Healthy Hair: Mythical Journey or Attainable Nirvana?
Healthy hair – we all want it but how many of us actually are able to achieve it? I, am proud to say, that at the moment my hair may not be 100% healthy but it is getting there. Healthy hair, like a healthy lifestyle or weight loss, takes time. It takes resilience and determination. So how do you get there? In my journey to hair nirvana I have learned some great tips and I have seen the results.
Let’s start with some background. My hair has been through quite a bit in the past six months. I went from a natural soft brown to gradually adding highlights until I was almost 75% blonde. My hair is extremely fine and I do not have a lot of it. That being said you can assume that I have to be careful with not only the products I put in my hair but what I actually do to my hair. From blonde I decided to go a vibrant shade of red. Being a hairstylist I have the great option to change my hair color at any whim, and I do. Because of all of the changes I made in such a short amount of time, my hair eventually felt dry and over processed. Had I been taking care of my hair while going through these changes the effects would not have been nearly as drastic as they were. After going red and feeling the change in my hair I was determined to get my hair back into shape. Being a hairstylist I felt, and still feel immense pressure to have perfect hair. It made me feel self conscious to walk into work and tell my clients what they should be doing about their hair when mine was not in a state that I was proud of.
I have been red and on a healthy hair regimen for almost three months and I have seen amazing results. What does healthy hair mean? It could mean something different to everyone. For me, healthy hair is shiny, smooth, soft. It grows at a normal rate and doesn’t break off at the ends (which has always been a problem for me even prior to coloring). How do you get healthy hair? Going through cosmetology school I had some fair idea, but I wanted to really figure it out. I did some research online and found some great tips however, being a hairstylist I found them a little unrealistic.
Most people or magazines will tell you that to obtain healthy hair there are some basic dos and don’ts.
DO wash your hair less frequently.
DON’T use any heat on your hair.
DO deep condition.
DON’T color or chemically process your hair.
Ok, so let’s be real here. Most of us cannot completely cut heat out of our hair routine. Whether it’s your fresh blow out you love or your flat iron and curling iron, heat is a necessary tool for the styling process. While some people can live without it, I honestly can’t even see a day without my curling iron let alone my blow dryer. Now let’s talk about this other don’t that is just sitting there like an elephant in the room. Even if I did decide to, somehow, cut out the heat my hair is red! No color or chemical processing is not really an option for me. So what is a girl to do now? I felt a little discouraged, and frankly a little determined to prove all these ambiguous magazine ‘hair experts’ wrong, so I came up with my own hair regimen.
Working for Jovie I have access to an amazing line of products that is geared towards treating a problem. Rene Furterer is a hair care line that is made with pharmaceutical grade ingredients. The whole concept behind Rene Furterer is that if there is a problem with your hair there is a line that will treat your problem. Almost like if you go to the doctor for allergies and that doctor prescribes your allergy medication. You have a problem, your doctor has the treatment. In my healthy hair journey I picked up a lot of new products for my hair and I will say 100% without a doubt that these products have helped get my hair back to being healthy again.
So let’s talk about my personal dos and don’ts that have worked for me. Now remember that these work for me, there is no guarantee that every product I mention will work the same for you.
DO train your hair
One thing that I read on the Do’s and Don’ts lists that I completely agree with is that you should wash your hair less. If you wash your hair every day you are depriving your hair of the natural oils that it creates throughout the day. Now you make think that by doing so your hair will be less oily but, in actuality, the results are just the opposite. Like your skin, if you deprive the scalp of oils by over washing your hair produces more. So by washing your hair every day you are 1. Making your scalp produce more oils which could potentially make your hair greasy and 2. Depriving your mid shaft and ends of natural oils altogether which can make them feel dry.
I get that you feel that your hair is greasy and that you have to wash it every day, I really do. However, if you train your hair to produce less oils you will not feel that way. By training your hair I mean that if you wash your hair once a day try cutting down to every other day. When you feel that your hair is getting less oily in between your washes maybe drop down to once very three days. For some people every other day is all they can stand, which is fine. Do whatever is comfortable for you.
I, personally, wash my hair every third day. So if I wash my hair on Monday the next time I wash it will be Thursday. Three days is usually a good place for me. On the third day my hair doesn’t look terrible but it will definitely need a wash before day four. To get me through my days between washes I use dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is a product that you apply to your roots to absorb the excess oils in your hair and give it some texture and volume. I personally swear by the Naturia Dry Shampoo from Rene Furterer. Naturia is made with rice and corn starch which helps absorb oils and impurities from your scalp and hair. While it does offer cosmetic relief it also contains caraway, basil, and peppermint essential oils that clean and balance your scalp.
DO use heat protectant
If you use heat at all it is imperative that you use a heat protectant. Heat protectants do exactly what you would think; they protect your hair from the damage that heat can do. When you apply heat to your hair the heat reforms the ions of your hair strands to conform to the shape you are heating them to. If your using a flat iron they will reform in a straight pattern. If you’re using a hot roller, they will form in the shape of the diameter of your roller. When your hair is reforming the heat also deprives your hair of its moisture. A heat protectant will provide a barrier between your hair and the heat to help retain as much moisture in the hair as possible.
As I mentioned before, I cannot completely cut heat out of my life. I have compromised and I have cut back significantly. Where I used to use heat every day I now only use my heat tools maybe once every other day. Anytime I use heat, whether it be blow drying or curling or whatever, I always apply heat protectant to every section. The Lissea thermal protecting spray is my go to heat protectant. Lissea is a lightweight spray that will protect your hair up to 428 degrees. It has a thermal protecting complex in it that helps smooth the hair and tame any frizz.
DO deep condition your hair
Deep conditioning, in my opinion, is a necessity not an option. Whether you deep condition once a week or once a month set aside some time for yourself and give your hair a little TLC. Deep conditioning has many benefits. The biggest benefit is really giving your hair the time to absorb all of the nutrients and ingredients in your product.
My personal deep conditioning routine is fairly simple. When I wash my hair I have three different shampoo and conditioner combinations in rotation. One is a red shampoo and conditioner to help maintain my color. The other two are solely for the purpose of achieving and maintaining the health of my hair. When in the shower I wash my hair twice with my shampoo then I towel dry my hair or just squeeze out the excess water. After that I apply my conditioner or mask from my mid shafts to ends, comb it through with a wide tooth comb and put my hair up in a clip. When I am done with whatever else I need to do in the shower (shave, wash, etc) I rinse out my conditioner.
After my red deposit wash comes my Absolue Keratine routine. On this day I shampoo and condition with the Rene Furterer Absolue Keratine line. Both the mask and the shampoo are made with a plant based Keratin which penetrates the hair to help strengthen it. Some people are wary of Keratin products and treatments because, when over used, they can make the hair brittle and break. Because the keratin in this product being plant derived as opposed to similar products that are derived from other materials the breakage doesn’t occur. With my hair being over processed I can say for a fact that the Absolue Keratine line has made a HUGE difference in my hair. Using it once a week for about three months I have seen my hair grow stronger and softer.
After my Keratine routine I have my cleansing and hydrating routine. On this shower day I wash twice with my Naturia Shampoo which helps balance the scalp and provide moisture with vitamin B5. I love this shampoo because it really gets my scalp and hair clean without stripping it of it’s natural oils completely. After I shampoo, I condition with the Carthame gentle hydro-nutritive mask by Rene Furterer. Carthame is made with safflower oil which is rich in fatty acids that add moisture to the hair. This conditioner, while being on the thinner side, makes my hair very soft and really adds the moisture back into my hair.
DO counteract the effects of coloring or chemical processing
All of the tips above will help you counteract the effects of coloring or chemically processing your hair. Another great tip is to use a leave in conditioner. I personally have two Rene Furterer leave ins on rotation in my routine. The first is the Fioravanti leave in spray. This spray is my holy grail leave in conditioner, I don’t think I will ever be without it. Made from cherry vinegar, this spray will neutralize hard water deposits and add shine. Fioravanti also contains ginger and cinnamon extract which help tighten and close the hair cuticles, which also helps add shine. This spray is also a great detangler and can be used on the whole family.
The other leave in conditioner I use is the Absolue Keratine renewal leave in cream. This leave in contains the same great ingredients as the shampoo and mask and really helps to seal the ends of my hair and prevent breakage. I use it on my wet hair as well as my dry hair when heat styling leaves it looking a little dull and dry.
On a small side note: If your hair is color treated look for products with a lower pH. Products that have a lower pH, or lean slightly more acidic (like the Fioravanti) will seize up the cuticle of your hair and help lock in your color better than products with a higher pH. When the cuticle of your hair is sealed the color tends to fade at a slower rate.
So with all of this new knowledge go find your own hair nirvana! It may be difficult at first to find the right combination of products but when you do it will all be worth it. And if you hit any bumps along the way, remember that I am here to answer any questions you have. Hair isn’t as simple as people make it out to be, ask questions and be informed. Healthy hair is obtainable, it just takes some time and determination.