Friday, 10 October 2014

How to get Shiny and Healthy hair

Anyone who knows me, will know that I have a constant battle with my hair and that we have a love/hate relationship. During my teenage years, I pretty much dyed my hair every week (normally changing colours and styles every 3 - 4 weeks) to the point were it was so incredibly dry, short and unstyleable. At one point, I dyed it black before bleaching it TWICE and going pink in one night. Yes, 4 hairs inclduing 2 lots of bleach in one night, you can see in my hair tag just how much I dyed my hair over the years. It's taken me a good 4 to 5 years to get it to a stage where it's actually decent and starting to be healthy again so I thought I would share some tips that I have learnt along the way.

BEFORE                                                            AFTER

When trying to get your hair healthy again, it's important to remember it's not going to happen over night and depending on the damage you have done to your hair, it can take months - or in my case, years.

I used to use any Tresemme shampoo and conditioner, but I kept reading online and hearing a hair dresser say that Tresemme (and some other brands) contain an ingredient that makes colour fade faster (yes, it's even found in Tresemme's shampoo/conditioner for coloured hair), so I soon stopped using that as it was making my hair fade quickly which resulted in me dying it more. Which leads me on to my first piece of advice which is dye your hair less. Dye damages hair, it's no secret to anyone but millions of people do it anyway, why should we stop? The key is to leave it as long as possible between dyes. I used to dye my hair every 7 - 9 days but now, I dye my hair every 4 - 5 months and just by that change alone, I noticed a difference as it gives your hair chance to repair itself. This is especially good if you bleach your hair - bleach is one of the worst things to dye your hair with so it's important to leave it as long as possible between dyes.

After learning about Tresemme, I started looking in to other Shampoo and Conditioners that were meant to improve the condition of your hair and help it get happy and healthy again, and time and time again Aussie started popping up - with people claiming it had helped their hairs condition. 

So of course, I popped into Boots one day and stocked up and yes, from using the range (especially the deep conditioner) I definitely noticed an improvement and I eventually kept rebuying the range over and over again and it definitely left my hair shiny but it still didn't feel 100% healthy. We are always pulled in by the writing on the front of bottles, I was always sucked into buying them when they said "for dry/damaged hair" thinking 'oh! this must fix it!' but honestly, there really wasn't any difference between these shampoo/conditioners that were designed for damaged hair and the shampoo/conditioners that were designed for "normal" hair. 

I then got speaking to a lady in Lush and she explained that most shampoo and conditioners on the high street contain silicone. The silicone coats your hair and that's what gives your hair the shiny appearance and makes the product look like it's living up to the expectations and which is why my hair, whilst appearing shiny, still didn't feel 100% healthy. 

Lush Shampoo and Conditioners contain all natural ingredients. I went to an event recently, where Lush were doing a presentation and they explained that if I product contains less than 2% of an ingredient, they don't have to list it on the ingredient list on the back of the bottle. So, all of those high street brands may contain all kinds of different ingredients that aren't listed on the back so do you really know what you are putting on your hair? However, with Lush they list EVERYTHING, even if it contains less than 1%, Lush still list it on their products so you know exactly what you are putting on your body/hair. For my hair, I found the best products from Lush are Rehab Shampoo and American Cream conditioner as my hair gets greasy quickly on the scalp, so Rehab helps combat that and American Cream helps my hair appear less dry in those places where it's still recovering and helps it appear shiny and healthy - but this is down to the natural ingredients and NOT silicone coating your hair to reflect the light.

I have also been using less heat on my hair and that has made the biggest difference in my hairs condition. Whenever you use heat on your hair, you are damaging it so less heat you apply, the less damage is caused. In a perfect world i'd use no heat at all but that's just not going to happen. I previously used to dry my hair as soon as I had washed it when it was dripping wet and then straightened it so it was pin straight as soon as I had finished drying it, using both on their highest settings, and that caused so much damage to my hair. Just think how much damage that does to your hair, think of it this way, imagine your just got out the bath and to dry yourself you put your hairdryer on full power and held it centimeters away from your skin and held it there for a minute? That would hurt wouldn't it? Well that's what it's doing to your hair, but your not only burning it, because your hair is still soaking wet your sucking all the moisture out, and then using straighteners which will dry your hair out even more by adding even more heat without letting your hair breath.  

I now, towel dry my hair when I get out the bath so it's not soaking wet and dripping everywhere, then I wrap my hair in a towel and leave it for 20 - 30 minutes to let it dry partly naturally. You can use this time to get something to eat, apply your make-up or get dressed. Then I use a hair dryer on a medium setting and keep the hair dryer moving so it's not constantly on one stop and the heat is spread out rather than concentrated on one area at a time. I then leave my hair for a minute or two to let it breath before turning on my straighteners and running them quickly over the bottom third of my hair, never keeping them still so no heat is concentrated on one area, just to calm the ends down.

It is also important to trim the ends of your hair regularly as if you leave it too long you'll get split ends, and the longer you leave split ends the higher up they will snap off which will make your hair look unhealthy and so will help it grow as the ends of your hair won't be snapping off - another thing less heat will help with. I used to also use quite a bit of product on my hair and now I use no products on my hair as over time they can build up by coating your with their ingredients, much like the silicone in high street shampoos and conditioners.

Using these tips has improved my hairs condition so much and I often get complimented on how shiny and long my hair is, which is a drastic change from 5 years ago when my hair was incredibly dry and stuck out everywhere and was about shoulder length and was full of split ends making it look even more unhealthy.  

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