Hair is like a fine silk or lace cloth, it can be strong, but it’s delicate too. Maybe that’s what makes a long, healthy head of hair so beautiful. The ends of your hair are the oldest, and farthest away from all the natural oils your scalp produces, making them the most fragile. Once your ends are already split, there is nothing that can actually repair them, they will need to be trimmed. Products that promise to mend split ends most likely contain silicones, which bind to the hair and give it the illusion of shine. I try to avoid any products with silicones, as they just gunk up my hair and make it flat. I also find it hard to wash silicone based products out completely. It usually takes a couple of washes with a clarifying shampoo, which can dry my hair out if i use it more than a few times per month.
This past couple of years I’ve been trying to grow my hair out. I take care to deep condition regularly, and use a heat protector, however, the best way to avoid split ends is to just skip heat styling altogether, which means letting my hair air dry. My hair has some natural curl, and tends to get a bit frizzy, especially since I had ombré highlights done on the ends. I really do want to grow my hair a bit longer, so I’ve come to embrace how my hair looks naturally. It was hard at first, but as my hair grows longer I find that the weight of it kind of tones down the volume and makes my curls a bit less kinky.
I have some friends who have gone no poo, either just rinsing their hair with water or washing with a mixture of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Actually, I went no poo before no poo was even a thing! When I was in high school and had my butt-length hair, I couldn’t figure out the right combination of products and routine for my hair, so I stopped shampooing and conditioning altogether and just rinsed with water everyday or every other day. This was back in Ontario, where the winters are super cold and indoor air is dry. After a few months of doing the no poo thing, I had to stop; my roots were really oily and itchy, while the rest of my hair was frizzy and dry from the environment and lack of conditioning. I’ve watched a lot of bloggers on YouTube talk about their no poo experience, and they all seem to quit for similar reasons. In my opinion, no poo is not a sustainable option.
I have also tried washing with conditioner only (co-washing) but this method just leaves my hair built up and greasy.
As for the baking soda and vinegar thing, I honestly haven’t tried it and don’t plan on it, but my educated advice is to stay away from it. The combination of ACV and baking soda is corrosive (I’ve used it to unclog my drain and clean pots and pans), and not something I want in direct contact with my scalp.
If you’re using safe, gentle and natural products on your hair, there is no reason to shy away from shampoo. Finding a routine that works for you can take some trial and error, but once you do you’ll have more good hair days than bad. All I can do is share my current routine with you, and hopefully you’ll learn some helpful tips.
I find washing my hair every three days works best. So if I wash Monday, I’ll skip Tuesday and Wednesday and wash again on Thursday. The second day without a wash is usually the worst in terms of oil and flatness. I’m in this awkward phase where I’m growing out shoulder length layers, so when I braid my hair I always have these little pieces sticking out. But on day two I’ll usually braid it anyway, or throw it in a messy bun. If I’m feeling really energetic I’ll even French braid it on this day. It’s summer now, and hot as balls in my apartment, so even though I just washed yesterday, I think I may wash tomorrow. I may spray some dry shampoo in it(I don’t do this often), and see if that pumps up the volume enough for it to look fresh. If it’s really sweaty or oily tomorrow, I will shampoo. I don’t believe in sticking to any beauty rules religiously.
I like to deep conditioner my hair every third shampoo at least. Although sometimes, since I still have some ombré highlights, I will run a bit of deep conditioner just though the ends even on days when I’m not doing a thorough deep conditioning treatment. When I do apply it all over, I like to use a clarifying shampoo first. This ensures that my hair is squeaky clean, without any residue coating my scalp or hair shafts, so that my amazing John Masters Lavender Avocado intensive treatment can soak right in. If my hair is all build up with oils, shampoo and conditioner residue, environmental stuff, crap from me running my fingers through it, then the hair mask isn’t going to penetrate. It’s just going to sit on top and gunk it up even more. Right now I’m using Avalon Organics Lemon clarifying shampoo. I will do one shampoo -it usually doesn’t lather much on the first one- and really massage it into my scalp. I use gentle motions with the pads of my fingers. This loosens up all the dirt and oil, and stimulates circulation, which in turn can help make hair grow faster. It also feels really good! So often we just rush through our routines and don’t actually take the time to pamper our scalps. After I’m done, I rinse and repeat. The second shampoo really gets my hair squeaky clean. Literally, it’s so clean it squeaks if I stroke it! One of the best feelings ever is a really clean scalp.
Anyway, the Avalon shampoo really gets my hair clean. I then slather on my John Masters intensive treatment, and leave it on for the duration of my shower. I have a claw clip that stays in my shower to pin up my hair while the mask is on it. I’m guilty of taking super long showers, so the condition has a good 5-10 minutes to soak in. When I rinse it I try to use cool water, not cold but as cool as I can comfortably stand. Cool water seals the cuticle, whereas rinsing your hair with super hot water can irritate your scalp and make your hair frizzy.
Now, I only blow dry or curl my hair once in a blue moon, usually if I’m going somewhere special. It’s cool, because it sort of makes me feel especially put together, rather than having my hair styled every single day. At times my hair does get frizzy, or if I lie down or go out when it’s windy as my hair is drying it dry in a funny way. But, it’s healthier than it’s ever been. I admit, I do spend more time than I should worrying about things like that. Everyone has moments of insecurity and I’m no exception. But at the end of the day, I’d rather be known as a person with sometimes frizzy hair than a mean person, or an unkind or unhappy person. In short, there’s just more important things to worry about, and wearing my hair natural is what works for me right now.