Like all girls, it’s safe to say I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my hair. One flip through my Facebook photos will reveal my hair’s very own history book complied of not-so-flattering pictures of a bob I had when I was 19, the thick block fringe I sported when I first started blogging and a failed attempt at a top-knot with a hot pink scrunchie I now look back and cringe over. It’s a good thing the pictures of my childhood ‘mushroom cuts’ and blonde streaks I insisted on getting in ninth grade never saw the light of day!
In the same album. however, is a more mature me in polished poker straight hair, side-swept bangs and luscious waves I’ve mastered and can now pull off in my sleep. But it’s only after years of trial and error, self-cut bangs, damage, frizziness, bad colour jobs, chemical treatments and fights with my mother that I can finally say my hair and I are in a good place. Here are the life-changing tips that helped get me there. Try them on for size and spare your hair years of trauma:
1. SHAMPOO IN REVERSE
And by this I mean, apply conditioner to the length and tips of your hair, then wash it off after about 2-5 minutes. Then apply shampoo only to the roots and wash off (applying shampoo to the length and tips of your hair dries it out. Instead, when you rinse it off your roots, it’ll clean out the rest of your hair on it’s way out). This little trick leaves your mane glossy and moisturized.
2. RAID YOUR KITCHEN
They say massaging your hair with warm oil makes it glossier. But I swear by mayonnaise! The fats in the mayonnaise make your hair look insanely shiny, just remember that it might take 2-3 rounds of shampooing to get rid of, or you’ll smell like a sandwich. It’s worth the extra effort, though. Once a month is enough for this little treat.
3. DAB ON SOME MAGIC DUST
I used to spend insane amounts on dry shampoo, till I realized that baby powder does the same job and is less damaging in the long run on both, your hair and your wallet! So when your hair starts to get a little greasy at the roots, prick a few tiny holes into the lid of a bottle of baby powder and squeeze it out onto your scalp. Rub it in well with your fingers for instantly clean looking and smelling hair!
4. GET LAZY
Shampooing everyday strips your hair of it’s natural oils. Instead, space out your washes to once in three days or twice a week, using the powder trick from above on your in-between days.
5. BUILD YOUR OWN TEXTURE
My hair is naturally quite straight, so getting the beach waves I love takes ages and usually falls flat about 45 minutes after. The trick, I’ve discovered, is tricking your hair into believing that it’s naturally wavy. So after I wash my hair, I let it air dry (or blow dry, depending on how much time I have) and when all the moisture is almost gone and my hair is just slightly damp, I tie it into a bun and leave it for a couple of hours (or all night if you can swing it). When I open it out, my hair has natural waves formed so all I have to do is define the few odd strands that it didn’t work on with a curling iron. This is way healthier for your hair than using tongs or hot rollers all over.
6. HYDRATE WHILE YOU SLEEP
While I’m not enough of a girly-girl or magazine-worshipper to follow what they say and sleep on silk pillowcases so my hair doesn’t tangle, I do dab on some Moroccan oil before I go to bed so my hair is glossy, soft, manageable and easy to style when I wake up in the morning. The best part? It doesn’t get your sheets sticky and doesn’t need to be washed off, either!
7. TRIM OFTEN
You’ve already heard this one, but trimming your hair every 2-3 months really does make it look more manicured, gets rid of split ends, decreases hair fall and reduces the overall weight of your hair, leaving it bouncier. Why wouldn’t anyone want these things?
8. EAT TO YOUR HEART’S CONTENT
Not eating properly leaves your hair dull, prone to breakage and falling out. I find that eating spinach, almonds, eggs, fish and taking a good multi-vitamin pill does wonders for your hair.
9. WATCH WHAT YOU USE
I find that the best tools I’ve ever invested in for my hair are a wide-toothed comb and a blow dryer with various settings that help reduce damage. I also steer clear of little hair ties with metal clasps. Sure they may come in pretty colours, but the metal bits tear your hair and ruin it’s texture over time. Plus they really hurt when you try and remove them! Another thing to avoid like the plague are towels. You’re allowed to wrap your hair in one to soak up moisture after a shower, but do NOT towel dry. This will lead to irreparable breakage and the broken strands tend to curl up, looking like frizz!
10. DO YOUR RESEARCH
I have a friend who swears by keratin treatments for her curls and invests in them regularly, but another who says it’s the worst thing she could have ever done to her hair and regrets trying it even once. Moral of the story? Different treatments work for different hair types. Speak to as many people as you can with a similar hair type to yours who have tried a treatment / product and then weigh your options accordingly. Never hesitate to call your salon and pester them with questions regarding the service and it’s before and after care. If you have highly sensitive skin, chances are you’ll have a sensitive scalp, too. In which case, check if a product you’re using or service you’re opting for is hypo-allergenic before you take the plunge.
What hair care tips do you swear by? Share them with me in the comments section!
Photography: Mehi Shah