I think the thing I most get complimented on in terms of my appearance is my hair. It's thick, naturally wavy and I tend to wear it quite long usually, so I do quite like it myself as well. However, i've been dying it various colours since I was 14, so that's 6 years now of damage! It's never been bleached except for the odd streak here and there, so that's something, but it's definitely not very close to my natural colour anymore. So I thought I'd share some of my top tips that I use to keep my hair happy and healthy.
I never blow dry my hair unless I really, really have to. Like, 'I've woken up late and only have five minutes to get ready' kind of have to. I find it makes it brittle and thin feeling, whereas letting it air dry leaves it softer and more touchable. If my boyfriend didn't use it, my hairdryer would genuinely only be used once every couple of months! I also don't own any straighteners and very rarely use them, and I tend to wear overnight curlers or plaits/rags if I want my hair curlier. I know going completely heat-free isn't for everyone, so I'd say make sure to always use heat protection spray if you absolutely can't avoid it. It really does make all the difference.
I'm a big believer in getting my hair trimmed every 8-10 weeks or so, especially if I'm trying to grow it. I'm lucky enough to have really fast growing hair, so if I'm trying to keep a side fringe or something it needs trimmed about once a month to keep it under control - I tend to do this myself, as it's easier and cheaper. Get to know your hair and how quickly it grows, and check regularly for split ends. The top left photo above is the longest I've had my hair in a while, it was nearly down to my bum last summer! It was nice, but hard to manage, so now I prefer it a few inches past my shoulders.
I wash my hair about 3 or 4 times a week, with Tresemme Colour Protect shampoo and conditioner, although sometimes I'll use Head and Shoulders Apple Fresh shampoo instead since Tresemme gives me a bit of build-up when I use it all the time. I'd say my hair is between oily and normal, but I can leave it about two days max between washing before it really starts to look rubbish and i'm reaching for the dry shampoo. I leave my conditioner on for at least five minutes, usually longer, while I shave my legs or something to let it sink in completely. I also like to do deep conditioning treatments about once a month, and I use Vo5 Shine On Serum for days when my hairs looking a bit dull and needs perking up, or for days when I'm losing the battle with my frizzy bits.
When I was a redhead I pretty much exclusively used Live Colour XXL in either Real Red or Hypnotic Red. They're not too bad, but they do leave my hair feeling a bit weakened and I noticed they would fade quite quickly. Now that i'm back to a darker brunette I use Garnier Nutrisse Creme in Deep Reddish Brown, which is so lovely. It feels like conditioner on your hair and leaves a really nice, long-lasting colour. As I said, I don't bleach but I have before for a dip dye and it left my hair in pretty bad condition. I found that regular (like at least once a fortnight) deep conditioning and shine serum helped a lot though, as did not blow drying it.
Because my hair is quite thick, I use a paddle brush pretty much exclusively. Any other style feels like it pulls and breaks my hair too much, whereas the big surface area of a paddle brush smooths hair and detangles my wavy mess quite nicely. I also tend to not brush when my hair is very wet, instead I leave it until it's just damp and then go at it. I've never tried a Tangle Teezer or anything, but I think they could be nice to have a go with - I'm not convinced they'd get through my hair enough for my liking though.
So that's my top tips! Obviously everybody's hair is different and mine isn't in perfect condition, but I do like how it is now and I hope with a lot of care and attention it can stay this way for a while yet. Do you give your hair special attention, or does it tend to fall by the wayside? Do you change your routine for summer as the weather warms up? Let me know below!
- Natalie XOX