How To Resurrect Your Hair From The Dead

From the moment I turned 14, I knew I wanted to color my hair. In middle school, I would look at the older girls’ colored and styled hair in absolute awe as if they were celebrities. It made sense why I wanted to color my hair so badly. I grew up loving to style hair. I sat on my mom's bed and curled her hair for hours late into the night (probably why I don’t sleep half the time now, thanks mom) while we watched reruns of The Nanny and Golden Girls. While some girls spent their money on makeup, I spent it on hair. 

Entering high school, my mom allowed me to do very subtle, partial highlights. Little did I know this would be the first of many, many coloring sessions in my teenage years. The minute I started, I was hooked. I have naturally dark brown hair and I loved the look of blonde highlights. For the next two years, I did partial highlights around every 2-3 months. Around 16, I started balayage which made my hair much blonder than I really ever expected. I continued balayage until 18 when I realized the constant blonde color was ruining my hair. It didn’t help that I used heat products on my hair three to four times a week. Bringing my dead, long blonde ends to a hairstylist, she dyed my entire head a dark brown. It was such a dramatic change that people did not recognize me from behind. At the time, I thought my hair looked much healthier because they covered the bronze, blonde look that made my hair look washed out. Something I learned was just because it may look healthy, it doesn’t mean it actually is. When the color began to fade, so did my dead ends and dry hair. 

Fast forward to around a year ago, every hairstylist told me my hair was incredibly damaged. All I could think was, “Already? I’m only 19, this isn’t supposed to happen for a while!!” All these remarks served as a wake-up call. I needed to give my hair a rest. So around eleven months ago, I swore off coloring my hair. It was the first time in five years that I went six months without coloring my hair. But just because I chose to stop did not mean my hair would magically turn healthy again. Over the last year, I’ve found some helpful products and habits that are now a part of my daily hair routine. I cannot explain the difference these small changes made to the quality of my hair. Here is how I resurrected my hair from the dead:

  1. 1. Find the right shampoo and conditioner

    I am the biggest proponent of finding affordable beauty products. But with the condition my hair was in, I needed something of high quality and strength. A few months ago, I discovered AG Hair products. A Canadian-based company, AG Hair is entirely dedicated to preserving the healthiness of one’s hair. I started using the Color-Savour Sulfate-Free Colour Shampoo and Conditioner. Its main ingredient is natural flower compounds and it leaves my hair feeling it’s cleanest and softest of my entire life. Trust me, the fewer chemicals in a hair product, the better. AG is cruelty-free and made with almost entirely natural products. While the shampoo and conditioner cost $48 together, this is the only shampoo and conditioner that makes a noticeable difference in my hair. Something to remember: just because you stop coloring your hair, does not mean you can treat your hair like it is uncolored. Hair products aimed at color tend to be less harsh in chemicals and if you haven’t cut the color out, products will keep the color looking natural as your normal color grows in.

  2. 2. Wash your hair less

    As gross as it sounds, washing your hair less than once a day is one of the best favors you can give your hair. It is important to let the oils in your hair accumulate to stimulate hair growth and preservation. Obviously, no one wants to be walking around with greasy hair so you need to find a happy medium. For me, I wash it every other day or every two days if I use dry shampoo. I use the Batiste blush dry shampoo which leaves my hair smelling and looking fresh at a low cost.  

  3. 3. Sometimes you just need to cut it

    While hair is usually recoverable, sometimes it is in your best interest just to start fresh. In August, I cut around five inches of my hair. Since then, my ends look fresher without the use of a single product. If you don’t do a dramatic cut, at least cut the split ends every four to six weeks (and no, it doesn’t make your hair grow faster, it just makes the growing hair healthier). I used to let my hair grow for months just because I wanted long hair. But with patience, you will learn, long, dead hair is A LOT worse than short, healthy hair. It will take time, but you can achieve long healthy hair with time.

  4. 4. Take vitamins designed for hair health

    As doctors and hairstylists will tell you, Biotin and collagen are amazing proteins and vitamins for your hair. You can find daily supplements or at the pharmacy for a relatively low price. I never invested in more expensive vitamins because I didn’t see the point but with my cry for help, I gave Hum Hair Sweet Hair Vitamins a try. I’ve only been using the vitamins for three weeks but my hair does feel stronger and my ends look just as healthy as when I first cut them.

  5. 5. Use leave-in conditioners but not to an excess

    Everyone’s hair is different, but I’ve noticed a lot of leave-in conditioners can leave an oily residue when my hair dries. If I use a leave-in conditioner, I max myself to twice a week if I am blow drying my hair. I’ve found having fewer products during a natural air-dry produces the cleanest and smoothest hair. While this isn’t a leave-in conditioner, the Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum is a light product made for blowouts. If I use simply a small nickel-sized amount, it gives my hair smoothness without leaving an oily residue. It is on the more expensive side, but it lasts a long time if you use it sparingly!

And lastly, if I didn’t emphasize it enough, give your hair a break from color! This does not mean you have to go years without coloring it but try to find a happy medium and take a few-month break to give your hair a rest! While my hair is nowhere near perfect, I am on the road to a healthier foundation. Thank you for reading :)