I’ve always been a long hair kinda gal. And a blondie through and through.
I’ve come a long way in how I treat my hair now though.. these locks weren’t always the healthiest due to more damage than I’d like to think about (eeek).
Three years on the high school swim team took a major toll on my hair. Especially that dreadfully tight swim cap which gave me split ends, breakage and very attractive lines on my forehead… I laugh about it now, but the harsh chlorine turned my blonde hair green, the pool water was SO damaging and sucked out any moisture plus the amount of breakage from always being up in a tight swim cap makes me cringe. I had to use a special shampoo (with who knows what chemicals) to remove the green tint. Not to mention, my hair was SO OILY because it was trying to make up for my constant stripping away of natural oils… Fast forward to college and going out all the time which entailed washing it daily, roughly brushing it without caring, blow drying, curling/straightening, teasing and using every conventional product under the sun.
After the past few years of taking much better care of my hair (and going vegan), I’ve seen a major improvement in length, natural shine and overall hair health. Many of you have asked about the products I use, if I color it, my top hair tips etc. so that’s what we’re getting into today. I’m splitting this post into two parts (one for my secrets, the other for favorite products, so be on the lookout for that towards the end of the week!).
Side note: If you think your hair just stops growing at a certain length (so frustrating, right?) then this post is for you. Don’t give up on your hair, all you need to do is change up your routine a bit and implement the tips I’m sharing to get it growing again. It is possible!!
I do not color my hair and never have – I got it from my mama! She was the same and somehow I was lucky enough to inherit that blonde gene.
What’s the secret to growing long, healthy hair?
There’s many secrets! Not just one magical product or pill or trick. We wish, right?! Long luscious locks require work, maintenance, time and patience. It could takes months of changing habits and switching out products to see results but it’s SO worth it!
MY 7 HAIR CARE SECRETS
1. BE GENTLE… AND USE A WOODEN BRUSH!
I said it above and I’ll say it again. Your precious hair is delicate and can break/split so easily if you aren’t careful. Breakage is not cute and does not help the length – it makes your strands look thin and dull. Consider this when brushing it out! Stop tearing through knots like you’re angry at them. This is especially important after showering. When hair is wet, it’s much more prone to breakage and can easily snap off.
ALWAYS start from the bottom with a wide tooth comb and work your way up to the top. Spray on some detangler if it’s super knotty. Then brush it through again with a wooden brush if you must – these bristles are much gentler than metal bristles. I’m OBSESSED with that wooden brush. You wouldn’t believe how long it takes me to brush out my hair sometimes…but it’s essential if you want long locks of love. So usually I let it air dry before brushing it at all BUT I always brush it out before showering and also use a wide-tooth comb in the shower while the conditioner is soaking in, gently brushing it through to prevent wet tangles post-shower.
Lastly, before bed, braid your hair in a loose braid so you wake up with natural waves (I do this every night) instead of crazy messy bed head that you have to slowly brush out. Use a scrunchie instead of a tight hair tie. Or loosely pull it back into a low pony tail so you don’t sleep on it and cause more damage throughout the night.
2. CUT DOWN THE HEAT:
Limit your use of styling tools as much as you can. Instead of automatically frying your hair by turning up the heat to high, turn it to low/medium – it works the same and is much less damaging. Let your hair air dry as long as possible before blow drying. Only blow dry if you have to and use the warm or cool temperature. If you curl your hair, make the curls last a few days! There are lots of ways to cut back on heat damage. Also use a heat-protectant spray like this one if you are styling it.
3. THE DIRTIER THE BETTER:
I know some girls can’t go more than a day without washing their hair because it feels gross and oily, but washing everyday strips away the natural oils causing your hair to produce more oil so you’re actually doing more harm than good. Once you stop washing everyday and switch to 2-3x per week, your hair will adjust (with time) and start producing less oil.
Less washing means less blow drying and less heat. In the meantime and in between washes, thank goodness for things like dry shampoo! Total lifesaver. Try this method of washing less and eventually you will get used to it, I promise, and your gorgeous hair will thank you!
4. NO TEASING PLEASE. NO HIGH PONY TAILS WITH TIGHT HAIR BANDS EITHER!
Stay away from teasing! It causes SO much damage. I used to way overdo it on the volume… like the entire crown of my head… LOL #college
Use a volumizing shampoo or texturizing spray to create volume instead. Dry shampoo creates volume too! DIY your own with my homemade recipe or use this dry shampoo powder. Also, high pony tails cause a ton of breakage and flyaway’s. If you want your hair out of your face, opt for a low pony using hair ties without the metal parts or do a cute side braid. Messy side braids are my fave.
5. STOP GETTING TRIMS!
Trims are so misleading. While they do remove dead split ends making your hair appear fresher and healthier – trims do nothing to promote hair growth. Just let it grow out! I get a trim maybe twice a year which sounds crazy and many hair dressers would gasp… but they always chop off WAY more than they say and I immediately regret going. So now, I just don’t! Twice a year works just fine for me.
What do you guys think about regular trims?
6. THE RIGHT PRODUCTS & INGREDIENTS:
Have you read the back of your shampoo and/or hair spray bottle lately? You wouldn’t believe the ingredients that lurk in beauty products… the labels make them sound like amazing miracle workers but don’t fall for the lies! You want to lookout for sulfates, salts, fragrances, chemicals etc. We are breathing in these fragrances and chemicals while spraying them on our hair… we are massaging them into our scalp in the shower… only for them to be absorbed through our skin. These could be triggering allergies, skin issues, reproductive issues, disrupting hormones… the list goes on. Conventional products use waxes to make your hair feel and look shinier which is only covering up the damage it’s doing. They don’t nourish your hair at all. Using the right products will nourish your hair and scalp without chemicals or scary ingredients!!
This is why I’ve switched to vegan, cruelty-free products with natural and safe ingredients.
**I highly recommend you get the Think Dirty app and become more aware of ingredients and toxicity, if you haven’t done so already. Enter in every product you use to see where it falls on the scale – you would be shocked at some of the ratings for those so called “healthier” brands – it’s crazy!
7. HEALTHY PLANT BASED DIET AND LIFESTYLE:
This goes hand in hand with #6 but the foods you eat play a major role in the health of your hair. If you are healthy internally, you can exude health externally through your skin, hair, nails etc. If you are eating crap then your hair will probably look like crap but if you are eating nourishing whole foods then it will show! Lots of plant based foods, plenty of water, enough sleep and regular exercise – so boring I know and you’ve heard it a million times before but it’s an essential element for growing healthy, luscious locks. For help in this area, check out my Vegan Starter Guide and 5-Day Body Balance Cleanse to get started.
What are your hair care tips?! Leave me a comment below!
Part Two of this post coming soon with my favorite vegan cruelty-free products!