January 2019
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haircare tips from my experience

I wanted to share haircare tips I learned from having yard-long (therefore 8+ year-old and fragile) hair and more recently having repeatedly-bleached-and-dyed hair. Lots of these are gleaned from tips offered by others and then used by me -- but as a disclaimer, I don't know if they'd all be useful if your hair is very thin or very kinky. Some will and some won't, so try at your own risk ;-) They work REALLY well for me -- every time I went to hairstylists they were impressed with the condition of my hair (sometimes they'd even call others over to see/feel it).

-- Wash your hair only once or twice weekly, not every day. When you wash every day, you strip your hair of natural oils and conditioners just can't make up for it. I'll explain what to do on the in-between-washes days under brushing. There will be a period of adjustment at first! when you strip oils everyday your scalp starts to produce way more than you need, and it will take a little while for the oil to be the correct amount.
-- Use water that is as cold as you can be comfortable with. Hot water opens the hair shaft more, which makes it more likely to get damaged and also makes it lose color (if you have it dyed). It can also irritate your scalp and give you dandruff.
-- Do NOT pile all of your hair on your head and scrub around -- this really damages your hair (and creates tangles). Instead, apply shampoo only to the roots, and rub the scalp in small circles with your fingertips until it lathers, making sure the hair doesn't get tangled around your hair and pull. When you rinse, you'll run the shampoo through the rest of your hair and it will get clean -- applying shampoo directly to the older bits of hair will cause it to get damaged.

-- After rinsing, apply conditioner thickly at the ends and thinly at the roots, and let it sit for five minutes (ignore the bottle's instructions! your hair will be wet, and conditioner has a harder time getting into wet hair because hair acts like a sponge).
-- rinse completely! if you leave any on, it will sit on top of the hairs and make it feel stiff and sticky, and it will smother your scalp, which can cause dandruff.
-- if you want, apply a little leave-in conditioner after your hair is mostly dry (so that it can soak it up). I use Infusium 23 about once every 2-3 washes, or if I'm straightening my hair.

-- never brush wet hair! when hair is wet it's more stretchy and expanded, thus much more likely to break/split. If you want to untangle wet hair, use a wide-toothed comb and...
-- To remove tangles, start at the ends and comb a 2-inch length, then increase the length of strokes slowly until your hair is untangled. Starting at the roots makes the tangles all get pushed together, which means more damage.
-- On non-washing days, first comb to untangle. Then, take a wide bristled brush (like the 'vent' brush here) and unwind cotton balls to loop between the bristles. (alternatively you can wrap a soft-bristled brush in old pantyhose -- this works better for very short hair) Then, lean over and flip your hair forward, and brush from the nape of your neck to your forehead and down to the ends of your hair. Brush at least 50 strokes and try to spread them out evenly so that you are stimulating the whole scalp. This evenly distributes the oils so that you don't get the "greasy" look from oils all being at the roots. The cotton balls also help catch loose dirt and lint. (I tend to brush 25 strokes nape-to-forehead, 25 from left ear to right ear, 25 from right to left, and 25 straight back, but that's probably more than necessary)
-- if you have really short hair (less than an inch long), you can rub your scalp with a paper towel to absorb/redistribute oil.

BLEACHING & DYING (with demi-permanent colors):
-- after applying bleach or color to your hair, wrap your head in plastic wrap and blow-dry it on hot a little bit. The trapped heat will make the bleach/color develop more quickly and intensely.
-- after bleaching, rinse thoroughly but do not wash or condition (that will keep the color from absorbing as well). You can wash/condition if you're using a truly permanent hair color but not demi-permanents.
-- after dying, rinse thoroughly (until the water runs clear) but do not wash or condition for another 12-24 hours. This allows the color to set more so it will stay bright longer.
-- again, use cold water when rinsing/washing!

If you try any of this, lemme know how it turns out! And if you have any additional tips please share :D


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isarma ══╣╠══
I agree with alot of your tips, but I'd say avoid washing it with shampoo, ever, unless it's actually dirty. Bleach, mud, dye, etc :)
belenen ══╣pensive╠══
I've never had the patience/dedication to try the no-poo method -- I don't want to have to rinse/dry it everyday (I never use hairdryers so it takes a while). But I've heard it works wonders!
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
I tried the no-poo method for awhile. It did wonders for my normally kind of pimply back but didn't do anything for my hair.
ladywind ══╣╠══
I hadn't thought of doing the thing with the cottonballs! Thank you!
belenen ══╣effervescent╠══
Re: w00t!
you're welcome!
isarma ══╣╠══
That's certainly one way, but I don't do any of that. I don't use blow dryers, either. My hair hates them. I don't rinse every day. I don't use anything instead of shampoo. I do use conditioner, about as often as you wash your hair. I just skip the shampoo. It stripes hair and destroys color alot faster and really, our hair is mostly not dirty. So I save it for when I need to get bad shit out, like bleach. :)

There is about a week adjustment period, so I did it at a festival, when I wouldn't be washing anyway. Shampoo strips your hair of all the oils, so your hair freaks out and makes lots more oil. If you stop using it, the hair will calm down and make less.

belenen ══╣analytical╠══
hm, well maybe I will try that!
aliyna ══╣╠══
Your adjustment period was only a week!? Luuuckyyyy. Mine was almost six. I couldn't handle it.
isarma ══╣╠══
Some of that might've been that I was already doing what James does - using shampoo sparingly and not often. )
aliyna ══╣╠══
I think my best advice is not to use detergent-based shampoos, (instead use an organic shampoo bar- my mother's hairdresser makes them in-house!- or from Lush, for example. Or use all-natural brand shampoos, like Burt's Bees, Dr. Bronner, JASON, etc. I use an all natural peppermint dog shampoo that Martha Stewart puts out.) They're less likely to strip all the natural oils out of your hair than a detergent (which is made for cutting grease!)

If at all possible, attempt to go no-shampoo (apple cider vinegar/baking soda) but I've never made it through the hyper-oily, dreadfully heavy detox period. It gets me every time.

This is all awesome advice though, Bel. I especially like the using cotton or stockings to help distribute oils with your hairbrush! I actually use a wooden-bristled dog brush for that same reason, but adding some natural fibers to it would increase that exponentially.
saturnsdaughter ══╣╠══
Well, now I'm starting to get an idea about why I lose so much hair when I wash it. I've been piling it on my head to wash, and combing from the roots for years. I'm definitely going to save these tips and try to break the habits.
long hair
sidheblessed ══╣long hair╠══
Awesome tips! I don't do things exactly as you suggest (I only rinse in cold, for example, I can't handle washing in it) and I never bleach my hair but everything you've suggested makes sense. One thing I do when I condition is pop a shower cap over it and finish my shower, to let it really soak in. I rinse it thoroughly at the end of my shower. It seems to work wonders. I also just wrap a towel around my head to catch the drips for a few minutes, then just let it dry naturally. It does so much damage to roughly rub your head with a towel, especially if you rub enough that it starts sticking out ala Einstein (which is what my husband does *facepalm*).
Experience What You Know
aerialmelodies ══╣Experience What You Know╠══
Using a more natural shampoo works wonders, though I've had to be a little careful. After a year of Dr. Bronner's, I finally had to start blow drying my hair at least once every month to prevent it from dreading. My hair was already prone to it, and while I have nothing against it, it's not what I'm going for! Conditioners help a little, but then I go to the gym to workout and kind of ruin all the "clean the head!" stuff anyway. ;)

Great tips, though! I like the cotton ball one a lot. Will have to try it!
phydeau ══╣╠══
I don't know if anyone has suggested this, but for the last year or so, I've been washing my hair with baking soda. The difference was apparent immediately. It was instantly more manageable without the detergent. And yes, it got even better when I stopped washing it every single day.
phoenixdreaming ══╣╠══
My hair's in pretty good condition (long, strong, straight, fairly shiny), but my scalp gets greasy a day after washing. I'm going to try your tip with the cotton balls and colder water for washing and see if I can get it to last longer between washes!
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.