For years, I have been obsessed with hair, makeup, and anything that had to do with the in between. It is also probably the reason why I am such an “old adult” in college. I took my first two years after I graduated high school to attend beauty school so I could get a license in cosmetology before taking on the big bad that is college. Before college I was not sure what I wanted to major in so the “easiest” route to go was to go to cosmetology school and learn a trade. Little did I know that one day far in the future this would trigger my OCD around everyone that I saw when on a college campus. When you’ve gone to school for two years and spent six years in the profession working in a salon as a stylist, you pick up some bad habits, one of those being picking on anyone and everyone’s hair. I’m not saying, “Oh my god her hair looks awful!” kind of picking on, a more so, “Wow, I really wish I could give her some advice without seeming rude”. And maybe picking on is not even the right phrasing, I just want to help people. I have been in that same position, when I first started school I fried my hair, like fried to the point where you could have called me KFC and I could get you some bomb chicken type fried… It was bad. One of my friends that had been working in a salon when I was still in school once referred to my hair as level 29 toilet seat white.
This is me at level 29 toilet seat white. Looking back at this picture I always laugh. It was taken when I worked at Field of Screams, a haunted attraction that I used to work at when I was 17. What most won’t notice is the damage that was my hair. The even worse part was that I had achieved this using box hair color. I thought it was grand, but again I was still in school and had yet to go through the color portion of my education. Like I said, I want to help people. I want people to have happy healthy hair and go about getting it the right way, unlike me, who while went to school for hair, avoided listening to anyone and ended up killing my hair and unfortunately had to chop most of it off. So here are some tips and tricks to either getting your hair healthy or keeping it healthy!
1. Stay AWAY from box color!
Box color: yeah, sure, the commercials make it look amazing. They say it will leave your hair looking shiny, healthy, and pretty. This is highly false. It may look great in the beginning but the more you use the worse, off your hair will be. Almost all box colors contain something called Metallic Salts. Box colors that contain Metallic Salts leaves a residue on your hair that builds up with every use. Due to this, may come out darker than anticipated every time. Therefore, I used to always have an in-depth consultation with my clients before doing their hair. When I was in school, I was helping a girl wrap a perm and she had super long dark hair. It was by every definition of gorgeous. She had a consultation previously where the girl had told her that her dark brown hair was natural and that she had never previously used any box color. Wrong. When we went to rinse the perm solution out of her hair you could hear the perm rods falling out in the sink. Not because we were taking them out but because of the reaction that the perm solution had with the metallic salts that coated her hair. She later confessed to the other girl and I that she had used box color on her hair only two days prior to her perm. Now you may be thinking, “Oh, that only happen because she got a perm. I’ve bleached over box color before and my hair was fine!” This may be true but the more build up you have on your hair of Metallic Salts, the more damage you are doing trying to bleach all of it out. I have seen clients come in and not be truthful about what kind of color they’re using and their hair has started smoking because of the reaction the salon’s color had with the box color that they used.
2. Stop using heat or use as little as possible
Yes, I know, but how will you ever live without your straightening iron, blow dryer, curling iron, etc! I know it seems impossible because your hair is “super frizzy” or it “does not cooperate”. This may be true but itt’s because you have conditioned your hair to relying on a tool to do the hard work for it. I always have this problem in the winter because I constantly blow dry my hair because I don’t want to walk around with a cold head. It’s the worst feeling in the world to me. When spring comes around, I try to use the least amount of heat possible because if you think about it, you are outside more and just because it’s not a hot tool, the sun can still cause heat damage to your hair. What’s even worse is I have curly hair so once the blow dryer goes away for the spring I look like a homeless person most days until I can retrain it.
This is where braids come in. If you can’t braid your hair, I highly suggest watching YouTube videos until you can! Braiding will help take some of the strain off you, especially in the mornings if you’re going to a summer job. Braids will save you tons of time because all you should do is take them out and you have some great beach waves, or you could leave them in and pin them up for some great milk maid braids! Not to mention there are tons of great braided hair styles on YouTube. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t master them at first, neither can us hairstylists. Sometimes it takes me hours to understand how a style works. It just takes practice!
3. Ditch the brush
No, this doesn’t mean get rid of it entirely only when it’s wet. When your hair is wet, it is at its most fragile state. Your hair is more easily prone to snapping due to being snagged on a brushes harsh bristles, this can lead to constant split ends and more trips to see your stylist. Switch to using a wide tooth comb and start brushing your hair from the ends. When you brush from the ends, you are taking that snagged hair and getting rid of one knot at a time instead of having to start from the top and creating one giant knot in the end. And yes, you may also be saying, “But what about wet brushes and tangle teasers?” (If you don’t know what either of those are they are “special” brushes made to be used on wet hair.) I have both and neither one have really helped my hair except by doing more harm than good. About a month ago, I was back to struggling with supper knotty hair and that was because of using a bursh on my hair (even though it “claims” to be for wet hair) while it was wet. It was causing my fragile highlighted hair to snap and break causing more tangling issues. Save your self the trouble and just stick to a simple old-fashioned wide toothed comb!
4. Going blonde is always going to be a process
When it comes to going blonde, listen to your stylist! If she tells you that she can get you Denarius Targaryen blonde in one sitting, then you need to run out of her chair immediately. Unless you are already a pretty light blonde, going platinum should always be a process, especially if you want to keep your hair looking beautiful and most importantly healthy. Nobody wants fried hair that looks like ramen noodles, it’s just not cute. When going blonde, you should discuss how blonde you want to go with your stylist. Remember ladies, Khloe Kardashian did not go blonde in a day. If you want the real secret to how she did it, she started with getting balayage highlights. What that means is the bleach (or lightener as us stylists like to call it) is painted on highlights. The stylist will decide the best placement for lighter pieces to help achieve the most flattering look. Sometimes you can even ask for your stylist to do baby-lites in conjunction to the balayage to add even more dimension. Once you get started, going back in and getting more and more blonde added in will gradually get you blonder.
5. Stylists don’t sell your products for their health
While it may seem like most stylists are trying to sell you to make an extra buck in our pay check, most of us are trying to sell you product because you need it! Unlike box color, not all drug store shampoos are bad. Like I said, when stylists are trying to sell you product it is probably because your hair can benefit from using said product. Salon products are more concentrated than drugstore products. Often, that liter of shampoo that a stylist is trying to sell you can last you 2 to even 3 months longer than your drugstore shampoo because you only need to use about a quarter size (and that’s for super long hair).
6. You don’t need to shampoo all of your hair
You only need to shampoo just your roots! If you think about it, your scalp is the only thing that gets oily, and the lather from your shampoo will just run down through your hair cleansing the rest of your hair while it rinses. Ultimately, this saves you shampoo because you’re not over using a bunch of excess shampoo. This will also save your ends because you’re not constantly drying them out by using too much shampoo. Your natural oil is good for you hair, that is why it is there. The longer your hair, the longer it takes for those natural oils to reach the ends. When you are constantly shampooing the ends of your hair it is stripping those natural oils and can cause more split ends.
7. You only need to condition your ends!
Unlike the shampoo rule, your conditioner is the opposite. While you still only need about a quarter size, that conditioner should only be run through your ends. Any excess that you have left over on your hands you can run slightly through the roots to help detangle a bit. But this also will help save you money on buying conditioner and it will also help save your ends!
8. Some things are too good to be true
Keratin: we all hear about it all time. It’s also what your hair is made up of. But using too much of this can also be a bad thing. Using too much keratin can dry out your hair, leaving it brittle, prone to breakage and split ends. The same goes for everything else that you do. Doing too much of one thing that seems good for your hair can also be very bad for it. You never want your hair to get used to doing something. Having a set cleansing shampoo is great to use at the end of the week when you have used a bunch of products on your hair and you just need to get rid of the buildup, but you should always switch up your routine depending on what your hair needs at the moment. For this reason, I only buy the smaller 16 oz. bottles of the shampoos that I need so that I don’t waste them.
9. Products: they are your friend!
I love my products, my oils, my leave-in-conditioners, my hair masques, all of it. They make products to work in conjunction to what your hair needs. My hair is super curly so I use something to help tame frizz, control fly-away’s, and depending on what I want to do with it the next day, I will either put in something to help style it or I put in some sea-salt spray because I’m going to braid it and the sea-salt spray will help the waves. Products will also help to protect your hair! Every time I use heat I always make sure that I am using a heat protectant. This goes for both blow drying and using a hot tool. When I’m blow drying my hair, I will often use a cream that will hold in the blow dry style that I am trying to create. Same goes for when I’m using a hot tool. I like to use a product that is either going to help my hair cool or help my hair straighten depending on what mood I am in today.
10. Get a regular trim
I know what you are probably thinking, “Why would I cut my hair if I am just trying to grow it out?” I know seems bizarre, right? There is a method to this madness. After going through all the heat, the pulling of the elastics from the braids, brushing, and then repeating the process all over again, this too can take its toll on your hair. When you get split ends, they don’t just go away. Even if you use a product that claims to “seal” your split ends they are still there and they will come back. Once you have a split end it will continue to travel up the hair and make it split even more. This causes frizz, which no one likes because it’s not cute. Getting a regular trim once a month cannot and will not kill you, it will help to save your hair. You don’t even need to get that much trimmed off, a quarter inch should do the trick. This will save you from going in after six months of trying to grow your hair out to be told by your stylist to make your hair healthy you need five inches off.
There are my best tips and tricks to save your hair! Be sure to stay tuned for more beauty articles and share with your friends, because really we all have that friend that probably needs these tips!
*All images courtesy of Giphy and Pinterest