Maintaining healthy luxurious hair is similar to maintaining a fit and healthy body. Results don’t happen overnight and it’s not a hair diet – it’s a lifestyle.
My clients find my salon through Google, Yelp, Styleseat and word of mouth. Most are searching for a stylist to manage their mane and nurse their hair back to health. Ailments range from poor nutrition (internally and/or externally), poor care and commonly, over processing.
In my last post, I discussed internal nutrition. Ingesting nutrients, like Biotin (B7), B-Complex, Omega-3’s, and ample amounts of protein are essential to long-term healthy hair. In this post, I condense a 30-minute consultation into a 7-minute read. I offer the same advice I share with my new clients during their first visit.
Let’s say this is your hair (or something similar). It’s long with split ends & over processed, but you don’t want to chop it off because your 20-year high school reunion is fast approaching. Or a classic case, you are getting married within a year – your hair is long, with split ends and neglected from using bad products. It’s also damaged from heat tools and over styling.
Don’t panic, in most cases nursing your hair back to health won’t take a year. Each situation calls for its own evaluation and everyone is different. Set realistic goals for optimal hair satisfaction. And yes, there are times you must chop it off and start fresh. Alas, I offer the following regime before doing anything drastic.
Experiencing noticeable effects from adjusting internal nutrients can take up to 3 months. There are however very important external hair habits you can implement right away.
- Brush before you wash. Detangle hair so it isn’t stretched to its limit when wet. A boar hair brush is the ultimate. Prices vary. High end – Mason Pearson $100 or the more reasonably priced Cricket $14 – pictured here. Benefits: Natural scalp oils coat mid and end strands.
- Product matters. Check your product ingredients just like you do food labels. Sulfates are not your friend. Sulfates are a detergent, an ingredient used to create suds. An effective metaphor is – if you’ve ever used kitchen soap to wash a car, you see streaks. Detergent eats paint on cars – just think what it does to your hair. Get off the sulfates ladies! Davines is one of my favorite sulfate-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free shampoo lines.
- Wash only your scalp and hair at roots. When using sulfate free shampoos, use a nickel size amount with a bit water in the palm. Emulsify. If hair isn’t suds’ing up, simply add a bit of water to your scalp. Don’t wash ends, only roots. Naturally, soap runs down the hair’s shaft when rinsing. Use hot water to wash well and rinse shampoo. Benefits: Hot water opens hair cuticles -this cleans excess oil & dirt while leaving hair cuticles open for the conditioner to set.
- Use a quarter size amount of conditioner. Apply primarily on mid-strands and ends. Avoid conditioning roots. Let set while doing other shower duties. Rinse hair with cool water. Benefit: cool water closes hair cuticles locking in moisture and conditioning nutrients. Closed cuticles reflect light, manage frizz and create shine. If roots feel dry or you feel you must put ‘some’ conditioner at the roots – only use water diluted conditioner.
- Do not towel dry hair. Unless you want volume or frizz, towel drying creates friction on fragile cuticles. It also damages hair, making it prone to breakage. Simply twist hair up in a towel to absorb excess water.
- Product Matters. Two key pre-styling products I prescribe that will nurse your hair back to health are a milk and an oil. Even if you have fine hair, these products give your outer strands the nourishment they need.
Pre-styling products: Marrakesh Leave-in Detangler $16 & Marrakesh Oil $24 – Photo by Courtney Paige
- Comb pre-styling products through hair with a Wet Comb. The one pictured here is my fav.
- Marrakesh Leave-In Treatment & Detangler – apply all over to damp hair. Apply to ends first. One spritz at the roots. My favorite comes in a mist bottle.
- Marrakesh Oil – apply after leave-in treatment, mid-strands to ends before blow drying. Then once to ends after styling.
- I can’t stress enough how important this next step is – it’s so important that if you do all the previous steps religiously, but don’t implement this next step, all your efforts will be for nothing.
- Tools – using the proper tools for your hair is just as important as using the right tools to build a house.
- Blowdryer – invest in a bio-ionic blow dryer with a cool button. A good one will last you 10 years. A bio-ionic blow dryer dries hair from the inside out. This way, you aren’t cooking your hair on the outside while trying to penetrate heat to the inside core.
- Stylist Brush – a bio-ionic styling brush is the same concept as the bio-ionic blowdryer. The key is heat dry hair up to 90%. Finish with a round brush by starting style with heat and end with the cool button activated. Most of my clients are surprised to learn the “set” in wash, style & set is the cooling down process. Hair’s ability to maintain its style depends on how well the set is implemented.
Good internal and external hair habits are connected. One without the other will defeat your efforts. It’s important to know that healthy hair is a lifestyle. Be good to your body. Be good to yourself. Be good to your hair.