Saturday, October 27, 2007

Uncomplicated hair care

Not long ago, I received a question by email about how I take care of my hair. I haven't had a real haircut in the last 12 years (just trimming split ends here and there, usually done by my mother) - not because I have a special conviction about it, I simply like my hair long and think it's feminine. Taking care of my hair doesn't really take away much time or energy. Now, each one of us has a different type of hair, and what works for me might not work for you, but here are a couple of basic guidelines I find helpful:

1. I don't mess too much with my hair, meaning sprays, gels, mousses and so on. It doesn't mean I never use those products, but I reserve them only to special occasions. On normal days I just keep it clean. And I have never dyed my hair.

2. I only wash my hair twice (or, if really needed, three times) a week. This helps preserve the natural oils of the hair. Through experience, I found out that washing my hair more often makes it dry and less shiny.

3. I don't use a hair dryer. I remember once on vacation I had to use a hair dryer for two weeks, and it made my hair really dry and brittle. So I just put a towel over my shoulders and let it dry naturally.

An additional bonus to this simplicity is that I also save money on hair care: hair products, shampoo and even some electricity. Most often, I don't need a hairdresser. And most importantly, I save time. I would hate to have to spend hours on my hair every morning.

I would love to hear your hair care tips as well!


USAincognito said...

I have naturally curly hair so I have to use products in order to keep it under control. Gels, waxes, mouses, anti-frizz creams, hairspray, etc. - whatever the hair demands for the day's activities.
It usually takes me an hour in the bathroom just to wash and dry and do my hair. Unless I just throw it up quick for work, then not so long!

Green Eyes said...

Your hair care routine is very much like mine, Anna. My hair is very long, and I always let it dry naturally, never use gels/sprays/etc unless I must look exceptionally nice (last time was as a bridesmatron in May).

I also keep my hairwashing down to 2-4 times a week (depending on the season)... I find washing it more often actually makes it produce MORE oil, to the point that it will only look "clean" for half a day. No one believes me when I tell them this, but it really is true. :)

Gothelittle Rose said...

My hair care tips are actually similar to yours. :) My hair is a rather odd mix, being very fine, but very full. So the individual hairs are very thin and light, but there are a lot of them. It's also, now that I've had a baby, naturally wavy-to-quite-curly depending on plenty of factors.

I wash with shampoo and conditioner.

I brush it out good and have to upkeep-brush whatever isn't actively put up during the day to keep it from turning into a MASS.

I never use gels or a hair-dryer. My hair styles are all couple-minute tricks, but pretty, like combinations of french braids and buns.

I do get mine cut at a proper professional place as my single personal-care treat. (I don't get my nails done, no massages, no facials, none of that.) It's nearly waist-length finally, and I get it cut in long layers. Makes such a big difference for my hair type!

Finally, I will temp-dye my hair once a year in the springtime just for fun. Usually I have plain red put in it. Brightens the brown subtly for the rest of the year and really screams out deep red for about 5 weeks in the spring. Since my hair is very dark brown, adding red makes it so dark that it isn't quite as outrageous as it otherwise might be. :)

Actually, my blog pic is my husband taking a picture of my newly-redded hair from this past spring.

Laura said...

I wash, condition, comb through with a wide-tooth comb, let mostly air dir, apply leave-in conditioner, blow dry some, apply a glossing spray, and flat iron. I do this twice a week. I don't really have any tips. This is just what works for me. I think it is good you don't usually use extra products though.

Rebekah S. said...

Actually, that is exactly what I do!!! :) I'm in the process of growing my hair out more, as I, too, find it even more feminine. It's currently below my shoulders just a few inches.

Emily said...

Oh I wish I could get over the hump with the hair thing. I wash mine everyday and blow dry it. I hate it. But if I do not do this it is frizzy and unmanagable and then the next morning it is greasy and flat and looks generally terrible. My hair it totally different since giving birth 12 months ago and I do not like the change one bit. : ( I think it is a pride thing. I need to pray about this come to think of it.
I have no doubt that if I would give it time to adjust to not washing it everyday it would probably work itself out.
Anyway. Thank you all for the lovely tips!!!!

Rebekah S. said...

Do you have any tips for dealing with ultra frizzy hair? Everytime I wash it, when it dries it is very frizzy,and huge, and that drives me crazy! :) Thank you for any help you can offer!

Katy-Anne said...

I don't cut or trim my hair...I do have convictions about it...and my hair care is much the same as yours.

Kristy Howard said...

I've always had long hair and have found that overstyling (especially perms) does more damage than good! My hair and skin are naturally dry, so I only wash my hair 2-3 times a week and let my hair "air dry" vs. using a blow dryer. I very rarely use heat to style my hair at all. Just this year I discovered a natural shampoo bar made by Crystal Miller (at that is just wonderful! It's very moisturizing without being greasy and works great in my thick, semi-wavy hair!

Especially since since becoming a mother, I've found that keeping my hair care limited to something easy, cute and simple, keeps me from being a slave to the mirror and allows more time to get all the other "importants" done in my day. While I LOVE hair styles and fashions, I do believe that balance is in order!

Thanks for the great post, Anna!

Gothelittle Rose said...

Rebekah S., try using hair products marked as "Ethnic" or otherwise for black women.

One of the curious things in this society is our tendency to divide things into race. If your hair is similar to that common in another race, use their hair products!

Personally, I've taken that advice in a different area. I picked up these dark almond-shaped eyes from my Ukrainian grandfather, and I had to learn eyeshadow tips from an Asian beauty site.

Anonymous said...

I used to use all the stuff, dye my hair, blow-dry it, wash it every day, etc. Now, I wash it once a week, maybe twice, sometimes. Your hair will adjust, even if you want to only wash it once a month. It takes a while of grinning and bearing it, but your scalp adjusts to your schedule. I also do not blow-dry anymore, I don't dye, I don't use any "products". I use liquid castile soap to wash it and I use an apple cider vinegar to rinse in the summer, but in the winter (when I have to battle static electricity) I use a natural/organic conditioner. I have naturally curly hair. I wear it down, with a hanging veil. It is amazing how much more time you have in your life when you are not spending it on hair (or face or armpits or legs or ...). LOL! Never mind... ;-)

Lydia said...

I also only wash my hair 3 times a week and don't blow dry it, it would be a frizz if I did. I find that if I only shampoo my scalp the run off is plenty to wash the rest of my hair so it gets clean but not squeeky clean, i.e. no more natural oils. Also I have found that Pantene's Burnett Expressions and Brilliant Burnett works very nice. Just some thoughts. I like your blog.


Karen said...

I have to agree with you on not washing too often. I used to wash it every day, but then it got so dry I HAD to use conditioner. Now I just use a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner, saves time and money, and my hair looks fine! Back in my grandma's day, ladies normally would bathe instead of shower, and get thier hair washed at a salon once a week!

I have to blow dry in the colder months, or else it stays wet all day and freezes me! I get a nice cut about once a year or so. Never too short. That's about it. :)

And since I have straight hair, on special occasions, I like to curl it! Drives the husband wild hehe.

USAincognito said...

Rebekah S.:
There is a hair wax by Redken that is a water based product that is great for taming that frizzy hair! I use the stuff and it does not take very much to manage all my hair. You can also buy Suave's anti-frizz cream (it comes in an orangish tube) and put that in your hair. Make sure that you are putting these products in your hair after you shower and before you blowdry your hair. It works better that way at taming the frizz. Hope this has been helpful!!

Anonymous said...

Your hair care sounds like mine, Just wash my hair twice a week and drys naturally, although sometimes it drys really curly so I tend to plait it wet and let it dry that way. :)


Michelle said...

ugh, no tips to share here. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to care for it. I can't get away with washing it twice a week - I have to wash it every day or at the very least every other day. Otherwise it LOOKS greasy and nasty. It also frizzes when it dries so I use sunsilk anti-frizz stuff and an anti-pouf shampoo from sunsilk. I'm trying to grow mine long again too. I just hope it doesn't all fall out by then (I lost alot after having Bruce - horomones did it I think)

Rebekah S. said...

Thank you so much for your help!! :)

Julia said...

Anna, you sound a lot like me until a year ago. A friend convinced me to color my hair. I thought I could color it back to its original color after a while and I could stop. What I've learned is my hair turns a funky orangish color after a few weeks if I don't recolor and I can never get it back to the original. It's expensive. The chemicals stink. I hate to think what awful stuff I was putting on my body and breathing in. If you don't want to color your hair forever it's probably best not to start. Now I'm about 4 months into the process of letting it grow out. I hate it. I can tell it's going to be about a year before my natural color is grown out long enough that I can cut off the old stuff and have a little bob. I hope my cautionary tale helps someone. :)

Terry said...

Well, Anna, you may or may not know this, but we Black girls spend a fortune on our hair, whether we wear it natural or not. I relax my hair, which can be extremely expensive, as it costs anywhere from $45-$60 to keep it relaxed, and it has to be "retouched" every 6-8 weeks. I learned how to do it myself, which saves us a lot of money. When my girls hit about 11 years old, they wanted to relax theirs too. I made them wait until they were 12 because it requires a bit of maintenance and I wanted to be sure they were old enough and responsible enough to take care of it. Anyway, I think it's great that you wear your hair long and as natural as possible. Sometimes I wish I would have kept mine natural, but straight hair is just more manageable for me.

Anna S said...

Terry, I got to see an example of what you said here last year when I taught a lovely teenage girl who was black. She spent a ton of time and money on her hair as well, I've always wondered how she keeps up with it. :)

Crystal said...

I pretty much care for my hair the same. I too only wash it a few times a week, any more and I frizz horribly.

My aunt trims my hair with long layers a couple times a year, and I trim my bangs every few weeks.

I too save "products" for special occasions, and my only difference is that I do color my hair. But I had started going grey at 19 and as a teenager I didn't want to already have grey. My coloring is a bit worn out now, and my greys are showing again, As I'm getting older it hasn't been as important to me to color, but I do hope to color again soon.

Patricia said...

Hi Anna,
I'm 45 years old and have been growing my hair for 2 1/2 years. Like you, I only wash and condition my hair 2 times a week. I use no products (mousse, gel, etc.) and always air dry my hair. I want to suggest using a vinegar rinse to help maintain the PH balance of one's hair. Since my hair is longer, I use 1-2 ounces of plain white vinegar in 2 cups of hot water. For those with short hair, the ratio would be much less--maybe a tablespoon of vinegar in one cup. I wash my hair, do the vinegar rinse, and condition. I try to do a vinegar rinse once a week (if I remember to!).

Michelle said...

Anna, except for the trimming at home part, and the long hair part, that's exactly what I do.

I don't trim at home because I have no clue how and I don't want to ruin my hair. I don't have anyone who could trim it for me or show me how, either.

I would like to have long hair, but I just don't know how to get my hair to grow. I had it trimmed back in March, and it is still the same length. If I get it trimmed more often, it gets shorter!

Anonymous said...

Since Amelia was born, I've cut down on the number of times I wash my hair, from everyday to about every other day, sometimes less. It's just now starting to get less greasy by day two (barely). I always make an effort to make sure it's washed and clean for Mass on Sunday, whether that means a wash on Saturday or Sunday morning.
I don't even own a hair dryer, never have, or any of the other styling gizmos and products. I do splurge on my shampoo and conditioner, using the Brillant Brunette, but that's really it. I brush it, try to let it dry before I put it up, and keep it in a pony tail/bun most of the time.

I've been re-growing my hair for about a year now, it's just starting to fall below my shoulders and I'd like to get my ends trimmed up a bit. I used to have hair that fell below my waist, but I didn't take good care of it and cut it over 3 sessions (donating a foot each time) over the course of a year or so. I agree that long hair helps me feel more feminine, I love to have it nice and clean then let the wind blow thru' it gently (has to be gentle, otherwise I get tangle-city!). Also, my hair is one of my best features (in my opinion) along with my eyes, but my eyes are behind glasses, so I like to let my hair shine! :)

God Bless!

Krystyna said...

I basically have the same hair-care routine. While this is probably quite a big saving of money, I'm even more pleased with my saving on makeup, which is far more expensive than haircare products.

Anna, I really admire your hair in your photos! I would never have the patience to get it that long.

Anna S said...

Krystyna, I use very little makeup too. It's expensive and steals a lot of time.

I'm enjoying my hair while I can. :) A big part of it will probably have to go!

Anonymous said...

I have an easy wash and wear hairstyle, wash it about 3 times and week. I do blow-dry for special occasions, it just ads some volume and don't have time on a day to day basis anymore. (baby and study)

I do however color it about 4-5 times a year, for about ten years now. I started graying too in my teens, which is the main reasons. But since I feel I have to, it is fun now to have a different color every time.

I also like to totally change my hairdo about every 2 years. It is just fun to try out different styles. My hair grows very fast, so even if I don't like the new style it doesn't take long to be able to change it again.

My husband likes it all, but I must say that he never saw me with very long or very short hair.

Long hair is to expensive while I color and I don't want to go for very boyish short anymore, I did that the last time when I was 17.

For now I will just stick with something in between.

Emily said...

Ditto to points 1, 2, and 3! I don't put any product on my hair, I wash my hair once or twice a week, and don't hairdry it (unless I'm in a rush to go out) -- and it stays in great condition! I do, however, go to the hairdressers but I try to make it only twice or three times a year (as opposed to every 6 weeks that they advise). For me it's worth spending a fair amount of money to keep it in a nice, flattering and easy-to-manage style :)

Machelle said...

what a neat way to save money! I've got spiral curls, and have to wet my hair every morning, but I save washes for every 3rd morning or, if I'm in a hury, pull it up into a messy bun; chic and lovely! Though I'm still in a "grow-out" phase and this might become harder soon!