How I Maintain Long and Healthy Hair 101

_MSL7953Is it redundant to add the 101? Meh, it just sounds cooler that way! Photos by MSL Photography_MSL7919

So first off, here’s a brief background on my hair. Ever since I was little, my hair has been extremely thick and grows at a normal pace (about 1/2 inch per month). I have been dying it at home and in the salon including bleach, toning, natural colors, and fashion colors since 2008. Y’know, back in those wannabe scene kid days when we were all full of teen angst and rocking out to alternative music (or at least that’s how it was for me!). Basically, my hair has suffered a great deal from countless hairscapades. I only started growing it out this long around 2012 and now, in 2015, this is its current length!

BUT, enough about me. Let’s talk haircare.

(and in no way am I a certified hair expert, but this is simply what I personally do to maintain my hair)

TIP #1: Cut Down On Them Cuts

Let’s be real. It’s frustrating when you want to grow your hair out to be long and healthy, but you keep finding yourself going to get it cut. Essentially, you end up like a hamster running around a wheel. Now, I firmly believe that one of the keys to maintaining healthy, long hair is making sure you get rid of any dead, split ends, so, in order to do this without constantly cutting your hair and going nowhere in terms of length, I tend to focus on doing whatever it takes to prevent my hair follicles from withering up so that I don’t need to get it cut so often. I only cut my hair about 2-4 times a year now! This means, faster results! Which leads me to my next tip…

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Tip #2: Wash Less 

While its important to wash your body regularly, if your hair can handle it it’s best to try and wash it every other day or every 2 days even. Oh, and use cold water! Shampooing frequently can especially dry your hair and scalp out and make it more prone to breakage. It also gives your hair time to moisturize itself with the natural oils from your scalp. To keep my hair clean in the in between periods, I avoid putting any extra product in my hair aside from my usual after-conditioner Moroccan Oil and the occasional finishing shine spray. Dry Shampoo is also a holy grail item for me that helps prolong my hairstyle…a total lifesaver. I even carry a mini with me in my purse!

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Tip #3: Put Down The Hair Dryer!

It’s no secret that using heat tools on your hair can create some serious damage. Schedule your showers so you have time to air dry your hair and try to avoid all heat tools at all costs (or at least keep it to a bare minimum for special occasions). Trust me, your hair will thank you!

Tip #4: Keep It Fresh….water

With this hot summer weather comes lots of beach and pool trips as well as other shenanigans that can cause all kinds of dirt and chemicals to get soaked up by your hair. No need to hold back from all the fun, but just be sure to rinse it all out of your hair in cold, fresh water right away!

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Tip #5: The Deal With Friction 

If you’ve been around me and my long hair, you know it distresses me when my hair has friction applied to it–whether it be laying on it when I lie down or rubbing it with a towel when it’s wet or especially when I put on a backpack and it gets stuck under the straps (that’s the worst!). To avoid putting friction on my hair and causing breakage, I prevent all of the above situations and the like from happening by  consciously positioning my hair so it’s free from any rubs and tugs. Tedious, but necessary if you want to prevent your hair from being exposed to any breakage-inducing conditions!

Tip #6: Brush Off

I confess. I only brush my hair once each time after I shower. Hey, no shame though! This is just to detangle and smooth out my hair and that’s it. I just wait till my hair is about 80% dry and brush it out. Realistically, overbrushing your hair won’t lead your hair to grow out like Rapunzel; it’ll only make your hair more prone to breakage and fraying.

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Tip #7: Understand Your Hair

In the end, it all can only be determined by what you feel works best for your hair. Whether it’s knowing the highest level of bleaching and the range of colors which your hair can take or using the right shampoo and conditioner combo, they all cohesively come into play together in the journey to long and healthy hair. For reference I’ve currently been obsessed with using the Schwarzkopf shampoo and conditioner lines, and the best thing about it is that they’re sold at a great price at Walmart!

I also wanted to try going silver for the longest time, but after experiencing knotty silver ends in the after-fade of my purple ombré, I just knew my hair wouldn’t be able to make it through all that processing and not look as dry as the Sahara Desert. So, it sucks, but sometimes you gotta understand what styles and colors your hair can achieve in its current state.

Basically, keep it simple and be patient! Everyone’s body is different and the journey to long, healthy hair requires a dedication to a routine. So that was my two cents, and I hope it helps you out in some way 🙂 Good luck!

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