We’ve all seen those Instagram models rocking gorgeous mermaid hair. Flowing and shiny waves for days, pouring over their shoulders, we look and think, “HOW do they do it?!!!” Well here’s some comforting news: it's usually extensions. So if you’re like me and cringe at the thought of maintaining faux hair, let's review the the natural approach. It’s possible to transform the hair you’ve already got. Just try my natural way with these tips for long beautiful hair.
1. Perfect your brushing technique
Brushing is good for your hair, but that depends on how you brush. If you start from the scalp and pull down, you’re tugging at the knots and causing breakage. Instead, start at the split ends and then gradually glide the brush higher on your head with each stoke (healthywomen.com).
This technique helps loosen the knots first, while letting the natural oils add natural shine to your locks. If you’re right out of the shower, use a detangler brush designed for wet hair. It puts less tug on your hair, keeping your strands strong and healthy.
2. Protection from hot tools
Yes yes, I know you’ve heard it before. And how often do we listen? When I stopped being lazy about taking extra steps to protect my hair from hot tools, I noticed a huge difference in the shine and strength of my hair. Now before blow drying, I use a hair primer so the heat doesn’t crack the cuticles.
I’m left with a glossy, smooth finish-- and less of a need to snap at my husband when he tries to play with my work of art!
3. Sleep on a silk pillowcase
Silk pillows sound princessy. Except oddly enough, it’s one of the most low-maintenance ways to grow long, beautiful hair! While you’re sleeping, and likely moving around, your hair glides smoothly over the smooth texture of silk. According to celebrity hairstylist Bobby Elliot, “The benefit of having a good silk pillowcase is that it creates less friction on the hair and allows the hair a gentle surface”.
With a cotton pillow case, on the other hand, it’s a rougher surface that can tug at your hair. So at the risk of sounding like Mrs.Fancy pants, which I’m not, I always sleep on a silk pillowcase to keep my strands intact, and so does Andrew.
4. Limit the Washes
I promise that you won’t smell, and your hair will actually look a lot healthier. Since your scalp naturally secretes oils that help strengthen your hair follicles and keep your strands moist, you can’t wash away this protective barrier too often. Science suggests to wash your hair once or twice weekly to keep your hair naturally glossy. And if your gets greasy, just use some dry shampoo to banish the ew.
5. Eat protein and good fats
A healthy diet rewards you with great hair. Just think about what our hair is made of: protein for strength and some oil for shine. Where do we get these ingredients? Our diet! Eat plenty of fatty proteins to nourish your strands and grow your hair grow longer and stronger.
Foods like avocados, eggs and seafood are great sources of zinc and biotin (healthline.com). These nutritional sources will give you naturally beautiful hair-- and less need for products.
6. Chill on the Color
You probably aren’t going to like this one, but it’s a worthy sacrifice. As we all know, dying your hair can cause all sorts of damage, especially if you don’t do it properly. Bleaching and coloring damages the cuticle, leaving your hair thin and dull.
So instead of dying, consider a hair gloss instead. It deposits pigment and luster into your hair, making your tresses look more vibrant and healthy. Although a gloss won’t last as long, a few extra visits to your salon is worth having long, beautiful hair.
7. Hair Masks Are Your Friend
Hair masks are my savior! They coat your hair in proteins and vitamins, helping restore your dry hair. I use deep conditioning masks to add a healthy look to my blonde highlights. A good hair mask should contain nourishing ingredients such as B vitamins, argan oil and collagen to repair your tresses.
You can also go the DIY route, using coconut oil or almond oil to treat your damaged hair. Just make sure to shampoo afterwards, so you’re not left with a grease mop.
The moral of our story is that our hair needs a lot of attention. I’m not saying that you’ll turn into Rapunzel overnight, but I can assure you that these tips will give you longer and more beautiful hair. And finally, be patient. Good results take time, so don’t give up.