I think it’s pretty safe to assume that everyone wants perfect, shiny locks. Whether your hair is stick straight or couldn’t be curlier, these tips and tricks have helped me get the hair I’ve always wanted, and I hope they can help you too.
I’d like to preface this by saying that I have naturally curly hair, and not just cute wavy hair, like my hair will stick straight up and be tightly curled and frizzy if I don’t do something about it. These have helped me tame my hair and make it more manageable in the long run. I’d also like to point out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with “frizzy” hair, and that natural hair is beautiful, no matter what it looks like! I have grown to love my natural look, and I hope you all feel the same about your natural hair too. Not all of these tips will pertain to everyone, but hopefully, some of them will help everyone who reads this. <3
Hair washing is something we all do but are we doing it properly? Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to wash your locks!
1. Wash your roots with shampoo (obviously), but avoid washing your ends. I never lather the ends of my hair with shampoo as it strips away oil and moisture which can leave it looking brittle or dry. We want to lather up our scalps to remove excess oil and flakes, but our ends need all the moisture they can get. Obviously, if your hair is excessively dirty you may decide to wash the ends, but in general, what washes down your strands is enough to get the job down.
2. Choose the right shampoo for your hair type. If you have dandruff (or if you want to avoid it), use a dandruff shampoo to combat a dry scalp. There’s no shame in having dandruff, the shame is in not taking care of the issue (hehe).
Tip: If you have dandruff often, or if it becomes a problem in the winter months, try applying unrefined coconut oil directly to your scalp, focusing on the driest parts of your scalp, and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour prior to washing hair as normal. Drinking more water (not soda or coffee) will also help.
3. Leave your conditioner in for as long as possible while showering. The order I shower in is to first wash off my makeup, wash my hair, apply conditioner, shave, exfoliate, moisturize, brush out my hair, then rinse the conditioner out). Leaving the moisturizing conditioner for as long as possible will help you maximize the benefits!
4. I have found that shampooing my roots and conditioning the ends of my hair (from about the bottom of my ears downward) helps prevent my ends from getting too dry and my roots from getting too oily). If you have oilier than average hair, you may wish to forgo conditioner altogether, or only condition the very ends of your hair. Of course, still, thoroughly wash all of your hair, but don’t roughly shampoo the ends, as this will dry them out faster.
5. Brush your hair while the conditioner is in and your hair is wet with a wide-tooth comb! This will reduce pulling and make brushing your hair easier. If you have thick hair as I do, this trick will become your best friend. While it is true that wet hair is more prone to breaking, if you’re gentle and follow the above guidelines, working your way from the very bottom of your hair up to your roots, you will find that your hair becomes untangled very easily. If I didn’t carefully brush out my hair while it has conditioner in it, it would be much more difficult to manage.
6. Just as I eat a variety of food, I use a variety of conditioners to ensure that my hair stays as healthy as possible. I have 4-5 different conditioners I rotate through (or mix sometimes), to ensure that my hair gets a variety of vitamins, minerals, and good oils.
7. Rinse with the coldest water you can handle. When your hair is exposed to heat and moisture the hairs open and the surface area of each hair increases. This is evident when hair becomes frizzy. To counteract this, blast hair with cold water after rinsing to close the hair and smooth the strands. Washing your scalp with cold water also prevents your hair from becoming too oily. When your hair is smoother, it’s also shinier.
1. I strive to air dry my hair as often as possible. As stated above, heat + moisture (blow drying) can make hair look coarser than it really is.
2. If I absolutely must blow dry my hair, I use this dryer and do it on the coolest setting and point the barrel of the dryer downward, instead of up at my roots in order to keep it as smooth as possible!
3. I have SO many baby hairs, and they like to do their own thing. I’ve found that avoiding heat tool usage on them helps them grow out to a more manageable length. The one thing I cannot live without is a thick stretchy cotton headband which I use to keep my baby hairs straight as they dry. These can even be monogrammed. This limits the amount of heat styling they require, although it does extend the drying time.
4. I always shower in the evening as opposed to the morning (my hair takes a while to dry and I wouldn’t have enough time to do it in the morning, plus I like to wash away the day), but I make sure I don’t sleep on wet hair if I can help it. I either time my showers so I have enough time to let it dry normally, or I let it air dry as much as possible and blow-dry the rest (in the manner stated above).
5. I always make sure my hair is brushed thoroughly before it starts to dry, or else I would have a really difficult time fishing out all of the knots.
1. For the little baby hairs and the hair at the front of my face (which tends to be thinner and frizzier), I like to use a mini straightener for several reasons:
a. less heat = less damage
b. easier to manage than a large straightener
c. I can get much closer to my scalp without burning myself
2. I use a flexible hold hairspray on my hair to keep my style in place, without making it feel stiff or crunchy. Rather than spraying directly onto my hair, I spray it on a dedicated, unused soft-bristled toothbrush and brush it in that way to prevent buildup.
3. I only use non-pull hair ties and bobby pins to prevent breaking my hair.
4. I always brush each section again prior to styling. Styling hair that isn’t completely brushed out can lead to kinks, knots, and damage, not to mention it detracts from a smooth hairstyle.
5. After styling, I always go over my hair with a little bit of hairspray to tame flyaways. I spray it on a clean chopstick, pen, or makeup brush handle and then use this to smooth down my hairs, without gunking up my strands with excess spray.
1. I’ve heard that it’s best to get your hair trimmed every 4 to 6 weeks, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a ploy to make hairdressers more money (just kidding, mostly). I only cut my hair once or twice a year, and in the meantime, I trim my ends with hair scissors (extra sharp, NOT your average kitchen scissors. Using the wrong kind of scissors can make split ends worse). To do this, I twirl roughly 1-inch sections of hair around my fingers and trim the ends that stick up. This lets me keep my length while ditching splits!
*This may not be best for high maintenance styles or cuts*
2. Dry shampoo can help extend the life of your hairstyle between washes. My favorite dry shampoo is this mermaid-themed one! I’ve never had luck with spray dry shampoos, they just ended up making my hair look greasier, but this one works like a charm because it’s a powder that absorbs oil! Plus, this smells incredible! If I notice my hair is looking a little oily at the roots, I just use a dry shampoo and comb it to absorb/distribute oil.
3. If my hair is looking a little dull, I spritz on some shine spray from about my ears down to liven things up again.
4. If you swim in chlorinated water, be sure to rinse your hair out so the chlorine doesn’t dry out your hair.
5. Spending time in the sun may fade color-treated hair, or cause hair color to lighten.
Hair Myths/Product Fails
1. As stated above, I don’t really think it’s necessary to get your hair cut so frequently, but if it works for you or you just downright enjoy it, by all means, have at it.
2. I’ve tried the straightener brushes and the little hairdryer that “curls hair while drying” (in some sort of cup thing, and they didn’t change anything except the amount of money in my wallet, and they didn’t work for me.
3. I’ve found that organic/natural shampoos work the best for my hair type. I do not have color-treated hair, so I don’t need as many chemical additives or color preservatives, so I don’t waste my $$$ on that.
4. Brushing your hair 100 strokes a night is actually bad for the health of your hair. I never brush my hair unless I need to, or I’m in the shower because all of the extra pulling and tugging can weaken or damage hair.
Check out my hair tutorial on how to get perfect mermaid curls.
Until next time!
x Annie Fairfax
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