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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Six Somewhat Surprising Secrets to Good Hair

When you take a step back and scrutinize it, our relationship with hair is fascinating, really. And a little bizarre.  Hair's just this weird, useless stuff that grows out of our heads; it's dead on arrival but always making more of itself, and we painstakingly cut it into different shapes and paint it different colors and devise new chemicals to put on it to make it straighter or curlier or whatever-it's-not-er. We heat it up and cool it down and mold and meld it so it frames our faces just right. Our society has built a constantly-changing, hand-over-fist-profiting industry around the design and decoration of these completely functionless strings that eventually just fall out and get swept away and dumped in the trash.

 Imagine what an alien would think, looking down on us.

 "What is the substance attached to the round ball on top?" 
 "HAIR." 
 "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." 

Yes!  EXACTLY!

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.

IMG_0007

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.

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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:


Source: manentail.com via Megan on Pinterest

For washing every other day, Mane & Tail Conditioner.





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.)  



Source: google.com via Megan on Pinterest





Organix Moroccan Argan Oil.
(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.)











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27 comments:

  1. Your hair ideas are great! Especially for highlighted hair, which can be much more brittle and dry. I use the Moroccan Oil, but mine is $40 a bottle....hmmmm...I need to seriously stop washing with shampoo every day...what do you do on days you sweat or workout? Do you not use shampoo those days, or is it ok to still use just conditioner on those extra sweaty mornings??

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    1. I don't think shampoo should be necessary to wash out sweat... it's only salty water, right? It should rinse out in just hot water, and then you have the conditioner to further freshen it up. Give it a try and see what you think. I don't work out hard enough to sweat yet! :)

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    2. Haha! Ok I am going to try it tomorrow!!! I'm learning so much from you, Megan! You're the best! ;)Love your positive spirit and your family is cute as pie! Love it!!

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  2. Ok, this post is inspiring-- laregly because you have Awesome Hair, BUT. BUT, I say! What about us girls with... erm.. *whispers* oily air? *hidesfaceinshame*

    Can we, too, achieve Hair Awesomeness only washing every third day? Cause I am all over that if you think it would. Imagine all I could DO in the time I usually spend washing my hair every day!

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    1. Yep! Yep you can because I have oily hair too. Or I thought I did. It may be that by washing every day with shampoo that you are causing your scalp to overproduce oil to replenish what you're stripping away. Either way, I have oily hair, and the conditioner works great for me. Could I go longer than 2 days between washings? I don't think so. But I'm doing fine on this schedule.

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  3. Oh Megan, you still look amazing. Thanks for the tips. Going to try that organix moroccan oil.

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    1. Oh, thank you! I don't know who you are, but you look amazing too, in your profile picture. Hee hee hee. :)

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    2. LOL - I need to create a profile. I went to elementary school with you but I moved out of state after the sixth grade. I was a pretty shy kid (amazing how life changes you...lol) so I doubt you would remember me. Came upon your blog by accident but have enjoyed your postings! - Adrianne

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    3. I do too remember you! I do! Tallish, thin, dark hair, glasses. Quiet but smart and sweet. I am so glad you told me! Are you on Facebook? Many of our classmates are! What are you up to these days? Where do you live?

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    4. Lol. Yep on Facebook - McDonald still my last name. I'm in Charlotte. All my children have four legs instead of two. :-)

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  4. Your hair is fabulous. I shampoo every day, but I've never tried just conditioner. I will try that this week! But I work out every day (on a good week anyway) and I can't imagine not washing after sweating. What are your thoughts?

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    1. You will wash! Just with conditioner, which will freshen, and warm water, which will rinse away the sweat. I'm counting on you and Wendy (above) to try this and see how it works on your sweaty days. And report back.

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    2. The workout train got derailed by sick kids. But next week I will give it a try!

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  5. I'm amazed! These are great tips and I'm going to try it with my short, fine hair and see what happens!

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    1. Let me know, because I've wondered if these tips would work on shorter hair. And THANKS for pinning this post, friend! You're the best!

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  6. Love your gorgeous hair!!! I can't believe how long it has gotten! I have got to try your great suggestions!

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    1. You know, the Moroccan Oil would be great on your hair. I use it on Bean's curls often and it does beautiful things for them - reduces frizzies, defines the curls and makes it shiny and soft.

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    2. Oh dear. I do NOT look after my hair, which is highlighted (a-hahahaha!) by reading your tips! :S I very rarely look in a mirror (maybe once a week or something crazy like that, but I do brush it and tie it back). I think I am very boring!

      I wash my hair with one wash of any-old 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner (the last hairdresser to cut my hair gasped in horror when I told her that, haha!), once a WEEK, maybe twice on a good week. I do not say yuck to your three days! ;) It needs a wash by the week mark, but is waaaaay less oily than it ever used to be leaving it that long, now that I've been doing this for a long time - I guess it has adjusted or something?

      I don't blow dry it, because I don't have time! ;) I don't use any products in it at all. My last trim was 11 months ago, although I try to book them every 5-6 months for the pampering. I would prefer my split ends to be taken care of more often, but I like a pampering haircut at a proper salon and we can't afford that more than twice a year.

      BUT, I don't mind a bit. It just grows, and gets clean as I find time to do that. I wish it was in better condition though. Yours is BEAUTIFUL! :)

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    3. Thank you! You know what I loved about being pregnant? My hair NEVER got oily. NEVER. I washed it pretty much for fun, or to change the style. And then it stayed like that as long as I was nursing a baby. I wonder if that's part of why yours stays clean for so long? And yours is always VERY shiny and never looks unhealthy at all... I love it. I'd play with it and style it and floof it around a lot if it were mine, but that is just how I am. You wear your naturally lovely hair very well! :)

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    4. guess what? I wash my hair once or twice a week, and Sugar Bear's only once a week. We don't even do the conditioner every day. your hair mine have a transition period and be a bit oily for a while, but soon your head will stop making so much oil to compensate for your washing it out everyday. People cause their hair to be oily by over washing.

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  7. First - you are gorgeous.

    Second - SO HELPFUL. Really, washing less helps so, so much. People don't really understand what shampoo does to your hair. I love that you are sharing this secret.

    It's even more important for people with naturally curly hair to wash less!

    Third - I am SO BAD about going in for trims. Can I confide that it's probably been a YEAR (?!) since I sat my booty in a salon chair? I just don't carve out time for it, but now I feel convicted that I must. :)

    This is so good and helpful. I am stumbling and pinning it! Great stuff, pretty lady.

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  8. Megan -- Thank you! And yes, you are right about naturally curly hair needing to be washed less frequently than straight, which also goes to *your* point, Corey. Most curly girls know that the curlier their hair, the less frequently they should shampoo. Because curly hair is naturally more porous than straighter hair, it needs its natural oils even more desperately for protection against damage and breakage. Case in point, the same stylist who doesn't want me to shampoo every day, wants me to shampoo Bean's extremely curly hair EXACTLY NEVER. AT ALL. SHE NEEDS HER OILS. Instead, I condition hers twice a week, using my fingers to massage any dirt around the roots and scalp so that all can be rinsed away. Her hair is much softer and shinier and easier to comb out since we've implemented this routine. We also use a leave-in conditioner on her curls, so it's well-protected between conditionings. Thanks for bringing that up, Megan!

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  9. I'm going to forward this post to my daughter at college, Megan! She has hair so much like yours.

    I only wash my hair twice a week, and yes, your oil production decreases when you wash it less often. And I also let it dry naturally, which has been so good for it.

    I can't wait to try the Moroccan oil though! I have been looking for something like that. Even though my hair is still young-looking--only a few stray grays now and then--the texture is definitely "older" than it used to be, not as shiny and smooth anymore. I will try this!! Thanks!

    ~Jeanne

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  10. While I was in the shower, washing my hair, I thought of two things to share that might be helpful to your readers.

    One is that I loosely bobby pin my bangs off my forehead at night, so they're not soaking up forehead oil all night long!

    And, there is one product I have to use to get my scalp clean enough to go four days, and that (blush) is Suave. Just the first wash, and then I switch to something better. But if I don't use Suave, I can't go that long without major greasy itchiness.

    But I love that I spend so little time each week on showering, and in winter, my skin thanks me too!

    ~Jeanne

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  11. I do love your hair!! With my shorter hair I need to "wash" every day but usually do the condition thing on the off days. I'm going to try doing the 3 day thing now, too. Also, love Argan oil and it was a big help when the kids got lice recently :( but anyway!

    Steph

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  12. Bought all of this today. I better have AMAZING hair tomorrow ;)

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Thoughts?