Save money on hair care products and get gorgeous hair
Love your hair, grow it long and healthy!
With all the different hair care products out there, all the multiple brands and specialty stores that claim "this is the product that will make your hair perfect" how do we know which one will work? To top it off, once you buy the product to try it out, you still need to take the time to test it out. And when it doesn't turn out like promised, you need to start over or hide it in a pony tail or cute hat until you have time to devote to fixing the look.
But most of these products are designed to get your hair to look pretty and well kept, quickly. Although it is convenient, are we 100% sure it is healthy? Will there be long term effects? Or are we just damaging our hair, making the use of these products a neccessity? From shampooing to styling I'll explain step by step why I decided to save money and instead spend more time caring for my hair, and the wonderful payoff I experienced.
Everybody has a different chemical makeup and even though our bodies operate the same, we all experience differences in each function. One of these functions includes the way our body produces Sebum. Sebum is a natural oil consisting of a complex mixture of lipids, that our body produces to not only waterproof but also moisturize our skin and hair. Found in most mammals, it can have an oily or waxy texture. Humans have many Sebaceous glands throughout the body, with the exception of the palms of our hands and feet. Which is why our palms get wrinkled/soggy/pruny with prolonged soaking. Without regular washing, these pores can become clogged, creating acne, but if utilized in the right way, can promote beautiful, healthy hair and skin. Even different diets can affect how much Sebum is produced so learning the right formula for you and your lifestyle is key. Another factor to consider about length of hair is your vitamin intake. Hair tends to grow faster, healthier and thicker with the accurate dosage of certain vitamins, along with a healthy diet, exercise and adequate sleep. Treating your body well will cause stress tolerance to rise, allowing you to live a happier life, and in turn, your body will mirror this effort on your appearance!
Another factor in length to consider is your own body timers. Hair growth varies in each person, and there is no way to stop the older hair follicles from falling out. Some people can grow out their strands for years and years growing thick long hair they can trip over. Others have to deal with shorter styles because the average hair growth is 1-3 years before the hair follicles become aged and fall out to grow new strands. This effects what styles look best on each person since hair can look thicker if kept short, because the more hair strands at any one certain length adds volume.
Many people wash their hair daily, some skip the shampoo and go on with their basic shower routine, only shampooing once every few days. Shampooing daily with a strong or harsh shampoo can be damaging to your hair, causing it to dry out and look "frizzy" or if you have hair like mine "poofy". But not shampooing often enough can make the scalp and hair look oily or greasy. Figuring out how your hair will shine the right way is as simple as running your fingers through it. As I stated above, the reason only your palms of your hand and feet get "wrinkly" when "soggy" is because they do not have Sebaceous glands, making this a very easy test. If your palms are likely to sweat, rubbing them on a clean towel or cloth first is ideal.
By saying I save money on hair care products, I also include brushes, and most styling tools too. The reason is, just as over shampooing can damage hair irreversibly, so can brushing and combing, by breaking longer hairs in attempts at detangling your locks. The only time I use a comb is when I am in a hurry and only right after a shower with a lot of conditioner, I start from the ends and slowly work my way to my scalp, tenderly working out any knots by hand along the way. This reduces damage as well as friction that may give hair that "frizzy" appearance. To aid in this effort I only use a wide tooth comb, even though my hair is fine, the width between the teeth is more like fingers than a shredder. Just like hair products are designed to make our routine quick and easy, so are styling tools. But they can be just as harsh as chemicals.
When I have any tangles with dry hair, I run my fingers through my scalp first, to coat my palms with Sebum, then I transfer this to the very tips of my hair and start to untangle by hand all the knots that may be there, working my way up to my scalp, massaging the oil in as I smooth each strand out. During this process if I can feel my palms are dry, I will constantly pick up more Sebum from the scalp. Using a mild shampoo less often than daily will give you a better chance at utilizing this natural oil properly. For those who use a stronger formula shampoo, a great alternative is a small bit of Coconut Oil, which can be found at most grocery stores. It comes as a solid, but a little rubbing between your palms will warm it up to a malleable liquid. Just as too much Sebum makes the hair look greasy, too much Coconut Oil will do the same, so using it in moderation will do wonders without grief. Keeping your hair moisturized and healthy will give you the perfect shine, without the empty wallet.
Another damaging effect of hair styling is heat tools such as curling irons, straighteners and even blow dryers. As I stated before, these are included in the products to assist in quick styling, but are not exactly good for hair. Spending more time with anything gives us a deeper relationship with it, thus, strengthening the bond and appreciating it more. This is also the case with hair! But also knowing that you are doing better for your hair and allowing it to grow healthy is, in itself, a reward. Air drying is the best solution but if you must use a blow dryer, use it on the cold setting, as heat frays the hair follicles and dries it out, making it less pliable to work with over time. Never rub your hair with a towel to dry it, the friction will damage your hair, and it won't matter how you wash or style it, the frizz will be impossible to remove without cutting it off. Goes the same for going to bed with wet hair, just avoid it! Heat from a curling iron or straightener also destroys hair and burns it to a thin fragile shaft that is easily broken. Any temperature that is too hot for skin, is too hot for hair. Our hair has no nerve endings so we don't physically hurt when we do this damage, but our bodies were not designed for vanity so it is up to common sense to know how to properly care for it, and prevent permanent damage and grow healthy, beautiful hair from root to end.
As I mentioned, styling products are made for convenience as we are all a fan of, but convenience always comes at a cost, that being said, there is an array of heat styling products that claim to protect your hair against the damaging effects of heat, if you're a fan, and opposed to using a heat free alternative to curls or other styles, using these products minimally will result in less damage. Unless you wash the product out at the end of the day, the solution sits on the hair, not allowing air or sebum to reach it and may cause further drying and damage to the hair.
These tips will not make your hair perfect overnight, you must treat your hair well before it even sprouts from the root! That's right, if you don't live a healthy lifestyle, your hair will show it. Adequate sleep and nutrition as well as regular exercise, and whether you smoke, all have effects on hair growth and shine. There are specialized supplement vitamins available over the counter that you can consult your physician about adding to your diet to aid in your effort.
I tracked my own change of hair routine after the last moment of boredom I had with bleach. I decided to go Platinum Blonde almost 3 years ago. Watching the dark roots grow as the blonde grew out, gave me an estimate to how quickly my hair grows as well as an incentive to treat my new growth with tender loving care, just like a baby. And time went by as I continued my new and simple care routine, and now I notice the amazing results, as my hair is more manageable and ready to go in minutes instead of hours. The blonde lingers as I haven't cut my hair short yet, so I have an "ombrè" effect but I no longer have to spend time scorching my hair or dousing it with hair spray just to leave the house. I have less bad hair days and I receive more compliments. Once I break ties with the damaged and ruined [bleached blonde] hair, I will be left with perfectly healthy, beautiful hair.
Patience is key. It can be a huge challenge for most, as now these days we are a disposable-loving, instant-gratification seeking society. Just remember Healthy is Beautiful.
Thank you for reading!
Do you have any natural hair styling tips? Or stories of success?
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