How to keep long hair healthy

A few weeks ago I made a confession, I haven’t cut my hair in seven years. Now whilst I’ll admit it’s split-end city over here, my hair isn’t actually in a bad condition. To say that it hasn’t been cut in so long, it is still extremely healthy.

There seems to be a misconception that uncut hair is dirty. It’s unkempt and unruly. This became apparent when I visited a blow dry bar blogger event last year. As mentioned in a previous post, stepping into a salon is a big thing for me!

The salon was cramped; they’d invited every blogger in town and a cheap Corrie star for good measure. Two women tried to get my hair done as quickly as possible to churn another blogger out. When they saw how long my hair was they were not impressed. ‘How long have you not cut it for?’ one of the staff quizzed as she picked up a few strands with a disgusted look on her face – no exaggeration.

Feel familiar? Well, even if you can’t relate, I’m dishing out my hair care tips to show you how to keep long hair healthy.

Hair masks are your best friends
I’m not talking about the glorified conditioner in a pot, I mean real sit-yourself-down-with-a-towel-on-your-head-for-an-hour type hair masks. In the same way our skin loves a nutritious facemask, our hair & scalp can benefit from natural potions too.

There are two varieties that I love; oil treatments and classic masks. Oil treatments are generally for shine and repair, the one I use the most is Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser Invisible Oil. I usually put it onto damp hair and put a steaming hot, microwaved towel on top to heat the oil. Put on your fav Netflix show and sit there for at least 40 minutes. I definitely suggest wearing an old t-shirt though, as sometimes the oil gets into your clothes and doesn’t come out!

I generally do the same with hair masks, without the heated towel. I find that the longer I leave them on my hair for, the better the results. On a few occasions I have slept with the mask in my hair wrapped up, but I find this to be quite uncomfortable. The results were great though and my hair was super, duper soft!

Salon quality is best & CHEAPER in the long run
I know this sounds crazy, but if you’re spending almost a fiver on a bottle of Aussie every few weeks, you may as well invest in a salon quality shampoo. At TKmaxx, you can by a huge salon size bottle of high-quality shampoo for a couple of quid more than a drugstore brand. Whilst it’s a little more expensive, it will save you money over time because the product will last much longer.

For example, I picked up some Kallos Cosmetics LAB35 hair mask from Urban Outfitters for £7. It was only a 500ml sized bottle but it lasted me a few months. When ran out, I realised Urban no longer sold the product. Que drama! Thankfully I knew I could rely on TKmaxx to save the day. I bought A LITER (A WHOLE LITER) of LAB35 for only 1p more than the 500ml bottle I purchased in TKmaxx.

Ask your hairdresser for a recommendation if you’re spoiled for choice. They are likely to say Redken or L’oreal as they are very popular in UK hair salons.

The no-poo movement isn’t always the answer
How do you feel about the no-poo movement? I’m an each-to-their-own kind of person, but I think there’s a fine balance and personally I would go completely cold turkey on haircare products. The thing is, when you have a lot of hair you really need to take care of it. Whilst the no-poo movement has it’s ethical merits, not everyone says it benefits their hair in the long-run.

If you’d like to join the trend, opt for a low-soap shampoo but don’t expect big things. Of course, too much soap can dry out your scalp, so cutting down isn’t the worst idea, but going no-poo completely can be a shock to the system and might not be best for your hair especially if it’s super thick or you have natural tight curls.

To heat or not to heat?
This is a tricky one because we all know daily heat takes it’s toll. Weather you’re using a hair dryer or hair straighteners, you’ll need to find a product that doesn’t put too much stress on your hair.

Personally I try to air dry my hair as much as possible and I’ll only use a hair dryer if I’ve used an oil based product on my hair. This can be quite a lifestyle change for those who shower and heat dry their hair every morning, so try to flip your routine around and shower at night.

When it comes to heat styling, many of us can’t give up the ghost. If this is part of your daily routine, ensure you have a good heat protection spray and you choose a hair straightener with sleek plates that reduce the drag on your hair.

Swerve the bleach
I feel like I’m stating the obvious here, but please don’t bleach your hair if you want it to be long. Whilst there are many ways to prep and repair your hair for dying, it will never be the same as sticking to your natural hair colour. I watched as my sister’s hair growth stunt and almost completely halt after years of bleaching her hair and using heavy extensions. It really isn’t worth it. Stick to your natural colour and get the length you want, before going in with your desired hair dye.

Hair pills are a waste of time
Believe me when I say this – hair pills are a scam. I’m very concerned by the amount of people jumping on the affiliate bandwagon when none of these pills are proven to do anything to your hair. Do your research and try not to be easily swayed by ‘health supplements’. The best way to make sure you’re giving your body (and hair) all the nutrients it needs is to eat a healthy diet!

So there you have it! Everything I’ve learnt in my seven long years avoiding the hair salon. If you have any extra tips, pop them in the comments below.

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