I’ve said it before on here and I’ll say it again: I am very emotionally attached to my hair. Ever since I chopping it all off into a bob at the age of thirteen and wanting to cry every time I looked in the mirror, I’ve given it the utmost care and attention (except for the time I accidentally ravaged it with bleach in a dodgy home-dye and ended up resembling a tiger…).
I’ve considered using hair and nail supplements a few times but upon closer inspection at the prices, I’ve always come to the decision that my budget just can’t stretch that far. So over the years I’ve heard and tried lots of tips and tricks, and gradually built up my own little arsenal of things that actually work.
Brush your hair!
Seems like an obvious place to start. It honestly baffles me when people don’t brush their hair and then complain about the state it’s in. It’s such an important step to keep your hair looking shiny and free of knots and tangles that can cause it to break. I used to use a standard paddle brush from Primark for a while, which did the job just fine, but I got a Tangle Teezer for my birthday and it’s made all the difference: it’s so much easier to brush through the knots, especially when it’s wet, and the silicone bristles keep the ends from splitting too much, which is something I have a problem with as my hair is so long. There are loads of Tangle Teezers available for all sorts of hair types, but there are also cheaper, non-branded versions available from places like The Pound Shop which I’ve heard work just as well. Mine is the Original Teezer in Lilac, available from Boots for £10.99.
Use the right shampoo!
Obviously the type of shampoo and conditioner you use to wash your hair is very important, but even so, I feel like a lot of people are still using the wrong stuff. I used loads of different shampoos and conditioners when I was at uni, mostly picking what was cheapest or whatever was on offer, so I’ve managed to narrow it down to what works for me and what doesn’t (I have naturally straight, fine, non-coloured hair). I’ve heard that loads of salon professional shampoos like Tresemmé and Matrix contain plastic like substances that make your hair feel strong and healthy but are actually just coating each strand and thereby weakening it, so if you move onto a different brand, the coating eventually erodes and you’re basically left with a head full of straw. I honestly don’t know for sure how true that claim is, but I’ve read lots of supporting reviews and blogs about the subject, and when I used Tresemmé Salon Silk, my hair was very unhappy when I decided to ditch it.
In general I now personally avoid anything that claims to smooth out kinks, anything with ‘anti-breakage’ in the name, and anything that claims to hydrate the hair. Aussie worked really well for my hair, but I had to drop that when I found out the company is not cruelty-free. I’ve since started using Lush’s solid shampoo and conditioning bars, which are AMAZING, and better yet don’t use any packaging! I’d say Lush are probably the most easily available, but I know they can be a little pricey; there are loads of other alternatives available, it just means looking a little further afield (see here, and here)
Use additional hair treatments
And by that, I mean oil, any oil. An oil treatment every now and then, and a dab of serum through the ends of your hair is the best way to keep your hair shiny without using specific shampoos that just dry it out, and strong! I discovered Superdrug’s Hair Therapy Coconut Oil in April and I put it on every time I wash my hair, which is probably about four-five times a week, and I’m still only halfway through the bottle. Before I found that, however, I’d literally get the bottle of olive oil from the kitchen cupboard, pour a bit into a bowl to soak the ends of my hair in, then put it up and leave it for fifteen minutes. Failing that, a handful of coconut oil warmed up in your hands will do!
Look after your hair at night!
We’ve all tried the overnight leave-in conditioner trick, right? It gets a little messy, and it’s not even necessary! Brushing your hair gently before you go to bed will rid it of all its knots and spread the natural oils from your scalp down to the lengths (which sounds gross but is very good for your hair), and a loose plait (if you have long hair) with a soft hair-tie will keep breakage to a minimum. Whatever you do, don’t put it up in a bun!
Get the chop!
Not all of it, before you go off in a panic! I know we’ve all been there, sat in the chair at the hairdresser’s surrounded by the lifeless lengths of your fallen locks, looking nothing like the picture of Rihanna or Mila Kunis that you cut out of Cosmo to show to the stylist, lying through your teeth as you tell her it’s a bit different to what you had in mind, but you know what, you actually really like it!! It’s like that scene in Friends where Monica asks Phoebe to cut her hair like Demi Moore, but ends up looking like Dudley Moore instead. I know. I get it. It’s happened to me too. *sob*
For those of us who have been hurt in the past, visits to the hair salon can be a traumatic necessity, but that’s just it — it’s got to be done. It’s taken me a while to find a salon I’m truly happy with, and unfortunately it just so happens that it’s located at the other side of the country to where I live, so my “big” haircuts, where I get four inches or so cut off the lengths, are annual, giving me a whole year to prepare for the next one. It’s nail-bitingly tense while it’s happening, but I thank myself afterwards, because my hair feels so much healthier.
At the intervals in between, I go to a salon I’ve been going to for years, and always ask for the bare minimum to trimmed off. I have never cut my own hair in the past, but my mum did it often when she was my age, and she advises to (a) only trim the split ends when absolutely necessary, (b) put down the kitchen/nail scissors, invest in a pair of hairdressing scissors and keep them sharp, and (c) twist the lengths into a spiral as tight as you can, and take your time to snip off each split individually. And if you’re thinking of cutting your own fringe in: DON’T.
Do you have any essential haircare tips?