How to get healthy hair again (my hair growth journey)
It’s always been hard for me to keep my hair long and healthy! It wasn’t until a few years ago though that I realized it really wasn’t my hair that was the problem, it was more the way I was taking care of it. I thought I was doing everything right but in reality, I didn’t have a clue. Keep reading to read about my traumatic hair experience and what I did and what steps you can take to get healthy hair again.
The hair growing struggle is so real! If you have been following me for a while you know I’ve had many hair cuts, colors, and lengths! I’ve gone through a few hair phases: grey, pink, purple, blonde hair then back to my original brown. During this whole transformation, there is one story I’ve never shared. My one and only salon horror story. I originally didn’t talk about it because I thought it would look “unprofessional” to talk badly about a salon, but for the sake of showing how far my hair has come since then, I’ll share what happened. My hair went through a really bad trauma and I had to do everything to get it back stronger than it was before.
HOW MY HAIR GOT DAMAGED
A few years back I wanted to do a fun light lavender color. I have dark Latina hair and I knew that it was going to be a long journey to get my hair there safely. It took months and months of slowly bleaching my hair to get it light enough to go lavender. I even changed my lifestyle a bit to keep my hair healthy after all the bleaching (like not getting my hair in ocean water or chlorinated pools). Safe to say, sacrifices were made. Everything was great! After about half a year (or possibly more), I had reached my hair goal of going light and it was still looking shiny and healthy!
This story, however, goes downhill (and fast) after a local salon reached out to me and said they wanted to do my hair for free in exchange for “a shout out” on my Instagram. I politely declined twice. Vivid colors (pinks..etc) are hard enough to get right (I knew this because I had tried many colors already and went with two different hair girls). If you have dark Latina hair, you know how tricky it can be to dye to that perfect lighter shade.
They reached out one more time and added they would give me all my hair products for free and always do my hair for free if I liked them. Truth be told, the salon carried some killer hair products (all the good stuff). I weighed out how much money I would be saving and thought, “Well, It may just work out”. After all, they had been working with a lot of other local bloggers. Then again, those girls didn’t have lavender hair. I felt like I was cheating on my hair girl, but my hair color was fading and my wallet was looking slim… so I made my appointment to see how it would go. SPOILER ALERT: it DID NOT go well.
It was the worst thing I could have done to my hair. They said they knew how to do a light lavender, but my hair came out a rich, deeply saturated Halloween purple. It was WAY too punk rock for me. I knew this would take MONTHS to fade to light lavender. I told the stylist I could not walk out of the salon that way and needed her to fix it. She said she could change it to a light grey by just washing the color out. Which, I later found out, is extremely damaging. I didn’t know it at the time but she was about to “wash out” the dye by using more bleach on my way too bleached out hair. My hair could not take one more drop of bleach.
I told her to just make it a light grey instead thinking it would be easier, (again I’m not a colorist obviously so I had no idea). She said she could “no problem”. As soon as she spun me around in my chair to see the final color, I knew she had undone the slow, careful months of bleaching my stylist and I had worked on the year leading up to this moment. My hair was somehow a very dark grey. Not only did she bleach my hair more, but she also darkened it by adding black to the dye mix. I can’t even tell you how upset I was. TIME and money were all thrown in the trash. What the hell was going on ???
My hair was healthy when I walked in, but I walked out with an old broom stuck to my head. My hair felt like hay that you would feed a horse. Brittle and easy to crack. It was HORRIBLE. I came home crying to John. I know, I know that I sound dramatic, but it looked like it needed to be fully chopped off. It wasn’t until my hair finally got healthy again that john confessed my hair really did look absolutely horrible that day I came home in tears. At the moment he just told me it really wasn’t that bad. Note to all future husbands and boyfriends: this is the correct route to take.
I immediately made an appointment with my normal stylist and ran to her crying saying SAVE MY HAIR!!! She was so upset about what they did she actually wrote to the salon and yelled at them for being so irresponsible by saying they knew how to do something when they didn’t. All this story is to say my hair was FRIED to a crisp. It took a lot of love and care to get my hair long, healthy and happy again. I talked to my stylist and followed her steps diligently. That’s now in the past and today my hair feels really great! It’s long, strong and shiny! Heres a few of the steps I took (and still do on the daily) to keep my hair healthy.
Steps for Healthier Hair
Keep your color as natural as possible
I dyed my hair back to its natural color and let most of the bleach grow out. Even just having it dyed darker makes it appear shinier since the light reflects off the dark better. Less bleach is always better of course as well as less coloring. Ombre is always a good option because it requires less maintenance and therefore less coloring also FYI!
My stylist kept raving about how her water filter made all the difference in her hair so I finally gave in. It’s amazing what a difference it has made! I highly recommend you do this, especially if you have colored hair. The water in our homes contains chlorine and other contaminants that can cause dryness and breakage. A shower filter helped cleanse the water. Truly a game-changer for both your hair and skin. This is the one I got.
Rinse with lukewarm or cold water
This is hard for me to do because I LOVE hot showers but I always try to keep my hair out of any heat as much as possible. Whenever I wash my hair I switch the water to lukewarm (almost cold). I find that it really does help your hair look shinier (as it’s not getting dried out in the heat) and helps with the frizz.
Wash less and use Dry Shampoo
Did you know you can train your hair to be washed less? I wash my hair only 2 times a week. I work out about 4 times a week but don’t break that bad a sweat. Dry shampoo and an updo on the last two days definitely help but I always try to keep that to a minimum and only when its needed towards the last days (ponytail days). If you wash your hair less, you actually train it to be less greasy! Washing your hair less helps those natural oils to accumulate and nourish your hair strands leaving it shinier, stronger and healthier. Check out this article here for more on this if you are skeptical.
Leave-in conditioner + oils
I’ve always used a leave-in conditioner, but I definitely use it way more often after “the hair incident”. My favorite one is from UNITE. It’s so lightweight and very moisturizing and doesn’t leave your hair greasy at all. I also love to add a bit of oil to my ends to tame the split ends and keep it happy. Always a fan of Moroccan Oil and also AGAVE oil (use lightly it’s very rich). I love to pack a travel-sized kit when I’m traveling or heading to the beach.
Heat resistant products when using hot tools
Of course, no heat is always better, but I blow dry or curl my hair once a week. I never EVER use heat on my hair without some kind of heat protector. It can be hard to find the ones that won’t leave your hair greasy, dirty or feel weighed down. Some of the ones I have really grown to love are UNITE, NEURO, and REDKEN.
I use a hair mask every single time I take a shower. I use a very strong one once a week and lighter “every day” every other time. My favorite hair masks (also great for travel) of the moment is the Davines Spotlight circle (I’ve mentioned this so many times before), NYM Beach Babe Butter Masque and
Thanks for reading!