How I Got my Hair Back

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. 🙂

Of all my weird patterned shirts (and there are a lot.  A LOT.), I think this mermaid one is my favourite.  Unfortunately, it’s a few years old now but I did find a link to one selling on eBay if anyone’s interested. 🙂

Regular Trims

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).

I’m a huge fan of Toni&Guy’s styling products; they smell amazing, they don’t weigh my fine hair down and they’re usually on a two for one offer either at the supermarket or Boots! 😉 I can’t rave about Vitapointe enough; it’s basically a leave in conditioner that you put on dry hair and I like to put it on my ends after styling or whenever they’re looking a little frazzled.  You don’t need a lot of it, it’s not greasy and it’s cheap!  Aaaaand, I like to put a coconut oil mask on my ends once a week – usually when I’m in the bath – just to keep those split ends at bay.

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!

No Dye

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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9 thoughts on “How I Got my Hair Back

  1. This is such a great post! I have been struggling with it for a while. So I have bleached blonde hair. Around the winter, my hair was looking amazing. Long and healthy. Around February, my hairdresser asked what I was doing to my hair because it was broken. It tore me up when I realized that the hair masks that I was leaving in my hair to help my hair, was the cause of the breakage. It really sucks starting over. I cut a lot of my hair last month to get rid of most of the breakage, and this month I’m probably going to get rid of the rest of it. While it’s really going to suck, I’m going to do it. Great post xxx

    Melina | melinaelisa.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! I know exactly how you feel. I was doing exactly the same thing until I realised my fine hair just couldn’t deal with heavy hair masks and products. It’s hard starting over, but sometimes it’s the best thing 😊💛

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have quite thick, wavy hair, and I envied my sister’s lighter, straight locks for years! I used to straighten my hair a lot – not every day, but often enough – but I’ve barely touched the hair straighteners since I burnt off a chunk of my hair a few years back. That was enough for me to call it quits with the straighteners!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Losing a clump of hair (and frazzling the ends of what remained) was enough to put me off for a long time! On the plus side, not using them makes getting up in the morning a faster process 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Nia,

    Oh, how I can relate to this post. I am from North Africa and always had extremely full and luscious hair, It was very very black and shiny in my younger years and with time I started watching it deteriorate. A couple of years ago I started taking birth control.. and that’s when it happened. A year after starting them, it took a friend of mine looking at me and telling me” oh my god your hair is looking very thing today” for me to realize that it really is thin, it wasn’t just me.
    I eventually stopped taking the pill for two months and took Viviscal (this hair supplement that they sell in the US) it is supposed to regenerate the hair from the inside. During that period I had gone back home to Algeria and by the time I had to come back to Vegas, my hair was crazy. It was full, thick, and gorgeous. Eventually, I had put on an IUD, and the same issue arose… Hair started falling out again, so you could only imagine how I felt by the second time…A couple of weeks ago I checked my hair and I saw a couple of 10cm strands of hair coming out and that when I realize it’s all coming back.

    All of this to say how much I can relate to this post hahaha!
    But anyways, if you can try the Viviscal supplement and it will definitely do wonders.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for commenting! I always did wonder whether going on the pill affected my hair condition – I’m not sure if it was the root cause (pun unintended!), but it definitely didn’t help.

      I’ll have to check out the supplement you suggested if it’s available here in the UK – that’s great that you found something that works for you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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