You guys have been requesting a post on haircare tips for a while now! So, I’m happy to be bringing you some of the best haircare tips straight from the experts. The experts being my hairdresser of the last 10 years (yes 10!) and yours truly 😉
If you know me at all, you know that my hair is something of a point of pride for me. It used to border on an obsession, but I like to think I’ve toned it down over the last few years. Think of a hairstyle or color, and I’ve likely had it. So short that I couldn’t grip it in the back to almost down to my waist. From white-blonde to dark brown and even orange, I’ve put my hair through a lot! But, I’ve also learned a lot about how to best take care of my hair to ensure healthy growth and volume. Today, I’m sharing the best haircare tips I’ve picked up along the way. Many of which have come directly from my hair stylist, Amber.
By the way, if you’re in the Madison, WI area, I encourage you to seek out Amber for your next cut/color. She’s taken me from a super short bob circa ’09 to long locks and back. She’s also responsible for my many hair colors. She is a GENIUS and just a cool chick (in addition to being drop dead gorgeous)! And, she is one of the people I miss most from Madison! She has no idea I’m writing this post or giving her a shout-out, so this is in no way sponsored by her! Here’s her Facebook and her Instagram. Leave her some love!!
On to the hair – Here are my 5 expert tips for the gorgeous healthy hair you’ve ALWAYS wanted!
1. Products Matter
If you’re like me, living with a frugal person or are a frugal person, you’re likely always trying to save that extra buck. Skimping on hair products can seem like an easy way to do this. However, by buying cheap, drugstore hair products you’re doing your hair a disfavor. Many drugstore products contain sulfates and parabens. Sulfates create that lathering effect in shampoos, and parabens are preservatives to keep your shampoo fresh.
In recent years, scientists have determined that these two ingredients are actually dangerous to our scalps when used. Suflates can be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and can lead to hair loss given the abrasive nature of the chemical. They also are extremely drying on your hair as they eliminate a majority of the oil from our scalps, some of which we need to keep our hair healthy and moisturized! Parabens have been linked to other cancers (notably breast tumors) and have been known to irritate certain skin conditions.
The science behind these two chemicals is ongoing, and there are still questions as to the exact link between sulfates/parabens and cancers. However, why not be safe than sorry and avoid these two ingredients altogether?
Alterna Haircare is a great company that sells affordable, high-end shampoos/conditioners that are sulfate and paraben free. Their Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture shampoo and conditioner are good for any hair type. And, as you can guess from the title, they’re perfect for fighting the effects of aging in hair. I started using this line from a sample I got at Sephora, fell so in love with it that I know purchase them in the 16.5oz tubs. It’s all I’ve used the last 18 months. My sister started using the line last fall, and we’re both convinced it’s made our hair thicker even though it’s not advertised to do so. I am in LOVE with their products, and you’ll see a lot of them in this post.
2. Wash & Condition Your Hair The Right Way
You’re probably thinking, there’s not a lot to that right? You just wash and condition it? Wrong! This is something my hairdresser clued me in on a few years ago that was life changing to me. I complained to her that I felt like I was going through an insane amount of shampoo every day for how short my hair was then. She told me that most people will get their hair wet before shampooing and “wring” it out so to speak to get excess water out. You should NOT do this. When you shampoo your hair, you want your hair to be sopping wet all the way to your scalp. This helps the shampoo slide between the hair and scalp to help it lather better. Think – if you apply hand soap on dry hands, it doesn’t lather, right? But, once you add water it instantly lathers. I promise if you try this, you will use about 1/3 of the shampoo you normally do!
When you condition, you should gently wring your hair out to remove excess water. Then condition from the mid-shaft down. After the conditioner is through your ends, you can lightly run your hands through the top of your hair if you need to; however, only do this with a very small amount of conditioner. More conditioner on your scalp = a lot more build-up.
3. Wash Your Hair 1-3 Times a Week
If I could capture the look on people’s faces when I tell them I only wash my hair once a week – LOL – it’s priceless! It’s easy to wash my hair less frequently when it’s longer, but I still only washed it 2-3 times a week pre-extensions. I have two secrets to get away with this. One, dry shampoo. Say it with me, dry shampoo is your best friend. I only ever use this dry shampoo because it actually cleans your hair instead of just masking it with products (technology!). I use it 4-5 times a week and a can lasts me about 2-3 months depending.
Second secret – have a routine for how you style your hair when it gets dirty. This might look like day 1: hair straight, day 2: hair curled, day 3: hair half up or braided, day 4: top knot. That way, as your hair gets greasier you don’t have to use as much dry shampoo on all of it. You can put parts of it up to hide the dirtier areas. It also takes the hassle out of thinking about how to style your hair for the day!
4. Use a Scalp Exfoliator Every 1-2 Weeks
Ever feel like the water in the shower just hits your head and runs off, never getting absorbed by your hair? Or maybe, your freshly washed hair looks greasy and oily within hours of washing it? Or maybe, you have little white flecks/balls in your hair that don’t look like dandruff but are definitely coming from your scalp? You likely have product build-up on your hands.
When you don’t wash your hair frequently, use dry shampoo, use cheaper products or even just use a lot of products on a daily basis, you’re bound to get scalp build-up. I was helping a girlfriend with her hair for a party last year and had a feeling she had a build-up situation going on. She complained about her hair getting greasy quickly, and I noticed it just felt like there was product in it even though she had washed it an hour prior. When asked, she confirmed it felt like shampoo just ran off it. I had her get this Scalp Exfoliator that I use. When I saw her next, I could tell she had used it. Her hair looked like she had 3X the volume as normal because it was no longer weighed down by product, and she was so happy to have healthy hair again.
Even with extensions, I still use this facial scalp exfoliator (hello, dry shampoo queen over here!). However, I just use it on my crown above where the first extensions are. You can find this scalp exfoliator here (called “Exfoliating Scalp Facial”). I originally bought it from Sephora, but it’s actually 1/3 of the price on Amazon, and it’s the same product!
5. Don’t Forget Your Ends
We’ve paid a lot of attention to your roots and scalp in this post. However, the ends of your hair, especially in this dry weather, are equally important. Maintaining healthy ends allows you to go to the hairdresser less frequently and allows your hair to grow healthier and longer faster. At the same time I tried the shampoo and conditioner, I also tried Alterna’s CC cream for hair and fell in love. It protects against 10 different things (UV light, heat etc) and makes your hair incredibly shiny. I put this on my hair, mid-shaft down, before drying. After drying, I apply Moroccan Oil to my ends to eliminate any frizziness. Both of these products are pricey up front, but I haven’t replaced either in over a year and still have half of the bottles left. So, they’re definitely worth the investment!
A side note – all of the products I listed are SAFE to use on tape-in hair extensions! Just be sure you do not use Moroccan Oil anywhere near your bonds or else they will slip (any oil based product can cause slippage!).
Follow these 5 tips, and you’ll have gorgeous hair in no time! I’ve linked all of the products in the descriptions and in the “shop the post” widget below. I also linked my robe which is under $40! If you’re thinking of getting any products, I highly suggest the Alterna Shampoo and Conditioner. Having a solid shampoo/conditioner will go a long way for getting you that healthy, gorgeous hair you’ve always wanted!
Do you have any tips or tricks you swear by for haircare? Let me know in the comments below!
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