30 DAY HAIR CHALLENGE
You may feel like there is no coming back from the damage and dryness your hair is currently suffering, but we’re here to tell you that’s not always the case! Like a glitchy video game, there’s an easy way to reset your hair health and jump back on that bandwagon you fell from.
Here is everything you need to do for healthier hair in under 30 days.
Simplify Your Color
You don’t have to give up color appointments to get healthier strands. Instead of reverting back to pre-dye life, consider paring down your coloring routine for a few months by opting for a gloss treatment.
Colored gloss can revitalize a once vibrant and shiny color, soften grown-out highlights to give you more time before your next coloring appointment, and banish brassiness. Need more convincing? This treatment works on every hair type and texture, can be done by any colorist, and costs far less than a highlight or full color.
Ditch the Dead Weight
Check whether or not a product has expired. Anything that has dried out, separated, or past the ‘period after opening’ time indicated on the bottom of the packaging (if it has one, that is) is ready to be tossed. Why should you care? Using old products will lead to build up — and could even prevent new growth from coming in strong.
Consider ridding your bathroom of more than just the things that have gone bad. Cutting the clutter will help you pick the right products for better hair days, too.
Pick the Right Brush … and Use It!
Sometimes, the simplest thing can be the most beneficial. Regular brushing is a simple step that can help create better, healthier hair.
Why? The right brush helps to detangle, distribute oil, and eliminate residual product. That said, choosing the right brush is very important.
For those with straight or wavy hair, consider a boar bristle/nylon mixture brush. (In general, the thicker the hair, the more beneficial some added nylon bristles will be.) Have curly or textured locks? An all-nylon or plastic bristle option is best to gently detangle.
Moisturize Your Ends
During colder months, moisture is the most important thing to monitor, because it’s the hardest thing to hold on to. Differing temperatures inside and out cause your strands to shrink and expand, leaving your hair more parched than normal.
It is important to use a single drop (or more for thick or long hair) of deeply-penetrative oil each day to help seal moisture in and maintain your style. Application is also important. Apply from the ends towards the middle of the hair shaft and then just a little right on the crown.
Mask, Mask, & Mask Some More
You’ve cleansed and conditioned, but it’s important not to skip deep conditioning. Masking your hair regularly sends important ingredients deep into the hair shaft and continues to promote your hair goals.
While it can feel like the longer, the better, certain products may make your issues worse if left on for longer than the recommended time. Moral of the story? Pay very close attention to the instructions — and follow ’em!
Get A Strategic Hair Cut
In truth, there isn’t a special haircut that will give you healthier hair. However, there are a few things that will allow you to cut down on existing damage and future heat styling, both of which will equate to stronger hair.
First things first — get rid of damage. You can opt for a trim to banish split ends at the ends of hair, or get a “dusting” to eliminate broken tips throughout the lengths of hair. Then, invest in a haircut that will work with your hair texture and type — not against it — so you can air-dry more. Talk to your stylist about the chop best suited for your texture.
Incorporating no-heat and low-manipulation styles into your routine is important for long-term health. Think: A chic bun over head of barrel curls. Also, try adding oils and experimenting with braided styles to give your hair a break from hot tools and pulling.
Girls with natural hair can try a litany of protective styles, from faux dreads to box braids, to lock in moisture and protect delicate ends. If you can’t part ways with heat, wavy and curly girls should try a round-brush blowout for a straighter look that is gentle on the strands. To retain moisture while you snooze, we also suggest sleeping on a satin pillowcase as cotton often draws out water from your hair.
Find A Routine & Stick To It
Going to bed without slathering on your favorite night cream sounds like death to your complexion, right? To reset your hair, you must treat your tresses similarly. Everyone has a face ritual. People need to also establish a hair ritual. Spend 5-10 minutes on your hair by using a mask or oil and you’re set for the next two or three days.
We also suggest breaking down your hair ritual to help you craft a routine for your needs and goals. Determine what your hair type is and decide what you want to change or maintain. Then break it down into steps: cleanse and condition, moisturize and detangle, styling and finally a finishing product.
Choose products within each step that will help you rebuild damaged hair, control frizz, or retain and promote growth.
How To Get Your Curls Back After Straightening Your Hair
If you have curly hair and have worked hard to preserve your coils, getting a blowout or silk press every once in a while, may feel like you’re taking a huge risk on a super shaky investment. And to be honest, you kind of are. The good news is that what you do on wash day — both before and after the shower — can help preserve your curl pattern, prevent heat damage, and make the time spent caring for your curls worth the gamble. And it doesn’t mean losing the flexibility to switch things up, either.
First, let’s get the most pressing issue out of the way. It is completely possible to have healthy curls and rock a blowout without totally destroying your hair. What’s most important is the level of heat protection that you use when you’re styling. That, combined with taking a few extra steps during the wash process, ensures that your strands are in optimal shape to withstand heat styling.
How heat styling can affect your curls
If you’ve ever noticed that your curls aren’t 100 percent back in tip-top shape the first time you wash your hair, you’re not imagining things. If you’ve used high heat, up to 450 degrees, the bonds in your hair need time to get back into formation. If the flatiron was really hot, like 450 degrees, then it could take a few washes for the bonds [in your hair] to reorganize, even if your hair isn’t damaged per se.
So, what happens to your curls when you straighten them that makes them not bounce back? When your curls aren’t protected and heat is applied, the structural proteins within each strand are damaged. This repeated damage essentially breaks down the strand. Once the damage is done, there’s no coming back. You’ll have to either let the limp parts grow out before cutting them off, or snip them immediately. It’s important to realize the damage that heat can do to the proteins inside of the hair as well as on the surface. You need to get the benefits of the heat without the direct contact, which can lead to damage. We suggests priming hair with silicone- and dimethicone-based ingredients to protect your strands.
Silicones aren’t the enemy
Although silicones are a bit controversial for some consumers, Wilson says that it’s these ingredients that will create cross-links on the hair strand and form a film that will essentially block out excessive heat and help reduce damage. If you just can’t get behind a silicone-based product, Wilson says that certain proteins and polymers can essentially do the same thing. Look for these on the ingredient labels: hydrolyzed wheat protein, PG-propyl silanetriol, hydrolyzed keratin, PG-propyl methylsilanediol, and hydrolyzed rice protein. Ingredients like sodium laneth-40, maleate/styrene sulfonate copolymer, sodium methoxy PEG-16 maleate/styrene sulfonate copolymer, and sodium polystyrene sulfonate also help form that crucial film.
How to wash your hair before you straighten it
It’s best to start your straightening process in the shower, but before you wash, apply a protein-infused finisher or a thermal spray to help coax your curls into formation once you get under the water. The more hydrated your hair is, the more manageable it will be, which means less wear and tear on vulnerable coils. Any type of moisture, even after hair is already straightened, can help prevent damage. What the moisture does is preserve the elasticity of each strand, which when healthy, bounce back into shape once the straight bonds are broken with water.
Next, it’s on to cleansing. We recommend using a hydrating shampoo and conditioner and then follow that up with a leave-in conditioner to ensure that your curls snap back. We recommend shampoos and conditioners rich in moisturizing ingredients like argan oil, shea butter, proteins, and safflower oil. Moisture is the key factor standing between your strands and serious damage. Also, shopping for shampoos and conditioners geared toward curly hair is a good idea since most of them are created to moisturize naturally drier hair. After the shower, generously apply a leave-in conditioner and a heat-protecting spray. The combo will work in sync to keep hair hydrated and shield it from any excessive heat.
While cleansing, use a product with enough slip so that there is less friction and pulling on the hair while you scrub and detangle. “Many shampoos and conditioners geared towards curls have the right balance of conditioning agents, humectants, and surfactants to help curls bounce back. You can see it immediately when you’re working the shampoo through your hair,” says Wilson.
Caring for your hair while it’s straightened
So, you’ve fully straightened your hair. Cool. It may be tough, but in between straightenings, avoid using heat for touch-ups. If you must, always apply a heat protectant beforehand. It’s an easy step to forget each time, but could make all the difference on the state of your strands. Also, cut down on how often you’re washing. Using too much shampoo on textured hair tends to dry it out. We would recommend washing your hair every five to seven days, especially for those girls who have color.
If your straightening sessions are seasonal and you plan to wear your hair straight for the next few months, incorporate weekly protein treatments into your routine. Protein treatments are great for people who color, relax, texturize, or use high heat on their hair. It helps decrease shedding and breakage by boosting the hair with nutrients that help reconstruct and strengthen damaged hair. But, pay attention to how your hair is responding to both protein treatments and regular conditioner. If your hair is too stretched out when it’s wet, then you need more protein. If your hair snaps too easily and is brittle, then you need more moisture. Maintain a proper balance and you’ll notice stronger curls over time.
The Post Straightening Wash
The first time you wash after you straighten is equally as important as every other step already mentioned. Blowouts can really dry out hair so try to incorporate as much moisture as possible while balancing it with a light protein treatment. You may want to swap out your regular conditioner for that first wash with something that will sink in deeper. Keep in mind that you may have also compromised hair’s ability to hold on to moisture — so you want to add proteins back to the hair that can help restore how well it retains hydration.
We recommend doing a good conditioning mask and a steam treatment right before that first wash. Also, try to stay away from heavy products that can weigh the hair down and stretch out the curls even further. Look for products that specifically say “curl enhancing” or “curl defining. They’ll most likely be lightweight and may even have some ingredients to help reshape each coil.
Now go forth, and straighten your hair without compromising your glorious curls.
Hair Care Myths Debunked
Everyone has a hair care routine they have been practicing for years. While some hair care rules you should still swear by, others may actually be a myth. These mythical hair care rules can actually do more damage than good to your hair. We are here to help by breaking down some of these myths and debunking them for good.
Frequent haircuts make hair grow faster
The reason why your hair seems to grow longer after every cut actually has nothing to do with the act of growing. Your hair grows from hair follicles on your scalp, so technically, it is always growing at the same rate, whether or not you have recently cut your hair.
Split dead ends are removed when you get a professional haircut, making hair growth more noticeable. When dead ends are not removed, they grow fragile and break, making hair seem like it is growing slower when, in reality, it is growing at its normal rate.
Brushing makes hair shinier
This myth actually has an adverse effect. If hair is brushed too frequently, the cuticles are damaged, and the hair appears to be duller. To prevent damage from brushing, start at the bottom of your hair and work your way up. Always avoid brushing too hard around the scalp.
Removing one grey hair causes two more to grow in its place
This is a common fear but, luckily, it is a myth. Grey hairs are caused by the hair follicle, so plucking it will make the grey hair temporarily disappear, but it does not affect the surrounding follicles.
Hair grows faster when you sleep with it down
Hair growth remains the same no matter what you do, and it depends on genetics. Although sleeping with your hair down does not change the rate of growth, it does protect hair from damage. If you are concerned your skin will break out by sleeping with your hair down, sleep with a loose braid or ponytail to keep your hair away from your face.
Blow drying causes damage
This myth is only true if you improperly blow-dry your hair. Do not use the highest heat setting or hold the blow dryer too close to the hair. Instead, blow-dry on a low heat and hold the dryer at a distance to prevent excessive damage. Use high-quality moisture to protect your hair from the heat.
Air drying is better than blow drying
Exposing hair for long periods of time to water causes the hair’s interior to swell. This actually proves to be more damaging in the long-term.
Oil makes hair greasy
If you apply oil directly to the scalp then yes, this myth is true. Small amounts of oil applied to the ends of your hair, however, does not make your hair greasy. Instead, it makes it shine.
Coloring during pregnancy is dangerous
The real concern is ammonia inhalation, not absorption through the scalp. Always consult your stylist before considering dying your hair to get a professional opinion, and if pregnant, do not dye your hair at home.
Using the same conditioner and shampoo repeatedly does not cause hair to become immune to its effects. Hair is dead, therefore, it is impossible for it to build immunity to something.
Your mind may actually make this myth seem real. If you use the same product repeatedly, its newness wears off, and your perception changes, making you think it is no longer having a beneficial effect.
Coloring causes damage
This myth does hold some truth, depending on the chemicals in your hair dye. This is why it is vital to see a specialist for your coloring needs; this way they can assess your scalp’s needs and choose a dye that will not damage or burn the scalp.
Dry shampoo is better for your scalp than regular
With the rise in popularity of dry shampoo, it is understandable that a few myths will surface. The reality is that dry shampoo does not clean hair, but makes it appear to be clean.
Your scalp needs hydration, which is accomplished through the use of a proper shampoo. Save the dry shampoo for when you really are in a pinch, but still wash your hair regularly for a healthy scalp.
Baldness in men is inherited from their mother
Researchers suspect that baldness is the result of multiple genes from both parents. The old thought process that baldness is passed on by the mother’s X chromosome has no scientific proof.
Dandruff signifies a dry scalp
Contrary to popular belief, dandruff is actually the result of an oily scalp, not a dry scalp. The yeast which results in dandruff production thrives in an oily environment, so decreasing how often you wash your hair to decrease dandruff has the opposite effect.
If you are struggling with dandruff, then use a specialized anti-dandruff shampoo.
Products made for or marketed to a specific race/ethnicity cannot be used by those of other backgrounds
The ingredients in a product matter much more than to whom the product is marketed. In fact, most products have the same set of three to five base ingredients. Products for “ethnic” hair types tend to be more moisturizing and have more oils and proteins than those for other hair types. Damaged hair needs a good dose of moisture, proteins and oil to regain its healthy appearance.
The same holds true for products marketed to those with color-treated hair. Even if your hair is not dyed, using a product for color-treated hair can be beneficial because these shampoo formulas tend to be gentler (to preserve easily washed away hair color) and conditioners tend to be super-conditioning, but lightweight, to help reduce dryness from the coloring process.
Post Work Out Hair Tips
Let’s admit it. We’ve all skipped a workout to keep our hair looking fresh for a little while longer. Sometimes, dealing with a greasy mess of hair just isn’t worth it when you have plans with friends, are off to work, or just can’t bear the thought of going through your entire hair wash routine. No judgement here.
Still, skipping out on a good, sweaty workout sesh to keep your hair clean also isn’t the best solution. That’s why we’ve gathered our favorite ways to get fresh hair after the gym quicky—no washing required. Whether you’re meeting up with friends for brunch post hot yoga, heading out on a date after your favorite SoulCycle class, or making a mad dash to work after your morning workout, read on to learn how to get amazing post-workout hair.
BEFORE THE GYM
APPLY DRY SHAMPOO
AKA the Wonder Woman of haircare products, the Queen B, the Crowning Glory. Whatever you want to call it, dry shampoo is the haircare product every woman has and needs in their hair care arsenal.
Along with properly stretching, a major part of your pre-workout routine should also be applying dry shampoo if washing your hair post-workout isn’t an option. Before tossing your hair into a ponytail or messy bun, begin by sectioning off various pieces of your hair and hitting the roots with dry shampoo. Be sure to pay a little extra attention to the nape of your neck, since that area tends to build up sweat a lot more. Applying dry shampoo pre-workout will help it absorb moisture the minute you break a sweat and will continue to absorb it throughout your workout, keeping it much drier than it would normally be by the time you’re finished. Controlling the amount of moisture in your hair will keep it fresher and helps cut down on the time it takes to style your mane post workout.
Another added benefit of making this your pre-workout hair routine is that you won’t have to wash your hair after every single workout, preserving the natural oils in your hair and preventing dryness.
THINK AHEAD, CHOOSE THE RIGHT GYM HAIRSTYLE
Although not the most glamorous, a sweatband will help absorb sweat as it develops around your hairline, helping to minimize how ‘dirty’ your hair gets throughout your workout. Opt for thick, soft bands instead of tight thin ones, as those can leave a stubborn indent right at the top of your head, which is hard to get rid of without a shower.
MESSY LOW BUN
Pulling your hair up and away from the nape of your neck in a loose pony or messy bun is also important as it avoids getting your ends drenched in sweat and minimizes creasing. To avoid those pesky and notorious creases you get from conventional hair elastics, we recommend investing in several spiral hair ties or ribbon hair ties. These work on all hair types and provide a decent hold on your hair without pulling and creasing.
If you have curly, wavy, or textured hair, braids are a classic way to keep hair from becoming wild and unruly during a workout, enhancing your natural texture. If your hair is straight, the humidity at the gym will lead to heatless waves after your workout.
AFTER THE GYM
2 MINUTE BLOW OUT
Whether you’re popping in a pair of extensions before going out for the night or touching up your roots with mascara because there wasn’t enough time that week for a color touch up, it’s important to know which shortcuts to take and how to take them so that they don’t look like you took the shorter route to get ready.
To get that salon-quality look after the gym, let’s first review everything you need to permanently house in your gym bag for the perfect post-workout hairstyle: Comb, round brush, dry shampoo, and blowout cream.
To achieve that post-workout express blowout without turning into a frazzled hot mess, start by applying the products you know your hair needs; that might look like an extra dusting of dry shampoo along with a blow dry cream that’s applied all through your hair. Next, thoroughly dry your hair. Leaving behind any moisture (especially by the roots) causes hair to become frizzy and puffy. Flip your hair forward so that it is upside down, continue to blow dry hair and brush through various sections with a round brush. An added bonus is that blow drying your hair with your head flipped forward will actually create volume and body for that salon blowout effect.
Next, apply dry shampoo at your temples, and any other areas that require a bit of extra love. Run a comb through your hair to distribute the dry shampoo to any sections you may have accidentally skipped over and will help your mane look neat and polished.
If dry shampoos aren’t really your thing or you’d prefer to avoid loading up products, which can often weigh down hair, try experimenting with different astringents. Products like witch hazel and other toners work to balance the oils on your skin without being too harsh or stripping too much of your body’s natural oils. After you’re done getting zen at hot yoga, a quick and simple way to freshen up your scalp and manage greasy hair is to start by loading up a cotton ball with your favorite astringent, section off the hair like you would when applying dry shampoo and dap the cotton throughout your scalp. Finally, give your hair a blast of air all over using low heat.
EMBRACE THE GRIT: SLICKED BACK PONY TAIL
One of the most underrated and underappreciated hairstyles is the slicked-back bun, which exudes an air of elegance and sophistication. Instead of fighting with your oily hair, why not embrace the grit? Brush your hair back with a paddle brush or comb, and twist it into a low bun or ponytail. Then, apply a few drops of hair oil to exaggerate the sleek look, spritz on a little hairspray to tame fly-aways, and you’re set to head out the door!
WEAR A HAT
Throwing on a hat post workout may seem like an easy way out but realistically the majority of us don’t always have the luxury or the time to spend our mornings beautifying ourselves and styling our hair. Not only that, not everyone is always willing to sacrifice an extra 20 minutes of sleep for time in front of the mirror. Wearing a hat to camouflage a dirty mane is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and with athleisure fashion taking over, you can chalk your new hat up to keeping up with the trends.
HAIR PERFUME MIST
So, you’ve refreshed your body and face with lovely scents, but what about your hair? Fragrant hair mists are specifically designed to load your hair up with a delicious scent, perfect for that post-workout refresh. Different from a perfume designed for the body, hair perfume mists contain essential vitamins and protective qualities to keep your hair not only smelling good, but looking and feeling good from the inside out. Hair perfumes also contain less alcohol than traditional body perfumes, which are known culprits of dry, damaged hair.
If you have wavy or curly hair, use your favorite sulfate-free and alcohol-free styling cream to twist and scrunch the hair to help it maintain the curl. An extra tip is to apply leave-in conditioner before your sesh, to hydrate those curls while you work out.
If your hair isn’t prone to getting too frizzy, then you can indulge in a quick rinse and let your hair air dry. For a nice touch, twist the front sections of your hair back and pin them down.
There are plenty of clever ways to manage your hair after a sweaty workout. As always, when it comes to hair, it’s about experimenting and figuring out what works best for you. At the end of the day, no one ever regretted working out, so wear your sleek ponytail proudly and know that you’re working on a healthy body and mind from the inside out.