Let's Talk About Hair
Let's have a proper "haircare" girl chat, shall we?
If you guys read my recent Alterna review, then you might remember me talk about my hair struggles from a few years back. Many of you wanted to know how I keep mine strong, healthy and glossy. I will basically go step by step, talking about every little thing I do (by the way thank you for your compliments; they really mean a lot). You might have heard some of these tips before, but some might be brand new, so I hope you find this article helpful.
My Story (Extended)
For the longest time I took my hair for granted. I had a lot of it and assumed I could do whatever I wanted to it.
A few years back, however, is when things got serious. I never really talk about health on this blog, but I think it's okay to open up now. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, which affected one of my eyes. All I remember was holding my mother's hand and hearing things like "you could go blind" and "chemotherapy". Sadly, western medicine knows very little about my disease and since it is mostly common in Japan and Korea, my doctor at the time prescribed me a lot of different steroids hoping something would work. As a result, I was overdosed and by the time I stopped taking steroids - I was dealing with mood swings, extra weight and pretty much a sad hair situation. This was also when I had to quit my job, my parents divorced and my ex-boyfriend decided to move on with his life, telling me "well, at least if you go blind you will get a new dog". If that wasn't bad enough, that same doctor told me to look for someone new, because she didn't know what to do with me anymore.
Thankfully, there is always good in bad and eventually I found my doctors, lost weight, blocked the bastard, got a new job, created this blog and found my inner peace, health and happiness in life. Hair though, it needed more loving.
#1: your hair gets hangry too
First thing I did after meeting my nutritionist, was changing the way I look at food. You know how people talk about eating healthy all the time? That's way harder than it seems, because you have to be very serious about it.
A few things I added to my diet: whole grain bread, organic eggs and butter, beans, avocado, berries, dark chocolate, rich dark coffee, broccoli, spinach, plums, grass fed meat, lentils, quinoa, Greek yoghurt, brown rice and most importantly lots and lots of natural mineral water.
You can also take Omega-3 dietary supplement, but be prepared to have a fishy burp a few hours later. I know, very classy.
Things I stopped consuming: cereal, low-fat dairy products, sweets, biscuits, soft drinks, heavy pastry and pretty much any kind of processed or junk food known to the mankind.
I still eat a small amount of chips or say fries now and again, but very rarely. Same story with donuts; love them but I only eat one-two every couple of months. Make sure not to have long intervals between your meals and snack often. Having a balanced diet will also help with healthy sleep (and you need 8 hours minimum). P.S. if you smoke - consider quitting.
#2: ingredients matter
Just like your food, stuff your favourite haircare product is made of - plays a very important role. A few things you should be paying attention to are: isopropyl alcohol, mineral oil, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, sulfates, chlorine, parabens, strong perfume and formaldehydes. Make sure that none of your haircare products contain these nasty, hair-killing ingredients.
#3: it's all about the root
When your roots (better said hair follicles) are unhappy, your entire mane suffers. One of the key reasons why our hair gets angry: polluted air, AC, bad water, UV rays and (the biggest one yet) product build-up. I remember people telling me to put lots of hair oil literally everywhere; while I would bath in it, I would not notice any great results. As a matter of fact, I would lose even more hair.
It turns out that sometimes, certain poorly processed oils (such as your generic, over-the-counter coconut oil per say) can clog your follicles and cause what they call a "hair coma". Your hair is still there, but it is literally drowning in oil, which you may or may not rinse out that well; as a result more dirt (we are talking about a microscopic level dirt here) sticks to your roots, making it hard for your hair to breathe. Eventually follicles give up and you lose even more strands.
I personally no longer use anything but gentle shampoo when it comes to my roots. Very rarely - a hairspray (that is only when I have an event), but other than that - nada. No more oils, topical solutions, dry shampoo, overnight scalp masks, hair spray and what not. I then installed a water filter in my shower; deep-cleaned AC; cover my head when I am outdoors and use a UV hair spray on mid-end section of my hair. Also, make sure that when you wash your hair, that the water temperature is not extremely hot; go for what I call a bearable warmth. Always use heat-protector when styling and massage your scalp every time you wash hair, as it will further stimulate blood circulation.
#4: know your hair type
One of the mistakes I used to make, was getting haircuts that would not work well for my wavy and fine hair. Something like a geometric bob with bangs per say. I would religiously flat iron the crap out of my hair in order for my haircut to look as sharp and smooth as possible.
These days, I always think about my hair type first. I no longer go for styles that are high-maintenance. First thing you should be discussing with your hairdresser is - your hair type and how you want to style it. There are a lot of things to consider, including your hair thickness, face shape and overall styling skills. Personally, I am clueless when it comes to hair styling. Which is exactly why I tend to ask for that "model off duty" haircut; it looks good when I go natural and is extremely easy to work with when I want to make an effort. Another tip: even if you are trying to grow out your hair, make sure to trim hair ends every 3 months. Yes, it might slow down the process, but once you really get to a desired length - your mane will look uber healthy and sleek.
#5: look for a hair stylist that gets you
If (s)he is no Bonnie to your Clyde, then look for someone new. Moody hair stylists are the worst; I don't know about you, but I believe that hair collects a lot of energy. Whenever you see someone who is not in the right mood, feels tired or is not that interested in giving you a proper haircut/blowdry/colour - it is better to say "no", than being botched (happened to me before). Especially if you are going through that phase when you feel very vulnerable about your hair, you really need someone who gets you. Look, when I was still in the process of getting my hair back on track, I have worked with only one hair stylist. Since I don't colour my hair, he would give me haircuts that would suit my "situation" at the time and he was very understanding and sweet about it. As a matter of fact, he was the first one to tell me about progress, so it was our celebration.
I've also gone through a lot of hair stylists who tried