My 12 Best Kept Hair Secrets
I have had long hair my whole life—except for that one stint in 5th grade when I decide I wanted a shoulder length cut. Brave, I know. My hair has always been my favorite physical feature about myself. So much so that I think it has essentially become a part of my identity. I mean, is Paula even Paula without the long hair?
That being said, over the years, it is something that I have come to care deeply about and put a lot of time into developing a hair care regimen that keeps my hair long and healthy for the long haul. All that TLC towards my hair has in turn left me with long, healthy, shiny and rather fast growing hair. Don’t believe me? Last summer I cut about 10 inches off of my hair. Currently, it has all grown back and actually is longer! I’m definitely long overdue for a hair cut, but you get my point.
So many people ask me on a daily basis how I get my hair to grow so quick and how I keep it so healthy and shiny, so I have finally decided to share my
My 12 Best Kept Hair Secrets
Note: Everyone’s hair follicles are different, so what may work for me may not work for you. However, the following are some general practices I have kept in my regimen for years, so try them out and take away what works for you!
1. Avoid washing your hair everyday at all costs
Washing your hair every day is actually really bad for your hair health as it removes the natural oils (sebum) your hair needs to stay healthy. If you wash your hair everyday and it is dry and brittle, it is most likely because you are stripping your hair of all those oils. That is why you actually do not need to wash your hair daily! If you reduce the amound of times you wash your hair each week, you will find that it is actually more moisturized and softer! I try to wash my hair every 2 days, sometimes 3—depending on how oily it has gotten.
2. Do not wash your hair with hot water
Simply put, hot water is harsh on your hair. It strips your scalp of the natural sebum that is good for your hair growth and moisture. What is sebum exactly? It is essentially the protective oil that acts as a natural conditioner and gives your hair shine.
I know what you are probably thinking—you’re crazy. Especially with the winter coming up. I enjoy hot showers just as much as the next person, but I know my hair’s health doesn’t. If you can, try to take lukewarm showers instead of hot showers (just turn down the temp of your water). If this is not a possibility for you, avoid washing your hair with super hot water while you wash your body. At the end of a warm/hot shower end it off with a cold shower to seal the moisture into your hair. Rinsing in cold water fights against moisture loss, heat damage and breakage.
3. Deep Condition at least twice a month
Although I will admit that this has become increasingly harder to do with my extremely busy schedule here in NYC, I try to deep condition at least twice a month and have been doing this my whole life! Usually what this means for me is leaving my conditioner in my hair for 30 mins to 1 hour before washing it off. This has really helped with keeping my hair moisturized!
4. Do not comb your hair while it is wet
Your hair is most vulnerable when it is wet. It is weak and fragile in this state meaning it is more susceptible to breakage. This is actually one of the easiest ways for you to get split ends!
If absolutely necessary, comb your hair with a wide tooth comb—never a brush (it is too harsh on the fragile stands of your hair). Start at the bottom and work your way to your scalp.
5. Comb through your hair before bed—softly
This is more so for the people that want to grow their hair out or want healthier, longer hair. When I was younger, my mom used to tell me to brush my hair 100 times before going to bed to make it grow. While this isn’t entirely true, there is some truth to it! Combing through your hair routinely stimulates blood flow to the scalp which helps healthy hair growth, brings oil from scalp to hair (which is beneficial to your hair), clears environmental dirt—this is how I keep my hair so shiny.
But be careful when brushing! If done wrong, it can actually be harmful to your hair health. The key is to brush enough, but not so much and so roughly that it damages your hair.
Advice: Don’t got to bed with a ton of tangles—it will only get worse throughout the night
6. Let your hair down at night—never sleep with it tied up
Sleeping with your hair up in a messy bun or high ponytail may seem harmless, but the tension from having your hair up for several hours can put a strain on your scalp and lead to eventual hair damage. Basically, if it hurts your head, it's probably harming your hair and you should loosen up your hairstyle a bit to prevent damage.
Fun Fact: Traction alopecia occurs when a person loses hair due to the hair being repeatedly pulled. Pulling your hair back every night to sleep may lead to traction alopecia in the long run.
7. When shampooing—massage shampoo onto scalp
Just as combing through your hair routinely is good for hair growth, massaging your scalp is even better as it directly stimulates follicle growth. What’s the science behind this? Well, massaging dilates the small arteries within the scalp and increases blood flow to hair follicle and prolonging growth cycle of hair.
Extra Tip: Don’t put shampoo on ends, let it fall as you massage your scalp
8. When drying, don’t rub hair together
Rubbing your hair together while it is wet in order to dry it is just as bad, if not worse than combing your hair while it is wet. As I mentioned above, your hair is very vulnerable at this time so you have to be extra careful! Instead, try patting your hair dry or better yet, let it air dry.
9. Avoid blow drying your hair as much at all costs!
Following up on the last point, because your hair is at its weakest and most prone for breakage when it is wet, blow drying is so bad for your hair. In fact, it is probably one of the easiest ways for you to damage your hair. One of the healthiest ways to dry your hair is a simple air dry! This really allows your hair to soak in all the moisture.
If you really must blow dry your hair, NEVER set your blow dryer at the hottest setting. Instead, start with the cold air option and let your hair dampen a bit before switching to the WARM heat option. NEVER use full on heat or aim the blow dryer directly at your hair for long periods of time. Tousle your hair and move the blow dryer repeatedly to avoid a lot of damage.
10. Avoid using hair products too much
Would you believe me if I told you I rarely use ANY hair products at all? I gave up hairspray years ago and other than the occasional leave in treatments I use, I avoid hair products at all costs. I do indulge in dry shampoo from time to time, but make sure I wash my hair immediately after it.
The reason why my hair is so healthy, shiny and grows so fast is because I void it of any unnecessary chemicals that would be detrimental to its health.
11. Give your hair a break from heat
Yes, this means stop curling or straightening your hair and go au natural instead. As a fashion blogger and as someone that has photoshoots often, this was a little difficult at first as I always wanted to have my hair curled for shoots. But I try to lessen the amount now and only curl it occasionally.
An easy, healthy way to style your hair sans heat? Put your hair up in a bun the hours leading up to your shoot and keep it up right until you will start. This provides some natural, bouncy and voluminous waves and requires 0 heat!
12. Invest in high quality products (shampoo and conditioner)
As you can tell, I am very invested in ensuring that my hair is shiny, healthy and well moisturized. Since, I don’t indulge on much else in terms of beauty, I tend to invest a lot on high quality products for my hair (read: shampoo and conditioner). In the past, I went through numerous high end shampoo and conditioners such as Chi, Paul Mitchell, Aveda, and even stuck to Redken for quite awhile, but this year I discovered Nexxus Caviar Complex and have not turned back since.
Disclaimer: It is quite expensive I know (I pay around $33 a bottle each so a little over $60 for both), but it is true that you get what you give. If you use cheap, low quality hair products your hair’s health will reflect that. My hair is the one thing I am willing to splurge the most on, so I only use the best products on it. A little investment definitely goes a long way.
Since switching to Nexxus Caviar Complex, my hair is super soft, smells good, and is shinier and healthier.
I get asked a lot if I take Biotin and short answer is no. I tried it for a week or two last summer, but stopped. I do eat a lot of salmon though (its my favorite fish!), which is high in the omega 3 fatty acids that are very good for the health and growth of your hair.
Well there you have it! My 12 Best Kept Hair Secrets for you to try out for yourself. Hope at least some of these help you. To shiny and healthy hair!
Til’ Next Time,