My hair is my crowning pride and glory. I am very vain about my hair, and take many extra steps to ensure my hair’s health and beauty. It doesn’t take much, but a bit of extra care can really make a difference in the manageability and health of one’s hair.
I have always had very thick lustrous, dark hair, which grows wavy when it’s longer. When I was younger I wanted to have straight hair, but I’ve made my peae with my curls, and I’m growing my (currently chin-length) hair, hoping to reach the length of my elbows in about five or six years. It’s only in my adult years that I’ve grown passionate about hair care, but I’ve learned quite a bit from my travels through beauty magazines, websites, blogs, and books.
As a teenager, I struggled with hair that seemed to be perpetually greasy, no matter how many times I shampooed it. As an adult, I tried many different oil-free shampoos formulated for greasy hair, but they would always be limited by a serious flaw: About four hours after my shower, the hair around my forehead would start to get oily again, but the rest of my hair would remain clean.
I wept bitter, oily tears over fighting this losing battle, but when I moved to university and didn’t need to use the “family” shampoo any longer, I discovered the wonderful world of shampoos that didn’t come from the drug store or Costco, which actually did something to combat the oil everywhere without making my hair feel like straw, and I learned the importance of shampooing every other day, rather than every day, so that my hair didn’t feel stripped of its natural oils and overcompensate on producing them.
I have several favourite shampoos which I alternate between depending on my mood, needs, and price range, my absolute top two for every other day are Bumble & Bumble’s Seaweed shampoo and LUSH’s Jumping Juniper shampoo bar. For conditioner, I’m quite partial to LUSH yet again, they have a wonderful American Cream conditioner which softens my hair, makes it bouncy, and gives shine and definition to the natural waves and curls of my hair.
About twice a week, I like giving my hair something a bit more enriching than just regular conditioner, and deep condition it. Alterna’s Ten Hair Masque is the best one I’ve used; I’ve heard people recommend home-made alternatives with eggs, mayonnaise, and other ingredients, but mayonnaise and raw eggs both gross me out so much that I simply can’t bring myself to put them anywhere near my head, especially if I have to smell them. Yuck. I massage a wee dollop of the hair masque from the ends of my hair to my scalp, put a towel around my shoulders, and wait around for twenty minutes before hopping into the shower to wash it all off.
Out of the shower, the best things I do for my hair involve two tools: A bakelite “bone” comb, and a boar bristle brush. Bakelite combs are a wonderful invention, they don’t scratch the way plastic combs do, or build up static, and the lack of seams means that they don’t snag on your hair. I’m an ultra-sensitive autistic who hated combing her hair or even having her scalp touched as a child, so it’s a testament to the power of these combs (and a good conditioner) that I look forward to combing my hair now and actually comb as a means of stimming and soothing now. I also brush my hair with a boar bristle brush. Boar bristles naturally distribute the oils in your hair, making it shinier and healthier with prolonged, regular use. Since the majority of my curls and waves happen at the nape of my neck, under the “top” layer of hair, I’m fond of either tipping my head and combing the underside of my hair to smooth them out, or combing the underside up, so that my hair is more bouncy.
My big weakness when it comes to “unhealthy” indulgences for my hair is dyeing it. My hair is currently this shade of purple/burgundy, and in the future I intend to dye it with henna and indigo, so I can resemble a Zinaida Serabriakova painting. Dyeing hair isn’t the healthiest practice for one’s hair, but as a rule of thumb, henna dyes are better than ones from a box, and improve the feel, health, and texture of your hair, in fact! It’s just important to do your homework, pick a shade you like (since it is permanent) do a strand test, and take extra care to preserve the colour, like switching to a colour-safe shampoo, and maybe shampooing about once every three days, rather than once every other day. When I dye my hair with henna, I like mixing in other things, like a half a cup of red wine, or some coffee grounds, or (pure, 100%) juice like blueberry or pomegranate, for richer colours.
That’s about all I do with my hair, at the moment. It’s not long enough for any particularly fancy hairdos, but when I have long enough hair, I intend to braid and experiment to my heart’s content. I’ll probably always be the type to just let it flow wild and free, though.