Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My transition to healthier hair

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Hi girls!

If you have followed me for awhile, you are aware of this problem I have.  If not, you are about to hear all about my sad battle with the nasty monster experts call sebum, and I refer to as "OH MY GOSH MY HAIR IS SO DIRTY! OH MY GOSH MY FACE IS SO SHINY!!! HELPPPP!!" I have struggled with extremely oily skin and scalp/hair since I started puberty, which was about 15 years old.

As a little girl, I always had very long healthy hair. My hair is a fine texture and straight as a board, but I had a lot of it on my head.  I was a natural blonde until age 13, when it had turned a very dark, dull shade of 'not blonde but not quite brown'. So naturally my blonde mommy allowed me to start getting highlights, which over the years has turned into a full head of foils every time I visit the hair salon.  My hair was still in great condition and very long....UNTIL the oil problem started.  I had to increase my washings just to prevent myself from looking like my roots were wet! EW! So naturally, as time went on, the bleaching plus the over-washing has brought me to my hair's current state: shoulder length, dry ends, oily roots, and much thinner than it used to be.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not going bald or anything, but the thickness of my ponytail has decreased so much since I was 15 that it just makes me sick to my stomach. I have had quite enough of this, and I have decided that I want my hair back-in all of it's length and strength!

I have done copious amounts of research, and it seems the solutions are slightly contradicting. If you search for oily hair solutions on google, you will find articles and products to 'clarify' your hair and scalp. Tea tree oil will be a common ingredient, and you will read the words "squeaky clean" over and over.  Well I continued my research and found that the reason so many women have hair issues is because we wash our hair too often, and we get it "squeaky clean" every time.  We are conditioned to want a sudsy lather and a super clean feel when we leave the shower, and that a normal cleansing feels strange and ineffective.  The problem is the chemicals that cause these suds strip your hair and scalp of its normal oils. These are vital to keep hair healthy, strong, and smooth.  How does your body compensate for this stripping of its oils? IT PRODUCES EXTRA TO MAKE UP FOR IT! NOOO! I wash so often to get rid of these oils, and you are telling me the washing is making the oil increase??! (plus really damaging my hair!)

So the solution seems simple right? Stop washing my hair everyday. Too bad that I won't be able to leave my house every other day...In comes the dry shampoo. I have used several brands, and the best one I have come across is Suave. Cheap and works like a charm...although the smell kills me (yuck!).  I sprayed the dry shampoo in my hand the other day, and noticed it's not very powdery.  It's very liquidy, and evaporates very quickly.  This concerned me, because that liquid's behavior seemed an awful lot like...alcohol.  I read the ingredients on the bottle and immediately chunked that stuff in the trashcan. It was nothing but alcohols and chemicals that the EWG strongly warns against.  No wonder my hair is upset! I wash it all the time, and then when I don't wash it, I clean it with alcohol. Not good!

Thank goodness for beauty gurus on YouTube! I did my research and purchased some new products that will hopefully change the game for my hair. I am going as natural as possible!

1. Shampoo: Alba Bontanica Plumeria Shampoo for colored hair.  This doesn't have the lowest rating by the EWG, but it is very gentle and smells great.  It does suds up, which is less work for me to clean my hair, but I know in my mind the suds can be damaging.  I will probably explore another shampoo option after I finish this bottle, but I really like this so far! I am going to have to give my hair time to transition to this less stripping product, and eventually the oil production will decrease. I used SebaMed (balanced pH products) all summer until I saw the chemical rating by the EWG. My hair really improved in condition, but I want to get away from the chemicals.

2. Conditioner: Acure Organics Argan Oil Conditioner. It has really great ratings and is quite affordable. It hasn't arrived yet, but I can't wait to try it out. Long hair divas rave about Argan oil products...which I will explain below. This product ONLY touches my ends in the shower.

3. After Wash Product: 100% Pure Argan Oil. I purchased this from Acure also. Apparently argan oil is very light compared to other essential oils-some people even put it on their face! (Sounds like a nightmare to me, but who knows!) From what I have read a drop or two on your ends keeps them healthy and moisturized without looking weighed down...but you have to be careful not to over-do it.

4. Dry Shampoo: No Drought by Lush.  Everyone on youtube raves about Lush, this product in particular. It is a non aerosol dry shampoo, which means no scary chemicals! Lush is very up front about all of their product's ingredients, which is nice. I am skeptical, but can't wait to try. I think dry shampoo will be my holy grail product as I try to transition to washing my hair less often.

5. Once a week Shampoo: Jumping Juniper shampoo bar by Lush. The shampoo bars are supposed to last 90 washes, and if I only use this once a week, It should last me almost 2 years! Wow. This shampoo is supposed to clear out oil buildup and balance sebum production, and most reviews said it is very clarifying. Something I learned from using the SebaMed products is that every few washes, I needed to wash my hair with something more sudsy (clarifying) to bring some life back to my hair. It was as if the oils/product had built up over the week and needed a good cleansing. Lush products are very natural, so I'm not worried about this product stripping my hair like a typical clarifying shampoo would-but we shall see.

I do not shampoo my ends. I don't even let shampoo suds run over them! I put my hair into a bun on top of my head, and shampoo my roots only.  I lift the bun to cleanse the crown of my head underneath, and hold the bun up away from my scalp as I rinse.  This may seem crazy, but it really works! My ends are so much happier on the days I do this. Don't worry about your ends not getting clean. Did you know some people with very dry hair use conditioner as a cleanser and skip shampoo altogether? Conditioner has some cleansing properties because of the ingredients that allow it to rinse out well. So if you are shampooing your ends then conditioning them-they are actually getting washed twice! After rinsing the shampoo, I take down the bun and condition the ends.

My mom is convinced my diet is part of the problem so I'm working on eating less fatty/greasy foods and drinking more water every day. I'm also going to start taking biotin and fish oil. (Biotin makes my nails hard and grow crazy fast, too!)

I do not use heat styling on my hair (except on rare occasions).  I broke my flat iron and blow dryer addiction over the past 6 months, and chopped all my hair off to start anew.  If I have to use my blow dryer, I only use it on the warm temperature and low air settings. One of my favorite youtubers made a great point recently: You can either choose bleach or heat styling, you can't have both or else your hair will show it.  He's so right. I know this from first hand experience.

I have also decided to start going more natural on my hair color. I have been skimping on it this summer-you may be able to tell from my most recent video that it is a lot darker than usual.  It's so hard to see myself as a brunette, because I have always been bright and blonde, and I just like it. I will probably not go too dark because I am a chicken, but just take it easy on the bleach for a few months and give my hair a much needed break.  I'm also over these hair cuts I get at the salon.  They try to put in so many layers which makes my fine hair look like I have flyaway and breakage if they aren't perfectly styled everyday! I trim my own bangs and let my sister give me tiny end trims when they start looking bad.  If you don't use heat very often, any split end problems will greatly improve.

So that's it! I will let you guys know how these new products work out! I am going to do what it takes to get healthy hair!

Do you have any tips or tricks? Let me know!

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