I’ve never been very good at looking after my hair – I admit, I’m a slacker with my conditioning, a bleaching fiend, and a heat junkie. My poor hair has taken a fair bit of flack from me over the years, and – as I’ve mentioned in a few of my recent posts – I’ve now seen the error of my ways, and I’m seriously paying for my (pretty awful) hair decisions.
If your hair is crying out for some much-needed TLC, you’ve come to the right place. These tips are for severely damaged hair which is in dire need of loving. Here are some of my favourite products and tips to giving your locks some va-va-voom.
Every girl has been moaned at by her hairdresser for heat usage over the years. Don’t use straighteners! Let your hair air-dry! Use sleep rollers instead of curlers!
To this I say: shut up.
No, seriously. Be realistic here. I have a terrifying poodle afro that frankly, cannot be tamed without wielding my GHDs in a cloud of steam. It takes ten minutes to transform my bird’s nest into a sleek bob, and until someone invents a heat-free alternative, hairdryers, straighteners and curlers are not leaving my daily routine.
So what’s the next best thing? Heat protection. To tell you to cut out the heat is unrealistic, but everyone can take ten seconds to mist some spritz over their wet hair before drying. I like the Bumble and Bumble BB Does it All Styling Spray, which not only protects, but helps the hair keep its shape.
Wet, Wet, Wet
I’m extremely busy being fabulous and important (honest), so sometimes, conditioning takes a back seat. If I’m in a hurry, standing around in the shower with a head full of conditioner just isn’t exactly the best use of my time.
If a daily condition isn’t top of your list of priorities, make sure your thirsty hair is getting some moisture regardless. Invest in a product which moisturizes and replenishes hair which only takes thirty seconds to apply, such as a leave in conditioner or a colour protect oil. My favourite is Paul Smith’s Argan Oil, which leaves my hair feeling silky soft after a pea-sized amount is brushed through wet hair.
Pills and Potions
Damaged hair is unhappy hair, and unhappy hair doesn’t want to grow. In order to make your hair happier and grow faster, invest in some hair and nail vitamins. Hairfinity is all over the internet at the moment, but a cheaper alternative is Biotin, which contains Hairfinity’s primary ingredient and promotes thicker, healthier, faster-growing hair.
I bought my Biotin from Holland & Barrett for £5, and it’s done wonders: read my review and comparison with Hairfinity here.
Dye It Right
If you have to dye your hair, make sure you’re dying it correctly. Here are some tips for dying your hair without killing it.
- No ammonia does not necessarily mean no bleach, or no damage. All hair dye is going to affect your hair in some way.
- Follow packet instructions. Don’t leave dye on any longer than advised, otherwise you wind up with severely dried out locks.
- Use semi permanent for less-drastic colour changes; semi dyes don’t contain a bleaching agent, so are better for your tresses. For crazy colours that wash out, try Manic Panic, which is the jazzy alternative to a rinse.
- Dye dirty hair. Dirty hair has an oil barrier on it, which helps protect the hair from dye damage.
- Deep condition straight away after dying – this is not the time for a quick run through with a moisture balm. This is time for the big guns. Ask your hairdresser for a recommendation (and don’t just rely on the dye box conditioner – they’re usually pants).
- Protect your colour with appropriate shampoos and conditioners. Invest in colour protect heat products too – the Kerastase ranges are fab for this.
In order to avoid dying and re-dying too often, make sure you pick the right box colour for you. Your hair is probably not going to look like the photo-shopped model’s on the box. You need to pick the right shade based on the numbers and tones displayed on the packet:
1 Very black 2 Super Dark Brown 3 Darker Brown 4 Medium Brown 5 Lighter Brown 6 Darker Blonde 7 Medium Blonde 8 Lighter Blonde 9 Very Light Blonde 10 Lightest Blonde
For more specific details regarding tones, have a look at the ICC (International Colour Chart).
Also, you’ve got red hair and you want to go golden brown? Use a dye with ash tones. Learn which colours neutralize each other to achieve your desired look using a hair colour wheel. The less you need to dye your hair after botched dos, the less damage you cause. If you’re going to do it, do it right.
Like a Virgin
When dying or styling your hair, try and be careful of your virgin hair. This is root growth after colouring – it’s softer and healthier than your coloured or frazzled ends.
Try and protect your roots – for example, if you’re dying your hair back to your natural shade, don’t dye the virgin hair. Get your virgin hair a chastity belt ASAP and keep it pure!
It’s all about moisture, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes your hair just needs a break, so I like to use a clarifying shampoo once or twice a week, which gets rid of all the product in your hair.
My favourite bargain buy for this is Boot’s Essentials Clarifying Shampoo, which gets all the build-up of product washed away. Your hair will feel so much lighter after this, and far less greasy, as moisturizing products can weigh hair down.
Look, you’re not stupid. Don’t fight your hair and it won’t fight you back. However, sometimes we can’t all be hair angels, and we make mistakes: you just need to learn how to fix them. Hair growth and repair does take time, but with perseverance and dedication, you’ll have beautiful tresses to be proud of.