Just before I turned thirty, I cut my hair short. I didn’t tell anyone I was going to do it, I just dropped into a London salon I’d searched up on Google that day at work, went armed with a couple of pictures I’d saved from Pinterest on the train ride, and I had the whole lot lopped off. SNIP SNIP. For someone who felt like her long hair had defined her throughout her teens and early twenties, this took guts. And while the decision was impulsive and was put down by those around me to Saturn’s Return, the truth was that I did it – and decided that I needed to do it – because I felt like I’d completely lost control of my hair. It was in bad shape and was making me miserable every time I looked in the mirror.
The long, mermaid hair I’d always thought of as “me” had split and thinned out to the extent that I’d actually stopped wearing it down, and just putting it into a lanky, limp ponytail made me upset. It just looked awful. Something had changed around the time that I moved to London. London water is HARD, and the chalky residue it left behind every time I washed my hair was drying it out. It was so damaged that it was falling out in terrifying chunks in the shower or when I brushed it. And even though Sunny and everyone around me kept telling me that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, I refused to hear them. But then I also refused to do the one thing I could to get it back under control. Instead of getting it cut, I desperately clung on to the meager strands I had even though they were beyond help.
Finally deciding to let those dead ends rest in peace was the first step I took to getting my hair back, and three years of hard work later, it’s looking so much thicker and healthier. I mean, it’s not perfect by any means, but I’m happy with it. I think I’ve finally found a routine that works. 🙂
When I was seventeen I had hair down to my waist and my whole hair care regime involved my Mum dragging me to her hairdresser once a year where I mournfully parted with an inch of a dead ends. Then, during my twenties it became horribly clear that the old ways just weren’t cutting it anymore (…see what I did there 😉 ). My fine, dry hair was far more prone to breakage than it used to be (thanks London water!) and so far more susceptible to splits. That meant that the longer I left it between trims, the thinner my hair got as the split ends made their way up the hair shaft. Nowadays I’m still a bit lacsy-daisy about getting my ass down to the hairdressers regularly, but as soon as I see the ends drying out and splitting, I go and part with as much hair as I need to to keep the hair I do have looking healthy.
Less Washing & Heat Styling
I used to wash my hair every day – and sure it kept my hair clean and restyled, but by doing so I stripped it of all its natural oils. Plus heat styling every day on top of that made it dry, which in turn left it brittle. These days I wash my hair no more than three times a week (I like the Garnier Ultimate Blends Sensitive Scalp Shampoo and Conditioner) and heat style it as little as possible. (It also helps that the water here in Cardiff is nice and soft).
Keep it Simple when it comes to Products
When my hair was at its worst I started buying expensive shampoos, conditioners and miracle oils to sort it out. But that was a waste of time and money. My hair was already broken, and layering heavy moisture-rich products on top just weighed it down, stressed out my scalp and no matter how expensive they were they were never going to be able to bring my dead ends back to life. These days I’ve stripped my products back and only use ones that work with my hair type – and, they’re all cheap as chips! 😉 Oh, and I stick with them – no more chopping and changing.
Ditch the Hair Ties
It got to a point where I was so depressed about my hair that I stopped wearing it down and instead scraped it back into a bun every day. But using hair ties was just making things worse and left me with flyaways and split ends halfway up the hair shaft. I know there are supposedly hair ties out there that claim not to cause breakages, but for me, going cold turkey on all hair ties was the only thing that worked. Clips and pins all the way!
When I was at Uni I went through a whole pink hair phase – which was fun at the time, but did horrible things to my hair and scalp! I had highlights and balayage throughout my twenties and although I loved how my hair looked with a bit of blonde through the ends, it just made it drier. I made the decision to go Au Natural a few years ago and it’s definitely helped my hair spring back to its former glory. I mean, I’m tempted all the time to foil up again like I used to… but I’ve worked so hard to get my hair back that I just can’t bring myself to do it.
Be Happy With What you Have!
Last time I went to the hairdressers there was teen in the chair next to me getting highlights put in. She had the most gorgeous mass of curls I’ve ever seen and hair envy hit me HARD. But, sometimes you’ve just got to roll with what you’ve got and be grateful for it. Did cutting my hair short suddenly give me thick, curly hair? Nnnnope. But, it improved the condition of it and put me on the path to healthier locks. Sadly, thick, curly hair just isn’t in my genes. I have fine hair. I have dry hair. I have annoying baby hairs around my face that like to stick up. And, I’m probably never going to have the mermaid hair I was blessed with in my teens again. But that’s okay. The problem with wanting what you don’t have is that you forget to appreciate what you do have.
What are your top hair care tips or holy grail products? Let everyone know in the comments! 💇
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