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All my childhood I wanted long hair. You could say I had a Rapunzel obsession, but the truth is that I had a Princess Leia obsession. I mean, Rapunzel was alright, but even child me knew that much hair was impractical. No, I wanted cinnamon buns on either side of my head or a braid that could wrap around for days.
I never really had that as a child. Partly because Star Wars hairstyles are actually impossible, and partly because, well, I wasn’t that great at caring for my hair and my mother wasn’t either.
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My mom made me wash my hair, and I don’t mean in the normal way. I had to cleanse those locks Every. Single. Day. For years. I hated it because I have always had thick hair that craved moisture so sitting under the blow dryer for 45 minutes afterwards was hardly my idea of a good time and I was often not allowed to run around with a wet head. Needless to say, that much shampoo and that much heat would always fry my hair (seriously, blow drying frizzy hair creates more frizz…) and then my mother would cut it off to my shoulders. The cycle was vicious and there were many juvenile tears shed at my Princess Leia buns being sabotaged yet again.
When I became old enough to handle myself, I vowed never to get the chop again. I also decided to find my own way to handle my curls and body. I wanted to work with my hair – not against it. While I can’t say I’ll have Princess Leia buns anytime soon, over the course of several years, I think I have finally hammered down what works for this moptop of a head I have, and it’s not strictly what a stylist will recommend.
Do not wash daily. This causes my hair to be dry, because duh, soap is drying! When I wash daily my hair tries to absorb moisture from the humidity in the air, becomes a frizzy mess, and the breaks begin to happen in droves. Currently, I wash about every 3-4 days, or when it looks greasy. I hope to one day be able to get down to weekly washings, but for now I apply cornstarch to my hair as a dry shampoo on day 2 in an effort to stretch over more days. By the way, you don’t need to buy a nice dry shampoo. Apply cornstarch at night, wake up with clean hair.
I dry my hair with a tee shirt. This is a new trick I’ve been trying after reading that terrycloth towels can actually cause breakage. A tee shirt is much softer and gentler, thus preventing breakage and frizz. If you don’t have any old ones lying around, just grab a couple next time you’re at the thrift store.
Deep condition with coconut oil. I have gotten out of the habit, but I need to dive back in. Leaving coconut oil in my hair for an afternoon gives a nice, deep condition that leaves my hair smooth and frizz free. Simply rub some into the palms of your hands and gently rub onto the ends of your hair. Only use a few drops though, or you’ll be washing your hair several times to get it all out, thus negating the benefits.
Leave in conditioner. I apply oils as a leave in conditioner immediately out of the shower. I drop them into my palms and rub my hands through my hair before combing. Currently, I am using argan oil, but have tried almond and grapeseed in the past with decent results. I also use a Giovanni smoothing serum and Giovanni hair mousse. I put all three of these things in my hair while wet and then comb with a wide tooth comb.
Oil condition again once hair is dry. Yep, I condition again just to make sure there’s enough moisture. My current go to is Trader Joe’s jojoba oil. I rub a few drops into the ends of my hair every morning to prevent dryness. Speaking of which, you need this oil. Seriously, this oil is heaven in a bottle. I love it for my skin, I love it for my nails, and I love it for this beautiful thing I call a head of hair.
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I don’t brush my hair – ever. I know your jaw just dropped and you’re thinking I am crazy, but hear me out! My mother always made me brush my hair with 100 strokes every night. The result was…. not great. Brushing my hair leaves me with ONE GIGANTIC MANE set to rival any Roseanne Roseannadanna impersonator. So… I recently stopped brushing. I comb my hair with a wide tooth comb when it’s wet, and then not again (if I can help it) until it’s time to wash. I get fewer tangles, less breakage, and my hair lies much flatter. As a huge volume gal, I want it to be flatter. I also lose less hair overall sans brushing.
Braid it before bed: I do a loose braid before going to sleep. That way, it can’t catch on the sheets or get too tangled. Make sure it’s a very loose braid though – otherwise you may wake up with additional waves. Alternatively, if you want to wake up with wavy hair, braid it tighter.
Are any of these things bad for me? Some stylists might say so. I usually get mine cut a school and I have often been told using oils is useless and silly, but I can see the results. I do not admit to not brushing or only washing 2-3 times a week because I am afraid they would say I am nuts, but like I said earlier, these things work well for me, so I’ll keep them going for a good long while. I have no intention of browsing the hair-care aisle anytime soon as these all natural, healthier methods are working wonders for my long, curly hair.
What is your hair routine? Are you a long hair lover or do you keep it chopped off?