My spiel on hair care.

Sometimes I think about being a beauty blogger.
And then I realize I am entirely too inconsistent for that job:P
But sometimes I really just want to share some tips with people. Because they work, and I like things that work!

So…..here is my spiel on how to care for your hair and make it happy!
{insert soapbox here}


Back story: I have been trying to grow my hair long since I hacked it off in like…..2004. I let it grow out to about my elbows, but without trimming it, so it got super gross and I had to cut 8+ inches off to finally find healthy hair again. Since then, it wouldn’t grow much past my shoulders, and then I’d get bored and hack it off completely, etc. Almost three years ago, I vowed to STOP doing that and attempt to have long, healthy hair once more! I stopped blowdrying/using heated hair tools as often, would leave my regular conditioner on for most of my shower, only rinsed my hair with cool water, and trimmed my hair every 6 weeks. I haven’t dyed my entire head of hair in two years [I have done some highlights, etc].
It helped! My hair definitely stayed healthy and was really soft.

January 2009 – the beginning of the quest for long hair! Just starting to grow out of an A-line bob

But it wasn’t until last Fall that I REALLY learned about how hair works and what to do to care for it well. Since then….my hair has grown incredibly fast and is super shiny and soft!!!

Fall 2010 – trying to make my hair look longer than it was 😛 after a 3-week “hair fast” of doing nothing but wash and air dry and trim! (no products, heat, anything)

How long it actually was [ and my failed attempt at a passport photo…haha]

Here’s my basic hair care routine:
In the shower, I use what’s called the Condition+Wash+Condition (CWC) method. Basically at the beginning of your shower, you work conditioner into the length of your hair (not the scalp!), and then work shampoo into the roots (not the length!). Then you rinse it all out, re-apply conditioner to the length, and leave it in for the remainder of your shower. Some people just leave their hair hanging down their back when they do this, I like to twist it into a bun and keep it out of the way.
The point of this method is to keep your scalp from getting too greasy from the added moisture in the conditioner, and to keep the shampoo from stripping the natural oils from the length of your hair.
The most important part of washing your hair is that you do not pile it on top of your head and scrub the products in! This damages the cuticle of your hair, making it more prone to split ends and breakage, etc. Instead, make sure you start with hair that is untangled and simply comb the product through your hair. Some people use actual combs, I just use my fingers.
I know, I know, this sounds super weird. And it IS really weird to get used to, but it makes your hair feel so much better! I can’t go back to how I used to shampoo/condition, no way.

After I shower, I use a bit of Argan oil and rub it into the ends/length of my hair while it’s wet. This just adds extra nutrients and moisture, and keeps the hair cuticle flat and healthy [aka it prevents split ends].
Then, most days, I just let my hair air dry and use a boar bristle brush. Did you know that plastic combs and brushes can actually damage your hair too? The knobby parts at the end of brush bristles and bumps at the seams of plastic combs from a mold can tear your hair cuticle apart. That’s why boar bristle brushes work – they’re all one smooth piece and don’t tear hairs as much as plastic 🙂

About once a week, I do an Apple Cider Vineger (ACV) rinse on my hair. I take one of those big 36oz cups [you know, like the soft drink cups from gas stations/fast food places? My designated ACV cup is from Jack in the Box, haha], fill it with about half an inch-ish of apple cider vinegar, and then shower. The general guideline is to make sure your mixture has more water than vinegar. Anything greater than a 50% concentration of vinegar can damage your hair. At the end of my shower, I fill the cup the rest of the way up with water and dump it on my head! Yeah, the bathroom kind of smells like vinegar, and if you’ve just shaved your legs and the vinegar happens to get on them it can kind of burn…but the rinse balances the pH of your hair, leaving it super soft and de-tangled! It can also strip product and residue that has built up since your last wash, but it does not completely strip/cleanse your hair.

I thought this sounded crazy at first. BUT then I did it….and I’m a firm believer in the ACV rinse 😛

I’ll also try to go on a hunt for split ends, and cut off any that I see. This way it’s not a full trim, you don’t lose any length, but your hair stays healthy!! I still actually trim my hair once every six weeks. I always trim it myself, so I control how much I cut off, which works for me! Some people aren’t comfortable trimming their own hair, which makes sense. I didn’t learn to do mine myself without some trial and error 😛

That’s about all I do! No crazy or expensive products necessary, just some simple changes in routines and ingredients from your pantry 🙂
The only product I bought was Argan Oil, and I’ve found that Sally Beauty supply has a decent brand at a fairly decent price! (I have bought some fun shampoo/conditioner from them too….I was lured in by a sale and spiffy marketing. Haha, it’s alright stuff, but totally unnecessary 😛 I used Garnier Fructis for the longest time, and I love Tresemme Anti-Breakage formula! Both great drugstore brands.)

State of the hair as of Sunday! I’m not a purist, I’ll still curl it/use products. And I’ve lightened the ends a bit to get a semi-ombre effect 🙂

So, if anyone is looking to get healthier, happier hair, hopefully some of those tips help! My hair loves moisture, so that’s what I’ve primarily based my routine on. Some hair needs more protein than moisture, so that would change the things you do to care for it!  Do some research, it’s fun!!

DISCLAIMER: I got most of my information from a dear friend by way of referring me to the Long Hair Community forums, which have a cornucopia of knowledge about haircare! I know nothing compared to those ladies. I picked up a few tips and created a routine that works for me, that I enjoy. I encourage you to do the same! 🙂 

UPDATE as of February 2012: I recently moved to a much, MUCH drier climate and I’m re-learning how to take care of my hair once again! Researching, testing methods, all of that fun stuff. Hair care is a constant, evolving journey! BUT! I am about 3-4 inches away from waist length hair now [my goal]! Hooray 🙂

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4 thoughts on “My spiel on hair care.

  1. I hope you spiel more.
    I have a certain washing routine I do to keep my oily scalp in check but I decided to try your conditioner trick today. My hair is definitely softer and less tangly. Although I did just get a trim last night and that’s gonna help. We’ll see how it works out over the next few days.
    I need to have Hattie condition her hair in that way too. Hers is the complete opposite of mine. I use a clarifying shampoo but I buy her a special moisturizing shampoo and I don’t have her wash hers everyday like I do. I think your method will be very helpful for her.
    Please continue to share hair ideas. I am not into hair because my own can be very low maintenance but Hattie’s is a whole other beast.

  2. Pingback: I love my hair: Part II « Waffles&Cereal

  3. Pingback: HAIR AND STUFF: part III | Waffles&Cereal

comments are the beeeest. aka you're the best. thanks :)

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