Have you ever been to the point where you’re in total distress because your hair is damaged, and you’re just ready to chop it off entirely? I have and I feel your pain. Trust me. Sometimes a good cut is absolutely necessary (and when I say ‘cut’, I mean more than one measly little inch), but I know how painful it is to go in for a major chop when your length is your security blanket. As a stylist, hair health is my biggest priority. I burnt my hair to a crisp in junior high (literally, it just sizzled off onto the floor from my flat iron) and from that moment I learned that there are some boundaries to coloring and heat usage.
On the bright side though, there are many things you can do to start growing a healthy luscious mane. First and foremost:
Use a PROFESSIONAL shampoo and conditioner.
Tresseme is not professional….anything that can be purchased at a drugstore, Walmart, Target, etc. is not professional, and essentially it will strip the color from your hair fast as hell. On top of that, so many of them are packed with silicones and waxes- I’ve watched stylists actually scrape it off the surface of the hair. Salon retail products are specifically formulated to be more gentle and are tailored to individual hair types/needs. But really, the question you should ask yourself is, “Why spend so much money on great quality when I get my hair professionally colored, if I’m going to go home and not use products that will maintain that same quality?” Spend a few extra dollars on better products that you are using in your hair on a day to day basis. It will pay off in the long run.
Get a leave-in conditioner.
Once you’ve washed your hair with your great shampoo and conditioner, spray in some leave-in conditioner before you style it (or don’t style it). A leave-in conditioner is going to truly protect your hair from most things that are damaging (sun damage, heat damage, breakage), plus it doubles as a fabulous detangler. My favorite is It’s a 10 plus Keratin. It’s a heavier formula which is good for thick, curly, or even just dry hair. They have a light version you can opt for if you have finer locks, to prevent any type of oiliness or keep from weighing your hair down. A good trick is to spray a few pumps in your hand and run through your mids to ends, to keep off your scalp and ensure you get every hair covered.
One word: OLAPLEX.
Olaplex has blown the industry off of it’s feet in the last few years. It’s a salon exclusive product, but you have a couple options on how to utilize it. First, and most common- getting the Olaplex ingredient added into your lightener or color at the salon. It works while your hair processes (when the cuticle is open). It gets in there and binds the broken bonds in your hair back together. When you have destroyed disulfide bonds, your hair is weak, dry, and brittle. Olaplex is permanent- it doesn’t sit on top of the hair, or coat it. It works within the hair strand. Your second option (if you prefer not to highlight or color you hair) is to get an Olaplex repair treatment. It’s a clear glaze + Olaplex, and will help repair your hair and give you a ton of shine. If you are still curious, you can read more about it here.
Buy a deep conditioning hair mask.
Occasionally, you should use a heavier conditioner that penetrates deeper into your hair. This is important, especially if you have very dry hair. My recommendation is once a week- slather a deep conditioner alllll over, put your hair in a shower cap, (or if you’re feeling resourceful, use a plastic bag) and sleep in it. Wake up and rinse it out. I promise, your heart will melt when you run your fingers through it and style it afterward! My favorite is the Moroccan Oil Restorative Hair Mask. It’s also infused with protein and argan oil, and will encourage hair elasticity. Curly hair girls, you will LOVE this!
These are the best steps you can take to maximize healthy hair growth. Also, minimize heat usage; turn the heat setting down if you must use a hot tool. It really doesn’t need to be as hot as you think it does, you’re just creating excess damage. And most importantly, cut your damn hair. Avoiding hair cuts and trims will increase split ends and breakage. When your ends are bad, the damage travels up the hair strand, essentially getting shorter and shorter. Your hair may be growing from your scalp, but it’s breaking off at your ends, thus seeming to never grow. So trim your hair and just nip the issue in the bud.
If you have any questions about what products are right for you specifically, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!