My hair has always been obnoxiously difficult to deal with. I have long, thick, curly hair that seems to have a mind of its own. When I was younger, I had no clue how to keep it under control and healthy. It seemed I always had split ends, and it never looked the way I wanted it to. I’m still not great at doing it in unique styles, but I’ve gotten much better at taking care of it.
A few years ago, I started looking for ways to make my hair healthier. Did you know that the internet is full of ideas for this? I didn’t. Well, I guess I kind of did, considering it is the internet, but I didn’t realize how overwhelming it would be. All I wanted was a simple answer – a straightforward way to make my hair as healthy as possible. What I found instead was a plethora of information.
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Among this excessive amount of information were hair masks. I had heard that deep-conditioning masks were good for you, but I’d never bothered to try one. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a go, though, so I started looking for a good option. Turns out, there are a lot of good options.
It didn’t take long for me to discover that most DIY hair masks call for roughly the same ingredients. Even among the many deep-conditioning products found on store shelves, you’ll notice a common theme among the ingredients. The majority call for honey or egg plus some type of oil, then build from there. For oils, I generally use almond, coconut, or olive. These seem to do the trick and are more common than other oils.
Seeing how I’m not one to follow instructions or stick to recipes, I’ve never actually put together a mask the way it’s supposed to be done. Instead, I’ve taken the idea behind the masks and created my own based on what I have available at the time. The key is doing a mask about once a week and letting it sit in your hair for at least 20 minutes.
Personally, I prefer throwing together my own mask over purchasing something already made. Beauty products tend to be expensive, but a DIY option can be put together using ingredients you likely already have. If you don’t happen to have them, they’re easy to get and relatively inexpensive – especially when compared to a packaged product.
A Quick Comb Through
Getting rid of all my brushes was one of the biggest changes I made to my hair care routine. I’d gone back and forth on this many times throughout my life. I tried every brush out there – fancy ones that claim to easily detangle hair, boar bristle brushes that claim to distribute natural oils without causing damage, and so on. None of them worked for me. This doesn’t mean they wouldn’t work for someone else, but they definitely don’t do justice to thick, curly hair.
What works best for me is an old-fashioned, wide-tooth comb. The downside of a comb is that it takes longer to work through your hair. Of course, the bright side of this is you’re not ripping your hair out of your head. I lost way more hair when I used a brush than I do when I use a comb. Plus, when I use a comb, it gets rid of dead hair rather than the perfectly good stuff.
Lather, Rinse, and Repeat
Another major struggle for me has been finding a shampoo and conditioner combo that consistently works well. I have yet to find a brand I genuinely want to purchase more than once. I’m currently using an all-natural brand that contains marula oil, which has been great so far, but I don’t see myself purchasing it again. Instead, I’d like to eliminate shampoo from my life entirely.
This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to get away from shampoo. I learned a long time ago that shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils, which is why we need conditioner to replace the moisture we’ve lost. Well, I tried the whole “go without shampoo and eventually your hair will equalize” thing, but that didn’t work. Then, I turned to more natural shampoos, which seemed to help but still didn’t have the desired effect. Now, I’m planning on switching to a cleansing conditioner, which I’ve used in the past and had excellent results with.
A Touch of the Weird
Many of the things I’ve tried with my hair have been perfectly normal things that lots of people do. Some of them, however, have been pretty out there. I’ve covered my head in used coffee grounds, which made my hair delightfully soft. I’ve also used oatmeal to add extra moisture to my scalp.
Really, there are endless ways to keep your hair healthy and manageable. If you can figure out your hair type, you can find something that will help. Keep in mind, what works for one person might not work for another. The trial and error method is still one of the best ways to learn what works for you.