They say that hair is technically dead, which might lead a lot of people to stop trying to tame their frizz. That was me until recently. I have type 2A wavy hair that I thought was naturally frizzy. I assumed that my hair texture was all genetics and couldn’t be changed. Then it occurred to me one day that leather is also (more than technically) dead, but even old and worn out leather can be conditioned and restored to a beautiful sheen. This totally changed my approach to hair care. I realized that conditioning isn’t just something you do after you shampoo and before you dry your hair.
To maintain truly hydrated hair conditioning should be a part of daily hair care, especially in cold or dry weather. You wouldn’t moisturize a leather saddle once and expect it to stay hydrated in winter weather, would you? No, because moisture evaporates rapidly, especially in dry conditions.
So I changed my thinking and focused on ways to add moisture to my hair on a daily basis. I switched to a hydrating shampoo and came up with these simple hair care rituals that have made a big difference in how my hair looks. My dry and brittle hair now has soft and smooth ends, a healthy natural shine through the hair shaft, and a healthy, hydrated feeling weight to it. It looks better in braids and pony tails, and most importantly it actually takes less time to style because it looks better without a lot of effort.
The best part of these hair care rituals besides the sheer simplicity is the fact that they can probably be done with things you already have. A lot of the most effective beauty hacks don’t involve buying new products but implementing new beauty habits that you do mindfully and with the care and attention you deserve.
Gently Massage Ends With a Nourishing Oil
This step is where the magic happens. Do one thorough application on damp hair after washing, and then reapply during the day as needed (like you would lip balm) and in the evening before bed (see last step below.)
After washing and before applying any other product, take a few small drops of oil between your thumb and fingers, then spread it in a downwards motion across each of your ends. Use your thumb and forefinger to massage and manipulate the hair by getting as much movement in it as possible. If you were restoring a leather bag you wouldn’t just massage the surface, you would manipulate the material in all directions to loosen it up and make it more supple. Curl the ends upwards between your fingers, gently squeeze and spread to maximize coverage of the oil. Your goal is to make sure every single strand of hair is coated, not just the outer strands that made up a lock.
The first few times you do this try to focus on the very ends (thumbnail length) of your hair so you don’t overdo it and end up oily. Avoid the temptation to apply it all over until you know how much your hair can tolerate. Especially dry ends can take in a surprising amount of oil. Work section by section giving yourself 10 to 15 minutes or slightly longer depending on your hair type. Do it once and you’ll see that it’s worth the time investment.
Once you’ve finished applying the oil to your ends, bring all of your hair together and gently manipulate it and try to get movement throughout all of your hair. You want to make it so all of your hair is supple and can move freely. You can spiral, gently crunch, squeeze and spin. Anything that brings movement to your hair while also spreading the oil will make it look healthier and more hydrated. At this point you can add any other product you use. Make sure you gently dry your hair and if you aren’t styling put it into a protective hold like a braid or loose bun (see tips below.)
Throughout the day whenever you remember manipulate and curl your ends around each other to keep them supple. You can use the natural oils in your fingers, carry a small bottle of oil with you or in a pinch use your lip balm. If you’re feeling extra dry, wet you fingers first and apply to hair then apply oil. At the end of the day after you’ve gently brushed out your hair, spend about 5 minutes caring for your ends. See below for more beauty sleep hair care.
Use a natural nourishing oil that’s appropriate for your climate. Some oils can be too light for dry winter weather and will actually have the opposite effect and seal in dryness rather than moisture. Although coconut oil is the latest and greatest oil trend, it’s probably too light for most people’s hair in dry, winter weather. A better option is plain old extra virgin olive oil. You can also opt for sunflower, safflower, jojoba and argan oil to name a few.
I alternate between Jason’s 5000 IU Vitamin E Skin Oil and argan oil. The Jason’s oil is a really fantastic product for moisturizing, oil cleansing and hair care (even though it says it’s a skin oil.) I like the argan oil too but I find it less emollient and need a bit more moisture most days. I use shea butter on my lips throughout the day and will often soften it between my fingertips and massage my ends with it too.
Enjoy a Weekly Intensive Conditioning Treatment
Once a week or so I do an intensive conditioning treatment. I leave the treatment in my hair for at least an hour and up to overnight. Overnight or all day conditioning was recommended to me by a hair stylist once but I didn’t implement until recently because I didn’t think it would make a big difference. It makes a really big difference.
After you’ve washed your hair gently squeeze out excess moisture with your hands and then with an absorbent hair towel. Make sure your hair isn’t too wet. See below. Apply conditioning treatment mostly to ends, manipulating and massaging hair so that the treatment coats every single strand. I use my regular conditioner for this and sometimes add about a tbsp of oil directly to my ends. You can use your regular conditioner, an oil, a special conditioning treatment, or even a DIY hair mask.
After you’ve applied your conditioning treatment, wrap your hair to keep in warmth. A towel alone isn’t the best for this because it gets cold and lets heat escape. It also isn’t realistic to keep it on for hours. A shower cap covered by a hair wrap or even a hat is a good option.
The first time you do this leave conditioning treatment on for an hour to see how you hair will react. As with all beauty tips, YMMV. Some hair doesn’t like being wet for that long so you may need to try an almost dry treatment. If you used any oil based treatment you’ll need to shampoo your ends, then recondition for a few minutes.
How To Sleep For Healthy Hair
We think a lot about nightly skin rituals, but we don’t think nearly enough about nightly hair rituals. The way you sleep on your hair makes a big difference in how your hair will look the next day and how healthy your hair is in general. Before bed spend 5 minutes caring of your ends by applying a nourishing oil. If you can, put your hair into a gentle loose braid. If you can’t, consider a silk pillowcase. When you sleep on your ends you can unknowingly press and rub them, which can cause breakage and frizz.
A braid protects hair from nightly rubbing. This is so important that one beauty blogger I know actually prioritizes braiding her hair over removing her make up. If your hair is too short to braid or if you want to go the extra mile, a silk pillowcase is a classic frizz fighting tactic. The smooth natural fibre doesn’t dry out hair while also preventing rubbing and friction. It’s also good for preventing sleep wrinkles on side and stomach sleepers.
Brush hair before washing: brush your hair out before washing and then apply shampoo to ends only. Try to avoid tangling up hair too much while washing.
Switch to a hydrating shampoo: I always thought I needed a clarifying shampoo because my roots were weighed down. Once I switched to a hydrating shampoo my roots weren’t as heavy. If your scalp is extra dry you may end up producing more oil. Adding moisture can have the effect of regulating the oil production so you don’t get heavy roots.
Low heat styling: I know avoiding heat styling all together is pretty hard, but if you can reduce your use of heat your hair will be in much better shape. Use lower heat settings on your blow dryer and other devices.
Don’t leave your hair wet for too long: Again, to use leather as an example, you wouldn’t leave your favourite leather purse water logged for too long, would you? No, because it would cause the leather to swell and damage the integrity of the material. The same principle applies to your hair. Dry your hair on a low heat setting and try to remove as much moisture as possible with a super absorbent hair towel.
Avoid silicone: silicone is in a lot of conventional hair products. Although it temporarily seals the hair cuticle, it actually dried out hair over time. It could appear in products as any of the following:
Orthosilicic Acid, Phytolithic Silica, Silica, Silica Hydride, Silice Hydride, Silicea, Silicio, Silicium, Silicium de Sodium, Silicon Dioxide, Sodium Silicate. (source)
Featured image credit @eulucaspi