The good news about my hair routine is it's really simple. The bad news? It's really simple. (It may not contain any mind-blowing revelations, but hopefully it will give you some ideas on how to make the most of your natural look.) So when I got a comment on this post from the amazing Jillian about sharing what hair products I use, I thought, Gulp! Me?! Because, to be super honest, I usually don't put many products in my hair. And sometimes that works out great. Other times, it looks like a rat's nest. But after 29 years with this hair, I've learned a few lessons. Here they are:
1. Getting regular cuts is truly the best thing you can do to make your hair look healthy (and more full-bodied). Of course, this is easier said than done. I didn't cut my hair for over a year because I didn't want to spend the money and I just kept procrastinating. What happened? It started to look really scraggly at the ends and much shorter than it was. See here and here. Another good indication it’s time to hit the salon? When your mom (or insert other family member/close friend here) keeps telling you to get a trim. Listen! Anyway, after losing a few inches, oh the life and lightness it breathed into my locks!
2. Hair treatments/masks are your best friend. I try not to wash my hair every day; it’s curly and that usually means weaker strands. So less washing means less wrangling, and I believe that's just kinder to my hair. But... my scalp also gets oily really fast. So I've made dry shampoo a staple and I now keep one bottle at work and at home. I've tried this and this (pictured below) and liked them: the smell, the product in general. I switch shampoos all the time, and styling products too, so I can't say I have favorites, maybe besides Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle. (I even got a bottle for Tom, since he's got that blonde, curly surfer hair that’s similar to mine and needs a good conditioner after being in the sun a lot.) I've noticed that nothing makes my hair look as healthy as hair masks, though. (I've been slathering this on my ends lately; I’ve gotten several uses out of each pack. There was also a Redken product similar to this that worked wonders for me.)
I usually wash with shampoo once and follow with regular conditioner, which I leave on for several minutes. The last thing I do before I exit the shower is wash out the conditioner. But when I take an actual hair mask or conditioning treatment and leave that in? My hair looks SO shiny and healthy. I've asked several stylists about this and they explain conditioning treatments as important to do pretty often (say, a few times a month or once a week), but also that such products are a “bandaid” if your hair is already a bit damaged. Masks will keep your strands looking good for a period of time, but the best thing to ultimately keep them healthy is regular trims.
3. Try a Turbie Twist towel. I rarely use heating tools like a blow-dryer or flat iron. (My hair isn’t very thick, but even so, straightening it feels like such a chore to me, so I leave it for special occasions.) Once I get out of the shower, I use a Turbie Twist microfiber towel (microfiber is supposed to be softer on your strands, creating less frizz than normal towels do). I don’t wrap my head in it anymore, though. I just take it and, kind of similar to “plopping,” I let my hair hang to the side and I use the towel to scrunch the ends to get as much moisture out as possible. I then take the silver comb, pictured above and below (it’s a special “water wicking” one, with two rows of teeth!), create a side or middle part, and very gently comb through my hair (wet, curly hair snaps so easily if you comb/brush it too hard). I’ll scrunch the ends again with the towel, and most of the time, that’s it.
For these pictures, I did mist on the Marc Anthony Morocco Argan Oil Hairspray (above) after combing and scrunching with the Turbie Towel, which helped give my curls that natural shape and texture I aim for. In between washes, I usually brush my hair with a soft-bristle brush and use lots of dry shampoo. And that, my friends, is my (rather basic) hair routine. Ta-da!
I hope this was helpful to you in some way. If the only thing you take away is this message, then I’m happy: You don’t need to spend a lot of time (or money!) making your hair look a certain way. Try to encourage your natural look by keeping your hair healthy and messing with it as little as possible. All in all, you gotta do what’s right for you, though. (And if that’s dying your hair pink, or straightening and blow-drying it every day so it’s got amazing volume, or whatever you do, more power to you!)
Special thanks to my dear friend Mitch for taking these photos. We had so much fun shooting them at Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
Thank you for reading! Now, I want to hear about your hair routine in the comments below. Is it similar to mine? Totally different? Any products or tools you can’t live without?
Photographs by Mitchell Candreva.