I am on a mission to grow out my hair and wanted to give you the best of tips and tricks I have learned along the way. Growing up, my mother always kept my sister and I’s hair short and ‘easy’. I remember in fifth and sixth grade wanting so badly to have long hair. I finally refused to go get my hair cut. I wanted it long and flowing. For my mother, it was about getting the best bang for your dollar, so a trim had to be one to two inches to count. When in actuality, to grow your hair out, you only want micro, 1/4 inch trims. No matter the length, it takes the same amount of skill and time to cut (when done right), severs the majority of the brittle ends, and allows the hair shaft to keep growing strong and lustrous.
When I refused to get my hair cut, at that point, I started to take my hair into my own hands. I do not recall how often I went after that to get my hair cut when I was younger, but I managed to get my hair full and lengthly in about four to five years. It was not as healthy, however, as it could have been and that is what I changed this time around growing it out. It may have been also the dryness in the air moving out to California and the summer sun’s more drying affects, quite a change from the humidity, rain, and snow of Nebraska. I kept it fairly long all the way through high school and the beginning of college, at various points getting shorter or longer as I pleased. I would often be convinced by hairdressers that layers would add volume, but it only took away from my finer hair in the end.
When I went to live in London to study abroad my sophomore year in college, it was only a few weeks into my stay and I went to have my hair cut. I wanted layers, I wanted a little different look, and something to give my hair an extra bounce than just the long, undulating length I had settled with for a number of years (and having very little direction about how to actually care for hair, had no idea how to tame it). Unfortunately, the crazy London hairdresser took it too far, potentially he was having a bad day if I gave him the benefit of the doubt (ok, no, he was crazy), and he gave me a hair cut I still shiver at thinking about it to this day. Probably the second cut he took was taken right from the middle of the top of my head, super close and leaving only about seven inches of hair from the top. I was shocked, but at that point, how could I go back? He had to finish. He cut so many layers, he left the bottom with nearly nothing. I walked out hoping somehow it was not true and this was what I had asked for, something new, right? Later when I walked home, my friends asked me if I was alright because apparently my face looked completely white with all the color having drained out. The crazy thing about this is it changed my life, and my appearance forever. It was a new start in a way that I completely regretted and needed all at the same time. Things happen like that in life, don’t they?
Photo. Tibet, on a rooftop on the “Rooftop of the World. 2010.
With these short stories told, as I feel they are necessary to share with you some of my personal growing pains with hair, let us talk my favorite hair products and tips from the shower, getting ready, to facing the day, and having your hair healthy and looking great.
Acure, Pure Mint and Echinacea Stem Cell Shampoo
I like to trade off the John Masters shampoo I use with this because it is more moisturizing and relatively inexpensive at Whole Foods. Mint on the scalp is invigorating to me, especially in the summer.
John Masters, Zinc and Sage Shampoo with Conditioner
I recommend for only a couple times a week, or for those with especially oily hair types. It is a bit drying, but totally a favorite because of its strong Madagascar Vanilla scent. I just want to eat a cinnamon bun and sip a japanese green tea latté when I wash my hair with it.
Kevin Murphy, Born Again Wash Shampoo
For that special day when your hair just really needs some T.L.C. Great product, very natural and organic ingredients.
Acure, Moroccan Argan Stem Cell and Argan Oil Conditioner
When I was in Morocco, I actually bought freshly raw-pressed Argan oil and poured it on my cereal in the mornings. I swear my hair and skin felt perfect on that trip. I am a big fan of Argan oil, for its healing properties and oh how shiny it makes hair!
John Masters, Lavender and Avocado Intensive Conditioner
My favorite, because my hair is more dry, something I can use every other day (if not for the higher price!). I first tried this conditioner on a summer holiday. It always takes me back to those sunny, blissful days with sun-kissed glowing skin and a radiant energy coursing through my body.
Eufora Beautifying Serum
Nearly everyday or every other day when I take I shower, I will step out, pat my hair dry, and run a tiny dollop of this through the ends of my hair. Great strengthening hair product and lets me take a comb through my hair as easy as key lime pie; not at all oily, but not too much at the scalp either.
Kevin Murphy Hair Resort Spray
Want to close your eyes for a few seconds, spray this over after you straighten, curl, or pull back your hair, and pretend like you are at a five-star resort in the Maldives? Look no further. It is like a perfume for your hair, people will ask you what scent you are wearing. Also, very pure ingredients (the best I have found for hair spray) and not a heavy spray product that weighs down or coats your hair with an unnecessarily glaze.
Kerastase Resistance, Fibre Architecte Heat Protector.
While not organic (contains some dyes and a hydrogenated oil; I am an ingredient label reader), it is one of those times where you need a product from France (oui oui) to protect your locks from heat (e.g. your curling iron) no matter. I recommend it for special occasions and needing that extra-protection.
Turbo Power, Mega Power 4000
5. If you take a shower at night, braid your hair so it does not break at night when you are sleeping. While I do not know if this actually makes a huge difference, a girl I met who had gorgeous long hair gave me that tip when I asked her about her hair, and it at least in theory goes back to the idea that you do not want your hair cuticle to break so the braid will keep it protected. And, regardless, wake up to wavy locks the next day!