People always ask me, what’s my secret to long and healthy hair? In terms of length, my hair has for the most part always been pretty long and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it’s thick. Thick hair tends to be stronger and suffers less breakage than thin/fine hair. But, in terms of my hair’s health, it definitely hasn’t always been this healthy. In fact, I’ll never forget after I graduated from high school when I had to go for the big chop. My hair was dry, damaged and thinned out from all the coloring and chemical straighteners I had experimented with. So I had no choice but, to cut my hair into a short bob. Since then I’ve learned to take care of it and keep it as healthy as possible. Below are some of my tips for long, healthy hair!
A lot of women don’t realize how important it is to get a regular trim. I try to get my stylist to trim my hair every eight weeks. When you don’t get your hair trimmed regularly, not only are asking for split ends but, after a while your hair starts to thin out and get weaker. Getting your ends trimmed every six to eight weeks and getting at least a ½ an inch to an inch cut off, helps keep your hair stronger. Remember stringy, dead hair never looks good, no matter how long it is!
Deep Conditioning Treatments:
I do a deep treatment or hair masque every single week, no matter what! Whether I’m getting a professional blow out or leaving my hair curly, I always make sure to do a treatment once a week. It’s so important to do a conditioning treatment, because it nourishes your hair with vitamins, leaving it stronger and protecting it from damage. I love Morrocanoil’s Intense Hydrating Mask, it leaves my hair stronger, softer and super shiny. But, if this treatment isn’t in your budget, there are plenty of drugstore treatments by brands like Pantene, L’Oreal Paris and Garnier that get the job done. Or you can try at-home remedies. A lot of essential oils are great for keeping your hair hydrated and strong, I highly recommend olive oil or coconut oil. Apply some throughout your hair. Massage it for about 2 minutes. Put on a clear shower cap and let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse it out with cool water.
Heat Styling Protection:
I always make sure to use some kind of heat protective spray before I get my hair blown out. I normally carry one with me to my hair salon and have my stylist spray it on before she blows out my strands. Hot styling tools like blow dryers, flat irons and curling irons tend to weaken proteins in your hair and dry it out. John Frieda and Redken have some pretty good and affordable heat protective sprays I highly recommend using before heat styling. I also make sure not to heat-style more than once a week. If I’m getting a professional blowout done that weak, I really try my best not to retouch it the next day with a flat iron or a curling iron. And if I’ve gone a few weeks with constant heat drying, I’ll leave my hair curly for a while and just air dry it. So for the ladies who are always blow drying and flat ironing. Give those locks a break from the heat every here and there and try to air dry it for a few weeks.
I have not put any chemicals in my hair since my senior year of high school and I feel like that has a lot to do with why it’s so strong and healthy. I know this isn’t the most practical advice, especially for those of you who color your hair. But if you do choose to color your hair, make sure to use color protective products and condition on a regular basis. I also recommend getting your hair colored professionally as opposed to doing at-home color treatments. In terms of chemical hair straighteners like the Brazilian Keratin and relaxers, there’s just one thing I have to say about that. Stop doing it! So many professional stylist have explained to me that anything that changes your natural hair texture is bound to do damage, whether you notice it or not. Not to mention these products aren’t good for your health in general. If you want a smoother blow out, try temporary straightening/anti-frizz serums to get you the silky, straight results you’re looking for. And if you have curly, wavy or kinky hair, consider embracing your natural texture. I occasionally wear my hair straight and then sometimes wear it naturally curly. Try to find products that work well with your curls. I recommend the DevaCurl and the Ouidad lines. They leave my curls, soft and defined without the crunch most gels and mousses leave.
Another trick of mine is I do not shampoo on a daily basis. In fact, if I’m leaving my hair curly, I condition and style daily and shampoo every two days with a non-sulfate shampoo. I use DevaCurl’s No-Poo Shampoo, but there are plenty of more affordable drugstore brands that now have sulfate-free shampoos you can find. Shampooing daily, especially with a shampoo that contains sulfate, removes your hair’s natural oils and dries it out.
If you have curly hair like me, or hair that tangles easily, I suggest you invest in a wide tooth- comb to de-tangle your wet strands. I usually de-tangle my hair before I rinse out my deep conditioning treatment or you can use a de-tangling conditioner and de-tangle with a wide-tooth comb. Never use a regular hair brush to brush wet hair! Wide-tooth combs are easier on your hair and help prevent unnecessary breakage. Always de-tangle your hair from the bottom and make sure to slowing work your way up.
If you’re suffering from thinning hair, I suggest you consult with a dermatologist or your primary physician. Sometimes thinning hair could be a result of menopause or some other hormonal or health reason. When I started growing my hair out after my big chop, I was using natural oils and massaging them on my scalp before every wash. I also suggest Phyto’s Phytolium Thinning Hair treatment.
Chill with the Extensions:
Believe it or not hair extensions or weaves many times can thin out your natural tresses. What happens is, whether they are put on properly or not, extensions are pulling at the scalp, so overtime can cause the real hair to thin and break. I think it’s important if you’re going to do hair extensions or weave, to not rely on them. Try not to do it often and give your hair a break in between. Also, if you have thin/fine hair your hair might be more prone to thinning and breakage than someone with thicker hair. Not everyone’s hair can grow past their shoulders, so I totally understand women opting for hair extensions. Just try to find ways to not overuse them and to try to keep your real tresses underneath healthy. You can also look into clip-in extensions like Luxy Hair, which are 100% natural clip-in hair extensions.