Monday, 8 April 2013

Long Hair is Simple

Some days are truly good days. Like today, with the sun shining, the first crocuses boldly opening their buttery faces for all the world to see and a not so healthy serving of pie possibly being in the future. My suggestion, if pie is in yours, is this wonderful rhubarb, lemon and almond pie from mydarlinglemonthyme.

Anyhow, other reasons for a day being good is when your hair finally behaves. I don't know about you, but that definitely always makes my day that much brighter. With tail-bone long, fine but thick, naturally wavy, all virgin hair good hair days are plentiful. I think it is the fact that healthy hair generally is well behaved hair that keeps me away from such hair sins as heat styling, or for that matter using lots of styling products. That, and me being lazy.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of people who believe it takes time and lots of effort to grow long, healthy, beautiful hair while the truth is quite the opposite. While the average woman probably spends at least half an hour if not more on her hair everyday, in order to wash and style it, I spend perhaps half that. Mostly, to brush it through before braiding it or putting it up. If I'm doing a fancy braided style, I might spend a bit more, but really long hair is surprisingly easy to take care of. All you really need is a shampoo that agrees with your hair style, a conditioner that achieves the texture you want - we don't all want silky smooth hair, I personally prefer my hair feeling like cashmere - a smooth towel, for example one made of linen, and a good detangling brush. Oh, and a sharp pair of professional hair cutting scissors to have someone cut your ends every now and again.

I don't know why people imagine that long hair is harder to take care off than short hair, or harder to wash, condition, brush and style. It isn't, if you use the right tools and the right techniques. Fortunately, the right techniques are really only common sense.

First of all, stretch your washes. Really, there is no need to wash hair daily unless you are unfortunate enough to really need it. Most of us can stretch washes at least one or two days. For every day you can stretch your washes, you give your hair a chance to recover from being stripped from moisture and oils. A chance to so to speak, take a deep breath so it can withstand the next wash better. While you are at it, you might want to look for a gentler shampoo than the one you are using. Chances are, you are using something that really leaves your hair screaming for some kind of conditioner afterwards. If you are, you really should look into a shampoo that leaves you feeling as if you could skip the conditioner if you had to. I've only come across two such shampoos on my journey to good hair: Korres Aloe and Soapwort Shampoo which is sadly discontinued and the Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Shampoo.

Secondly, talking about conditioning this is something you really want to do even if you use a gentle shampoo. Especially if you plan to grow long hair. All shampoos strip the hair of oils and moisture. A good conditioner puts some of this back in your hair, a bad conditioner pretends to by coating your hair in silicones. With this said, I personally prefer silicone heavy conditioners because of the silky feeling they give my hair. The natural conditioned feeling of lambswool is not for me, and sadly that's how my natural hair feels. How you apply it is up to you, but I like using my tangle teezer to distribute it through my lengths evenly, making sure all the hair is coated.

Thirdly, you want to be washing your scalp with shampoo and your lengths with conditioner and you will want to make sure not to tangle your hair while washing. It might sound gross not washing your lengths, but really, they only need conditioner.

And that's it for caring for your hair, really. Step out of the shower, gently squeeze the water out. Do not wring, since wet hair is fragile. You might want to wrap it in a smooth towel or t-shirt to soak up extra moisture. Anything with loops makes hair more frizzy. Let it air dry, to about 75% dry, and there you go. Run a boar bristle brush through it if you brush, and your hair will be shiny and well behaved.

p.s. If you don't have time to let it air dry in the morning, start washing when you come home in the afternoon/evening. That way it will be ready to be braided for the night when you go to bed and in the morning it will be dry and ready to be brushed and put up in your favourite style.

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