Hello beautiful people that stops by and reads my stuff!
First of all I want to point out that the before picture was taken on April 2012 and the after picture was taken last Saturday (April 2016) so they’re 4 years apart but my hair has been as long (even longer as you can see in my previous post, I had a haircut the day after Easter and they took at least an inch off), and as healthy for over a year now – so it really took me around 3 years to achieve it (below pic of my Birthday on December 2014). I also want to point out that the after photo has no photoshoped shine or something added to the hair, I color corrected it but that was about it, I didn’t add the “mirror effect” some people add to their hair; this is 100% my hair, no extensions, nothing extra. So… I actually did this post before, back in January but I missed a lot of stuff plus before/after pictures; so here I go again.
HAIR! has been a nightmare for me and thankfully I have documented a lot of it on this blog, so I’ll start from the beginning: how did my nightmare start?
It was 10 years ago! it’s hard for me to say, to accept, to realize that it has been 10 years since I did what I did haha, I colored my hair blonde. The whole thing. It was blonde. I really don’t know why I did it? maybe to please people hahaha I can’t remember, I thought maybe I’d have more fun? I was young so I used to know it all right? So, I bleached it… and kept bleaching the roots and the whole process for exactly a year until it was completely ruined. I looked like a cheap, not so gracious version of Mufasa whenever my hair air-dried; and that’s the reason I kept using hot tools all the time to style it, and it all became a vicious cycle that ended up in EXTRA-DRY, lifeless and full of split ends hair.
I still have a love-hate relationship with that look, plus with friends and family it was always 50/50… my friend Lula was like: what have you done? why did you do it? what’s wrong with you?!! on the other hand my friend Conde was like: I love you blonde, don’t ever be brunette again, etc… etc… So, I did that on December 2005 and by December 2006 I tried to go back to brunette, it was such a pain!!! the color kept washing off, took me like 3 months to have a “decent” color but the whole thing was ruined.
I remember buying a LOT of expensive stuff to “fix it”, I even bought the whole Kerastase kit! I spent hundreds of dollars on that. I used Paul Mitchell, I went from super expensive to expensive to cheap to Mexican cheap. Nothing. So I was kind of… meh… I thought my hair was like that, I had to live with it and that’s it. Every hair salon I went I got to hear the same song: you have extremely dry hair, you need this treatment and that treatment and this miraculous thing and blah blah… and I used to reply: my hair is like that, sorry. But it wasn’t, actually as a kid I had the most fabulous hair, it was super shiny, extra straight and three times my current hair quantity.
So it was 2008 back in France when I trimmed it very short, I wanted that so called “fresh start”, then I kept trimming it (later I even got a bob with my super round face, again… not the best decision maker).
It grew yes, but dull… I kept using all the expensive stuff, I used a lot of treatments, why was it so dull? why was it growing just until it reached my shoulders and you could see the ends being all brittle… and I had to trim it, it looked awful! Then for some reason, in 2010, I painted it black… BLACK! why? why on earth? so I tried to rip the color off… (I wrote a post about it, it’s in Spanish but you can see the pics), NEVER EVER DO THAT! If I had any chance of it growing a bit healthier, I lost it when I did that, it was a mess!!!
So, supposedly on June 2012 I took the challenge of taking care of my hair, I cut it very short for the last time and I thought I had the solution, the magic formula, nailed down: NO heat tools, NO heavy styling products, tons of water and vitamins… sounded like a very nice plan but it was just half of it… I was very ignorant regarding hair products, so I started to research A LOT and finally this is what ended up working for me (list of products at the end):
- PATIENCE – This is the key ingredient for every process, if you want to achieve the results, you have to be patient! You have to embrace messy-not-so-good-looking hair for a while, you have to suck it up and have tons of bad hair days so you can enjoy beautiful hair ones.
- DETOX – Every morning I drink a cup of warm water with a fresh squeezed lemon, a dash of cayenne pepper and a variation of the following ingredients to keep it interesting: 1 tablespoon of 100% natural maple syrup or 1 tablespoon of 100% organic honey, 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, and sometimes I add a dash of cinnamon.
- HYDRATE – Drink at least 2 liters of plain water. You have read this before, a 1000 times, it’s true! You have to start with the inside so you can see it on the outside.
- GO PARABEN-FREE / SULFATE-FREE – This was part of what I was missing before! I thought the more expensive the shampoo/conditioner was, the better. I was wrong. The answer is in the amount and type of chemicals in your hair products. I learned about chemicals building up in your hair, your scalp and being the consequence of it being dull. I always read the labels now, I vary my shampoo/conditioners between 3 brands and within the brands I change scent or “type”.
- TRIM, TRIM, TRIM! – It sounds counterproductive but you need to chop off the old stuff and make room for the new shiny stuff! You need to get rid of split ends as soon as you see them, I keep hair scissors on my office desk so if I see anything off, I just go ahead and cut that hair; you don’t want the split to travel up, they do! it’s crazy! So when I have my bangs on like right now, I go to the salon every month to get a trim. If I don’t have my bangs, I wait 2 months until I go.
- VITAMINS – I’m always taking some kind of supplement and vitamins, I find that they give me tons of energy. Right now I’m taking
Salmon Oil capsules, Collagen + Vitamin C capsules and I try to also add biotin, calcium, vitamin E and vitamin K (sometimes I would just go for a multi-vitamin). I like to vary things on this department (update Aug 2016: Since I went vegetarian and pro-vegan, I stopped using Salmon Oil caps).
- AMMONIA-FREE HAIR COLOR – I have an embarrassing amount of gray hair for my age so I need to dye it! For this purpose I only use ammonia-free hair color, this is very important because ammonia is very very harsh on your strands and takes the moisture away. I never ever bleach my hair and I never do anything too drastic or harsh, I stay with my natural hair color.
- NO TOWEL RUB – I never rub my hair with a towel! I use my hands to remove excess of water and then I use a cotton t-shirt to wrap it. I find this very gentle, absorbs water more quickly and doesn’t cause any breakage (my hair is real thin).
- LIMIT HEAT TOOLS – I pick at most 4 days a month to use hot appliances to style my hair; there are times that I spend several weeks before I use a flat iron or something to style it. I ALWAYS use heat-protector, even if I’m just using my blow dryer. Sometimes I even air-dry my hair and I get not-so-pretty hair days because of this, still, it’s totally worth it. You need to see the greater good, a couple of bad hair days can give you luscious model-like hair strands 🙂
- COCONUT OIL – Last but not least! Coconut oil hair mask every weekend (or every-other weekend sometimes). I swear by this!!! Specially if you do it the day after you used your flat iron or worse, when you’ve gotten a salon hairdo, they use tons of spray and they treat your hair like they don’t care how much effort you put in NOT ruining it…. just cover it entirely with Coconut oil (preferably organic one), leave it overnight, wash it twice first thing in the morning and embrace shiny beautiful hair!
So… here’s what I’ve been using and that has helped me, you can try your own mix but READ THE LABELS please! That’s my only advice! I’m not 100% super-natural-everything-organic kind of person but I do try to make better decisions now on what goes on my hair and my body before even trying it.
I hope I’m not forgetting anything, if so, expect an update 🙂
Thanks for reading this super-long post!!! I really appreciate you stopping by, sharing your thoughts and subscribing!
p.s. please do consider that as an Amazon affiliate I might receive a % if you happen to buy any of the Amazon items listed above; still, I would never recommend something I don’t truly believe in!