In response to your questions, I wanted to share some of my tips for how I keep my hair long and healthy. I’m no hair care expert, and honestly my hair regimen (if you can even call it that) is very minimal but I here are some hair tips and tricks that I have learned over the years.
1. Oil Training
Oil training your hair is really popular right now as interest in holistic and natural beauty continues to increase. If you are unfamiliar with oil training, the idea is that shampooing removes beneficial oils on your scalp that help nourish and grow your hair. When we remove these oils every day through shampooing, our scalps try to compensate for the lack of moisture and overproduce oil. This is why if you shampoo your hair everyday you may notice it’s oily by the next day. It’s also a piece of why so many women struggle with dry, brittle and slow growing hair. So when you oil train your hair, it’s basically reestablishing equilibrium which will allow your hair to look and feel healthier because, well, it is!
Oil training does take time so patience is key! At the same time don’t take it too seriously or overwhelm yourself. I never followed any specific oil training regimen, I just stopped shampooing my hair as much and would try to further extend the days between shampooing by using a natural, non-aerosol dry shampoo. If you are thinking about oil training in any capacity I highly recommend investing in a reusable shower cap and a non-toxic dry shampoo (click HERE for my favorite).
2. Conditioner is your BFF
Conditioner should be your bestie – it keeps your hair hydrated, nourished and happy. I use it every time I shower, even if it’s just a little bit on the ends. To get the best results from conditioning, make sure your hair isn’t soaking wet otherwise the conditioner wont be able to absorb into your hair and will slide right into the drain. Try to gently squeeze excess water out of your hair, then apply conditioner and keep it on for at least a minute. Also do your best to keep conditioner away from the top of your head and scalp, using it mostly on the ends.
There are lots of conflicting opinions about whether to brush your hair in the shower or not. Personally, I love to gently brush my hair with a Wet Brush when the conditioner is in (it’s one of the only ways I can brush through my hair especially after the beach), again, using minimally on the scalp. Last step, which is tough and I cant always bring myself to do in the winter, is to cold rinse before you get out of the shower. Cold water will seal hair follicles and lock in all the moisture the same way cold water closes up skin pores.
3. Cut back on blow drying and hot tools
My blow dryer broke this year and while I’m sure I will eventually invest in a new one, for now I love letting my hair exclusively air dry. It’s been months and I have almost no split ends and my natural waves are coming back too! I will occasionally curl my hair (after air drying) if I have an event but I notice the few days afterwards my natural waves are dull and frizzy(ier). When using hot tools, try to use the lowest heat setting that still allows you to achieve the desired effect on your hair.
Side Note: does anyone else use a flat iron to curl their hair? I learned how to do this back in high school and it’s pretty much the only way I know how to style my hair!
4. Hair Coloring
I do get highlights a few times a year, especially in the winter when my sun bleached summer hair starts to grow out. I wish I lived in a sunny spot so my beach blonde could last all year but alas, until I fulfill my life long dream of living in Hawaii, I just gotta fake it a bit.
Most of us know coloring is very drying and damaging to hair, but on top of that it’s incredibly toxic and most dyes are tested on animals too. That’s why my favorite place to get my hair done is at Aveda. All of their products are certified cruelty free plus their hair coloring is 99% plant deprived and essentially damage-less! They also give you complimentary massages on shoulders and/or hands depending on the treatment you are getting – sold!
Budgeters tip: skip the blow dry at the salon to save some cash and cut down on hight heat exposure
Have you seen the DIYs from beauty bloggers using things like hibiscus, apple cider vinegar, papaya, teas, essential oils and even cayenne pepper for healthy, beautiful hair? I love all of these easy plant based tricks, many of which have been passed down from generation to generation.
Putting plants in your hair is obviously amazing and super nourishing but eating these foods that we use topically for beauty will also help you glow and your hair grow from the inside out! My hair has never grown as quickly or looked as healthy as it does now on a plant based diet! Focus on eating lots of nutrient dense and colorful fruits and veggies, protein rich beans and legumes, and of course those healthy fats like nuts, seeds and avocado. Also, be sure to hydrate with filtered water and limit processed foods, refined flours, sugars etc. I promise it will do wonders for hair, skin, nails and overall wellness too!
If you are looking for a good water filter, check out Soma. Their filters are plant based, non-toxic, sustainable and every time you buy a Soma filter, they donate to Charity Water, an amazing non-profit who donates 100% of all contributions to sustainable, community-owned water projects in developing countries.
6. For Long Hair
Read tip #5 – I have never experienced hair growth since going vegan and eating an abundance of whole plant foods! I really just can’t stress healthy diet enough for strength and length. On top of that, there is a myth that if you trim your hair it will grow faster. This may be true if you hair is very dry and damaged. But if you oil trained, are eating well, using hot tools minimally and nourish hair with natural, non-toxic products (see My Non-Toxic, Cruelty Free & Sustainable Hair Essentials) your strands should be mostly healthy from root to tip. When you regularly trim your hair you won’t see much improvement in length as the average hair growth is only a quarter of an inch a month so you are likely cutting off most of your growth!
I hope some of this is helpful to you! Keep in mind all of these tips are from my personal experience with my own hair – which is inevitably different from yours and anyone else’s. As with anything, discovering what works best for you can be a journey and is likely to be different from my own.