Friday

08.19.2011

We are all dying to have beautiful healthy hair right?
I know I am.
Over several months I have been doing lots of research on getting healthy hair.
Now I want to share it with all of you.

healthy hair

Alright.. Ready for a lot of information?
Here is what I've learned, the sources I've learned it from, and what I am currently doing for my hair.

There are 7 parts in caring for your hair:

Pre-Washing Treatment
Washing
Conditioning
Protein Treatment
Moisturizing Treatment
Protecting with Products
Scalp Stimulation

Click HERE for a great article (probably my favorite of all I have found) on how to best do these processes. Seriously. Read it.

PRE-WASHING TREATMENT:

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is recommended for the pre-washing treatment in almost every article I've read. I have been using coconut oil in my personal skin care since I was 16. I have used it on Caden's skin, as a replacement for lotion, for the last year, and this is all I've used on Brynnley after her baths. I knew it was good for cooking and skin, but I had no idea how GREAT it was for my hair as well. Here are a few really great articles on why coconut oil is so good and how to use it for hair care.




I try to use this every time before I wash my hair. Over the last couple months I haven't used it much at all.. Lazy, I know. I'm getting back in the swing of things here, so every time or every other time I wash my hair I try do the pre-washing treatment. It makes a huge difference. The amazing thing about coconut oil is: it's the only oil your hair can actually absorb.

Extra Virgin Coconut oil can be kind of expensive. I've done lots of shopping around, and amazon has the best deal I've seen. It's available for prime shipping, GO AMAZON MOM!  
If you're not signed up for amazon mom, do it! It will save you tons on shipping.


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My last order of this coconut oil was back in May, and I still have 1 1/4 tubs left! It lasts for a long time, and a little goes a long way (especially with using it on the skin).

WASHING AND CONDITIONING:

This is the part we all know well. The key is finding the right shampoo and conditioner. I have been using Biolage Fortetherapie for the last 2 years. It is the best "professional" shampoo and conditioner I have found since I was in hair school. I love it, the only problem is... It's expensive. Fortunately I have friends that I went to hair school with that have been able to get it for me at stylist price. Sometimes it is hard relying on other people to get my hair products though.  I just want to go buy it myself! I have really stayed away from buying shampoo and conditioner sold regular stores. I heard nothing but bad about those products when I was in hair school. One day in school we did PH tests on all the different shampoos and conditioners sold at Wal-Mart (not every single one, but every brand). I was amazed at the bad PH levels in almost every one. I really don't want to spend a ton of money, and I want to be able to get products when I need them, but I want something that is good for my hair. I have been doing a lot of research about products, which ones are ok to use from drug stores.  The most important part in choosing products is making sure they have good ingredients. Here are some sites that have listed good and bad ingredients, the second link is an ingredient dictionary (totally awesome).



The two ingredients I was mostly confused with are: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laurth Sulfate. They are both really common in hair products. Soduim LAURYL sulfate is bad, bad bad! I went through all the random shampoos in the house and threw out all those that have it as an ingredient. This is one ingredient that we learned about in hair school. It strips your hair and damages the cuticle, it is a very strong detergent that should not be used for hair! Some studies have also suggested that it can cause cancer, yeah.. scary! The sad thing is, It is in a lot of shampoos.. VO5, Suave, Pert Plus, Pantene, etc. Sodium LAURTH sulfate is ok, it is very common in shampoos (even expensive brands), it is also a detergent, but much more mild. It is much safer on hair and is nothing harmful compared to it's cousin Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Moral of the story is: check the ingredients of products before buying!

I finally found a cheap shampoo and conditioner that I feel comfortable using (Thanks Maddy)!

Dove Damage Therapy
 DoveHairDamageTherapyIntensiveRepairRange
The Dove Intense Moisture Conditioner comes highly recommended as well. I will be trying that one next.
 
PROTEIN TREATMENTS:

This has been a confusing step in hair care for me. In hair school I remember learning very little about it. The only thing I remember learning was that protein was bad for hair because hair is made of protein, therefore adding more protein would make it dry and brittle (which is only half of the story). My further experience with protein left me hating it. I had been growing my hair out when I was pregnant with Caden. It was damaged beyond belief.. going from platinum to brown to blonde again.. It was fried. A month or so after I had Caden I bought a new shampoo and conditioner set by JOICO. It had a shampoo, conditioner and a reconstructing conditioner. I thought "I need to use the reconstructor all the time, because it will repair all the damage my hair has!" Boy was I wrong. Unfortunately I didn't understand that the reconstructor was actually a protein treatment. I was adding way too much protein to my hair.. and as a result: my hair was more brittle and dry than ever. I ended up chopping my hair up to my ears that December, hoping to start fresh. I have been growing my hair out ever since.

What I know now that I didn't know then.. Protein treatments are a very important part of caring for your hair. Your hair is made of protein, it needs protein to be healthy.  Chemical processes (bleaching, coloring, perming.. etc) and Heat (hair dryers, curling irons, straighteners.. etc) will damage and break down the protein in your hair. The solution is to add back the lost protein. This is where protein treatments come in. The thing I never understood though.. Protein treatments should only be done once every 3 to 6 weeks! No wonder my hair was so brittle when I was using that reconstructor EVERY time I showered. My hair had way too much protein and not enough moisture.

THIS article explains most of what you need to know about protein treatments, and how to do them properly.

I have been wanting to try a protein treatment for a long time now, My bleached, heat damaged hair needed more protein. It was feeling like mush when it was wet and brittle when it was dry. I did a lot of research on protein treatments. I wanted to try John Freida Kelp Help.. But I couldn't find it in stores. I have also heard great things about Purology's protein treatment.. but it is really expensive. After I did some research I found a lot of people recommending Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment, so i decided to give it a try.
Ahogee_Two_Step_Protein_Treatment__62461_zoom

It is sold at sally's. I bought the 4 oz bottle for $7. It has enough for 3-4 treatments. I was a little skeptical that it would make THAT big of a difference. I can honestly say I was shocked. Shocked. It made my hair feel like silk. My hair looked and felt INCREDIBLE after one use.

I am not sure if it is the best protein treatment out there, I haven't tried enough products to really have an opinion. So far am really happy with it, and it is very affordable. I really want to try the Essentious Protein Treatment, but first I have to finish using the Aphogee I have left. Just follow the instructions on the bottle. I am seriously amazed at how well it worked.

MOISTURE TREATMENT (aka deep condition):

I loved getting these done in hair school, Set the conditioner, wear a cap and sit under a dryer. It always made my hair feel so good. This is something that should be done once a week. I just wash my hair, get out of the shower, towel dry my hair, drench it in deep conditioner, put a cap on and blow it with my hair dryer for 20-30 minutes. I just prop my hair dryer up in a drawer and sit under it. Then rinse. It is amazing.

My personal favorite deep conditioners are:
It's a 10 Miracle Hair Mask
S-Factor Serious Conditioner with Sunflower Seed Oil

deepcondition

I really want to try:
Essentious Hydrate
Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Conditioner (need to check ingredients first)

This is really important in hair care, while you need protein in your hair, you also need moisture. This is what makes your hair soft and gives your hair elasticity so it doesn't break. If you start implementing it in your hair care, you will notice a HUGE difference.

THIS same article explains what you need to know about Moisture Treatments, and how to do them properly.

SCALP STIMULATION:

"Scalp stimulation is a very important, yet overlooked, part of hair care. Stimulating circulation in the scalp is achieved simply by massage. This will cause more blood to go to the roots of your hair, delivering nutrients and oxygen where it is needed. This will also cause the follicles to produce hair more quickly. Massage your scalp for at least five minutes a day.
How to Massage Your Scalp

Start by pushing your whole scalp in a circular motion without bending your fingers for 30 seconds. Then move your fingers to a different area and repeat for another 30 seconds, covering the entire scalp. Next, place your fingers firmly on your scalp and rub vigorously for about 10 seconds. Cover the entire scalp in this way as well."

Another way you can stimulate your scalp is by brushing it for 5 minutes a day. My favorite brush of all time is the

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I used to go through brushes like crazy, they were always falling apart. I have had this brush for 4 years and I use it every day. It is incredible. When I was faithful in brushing my scalp every day (a few months ago) my hair grew an inch in a month! My hair grows so slow.. it would usually take 3 months to grow that much! It was incredible! I have also tried this scalp stimulation on Brynnley, her hair fell out, I brushed her scalp with her soft baby brush every day and 3 weeks later her hair is almost 1/2 inch long!
If you want your hair to grow faster.. Try this.

PRODUCTS:

Here is a recommended list of hair products to use for every hair care process:


I am dying to try this line of products:

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These are the product I'm using right now:

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (pre-washing treatment)
Dove Damage Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner
Aphogee 2 Step Protein Treatment
It's a 10 Hair Mask (deep conditioner)
Biolage Smoothing Milk Shine (leave in conditioner) - I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT THIS
Paul Mitchel Smoothing Super Skinny Serum (heat protection)
DermOrganic Leave in Argan Oil (heat protection/smoothing)

I use the Argan Oil before in towel dryed hair. While it is wet I coctail it with the Super Skinny Serum. Once I have blown my hair dry I put a few drops in each section before I straighten it. If my hair is feeling frizzy or dry after I straighten it I will put a tiny bit more through the ends. I love this product! I have been using it for almost a year, and I can't go with out it. The 4 oz. bottle lasted me for 7 months. The straightener burns the oil off instead of burning your hair. It also cuts drying time in half when using a hair dryer. Amazing!

More information on Argan Oil:


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You can get it on Amazon

GROW YOUR HAIR IT'S LONGEST:

Some general tips on how to get your hair to grow:

-Do not use hair elastics or metal clips on the hair.
-Do not brush wet hair, use a wide tooth comb.
-Air dry hair whenever possible.
-Wear hear up whenever possible.
-Extend time between shampoos as long as possible.
-Avoid chemical processes.
-Use use a paddle brush or natural boar-bristle brush.
-Do not use very hot water when rinsing.
-Add crushed garlic cloves to your conditioner and deep condition to stop hair shedding.
-Stimulate your scalp.
-Sleep on a silk or satin pillow case


The tip "don't use hair elastics" is a hard one for me... I have this thing where I CAN'T sleep unless my hair is pulled up! It gets all wrapped around my face and nasty.. ugh. It makes me feel claustrophobic or something. Using a hair elastic every night causes a lot of breakage in my hair, especially that fine hair on my hair line around my face. Well there is finally a solution, I owe my sister-in-law big time for showing me this amazing new product.


Goody-Spin-Pin

Say goodbye to the elastic.Two of these pins will keep you hair up tight! They have probably been around for a long time, and all of you probably already know about them.. but seeing as how I got most of my hair stuff in hair school I never hit the hair isle in the stores. When I first tried these I thought "Where have you been all my life?" I have twisted my hair up in a bun and used these at night and honestly they work better than an elastic.  
Maddy, I seriously owe you!

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST.
I am going to cut the chemical processing. That means.. No more blonde :( The next time I get my hair colored, I will be trying to go to my natural color. I am sure it's going to be really hard. I don't love my natural color. But Honestly, if I can keep my hair my natural color for a couple years and get it super healthy, maybe I can go back to blonde. We'll see. Maybe I'll just love being brunette again.


and there you have it... 
Everything I have learned about hair care (in a giant nut shell).
I really love all these articles I have listed above.
Reading through them will help you really understand how to care for your hair and get it healthy!

Leave me a comment if you can! I've heard that a few people haven't been able to comment..
lara

3 comments :

Bre And Drew said...

thanks so much for posting this! my hair always gets to the length it is now and then stops growing and gets really damaged. So I've been looking for some tips and this was a really good list. No brushing wet hair, I've never heard that before!

lehi + sasha said...

I re-read this twice. I am so motivated to start taking better care of my hair. I feel like even though I've never colored my hair or applied any chemicals, it's so brittle and dry. That's most likely because I don't tale care of my hair AT ALL. So, often should we be washing our hair?

Lara said...

SASHA - I really think it depends on the individual. My hair gets greasy pretty greasy by the end of day 3 without washing it. I have been using baby powder on my roots before I style it when it's greasy, but that would probably make your hair look gray cause it's so dark (beautiful dark). Just go as long as you can without washing it. What you can personally handle. The less you wash it the better. I mean.. if you could go for 2 weeks (totally unrealistic) then your hair would be looking AMAZING.. lol. I usually wash my hair twice a week. But I rarely have anything to go out and get ready for.