About 18 months ago, my hair got accidentally chopped off. I went in for a trim, and for some reason, I left the salon with about seven fewer inches than I walked in with. I...cried. I really was upset! I feel like I am always growing out my hair, and I was almost at the length I wanted...and then some guy cut it all off. Since then, I've been back in the growing out phase, but I went into it trying to grow out healthy hair. Looking through pictures, my hair is now about the same length but it looks and feels so much healthier than it did then! Here's what I've done differently in that time:
- Washed my hair less: This has probably made the biggest difference over the past couple of years. A few years ago, I was still washing my hair every other day, if not every day! Horrible -between the shampoo, toweling, and all those hot tools, that puts so much strain on your hair! It definitely takes a bit of time to get your hair used to going from frequent washings to less frequent, but it's so worth it in the end. I now save all that time I used to spend drying and styling my hair, and my hair is in much better shape! I've used a ton of different dry shampoos over the years - my current favorites are the Living Proof dry shampoo (duh, you guys already knew that) and the Aveda Shampure.
- Treat while you sleep: The Living Proof Overnight Cap is kind of a genius idea, if you think about it. I personally don't love putting on a hair mask in shower all the time because you have to stand around forever for it to work. This is great because you put it on at night before going to bed, and it does the work overnight while you sleep! I slap it on (focusing on the ends), put my hair into a loose bun, and go to sleep. In the morning you just rinse it out! I use this about once every other week (I typically wash my hair at night after a work out)
- Use less sulfates: A couple of years ago, I made the switch to using L'oreal's sulfate-free shampoo. I had tried a couple of different sulfate-free shampoos, but most of them didn't give you that good lather (I just like feeling like my hair is getting cleaned!), but L'oreal's does, which is why it's one of my favorites. Since sulfates dry out your hair, and strip your hair of color if it's dyed like mine is, not using sulfates in shampoo makes a big difference! If you are willing to spend a bit more money, Aveda also has a great damage remedy shampoo that gives you a good lather (and smells great!).
- Deep condition: I have been using this intensive restructuring treatment from Aveda for about six years now. I first started using it when I got a perm in college (yikes...not cute on me!), and recently re-committed myself to using it. It's fairly pricy, so I use my normal conditioner on the rest of my hair, and use the treatment on my problem areas (my wispies and my ends). Typically I use this when I'm shaving my legs, since I'm standing around in the shower anyway!
- Use a hair towel: I don't remember where I first learned about hair towels, but they are definitely a game changer for me! I like my hair to mostly dry before I use a hair dryer, but when using a regular towel and partially air drying, my hair just got really frizzy. Using a hair towel has made my hair dry more evenly and quicker than it was before, plus it's a lot thinner than a normal towel, so it's less of a pain to carry around on your head! The one I'm currently using is from Aquis (I got it on Amazon), but I also just received this one in my PopSugar Must Have box that I'm going to try out next (ps. if you want to save $5, use code SHOP5 for your first box!)
- Protect from the heat: I've tried a bunch of different heat protectors over the years, but I keep sticking with Kiehl's smoothing cream. I love that it is a styling cream and a heat protector, and doesn't leave my hair crunchy like heat protecting sprays I've used in the past.
- Better tools = less overall heat: I used inexpensive curling irons for most of my life - I figured, they all heat up and curl your hair, what's the difference. Then I got my hands on a T3 iron, and wow...I'm a believer now. The curling iron is expensive, for sure. But because it holds its heat so well, my hair curls quicker (less time on the iron) and the curls last longer (less re-curling). I used one of my old irons a few days ago, and couldn't believe the difference. Eventually I'd love to also own a nicer hair dryer, but we'll have to keep saving for that one for a little bit!
- Biotin Biotin Biotin: When I got home from that hair chop, I immediately went online and ordered a huge bottle of biotin. For some people, biotin makes hair and nails grower quicker and thicker, and for some people it doesn't do anything at all. I'm somewhere in the middle - my hair and nails definitely grow at a quicker pace when I'm taking the biotin (which is almost annoying because I don't like when my nails grow quickly). I get the gummies because I don't like taking pills, and it's like a little treat every time you get to take them! Some people have noted that they have issues with acne when they start taking biotin, so if you haven't taken it before, just be warned.
- Use gentler methods of pulling your hair back: Nothing pulls your hair out of your hair quicker than a rubber band. I still use a regular hair tie when I work out, but other than that, I stick with clips and scrunchies (a scrunchie?!). I love the little clips during the day, big alligator clips at home and when styling my hair, and a scrunchie or invisibobble at night or in the shower. They are all a lot more gentle on your hair than a regular hair tie, and that makes a big difference in the long run if you use a hair tie every day.
And for a bit of proof, here's a bit of a hair timeline. The left picture is a few weeks before my hair cut, the middle picture is the week after, and the right picture is from a few months ago!