Y’all this post has more links than a sausage factory. It also took a LOT longer to write because of all the research I did SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO! I hope you love it, I hope it’s helpful and I hope it works! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
Chances are if you’ve ran your fingers through my luscious locks anytime between 2006 and 2016 then you felt my dirty little secret: hair extensions. I’ve tried glue in, clip in, beads, bonds and even a wig or two. Hair, or lack of it, was my thing and I can tell you as a lash extension artist, there are people who are made for hair extensions and people who are not. A lot of my gal pals wear extensions because they want thicker, fuller or longer hair and I get that; I want thicker hair too. But as I’m sure my 23andme test will soon confirm, I have a particular kind of European hair that is sleek and fine. Not thick. For years I bleached it and backcombed it and then put a Beyonce-amount of hair extensions in, all the while ruing my delicate hair. And then I had enough. I came to the realization that my hair is never going to be thick and cascading down my back, it’s just not genetically me. I decided to appreciate the hair I had and stop trying to make myself something I’m not. However, I could definitely improve what was mine. Here are the steps I took to increase the thickness, health and speed of growth of my hair. I know it seems like a lot, but when you really think about it, the less I did, the healthier my hair got.
1. I stopped washing my hair every day. Over-washing your hair strips it, dries it out and causes it to be brittle and therefore prone to breakage. Broken hairs = less hairs. Try wearing hats, using dry shampoo, or styling your hair in a high bun or a low ponytail.
Brixton Women’s Joanna Hat (currently on sale!)
2. When I DO wash my hair, I use nicer products; sulfate free, no harsh detergents or fragrances and full of nourishing ingredients that heal my hair. I know these are pricey, but if you’re washing your hair less, then it lasts twice as long. Very important: do not wash your hair with super hot water, keep it nice and tepid, it’s better for your hair. EVEN BETTER: wash with cold water, your hair will be glossy and smooth.
3. Hair towel. This may seem excessive, but here is my theory: I have baby-fine soft hair and if I wrap it in a heavy bath towel every time I wash it, the heaviness of the towel pulls on the strands at the front of my hairline – those strands are already delicate, add water and the weight of a heavy towel and over time it’s going to cause breakage. My friend has a company called My Kitsch and she gave me this cute microfiber hair turban. I love it, it absorbs a lot of water, it’s lightweight and it’s really cute!
4. If you use conditioner, I recommend sticking to the same line, however I use a spray-in detangler because I don’t need the extra weight of a conditioner. Johnson’s Baby Detangler has been a favorite for years, Schwarzkopf has one that smells AMAZING and the Oribe does double duty as a detangler and heat protector in one!
5. The brush. It is the magic wand of your hair, it can make or break (get it?) your strands. I can’t use those regular paddle brushes with the little nubs on the ends – they rip out my hair and I can actually hear it stretching and snapping every time I’ve used such a brush. These two brushes do not stretch/break/snap my hair, even when it’s wet, so I love them and recommend them. Pro tip: my friend (she’s also hairstylist) Yuliya told me to wait until my hair is a bit more dry before I brush it to further avoid breakage.
6. Heat styling products – these protect your hair from breakage and heat. Don’t use too much if you have fine hair, as it will weigh down your locks, and avoid applying it to your roots.
7. The hair dryer. Ok here is the real investment piece. I do have an ionic hair dryer and…it makes a difference. Those old dryers that blast hot air on your hair are scorching your shafts and causing frizz and breakage. You don’t have to buy a Dyson, but if you’re going to use heat to dry your hair, consider a tool that uses tourmaline because it is using both infrared heat and negative ions to dry your hair. It’s sort of like the negative ions come in and blast the water molecules apart and the infrared gently dries them using “healthy heat.” Much more gentle compared to just hot heat. Here are a few I’d recommend, and I WOULD NOT recommend the Amika; I used to have that one and it broke within two years. Full disclosure, I did not buy all three of these and try them for your reading pleasure. I went off of reviews and price points.
Remington Hairdryer with Ionic + Ceramic + Tourmaline with nearly 2,000 reviews and four stars, I couldn’t NOT tell you about this hair dryer. I may just go order one myself.
HAI Tourmaline Hair Dryer This one is $30 off. It’s normally $100. Snag it while you can!
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer It’s like the Tesla of hair dryers. Completely sold out over the holidays.
*I searched around and found a DIY youtube video for blowouts. I like this one the best because she really breaks down the steps and why she does them that way.
8. If you MUST style your hair, here are a few other tools that will do it in a healthy way
BIO Ionic Wand – This is the link for the 1.25 inch wand for looser curls. Try not to wrap the very ends of your hair, leaving the tips somewhat straight is a more modern way to add waves and keep from burning your fingertips.
Kipozi Flat Iron I chose the 1 inch for this post, but shop around for different sizes. They also have a fancy schmancy hair dryer if you want your tools to match. Lastly, this little sweety is only $35 and it used to be $99. Another deal.
9. Ok if you’ve made it this far, you get the THREE MOST IMPORTANT SECRETS to quickly whip your hair back into sleek strong shape.
a. Braid your hair every.single.night. before you go to bed. When you don’t and you just sleep on your hair, it tangles the strands and causes weakness and breakage. Braiding my fine hair keeps it together, smooth and protected. Sometimes I’ll throw in a hair serum before I braid it. Pro tip: Using a satin pillowcase will also keep your hair from getting roughed up while you sleep. I have this gorgeous one from Kitsch.
b. Flax seed oil. It’s my best kept secret, except that I tell everyone about it. It will make your hair grow better and faster than any prenatal or multivitamin I’ve ever tried BUT YOU HAVE TO get the one with Lignans in it, this is the most important rule. LIGNANS YOU GUYS. Lignans. Carry on. *I almost forgot, all of that good lignan stuff settles at the bottom, so you HAVE to shake the bottle before you pour some out. It should be nice and sludgy in your spoon. Apparently I also forgot to mention that you drink it. Shake the bottle, pour into a tablespoon, insert into mouth.
c. Get you a hairdresser who cares about your hair. When I came to my hairdresser Melissa, my hair had been fried by bleach so badly, I had a “chemical cut”; the crown of my hair was brittle, fried and broken but the other 50% was long. I basically had a mullet because of bleach and rough treatment from other stylists. She was so gentle with my hair; she even brushed it gently whereas the other stylists would force a fine-tooth comb through it. Melissa didn’t use bleach (just high-lift color) on my hair for a year and I had regular dustings (trims) of my ends every three months. After a year she began to slowly integrate bleach highlights back into my hair, but she always made sure to avoid previously bleached sections. After about two years, that top section of my hair eventually became strong and healed enough to catch up with the lower half of my hair, which basically doubled the amount of hair that I had. Also, because she was using less bleach, my strands got healthier, stronger and a bit thicker.
Ok so that is my really epic post on healthy hair. I know it seems like a lot, but just start by doing one thing – maybe washing your hair less, or using less bleach at your hair appointments. It took me eight years to get this routine down, but I’m so glad I did. I no longer wear hair extensions and I truly love my hair for exactly how it is – especially after I see my hairdresser.