I promise that will not succumb to being a blog where I take a break to whine about personal things, but that being said, this is about my hair and well, I will claim that it is in fact beauty related and belongs here.
The short of the long (pun absolutely intended), is that yesterday I finally cut my hair. After 4 years, I finally got my hair to 9.5 inches which meant that I could finally donate it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. For those of you who have done it before, yes, I took longer than most normal people would take -- some can grow out the minimum requirements in approximately 2 years or less, but for whatever reason, my hair decided to go the long route. And I'll explain.
|Fresh out of the salon. My hair will never look this good.|
This won't take too long, I promise.* It started with the idea of wanting to donate my hair -- my hair had always been processed and damaged by heat so obviously this meant doing everything right so whatever little growth I had, I had to cut it off and try again. No dyeing, no blow drying, no hair straightening, and no excessive use of products that might lead to breakage. This is the standard for donating hair.
My hair is naturally wavy however the shorter it is, the less waves there are and the more sporadic it is. Basically, short hair means that it acts like some wayward demon that does whatever it wants. The longer it is, the more waves and curls come in but at least it behaves itself. It also happens to break an awful lot. So after the first year, I had to cut off about 5 inches worth that just got damaged -- even though I was on a strict no SLS, no heat damage, etc. regime. Turns out my hair needed a lot more moisture and I didn't adjust quickly enough.
I changed my regime from completely SLS & paraben free to sometimes having silicones (changing it up every week or so) only shampooing my scalp and conditioning the heck out of ends. In addition I got myself a carbon wide tooth comb and nixed the use of my brush (Ricky's NYC used to carry them, but the closest thing they now have is the Carbon Jumbo Detangler). Every once in a while I'd do a hair treatment only on the ends. After a while though, I had about 2 inches that got damaged and had to chop off about 3 inches.
After that trim I integrated the use of argan oil into the routine along with a steady use of biotin supplements. The results was that I was able to grow the rest without issue up till the point where I could cut it for donation.
Things I've learned along the way: My hair is a cruel and untameable beast. It took far too long to figure out what it needed over time but I eventually got it figured out.
- Switching over completely to a new product won't always yield the results you're looking for. My hair loved the initial switch to SLS & paraben free haircare but over time it just took in much more damage. I needed to balance out the amount of moisture it was getting from those products and sadly oils and masks just isn't enough at times.
- Biotin is amazingly effective and you should integrate it in as soon as possible. It won't save your hair from damage but it'll help you bounce back.
- Dusting (or finding split ends and trimming them) is the most annoying thing ever but you should do it weekly. You could just go get real trims but I found dusting to be effective so long as my hair was getting moisture.
- Invest in a good comb or brush. My original brush was not the coveted boar's hair and if you're going to get a brush, might as well get a good one. Combs are great but make sure they are wide tooth -- my Nexxus "Detangler" was terrible and caused me to have to run out to get another one (back up to my carbon wide tooth comb).
- Don't be afraid to chop it all off and start anew. And similarly, don't be afraid to grow out your hair and donate it. Even if it took you 4 years and you feel way better in long hair than you do short. :) (Okay, that last part was for me).
* No, I don't.