Imagine what an alien would think, looking down on us.
"What is the substance attached to the round ball on top?"
"What is its function?"
"Still researching. Data supports the idea that it is a vital organ. Observation of the subject's behaviors indicate that HAIR is either the central information system, or it is linked to reproduction. Apparently it is absolutely critical to survival and perpetuation of the species."
And here is how I take care of my most cherished vital organ. Some of these ideas may initially surprise you, but hear me out!
1. I only wash my hair every third day. YUCK, you say? Yes, that was my first thought when my stylist recommended this approach. I'll be stinky and oily 2 out of 3 days! My hair HAS to be washed every. single. day! But then she explained: You don't have to go three days without wetting it, or rinsing it. You just shouldn't shampoo it every day. She suggested I try wetting my hair and going through the motions of washing it every day, but two of three days, I'd "wash" with conditioner instead of shampoo. The conditioner has enough surfectants, she explained, to loosen and rinse away oil at the roots and send it down over the hair shaft, thus distributing it to the places it really needs to be, without stripping the entire hair shaft of the oils my scalp was furiously producing to protect it, leaving it dry, brittle and susceptible to damage. (The more oils I strip away, she pointed out, the more oils my scalp will produce to make up for it.)
Her explanation made sense, and I tried her suggestion. And I love how it works. I've made this suggestion to many women who have asked about my Hair Transformation and those who have tried it have been pleased, too. You get fresh hair every day, but the natural oil you're leaving in helps make it softer and shinier, and also helps it to hold your style better. "Dirt is your hair's friend," says my stylist, "Most products you use are merely replacement dirt to create body and texture." I understand that now.
2. I allow my hair to air-dry almost exclusively, except the bangs, because I have cowlicks along my hairline there that need immediate drying to get and keep everything into the right place. I can do this because I shower the minute my feet hit the floor, and put in a nifty product that I'll tell you about in a minute, combing it all out and then flipping it over and shaking and separating the strands a few times as I go about the rest of my morning routine. My hair is usually then dry enough to style in about an hour - the time it takes to make breakfast and dress and wash and brush the kids for school. If I know I'm not going to have an hour for my hair to dry, I wash it in the evening, allow it to air dry before bed and then spritz it with water before styling as usual in the morning, or I wash as normal in the morning and then lightly dry it with a hair dryer just at the roots to help speed the process along, then allow a shorter time for air-drying.
3. I get my hair trimmed every 6 to 7 weeks. It needs shaping that often, and even with my new healthier routine, it still gets a little dry at the very ends. I get my stylist to do this every time, but I could probably save myself some expense by having it trimmed at a discount place every other six weeks, just asking them to "follow the lines" of my stylist's work. Trimming often enough means split ends don't get time to spread UP, dividing the hair shaft further and further towards your head and keeping your hair from growing longer (if that's what you're after) or looking shiny and smooth.
4. For spiral curls, after air drying, I roll my hair on hot rollers. TOO TIME-CONSUMING, you say? Nay, nay, small pup, I respond. Once your little fingers are used to the process, you can have your hair up in rollers in a very few short minutes. And then you're free to put on your make-up, make the bed, poke around in your closet for today's outfit, mop up spilled juice, change a diaper, call your Mom, whatever. I use a set of travel rollers made by Remington. I like that they are fairly small in diameter and that they get very, VERY hot.
To roll my hair for spiral curls, I take a small section of hair and brush through it. Then I place the roller at about the middle of the length of the hair and wrap the bottom half of my hair around it, in a spiral. Then, holding the end of the bottom half in place on the roller, I roll the top half of the hair around the roller over the part that is already rolled. This holds the already-rolled hair in place for me. And then I clip the roller into place. I repeat this all over my head, always rolling all the way up to the crown or roots to give me fullness. And then I go about my business for about 30 minutes while the hair cools completely. COMPLETELY. (This is why I occasionally show up to drop Peabody off at preschool - I don't have to get out, his teachers come get him out of the car for me. LOVE THAT! - in rollers. And why I'm also occasionally seen rabidly tossing rollers and clips out of my hair and into a big basket in the passenger seat of my car while sitting at stoplights a few blocks away from the grocery store or library.) (I always wear large, dark sunglasses when I do this.)
To take the rollers out, I remove the clips and let the rollers fall out into the sink. This way I'm not pulling on the curls, and they seem to hold better and longer this way.
To style, I just "wash" my dry hair at the roots with my fingertips and then twist and smooth everything into place until I like how it looks. I don't use a brush, ever, on curls. Just my fingers.
5. For straight styles, I use my good old el cheapo Conair straightening iron on the very hottest setting. I'd love a fancier iron, but I can't justify the cost because my Conair works fine for me after air-drying and using the right products. Again, I just brush out small sections and pull the iron over them slowly, curving it a bit sometimes to create a little arch or loose bend in the hair as I go down. Easy.
6. I don't use salon products, I use GOOD products that work well and don't cost a fortune:
Infusium 23 Repair and Renew Conditioner. For washing and conditioning the other days.
(On the third day, I use the Infusium 23 Repair and Renew Shampoo to wash.)
Organix Moroccan Argan Oil.
(HAIR MIRACLE ALERT!)
(HAIR MIRACLE ALERT!)
ICK, you say? Oil on my hair? Oh yes. This oil isn't oily. It goes on like an oil, but when it dries, it doesn't leave hair stringy or separated or dirty-looking. It smells FANTASTIC, makes combing much easier, speeds up your drying time by about 30%, air dry or blow dry, and WOW! does it impart shine and smoothness. I love it, and so does everyone I've ever spoken to who has tried it. And it's only about $6 a bottle, which is about a quarter or less of the cost you'd pay for a salon product that does these same things. I squirt about a quarter-sized puddle in my hand and rub my hands together (my hair is LONG, so use your own judgment on how much you need for shorter hair.) Then I apply the bulk of the product to the lower half of my hair, from mid-shaft to tips, concentrating on the ends, especially. Then I wipe the remaining product over the top half of my hair, avoiding my bangs (my face gives them all the shine they need as the day wears on, if you know what I mean), to help tame fly-aways and those bristly grays and re-growth. EASY. And such a nice finish.
I don't use hair spray. I like my hair to move and shine, and try as I may, I've never found a hairspray that both allowed for shine and movement and imparted noticeable, long-lasting hold, so I just don't bother.
This was a LOT of (possibly too much) information and I know not particularly exciting to many readers, but I do get questions and I thought I'd share my current hair routine.
If for no other reason than to provide that much more data to support the aliens' theory.
(Definitely critical to the survival and perpetuation of the species. DEFINITELY.)