This will be the first post of many having to do with body maintenance. It is a topic I spend a lot of time thinking about and is vital to my self care journey. I am just trying to make sure I keep changing my body for the right reasons.
I’ve had short hair for most of my life.
The one time I grew it out when I was young it was nearly impossible to manage. My mom cut all of our hair, and as I had my dads hair she had no idea how to deal with it. I have very thick and wavy hair she has thin and very straight hair; the kind I always wanted. She tried to get me some conditioner and we tore through bottles of L’Oreal no more tears detangler, but nothing provided long term solutions. Also I was about ten so it was all just a big hassle for me, I couldn’t have cared less.
SO we cut it and I just went with that for a good long while. When I grew it out again during high school, almost to a length where I could put it in a pony tail (see below), I had been dying it and just generally treating it like shit (I was the catcher so pulling off an on a helmet all afternoon 5 days a week. I was doing it because my parents wanted me to be more girlie, but a week into sophomore year I cut it all off again.
Then I actually grew out my hair again sophomore year of college because in my life I had developed a pattern of whenever things got really hard or I had a break down I would just buzz all my hair off. So I thought if I stopped doing that I would also stop having break downs (flawed logic I know). So I did enjoy growing it out but it looked bad. I was trying to grow all of it out at once and there was just TOO MUCH HAIR. And the photo below is the best hair day I ever had.
Now here we are, I am about to graduate college. I have been growing the top section of my hair for about a year now while continually cutting the sides and back, I am pretty much Saka from Avatar the Last Airbender and/or any hipster boy you know. However this time I have been doing my research as I go. I am still a noob when it comes to this but here are some things I have been doing which are really great.
The phased growth approach should work I think, it will just mean more awkward phases but the sheer volume of my hair is intimidating so I will go with it. I actually cut my own hair but I think I am about to be in over my head. I have never mastered the fade, so I will be going to a barber or salon to get fades from now on and will just allow the fade to get longer and longer as I add to the mass. I may decide to just always have an undercut. I also trim the longer hair every month or so (usually when I buzz the sides and back). I have heard it keeps the hair healthier (they are due for a trim now, looking a little rough).
My college roommate last spring introduced me to coconut oil (the one I use is the tub shown below, got it from target for ~15$ but I have been using it for a year and it isn’t even half way empty) and it has been a life saver. I also have a dry itchy scalp a lot of the time, mostly in winter, which means I need to shampoo my scalp almost everyday, the oil allows me to keep the hair saturated and controllable, and it makes it super soft and gives it a nice shine.
It also somewhat helps with flyaways however it isn’t perfect. I still use the shampoo I used the last time I was growing it out which is L’Oreal Total Repair 5 Restoring Shampoo (see below, black bottle). I wear hats a lot as my hair is difficult to manage when leaving for classes 10 minutes before they start, so I feel like that helps make it stronger to better withstand the hat wearing.
Then in the last two weeks I have changed my care routine after another round of research. Flyaways and frizz are my worst enemy and the reason I end up cutting my hair. I used to comb out my hair when it was wet, apparently that is bad because your hair is fragile when wet, so I now brush it out before I shower (which is at night). I use a comb first to get out tangles then a bristle brush to get it soft and smooth.
I also finally purchased a conditioner, I don’t think I got the right one but I am a broke college student so we are going to use it anyway. I got L’Oreal Advance Care Extraordinary Oil Curls Nourishing Conditioner (see above, orange bottle) as my hair is fairly curly. Turns out it makes the frizz stick out more because it then wants to curl like the rest of my hair ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ oh well.
It does make it softer I will give it that.
I also now attempt to not even wrap my hair in a towel post shower, it is the quick way to go but squeezing it out instead prevents damage somehow. It is looking really good and feeling really good I just hope to keep it up. If anyone has any tips on managing frizz/fly aways with curly hair comment please! Also I have heard arguments for both, but should I sleep with my hair up or down and loose in a bun or a pony tail? And does a silk pillow case really make a difference? ALSO ALSO if L’Oreal isn’t the best product on a budget what would you recommend?
UPDATE: today I bought $9 John Frieda Beyond Smooth Frizz-Immunity Shampoo because I am running out of L’Oreal anyway and the bottle looked pretty. Also the ingredients have a shitton of glycerin variants which I have read is good, and also has more coconut oil in it. I am concerned because looking at it again now it also has sulfates and alcohols in it which are not so good for frizz but we will try it anyway! It also says it gradually builds resistance to frizz so that could be cool.
Photo: Stem. NC, Spring 2017.