Caring For Long Hair: How to Love Your Locks
There is an art to taking care of long, gorgeous hair. I’m currently growing my hair out, but I have definite experience when it comes to having and maintaining long hair.
Here are some tips on how to give your long hair some much needed love:
Using the appropriate hair brush is key
You want to use either a wet brush or a natural fiber brush. This is going to prevent pulling out hair strands or putting unnecessary stress on hair. I had been using the wrong kind of brush for years before a cosmetologist friend pointed me in the right direction. It’s amazing how altering one tool can make such a difference overall.
Also, starting at the ends of the hair and working your way up rather than going from root to tip is a better way to brush the hair. This doesn’t put pressure on the roots and it’s easier to detangle knotted strands this way. It’s best to use a really wide-toothed comb on wet hair, because brushing when damp ( even with a wet brush ) can damage hair. Wet brushes should be used after the detangling process and during the styling/blowdrying phase.
Heat protectants are a must
This is the step I continually forget. These nifty products encase the hair shaft to form a protective barrier in addition to ensuring a frizz-free coif. Even if you have oily hair, you should use this product on your ends at the very least.
Deep hydration masks and treatments are your friend
I used to skip these types of treatments because I was mistakenly under the impression that they would leave my hair super greasy. Again, once I allowed myself to be coaxed into trying it for a month, I found that my hair wasn’t any more oily than when I started. Actually, it seemed to be less oil-prone. My scalp felt better and my hair looked more alive than it ever had.
That was enough to get me hooked and now I don’t go without a deep treatment at least once a week. If you are prone to dry hair, or if it is damaged, I suggest at least two times a week.
The right kind of hair bands make a difference.
There’s a reason you’re seeing all of those scrunchies and plastic coil hair bands from the 80’s popping back up on Insta-feeds. It’s because they are more gentle on the hair and don’t pull your hair at the root. If you don’t want to go full out scrunchy, use the plastic coil ones; they will give you the same effect.
Using an old t-shirt or cotton hair wrap to dry hair reduces frizz
This is best for thick and or curly hair. Using a smooth fabric doesn’t cause the hair shaft to fray while left to dry. Cotton towels tend to cause extra frizz while drying.
Dry hair using a low heat setting
I’ve been guilty of this, and even at the time of this writing, I still commit this faux-pas. It does take longer to lower the heat setting, but it also is kinder to our hair. One of the number one causes of breakage, damage and dryness is over heating and too much blow drying.
It’s also good to point the nozzle down rather than straight at the strands. If you go to the salon, ask to sit under the dryer there; it takes a while but it’s the best for your hair. My mom had one of these when I was growing up and I never understood why she had this type of hair dryer, but the older I got, the more I understood.
If you’re using a blow-dryer, keep it at least three to four inches away from your hair. Some sources say at least two, but I try to double that. When I was working for a theme park, my hair got super dry and damaged due to being put up in a wig. One time, I was blow drying my hair and about four inches broke off right in my brush. It didn’t leave my hair askew looking, and it was due for a trim, but I’m lucky it wasn’t worse.
Avoid over-washing hair
Again, this is one that I personally struggle with. If you’re oily, then you know all too well how difficult it is not to wash hair every day. However, our hair has oils that are designed to protect and nourish the strands. When we over-wash, we strip the natural oils away too much and that can actually cause more damage than good.
Wash with cool water; not hot
I learned this trick a few years ago. Washing the hair in cool ( or lukewarm ) water protects the strands and keeps them from getting heat damage.
Use the appropriate shampoo and conditioner
When I lived in San Francisco, a wise stylist chided me for not conditioning my hair. “Even oily hair needs conditioner. Just don’t put it on your roots,” he said, “Or condition, then shampoo last to keep it from going flat.” I have found that his words still ring true eleven years later.
You definitely want to choose a formula which works for your hair and texture type. Otherwise, you’re not going to be getting the appropriate amount of nourishment and care. It isn’t going to do your hair much good to use a formula for color-treated hair if you don’t use salon color.
Sunsilk has an excellent range of shampoos and conditioners for various hair types and needs. Here is a list of my favorite products and what they can do for your hair:
- Sunsilk Soft and Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner: This is a formula which will help nourish dry and damaged hair.
- Sunsilk Thick and Long Shampoo and Conditioner: This is a keratin-infused formula designed for long hair. It will help strengthen and fortify locks.
- Sunsilk Hair fall Shampoo and Conditioner: If thinning hair and hair fall are concerns for you, this formula will help minimize that and strengthen hair.