There was a point, a few years ago, where my hair was severely damaged. I had this horrible hair cut I couldn’t seem to escape; I kept telling my hair dresser I wanted to grow out my hair, and she kept cutting it off. Having amazing hair was a distant dream. Heck even growing it beyond my chin seemed it out of reach.
I was busy raising my daughter, running my business and home. My hair routine was kind of on auto pilot, I scheduled hair appointments, every six weeks, and washed and styled my hair daily, but I didn’t spend much time looking at my hair, especially in the back, so I didn’t completely take in how horribly damaged it was until it was way too late.
When I first brought up the condition of my hair, my hair dresser told me it was likely to be the shampoo and conditioner I was using, so she sold me $100 worth of shampoo and conditioner. Instead of getting better, it was getting worse. I learned that too much protein in shampoo and conditioner can make fine hair brittle. (The key ingredient of the shampoo she sold me was egg protein, and upon further research it was for people with thick hair) So there was that.
Her next thing was that I was probably sick or too thin. I got blood work and talked to my doctor…actually two doctors, the one who had been overseeing my weight loss and my ob/gyn. They laughed when I told them what my stylist had said. “Your hair is over processed,” the both said. Too much peroxide was the verdict.
The recession turned out to provide a temporary reprieve for my hair; I had my stylist low light it so I could go longer between appointments to save money. I cut the appointments from every six weeks to every three months. Low and behold, my hair started to grow and I was able to move away from the layered what ever it was hair style I had to a bob, and then to the top of my shoulders.
My tail of sadness didn’t end there with my growing my hair out and living happily after, because I was still going to that same stylist. My hair was growing longer, but was still very damaged when she suggested highlights again. It was January, and it had been two years since our last round of highlights. I was nervous. She was firm; I needed more brightness around my face. In spite of the fragile condition of my hair, there was no reason in her mind that the root to tip highlights every six weeks could have caused the damage that was still growing out; she used the best products on the market. So, highlights it was.
We went back to the every six weeks touch up schedule, because: regrowth, obviously.
Each time we did a full head of foils root to tip. In June, as I was getting my hair done, I happened to look into the trash beside the wash sink, and there I saw my hair, locks of it, in the trash. She knew when she removed the foils that my hair was toast.
She said nothing, turned the chair away from the mirror and began vigorously combing the dry bird’s nest that remained of my hair. She also chose to do the cut with my back to the mirror. Odd, I thought, until she turned me around and there I was with the short layered hair style I had worked so hard to get away from. Teased and fluffed, I had no idea when I left how little of my hair was left.
I left the salon, vowing never to go back. This was my ground zero, the beginning of taking control of the health of my hair. I had to find a new stylist, one who could help me nurse my hair back to health, and to educate myself on hair care, from shampoos, hair color and deep conditioners. I would have long hair again one day, and would restore my hair’s beauty even though I knew it would take several years to repair the damage. In my research, I found the following:
- Diet and exercise do play a roll in our skin and hair, and I made sure I included skin and hair healthy foods in my diet. Since I’ve always been an exerciser, I didn’t make changes there, I do yoga, cardio and strength training. As to diet, I made sure I added healthy fats, reduced sugars, and made sure I added inverted poses to my yoga routine help increase blood flow to the scalp which helps stimulate hair follicles.
- Supplements: depending on the type of hair issues you have, a good multi vitamin can help; though the jury is out on “hair” vitamins. If you have thyroid issues, or hair loss and damage due to medical conditions, be sure to check with your doctor before embarking on a regimen involving supplements. I discovered that since I have thyroid issues, that many of the common “hair” supplements are not good for me.
- Scalp care: simple scalp massages, using rosemary oil, or trying the Ordinary Multi Peptide Serum to help stimulate circulation on the scalp, and depending on the cause of your hair damage can be very helpful.
- Shampoo and conditioners look for restructuring, moisturizing, good for colored and damaged hair” products. I’ve been using Ola Plex for a couple of years now and love it.
- Deep conditioning treatments. I turned to deep conditioning products and cocktail them with my OlaPlex.
- Color. If you have fragile or damaged hair, look for a stylist who uses Olaplex with their color, choose colors that are less damaging ie looks with less bleach, and check out some of the natural color product lines.
- Heat tools should be kept to a minimum; I have chosen a hair style that requires very little styling with heat and no hairspray or leave in products with alcohol. I use a heat protectant and changed to the Dyson hair dryer, it definitely makes a difference.
It took about three years to get my hair completely grown out and healthy from tip to ends. I rarely get full on highlights and if my hair is lightened more than usual, I use Olaplex #3 weekly, and cut back on heat styling.
Those of you following my newsletter will know that recently a stylist over lightened my hair. The next day I was using my Olaplex! The debacle resulted in my finding an amazing colorist who ticked all the boxes. She’s a master colorist who was able to blend the blond that was way too light and fix several other color related issues while maintaining my hair health.
I have more coming on keeping our hair looking amazing as we head into the middle years and beyond, so be sure to stay tuned! If you are interested in reading about my gray hair experience click here!