About 3 years ago, I was feeling down and on a whim decided that I couldn’t go another minute without blonde highlights. Have you ever done that or am I the only crazy one? Yes, I now know not to make drastic hair color decisions on a whim, but at the time it seemed totally reasonable and something that I couldn’t live without. lol I ended up going to a "walk-in" salon across the street from my home and not my usual hair colorist - big mistake. I left there blonder than ever. 3 months later I was paying the price for that whim decision. All the hair that was highlighted (the entire top of my head) had begun to break off at different lengths - mainly around where I clip it or pull it back. I was devastated. My hair had always been thick and able to take tons of abuse over the years. I didn’t understand what was happening or why. I truly didn’t appreciate how lucky I was all those years to have thick long hair. As much as I wish I didn’t care about it, it really affected me.
I’ve always admired women who can shave their heads and feel confident or women who can wear any style and not care at all. Talk about #hairgoals. I wish I felt that way about my hair. My hair has always been my security blanket. Growing up I was a bit of a wallflower. I wasn’t popular in school and struggled with acne and my weight. I was teased, and I had terrible self esteem. But, people always told me what pretty hair I had. For many years it was the only part of body that gave me any confidence. I grew really attached to it, and even when I got older and more secure in who I was, I still always wanted my hair to be long.
When this hair disaster happened to me, it came at a time in my life when I was filming a lot of content online. I was being asked to do interviews, film cooking shows, yoga videos, and basically just be more "visible" than ever before. It was a good learning lesson for me, like all tragedies are, to realize that I am not my hair. Long, short, or broken into a million pieces, life with or without my hair goes on and I'm still worthy and valuable. Also … no one really cares about my hair except me.
I knew it was going to take a very long time to ever grow it back to the length it was, but I figured I wasn’t ready for a shaved head no matter how much soul searching I had done. Over the next 3 years I researched everything I could on growing hair and reducing breakage. I went to many different hair “specialists”. Most claimed they knew how to help, but none of them actually helped me grow my hair out. They recomme products and told me I needed to cut my hair every 3-4 weeks. I listened to them for a while, but my hair kept breaking and getting shorter (due to the many haircuts and products that didn't work) and I was feeling desperate, not to mention, broke. After trying their methods, I did what anyone does… I consulted the internet. :)
After trying almost everything that the internet told me, the following is what helped me grow my hair. Now, it should be said that everyone is different and what works for me, may not work for you, but I believe that most of these things are pretty simple and can help you if you suffer from damaged, dry, or broken hair. I am not paid or sponsored by any of these companies. Unless stated, I bought all these products with my own money. If they sell their products on Amazon, I will include a direct link to them that can be found on my Amazon Recommends page or you can click directly on the hyperlink to take you there.
1. I stopped touching my hair.
I use to be obsessed with always running my fingers through my hair, twisting it around my fingers, or re-positioning my ponytail throughout the day, but this is what leads damage hair to break off! If you hair is already damaged, messing with your hair will only cause it more stress, not to mention all the oils on your hands cause your hair to become more dirty and oily.... which, makes you need to wash it more. Someone said to me, pretend your hair(s) are made of thin strands of gold every time you touch it. That image helped me a lot!
2. I stopped brushing my hair.
I only brush my hair when I first wash it and blow dry it, and I make sure to use a wet brush. After that, it is an absolute “no no” to brush my hair. Also, If your hair brush has hair in it, the oil from that hair can transfer to your clean hair and make it oilier. And, again, this makes you have to wash your hair more. Your hair is also the weakest when it is wet, so using a wet brush or a pick is only going to help stop the breakage.
3. I stopped washing it so much.
I do believe this is key. I am to the point now where I try to go as long as my scalp will let me go, which is about 14 days. I realize that a lot of you can’t go 14 days without washing your hair, but if you can go an extra day or two, do it! Over time, your scalp will stop producing so much oil and will stoping being itchy and painful. It is actually the shampooing that is stripping your natural oils, so your scalp produces more oil to replace it. Once your scalp realizes you aren’t going to strip it with shampoo so often, it will adjust the oil production accordingly. My suggestion is to try and go one more day without washing every wash cycle. Your hair will thank you - I promise.
4. I found the magic conditioning treatment.
Okay you guys… here is the real secret. After I wash my hair, I towel dry it and put Olaplex mixed with Shea Moisture all natural conditioner. I wrap it in a plastic bag for 30 minutes and go answer some emails (or write a blog) while it sits on my head. This is the magic treatment… It really does what it says and makes your broken hair whole again. I’ve been using it for 2 years and I wouldn’t wash or condition my hair without it now.
5. I rinse with cold water.
Yep. Cold water … I’m not sure why but it does actually make a difference. I’m sure there is some scientific reason behind it, but this blog is merely my experience - I’m not an expert. :)
6. I try to avoid heat.
After washing I let my hair air dry to about 60% first before I grab the dryer. I also don’t use the highest heat setting. It still drys my hair just as good on medium. I then take a curling iron and run a few big curls through it on medium heat as well. I only do this twice a month when I wash it. The rest of the month, it is what it is.
7. I eat more plants.
Since changing my diet to plant based, I’ve noticed a few amazing things. My hair grows faster, I no longer have tarter build up on my teeth, my skin glows, and I don’t produce as much oil (skin or hair). Some say over oil production is from a lack of vitamins and when I ate a non-vegan diet, I had way more of an oily scalp, more acne and I always had tartar build up when I went to the dentist. I can only assume that because I’m eating plants for my protein, carbs, and fats, I’m getting way more vitamins and minerals than I ever did before.
8. I changed my ponytail holder.
I found these really amazing Lycra ponytail holders at Michaels Craft Store. You can also just cut up a pair of pantyhose or old leggings and use it for a rubber band. This really was huge for me in preventing more breakage.
9. And then, I stopped pulling my hair back.
Now, I have to stay that this was really hard for me for a long time because my hair was so fried that it was super uncomfortable to wear it down. Hair was always in my face and it was too short to tuck behind my ear, but once it grew long enough for me to be able to finally tuck it behind the ear, I stopped pulling it back into a pony or a bun. It definitely was a process for me, but now I only pull it back if I’m working out.
10. MSM Power helps!
Every morning I take MSM power. It is a joint supplement but it also helps with growing hair. I notice that on months that I forget to take it my hair doesn’t grow nearly as fast! In 5 weeks, my hair normally grows about .5 inches. When I take MSM power it grows .75 or 1 full inch! It really works!
11. Miracle Fruit Oil
I don't know if this oil is actually a miracle, but it does seem to really help with breakage. This company did send me their product to try originally and I liked it so much that I have bought it again two more times. It smells amazing and I'd say is worth the money. I have used other oils, but I find their's is the least heaviest and makes my hair soft and bouncy.
12. What about sweat?
One of the questions that everyone seems to ask me is about sweat. How do I deal with sweat when I don’t wash my hair? I think if you are getting so sweaty that your hair is actually wet, then you absolutely need to rinse it out if not totally wash it. For me, when I was teaching beach yoga and sweating a lot, I’d get home and just rinse it then let it air dry. Did it look great? No. Not like it did when I first washed it, but my goal was to grow it. I didn’t care what it looked like. If it wasn’t time for me to wash it then, I’d wait. I did have to wash it more frequently, but I refused to wash it daily. I also always used my magic conditioning treatment. I think that really does help. Now that I am inside when I practice, I don’t sweat as much and my head doesn't really get wet. If I sweat, it is just on the back of my neck (underneath) and that doesn’t seem to really be an issue for me. I do not use any dry shampoo because I feel like it messes with my body’s natural understanding of how much oil to produce.
I hope all these things help some of you out there with battling your dry, damaged, and broken hair. Please let me know! And share your hair care secrets below - sharing is caring! :)
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