe and think it’s gross, let me explain why. Water makes hair swell from the inside, which forces the cuticle up. When that happens over and over again, you start to get frizz and breakage. You also strip your scalp of all the natural oils it needs to maintain healthy, hydrated skin and hair. When you do that daily, your scalp can’t keep up, causing dryness.
The reality is unless you have a ton of product buildup, there’s really no need to wash your hair daily. Even if you can start skipping one day between washes, it will make a difference! Extending the time between washes is a process, so don’t be deterred if at first your scalp seems greasy. Since it was so used to being stripped of its oils every day, it will take some time to get out of that oil over-production mode. Once you get used to washing every-other day, you can then start adding more days between washes. Dry shampoo will become your best friend during this process! Find one that does a great job at absorbing oil and gives your hair a refreshed feel and smell. For my hair type, I really like Not Your Mother's Plump for Joy Thickening Dry Shampoo.
Use Less Heat
We all know that heat is one of the most damaging elements to hair, but if you’re like me, rocking your natural hair everyday isn’t happening. One of the many plus sides of not washing daily is you can cut down on how often you have to apply heat in the form of blow-drying and styling. Since I only wash my hair one to two times a week, that’s only twice that I’m having to use my blow-dryer and (apart from a few touch-ups here & there) my curling iron or straightener. Getting multiple days out of one styling session also saves SO much time in the morning!
Another tip to cut down on heat is to not turn your heat tools to the highest setting. Although your flatiron may be able to reach 450 degrees, that extremely high temperature my not be needed to achieve the look you’re going for. Find out the lowest setting you can use to still get the style you want; you might be surprised on how low you can set it!
When you do use heat tools on your hair, always, ALWAYS use a heat protectant spray to shield the strands and smooth cuticles! Also recognize that if you want your heat protectant to actually work how it’s supposed to, you've got to apply it correctly. Heat protectants are pretty useless if they're not applied all over. To do this, grab small sections of damp hair and mist each one up and down the length of your hair (two or three spritzes per section). When you're finished, comb your hair to distribute the formula. Look for a protectant spray that protects hair up to 450 degrees (it'll say so on the label).
Even though I only use my blow-dryer maybe two times a week, I often cut it out altogether by showering in the evening and letting my hair air-dry overnight. My hair is very thick, so a lot of times the underneath is still damp when I wake up and may need a quick blow-dryer blast, but that is still so much less damaging than the usual 10+ minutes it takes to blow-dry straight out of the shower.
One trick for wake-up ready hair: sleep with damp hair in two loose French braids. It helps smooth frizz and gives hair nice beachy waves without any heat. I like to do this for the days I want natural looking waves but want to put zero effort into achieving them. In the morning when I let the braids out, I put John Frieda Touch-up Crème on the ends and follow up with OGX Moroccan Argan Healing Oil spray for a perfect all-over shine.
Do a Hair Mask
This ultra-moisturizing DIY hair mask only has two ingredients that you most likely already have in your pantry! I like to do this mask at least once a month, but ideally every other week. I leave it on for about an hour, and I make sure to focus on my ends to help keep the annoying split-ends at bay as long as possible.
What you’ll need for this mask are:
· 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
· 2 tbsp. honey
Separate hair into four sections. Then, take two-inch-wide pieces out of each section and gently comb the mask through with your hands from mid-length to ends, spreading as evenly as possible. Continue until the mask is distributed throughout all the sections. Be sure to focus on the ends and avoid the scalp. The oils in this mask can make your scalp extra greasy. If you have long hair, pull it up into a low, loose bun, and place a shower cap over your hair. Leave this on for 30-60 minutes, then rinse out with shampoo and follow with your normal conditioner. Then enjoy your shiny, well moisturized hair!
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