I know I don’t talk about beauty all that often here on Swoon Worthy but seeing as the world is currently turned upside down, I figured a bit of a tangent might not be such a terrible idea today. So I wanted to talk about hair care as I’ve managed to bring my hair back to life over the last couple of years and I figured as hair is a pretty universal topic (ie many of us have it), perhaps you might find some of the things I did to turn my hair health around helpful.
To start with, let me tell you a little bit about my hair. I’ve worn it long for years and naturally, it’s very very curly, very very dry and very very fine. Not the greatest combination to be honest as it means in its fully natural state (ie no products), its basically just a huge mess of frizz. I rely on both products and heat to tame it and have done for years. I used to colour my hair a lot more often but now I only do it maybe every few months to get on top of the greys. Otherwise, what you see is pretty close to my natural colour.
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After years of wearing it in its natural curly state, it started to really drive me bonkers because I’d have to wash it every single day. With hair as curly as mine, you simply can not just run a brush through it to bring it back to life. A brush through means disrupting any curls and turning it into a huge mess of frizz. So after sleeping on it, I’d wake up with it in a huge tangled mess and so I’d simply wash it again. I did this for years and years, not realising how detrimental it was to be constantly stripping all the natural oils from my hair with shampoo and conditioner. So that was my first mistake.
I then realised if I straightened it, I could wash it less – I could run a brush through it, bring it back to life. So I went at it with a hair dryer and a straightening iron every other day. I knew it probably wasn’t good using so much heat on it but it meant not washing it every day so I continued to do it. What did I end up with?
I remember posting this picture (from this old post) and someone saying to me how much they liked the layers I’d cut in. Well, it wasn’t that it was layered, it was that it was breaking like crazy! I had strange short bits of hair all over where my already weak and damaged hair just gave up and it was uneven all over the place. I knew it was time to take some drastic action and bring my hair back to life!
First Step to Healthier Hair
So I started to do some research on how to make my hair healthy again. One of the first things I did was swap to a boar-hair brush – this is the one I use. The plastic bristles of my previous brush would pull the hair and break it and this was much much less damaging. (As an aside, I am aware that the bristles are taken as a bi-product of the meat industry so no, this isn’t vegan but most vegan options are synthetic and non-biodegradable so I appreciate that everyone will need to make this decision for yourself whether you’d be okay with using it).
The second thing I did was to stop washing it so often. I genuinely believe this is the very best thing I ever did for my hair. I went from washing my hair every day to every other day to one or two times a week at most. Now? I only wash it around every 4-5 days (and no, it doesn’t get greasy and no, it doesn’t smell gross). This means that in between, I don’t use any heat products on my hair at all. I wash it, condition it, dry it with a round brush and then run a curling tong through it and that’s it. It stays nice for days now, I can put a brush through it and it still looks good. On around day 4 or day 5 if its getting a bit messy, I simply put it in a bun!
The reason I decided to talk about this now is given the current situation we find ourselves in, this could be the perfect time to get your hair used to not being washed every single day if that’s your current routine. It will take a little time to adjust and it will get a bit greasy (dry shampoo is your friend!) to start with. Essentially, your hair is used to being stripped of any natural oils and so it will continue to replenish itself making your hair greasier at the start. However, after a little while, your hair will adjust to being washed less and it will find its own way again with your own natural oils conditioning it.
The Hair Products I Swear By Now
I also changed up my hair products. I tried so many before settling on what I felt was doing the most good for my hair so I’ll talk you through those.
Rene Furterer Absolue Keratin Hair Mask: This stuff is my holy grail product. It’s quite pricey but to me, worth its weight in gold. Plus, because I wash my hair so much less now, I can afford to use a few more expensive products because the products I buy last me so much longer!
I use a pretty normal shampoo and conditioner (at the moment, nothing expensive, just Tresemme Keratin Smooth shampoo and conditioner). Changing these on ocassion to whatever I can find that’s good for dry/damaged hair over the years hasn’t seemed to make too much difference. What does make a difference is when I shampoo it, I pay close attention to the roots and scalp when washing it and then just rinse through the rest of my hair.
After shampooing and rinsing out, I follow up with a normal conditioner. However, right on top of the normal conditioner, I apply the mask and leave it in my hair for around 3-4 minutes. I’ve tried rinsing one out and following up with the mask but combining them seems to be what my hair likes best so that’s what I do! And yes, I use the mask every single time I wash my hair.
I then comb through my hair with a wide-tooth comb to detangle it whilst it’s still full of conditioner and whilst I’m still in the shower. Once I’ve detangled it, I will then leave it again for another 2 minutes or so before rinsing it all out.
If you can then bare it, my other tip is when rinsing the conditioner out of your hair, use cold water. It’s slightly jarring but it will close up all the cuticles in your hair and the pores on your scalp that have opened from the warmer water. Closing the cuticles as the last step makes my hair so much shinier and less fly-away!
How I Keep My Curls Looking Good
Here are the other products I use to keep it from getting frizzy and maintaining my curls.
After gently towel-drying my hair, I will apply (in this order although I’m not sure why I always do it in this order but well, its what has worked for me):
John Frieda Extra-Strength Frizz Ease – I’ve used this for years and years! I’ve tried other anti-frizz serums but I always seem to come back to this one – it’s just what my hair responds to best.
Bumble and Bumble BB Curl Defining Creme – This essentially keeps my curls a bit more weighed down and well, defined. It sort of holds all the curls together so it looks thicker and healthier.
Rene Furterer Lissea Smoothing Fluid – If I had an endless amount of cash, I’d buy the entire line of Rene Furterer products but this is the other one I highly rate. Just a small amount goes a long way and completely tames any remaining frizz.
I think for anyone who had normal hair, this many products would probably turn it into a huge ball of weighed down grease (!!) but on my super dry fine curly hair, it’s a life-saver. I apply all the products and then give my hair about 10 minutes or so to dry naturally.
I then take my boar bristle hairbrush and brush everything through and I then apply yet another product – John Frieda 3-Day Straight. I swear this stuff does exactly what it says. You could also use a heat-protecting product but I figure with so much product on my hair, it’s already protected pretty well from the heat. I’ve used heat-protecting sprays in the past but find I don’t really need them anymore.
How I Style My Hair
Sectioning off my hair into 6 pieces (3 on each side), I start at the back, using a round head brush and dry it in sections and then I take a curling rod and wrap it in 1″ sections around the tongs. Once all my hair is curled, I will then go over the ends with Tresseme Keratin Smooth Shine Oil. Yep, more product but it works for me to make it even glossier and shinier. A little goes a very long way here too so I simply put a few squirts on my palm, rub my hands together and then run my fingers through the ends.
I let the curls cool down naturally, then flip my head upside down, run my fingers through the curls and flip my head back up. That’s it. No more bad hair days!
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Sometimes, if I know I’m not going to be going out anywhere any time soon, I put the products in it and just let it dry naturally curly using no heat at all. Over the summer, I wore it in its natural curls a lot just to give it a chance to not have the heat-styling products on it too much. I think it’s good to give your hair a little bit of a break from time to time.
I also put my hair up in a loose bun with a silky scrunchie before bed. I have heard some say this isn’t good for your hair so take this advice with a pinch of salt but I find for me, it means in the morning, my hair is a lot less tangled than when I leave it down and sleep on top of it. I also make sure the bun isn’t too tight so that there is no stress on my hair. You could also try a silk pillowcase which is also meant to be very good for keeping your hair from breaking whilst you sleep.
I’m not going to say that my hair turned around within weeks or even a few months. Little by little with a combination of washing it less (and thus using heat on it less) and swapping the products until I found the right combination that worked for my hair, all the broken hair has grown out completely. Two years from starting this journey, my hair is incredibly strong, has grown so much and so quickly and while I cut it a lot more often at the start, I now only really give it a little trim every 6 months or so.
If you do find your hair is similar in terms of being very curly and fine, then these tips might help or if its not, perhaps it will make you aware of a few products or routines that might be helpful regardless of your own hair type. I’d love to know if you’ve ever had issues with your hair breaking or dry, frizzy hair and if you have any holy grail products yourself. Let me know, I’m always looking for new tips to try!