Friday, June 4, 2010

The Secret To Awesome Hair

I figured I'd get this post out of the way early on. People ask me all the time what I use on my hair. I guess they think I've found the secret to awesome hair.

Here's the secret to awesome hair; stick to what works for you.

I've tried:
*"cone free" (only using shampoo, conditioner and other products that contain no silicones.)
*conditioner only/"CO"/"no 'poo" (using only conditioner to wash the scalp and length- no shampoo.)
*protective hairstyles
*no heat styling
*frequent oiling
*horn combs

What works for me is keeping my length pinned up in protective hairstyles, frequent oiling and avoiding heat styling. I've been experimenting with conditioner only washing, but I'm finding the need to wash more frequently, so I'm hitting the shampoo bottle tonight. Conditioner only is working very well for my five year old's hair, though, so we'll be continuing that with her hair.

Going silicone free really works for a lot of people. The hard thing is toughing it out while your hair adjusts.  I went silicone free for almost a year. My hair was stringy and straw-like and I finally had to admit that it just was not working for me. The minute I washed with silicone shampoo, my hair felt one hundred times better. Silicones work for me and now nothing could convince me to switch.

I love my horn comb. I mean, I really love it. It glides smoothly through my hair, eliminates static and is strong enough to take on my nastiest tangles. Mine is yak, but I also own a cow's horn comb. I vastly prefer the yaks horn. I never use a brush when I can use a comb. Combs don't work for some people, though. Since my hair is mostly straight, I can use a comb straight through.  I know a few curly haired people who only finger comb; no brushes, no combs. That works for them.

Because I know people want to know, I'll tell you what products I use on my hair. I'm not recommending that you switch because if you are using something that works well, stick with it.

I wash using Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship for Long Hair and condition with the conditioner version. I've tried other shampoos, but I keep going back to the Herbal Essence. 

I oil with Nightblooming's Triple Moon Anointing Oil and jojoba oil. I treat my sometimes-dry ends with Nightblooming's Panacea Salve.

Heat styling is kind of a no brainer to me. Heat isn't good for hair. I've seen those commercials for the product that promises to "polish" the hair while showing steam rising up from the product. That particular product says that it's good for your hair and actually improves the condition of your hair with...heat. It's no secret that people who heat style on a regular basis are getting more damage and split ends. Using a heat serum can help protect your hair from damage. Regular trims can help keep the damage to a minimum. I don't personally use heat on my hair so as to avoid unnecessary damage.

If I want curls, I pin curl. I take small sections of hair, wind them around my finger, then pin them flat to my scalp. I wrap a scarf around my head, then sleep on it. It's not very attractive, but it's comfortable to sleep in and it works great.

                                                                           Pin Curls

 Protective hair styles are, I think, essential to the health of my hair. I wear my hair up just about every day. I seldom use elastics because I have discovered that I have breakage when I use them. I use hair sticks and wooden hair forks because they don't cause breakage. When I do use elastics, I stick to the fabric covered kind (metal free!) or the clear silicone kind.

The bottom line here is don't use something just because it works for me. If you've found something that works for you, stick with it. If you haven't found something that works yet, keep looking! There's so many choices out there that you're bound to find something.


  1. It's obvious from your pictures how well your haircare works!

    As an additional comment, consider the age of hair at the tips. Let's use the example of 8 inches of yearly growth and 2 inches of yearly trims. So the net growth per year is 6 inches.

    If hair is 40 inches long, this means the tips are 7 years old. 7 years of sun exposure, ozone in the atmosphere, abrasion from combs, brushes, car upholstery, bedding, blouses, blowing in the wind, and on and on.

    Consider things you may own that are 7 years old. How's the finish on your car looking? Or the upholstery on that favorite chair? Wear path on your carpeting?

    Hair grows at the roots but doesn't renew itself on the shaft. So that is the challenge of maintaining volume and quality at the tips.

    Well done, Jessica!

  2. I don't trim. Recently, I took a small pair of scissors and cut a few split ends out, but I haven't sat in a stylists chair since 2007.

    I think I have greater than average growth rates because I cut my hair to about APL (arm pit length) in 2007. I think that probably greatly contributes to the health of my hair. My length is fairly young compared to other people who are growing.

  3. I love how your pin curls turned out! i am still trying to get a good handle on tight enough and not too toght for my hiar, once i woke up with an afro, then sometimes they just aren't hair is totally different than yours though, like you said, find what works for you. I also went cone free for close to a year but my hiar just likes cones. I use pantene brunette expressions shampoo and condish. I try to go 3-4 days between washings, but during the summer its hard. sometimes i W/O inbetween(water only). I also use nightbloomings panacea salve as my styling product and on my ends and the triple moon oil on my scalp once a week. Your hair is SO beautiful!!!

  4. Hi, I just found your blog through a friend. I had long hair (almost waist), then chopped it off to a pixie cut (the horror!!!), and have been growing it for the last two years. It's finally down just past my shoulders. I'm very active in sports though, so have been using cloth-covered elastics to hold it up, but am getting a ton of breakage from that. Is there any way to make those pieces look healthier/lie flat and hopefully grow out? Just learning now about how to care for it so as to avoid more breakage....


  5. Maalivahti, can you french braid? At this point, I would recommend french braids (two works well to hold all the hair back, plus they stay during physical activity.) To get the flyaways under control, try using a horn comb and using a bit of aloe gel or jojoba oil to smooth the bits.

  6. Ooooh! No, I can't, but I love how they look. What a great idea, doing 2 of them. Guess I'm going to have to learn. Thanks!