SECRETS TO LUSCIOUS, LONG HAIR

Malibu, California

Dear Reader,
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. Study Abroad, London, before my haircut.  2009.
Photo. Study Abroad, Greece, after my haircut.  2009.

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.
PRODUCTS.

Shampoo

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.
Conditioner
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.

Products for Extra Bounce and Va-Va Voom

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.
Hair Dryer
Turbo Power, Mega Power 4000

In some circumstances, you really pay for what you get.  It is worth investing in a quality hair dryer when you can because you will have it for a really long time and every time you use it, you will be protecting your hair instead of damaging it.  This dryer I recommend is made in Italy.  I love it because it has ceramic, nano, and tourmaline plates that ionizes the hair to kindly dry and close the hair cuticle to protect it from the elements.  I am sure there are many hair dryers out there that have these properties as well, so whatever you go for look for something similar for a good effect.  I also love that is makes my hair super shiny (not oily) after a quick blow dry (often I select the cold heat option on the dryer and it works well) and in many cases now that I dry with this I have no need for a straight iron.
Tips
1. Think of your hair like snake skin.  Do not ruffle it the wrong way (i.e. up).  Think down.  Pat dry your hair with a towel after the shower, do not harangue and ruffle it.  Keep the wide-tooth comb when it is wet going down and hold your hair with your hands at the root if you have a knot (be patient), and work it out. 🙂
2. Get micro-trim hair cuts about every two months.  No layers (at least for the time being as you work to volumize), have hair dresser cut at the bottom, straight-across for the fullest looking hair.
3. Do not dye your hair, it strips your hair of important nutrients leaving it unhealthy and dull.  I really believe in my heart young people (before the hair greys essentially, I am not going to go into whether or not older woman should dye their hair or not; in my opinion that is completely up to them and at that point they have earned a right to do what they want) who die their hair do not look as good as they do with the natural hair colour God gave them.  Do try and return to your true colour and just let you and your hair be who you are meant to be.
4. Buy a few inexpensive, medium to large hair clips. Leave one in your shower.  After adding conditioner to your hair, wrap your hair up at the top of your head and let the conditioner sit for awhile to maximize the conditioning treatment.  What the clip does is keep your hair out of the water stream leaving the conditioner time to set in.  At the end of your shower, unclip and rinse.
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!
6. After my hair has dried, I use a normal everyday Ecotools Earth-Friendly Beauty, Smoothing Detangler Hair brush.  I am not an expert on hair brushes, but I find this one perfect for my finer (although much thicker hair thanks to my hair make-over over the years) hair type.  CVS, Ecotools Detangler Hairbrush
Photo.  Think of your hair like a flower.  It needs the proper amount of moisture and nourishment, according to its unique properties (just like you!).  Make sure your products are clean from unnecessary chemicals and synthetic ingredients, and it will keep you and your body healthy.  If you feel like your hair is too greasy you are likely using too much product, or if its feeling brittle and dry, it may need a more moisturizing product.
IMG_2862
Photo. Featuring my longer hair in Milano, Italie.
“Yet truly, if a woman grows her hair long, it is a glory for her, because her hair has been given to her as a covering” [1 Corinthians 11:15, USCCB trans.].
 
What is your secret to lush hair? Who or where did you learn it from? Share with me in a comment below.
 
To Luxurious Hair, however above all, Glowing, Happy Women, Xo,
Emily Rose
© by Emily Rose Reeder, est. 2012. All Rights Reserved
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