Hair and skin are one of the first things to get out of whack (at least for me) when winter hits. It’s a season long struggle of trying to just maintain, let alone improve! Two weeks ago I shared my secrets to keeping your skin hydrated during these drier months. Today, I’m writing a similar post about hair!
I used to have great hair. I’m not trying to be not-humble. Just real. It was long, super healthy, and I got told by everyone that they wanted my hair. However, I got a really bad dye job a year and a half ago from a colorist back in LA. My hair was ruined. I literally left the salon with blue hair. Over the next couple weeks it started breaking off everywhere. I had awkward 3 inch long strands on top of my head and at my neck. It was annoying, embarrassing, and so discouraging. I knew it was going to take years to recover from this.
It’s crazy how great hair can give you instant confidence. And how bad hair can take that all away. Thank god for Matt who told me every day I was still beautiful despite my blue shaded, breaking strands. But dye jobs (even good ones) aren’t the only cause of damaged hair. Harsh winters and a lot of hot tools also cause it! Since I had the worst of the worst, I needed the best of the best products out there. Here’s what I’ve found as my hair care bible, so to speak!
Get a good conditioner.
In my experience, shampoo hasn’t made as much of a difference as having a good conditioner. Of course, if the shampoo is too drying, it’s bad news. However, you can usually get away with something more affordable. I usually stick to kids shampoo (it tends to be safer) or Acure for something you can find at Target. Note, don’t get the Acure conditioner. It’s way too drying! Just check the labels and make sure there’s no SLS or SLES in the ingredients. It irritates your scalp and also contributes to infertility – neither of which is something a woman wants!
The best conditioner out there is this Repair and Nourish Conditioner. It also happens to be on sale and it’s by Beautycounter, my favorite safe beauty brand! It’s extremely hydrating – so much so that you probably only need to use it once or twice a week unless your hair is damaged. After my horrible dye job years ago, I used this conditioner exclusively for the first couple months to nurse it back to health. Now, I mix it into my routine 1-2 times a week during summer and 2-3 times a week during winter. I usually base it on how my hair is feeling and the weather outside! I have also used this kids conditioner and it’s surprisingly better than most adult conditioners I’ve found at CVS plus it is a safe beauty product. Other brands that I’d recommend are Seed Phytonutrients and Rahua!
Keratin treatments and Olaplex.
There are professional keratin and olaplex treatments and then there are those you can do at home. Ask your colorist for his or her recommendations while in the salon! Don’t be shy! You can keep the work they’ve done going by doing Olaplex treatments at home. You will need to get the initial treatment from your salon but I love that you can by these from Sephora now. I’ve also been recommended Quadraplex by my colorist as an Olaplex on steroids, kind of. It also gets rid of the build up on your strands from product and daily life. I’m not sold on it yet but I do use this once a week!
The other product that I use once a week is this Keratin Complex Intense RX. It’s another one of those products that makes a huge difference in the texture of your hair after you use it. Just make sure you use it before you plan to blow dry. It’s heat activated so doesn’t really do much otherwise. Since I rarely blow dry my hair, I’ve fallen off of using this and stick mostly to my next two products (but it does help)!
Split end serum will change your life.
I never thought about using a hair serum until I saw this Repair & Nourish one by Beautycounter. It makes sense. I use serum on my face every night, I should be using serum on my hair every day right? Or at least every time I wash it. This bottle is already travel sized and has lasted me 3 months already (I use it aggressively). I work this into my hair after I get out of the shower.
Hair oil is a must have.
I used to think all hair oils were created equal. I was wrong. I liked the ones I had tried before – I felt like they moisturized my hair or at least protected it. That was, until I tried this Smooth & Control Hair Oil. This product is magic. It’s unlike any other hair oil I’ve ever tried. I feel like the product actually gets inside your strands and starts healing it instead of just sitting on the surface of the strand. Every time I use this, I’m amazed at how soft (yet strong) my hair feels. I either work a pump or two of this into my ends while it’s wet or use it on dry hair on days I don’t wash it. I will say that a little goes a long way so you only need one pump or two. It’s also already travel sized which is very convenient!
If you’re not into Beautycounter, you can use pretty much any kind of oil to protect your hair during the winter. The difference is that most hair oils will act as a sealant versus a treatment AND a sealant. Just do what works for you!
Have a brush that is gentle on your hair.
Sound silly? It’s true. You need this brush in your life and you can get it off Amazon. It’s under $10 and makes such a difference. You can also find this at places like CVS and Bed Bath and Beyond – just make sure you’re getting the Wet Brush Pro, not the regular Wet Brush. It sounds similar but trust me, the Wet Brush Pro is infinitely better.
Never skip a heat protectant.
Every time I style my hair with heat, I make sure I spray on a heat protectant about 10-15 minutes beforehand. When I’m traveling and have forgotten heat protectant, I cringe with every strand that I curl! I just can’t help but envision my hair not being protected fully. I don’t really think that it makes much of a difference the product that you use. Just use something. I love this heat protectant from Briogeo – this was one of my Sephora discoveries that I’ve really ended up loving. I’m a repeat purchaser on this one! Briogeo is a safer brand too!
Make time for hair masks.
I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better about doing face masks regularly (the difference in my skin is crazy after I use this one) but still struggle with hair masks. I don’t know why but finding the time for them is so much more difficult. It’s way more intensive because you have to commit to showering after which I don’t always have time for. Especially in the mornings! What has worked for me is this deep conditioning mask by Briogeo because you can use it in the shower as an intense hair conditioner. I usually use it on days when I’m shaving my legs and put it in my hair before I start shaving.
Use hot tools sparingly.
This one is kind of a no brainer. I try to rock 2 day hair (and sometimes 3 day hair) as much as possible. Also, on days that it’s raining, I don’t bother curling my hair because I know it will just fall out! I usually try alternate hair styles like buns or braids when I know my hair needs a break. Another way to cut back is when I’m curling, I hold my wand on my hair for less than 10 seconds. I sacrifice how long the curl lasts for sure but I’d rather have hair that isn’t breaking off!
Don’t take good hair ties for granted.
I feel like every couple years there is a new fad with hair ties. The latest are these by Invisibobble. While I still love a good clip, I’ve been putting them to the test for 2 months and they do a really good job of not breaking my hair. Also, when they stretch out, blow dry them to shrink them back!