Lessons I've Learned While Growing Out My Hair.

As I've grown my hair out, which is now inches away from my original goal, I've discovered quite a few ways to really make it behave to its potential. When I first started growing my hair from its always-changing pixie, my stylist had a talk with me. She explained how everyone's hair has an expiration date and that my expiration date may mean my hair can never be as healthy and as long as I was hoping. She was basically telling me that the long hair I wanted may not even be possible for me. At the time, I felt like I had been sat down and told a girl couldn't be President. However, my short hair was crunchy. It was very dry, over-processed and frizzy. Since I wanted to be the President of my own hair or whatever,  I made a few changes that drastically changed the state of my mane, over time, not overnight.

1. I got a smoothing treatment from Thermafuse Amino Fusion. This is an amino protein-based treatment, not a keratin treatment. It lasts three months and makes your hair smooth. I've had this done twice. It's effects have allegedly expired, but it helped my hair through a rough time. It won't make it pin straight if your hair is curly, but it will remove frizz and make it prettier and easier to tame.

2. I ditched all sulfates in my shampoos and only wash when I absolutely have to. Basically, products that call themselves sulfate-free are really SLS-free, which only really refers to sodium laureth sulphate or it's harsher sister sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate. This doesn't really mean it's technically sulfate free. It means it's free of the sulfates we are currently concerned about. Most SLS-free shampoos still contain sodium laurel sulfoacetate, a much less harsh version of the cleanser. It's a plant-based, foaming cleanser that does not strip hair in the same way SLS cleansers do. Some of my favorite SLS-free shampoos are anything from Peter Lamas. If you are looking for shiny hair, longer hair or smoother hair, he is your guy. Aveeno also has a new totally sulfate-free shampoo (no sulfates whatsoever). If you have oily hair, this may be just right for you. If you have dry or processed hair, you will need a good conditioner afterwards. I try to wash and blow dry my hair no more than twice per week. This saves my hair from constant heated styling as well, which goes a long way towards increasing its shelf life.

3. I added oils and serums to my daily routine. This helps hydrate my processed hair, adds shine and make it more manageable and less frizzy. This isn't like putting a heavy oil in your hair that will weigh it down and make it greasy. A little goes a long way and makes a huge impact. I've tried 100% Pure Argan Oil and it's too heavy for my hair (but I love it on my skin). Using a blended product, like Argan Oil with a bit of silicone slip agent, creates shiny, treated hair that gleams. If you aren't familiar with Argan Oil, it contains vitamin E, which  makes it an incredibly effective treatment agent as it helps to renew the hair and repair damage caused by heat styling and oxidation. It also prolongs the life of colour treated hair. The unsaturated Omega 3 and Omega 9 fatty acids help to nourish hair pores and roots and strengthen the protein bonding structures in the hair*. UNITE, another of my favorite brands, makes U Luxury Argan Oil, a nice Argan serum that does contain silicones, but it's light enough that it will give you the effects you are after without making your hair too heavy. Another oil I'm in love with is Oi' Absolute Beautifying Potion, by Davines. This oil contains Roucou Oil, which acts similar to Argan (untangling, anti-frizz, anti-free radical, anti-oxidant properties, rapid evaporation properties). It also helps stimulate hair growth* and is sustainably sourced from the Amazon. It smells amazing and leaves hair feeling like you've stepped out of a celeb stylist's chair.

4. If oils are too heavy for you, try something else.  I really like L'Occitane's Aromachologie Repairing Hair Serum. This very light, creamy lotion adds mega shine, enhances the appearance of your color, de-tangles and protects your hair from environmental damage. It does have a bit of a strong scent, but I personally don't mind it. It's fresh, herbal and clean, not overly luxe (i.e.: strongly perfumed) or floral-scented. It's great to give your hair a little body and bounce as well!

Depending on how my hair continues to behave, I'm hoping to let it grow for at least another eight months before reaching it's maximum healthy length. I'm sticking to my original goal of Emily from The Court Yard Hounds. If you are trying to create your own hair overhaul or rehab your hair from bland to beautiful and need ideas for your specific hair type, check out the book Hair Care Rehab: The Ultimate Hair Repair and Reconditioning Manual, by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy. It's full of tips for all hair types and styles that will get your hair in shape in no time!

What are your favorite products for keeping your hair healthy and happy? Tell me in the comments!

*Oil info sourced from here.

Some items were sent for blog consideration. Others were purchased my me. 

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  1. This is very helpful. I want to stop buying random shampoos and conditioners and focus in on what will really help my hair. I've also got a couple questions: are you a Wen fan?, and how do I go about finding th ebest salon locally to cut and color my long, very grey hair? Thanks!

  2. I love Wen!! Look for a stylist who has hair you like and who has an online portfolio of work you admire. Then make sure you are being reasonable in your request and make sure they are honest and listen when you talk. Consultations are free! Ask to meet a stylist before booking with them. It's your hair and you should love it!

  3. I've been growing it out since January of 2010.

  4. Just curious, how long have you been growing your hair out? 

  5. I love using oil in my hair too thanks to your recommendations!!!

  6. I'll have to check it out! There is something tied to oils and aiding in evaporation, so you are not imagining the faster drying!

  7. I recently started using Orofluiodo Beauty Exlixir.  It's a mixtures of argan, linseed, and cyprus oils.  My hair feels lighter, softer, and more bouncy and I swear it seems to dry faster!  Love it.

  8. All the way from Brazil I love Davines!


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