We all want the secret to mermaid hair, right? Well, I’ve learnt a great deal about hair loss and growth in the past year or so. 2014 was the year of the hair disaster for me. I think I spent about 3/4 of it wearing a hat and the other 1/4 without a hat worrying about how my hair looked. My hair has always been my comfort blanket – so after a period of stress where it came out in clumps, an over layered haircut and bad bleach job, it felt as though I didn’t have any of my hair left. When I finally had inches taken off, it seemed that the hair Gods hadn’t quite had their fun and threw me some more bad luck.
I made the mistake of leaving in a dry shampoo that was full of metallic salts before getting my roots done. Short version of a long story: the dye sped up, snapped off a huge chunk of the back and left section of my hair, and from there began my hair misery. I tried to joke about it by saying at least my fringe didn’t drop off, but humour aside, it sucked. Like really, really, REALLY sucked. Moral of the story? DO NOT GET YOUR HAIR DYED WITH ANY PRODUCTS IN IT, EVER.
Fast forward 9 months, the growth has been excruciatingly slow and I’ve learnt the sad reality that there is no magic potion on the high street that is going to make your hair grow.
But don’t lose faith yet! If I had known a few things beforehand, I would definitely have been able to speed up the process. There are a heap of things you can do to keep your hair in its best condition and encourage growth. Here’s what I’ve learnt after 12 months of hair disasters…
Start With Your Nutrition
What we nourish ourselves with on the inside shows on the outside. If your nutrition isn’t great, it will show through your hair. As someone who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, it’s easy to think you’re being healthy whilst actually letting your iron, protein and calcium levels drop, but this can be true for meat eaters too! A lot of us are lacking in essential nutrients like iron or B12. These days I plan what I eat around getting enough iron because it’s not only essential for healthy hair but the general running of your body. I have a green smoothie in the morning with a huge handful of spinach or kale which is loaded with calcium, iron and B vitamins with a spoonful of chia seeds which is also really high in nutrients. I also eat healthy fats like avocados and nuts, use tahini for salad dressings and in hummus, and add cacao to porridge, smoothies and vegan desserts. Yep, that’s chocolate that’s good for your body and hair, say whaaat?!
Wash it Less and Avoid Using Heat
Okay, I’ll let you in on my secret. My hair has never been in better condition than when I went 5 days a week without washing it or using any heat products and wearing a beanie everyday for a few months. Gross? Yep. But did it work? Massively.
Obviously not everyone can be the secret greaseball that I was, but if you want to get your hair back in condition, washing it everyday and loading it up with heavy products is NOT going to make that happen. When your hair is a damaged, using heat is a vicious cycle. You find yourself needing to blow dry it for the volume and heat style it to keep the frizz away. Embracing your natural hair is hard when 1) you already hate it and 2) the condition is making it look terrible. But if you’re like me and find it really hard to let your hair dry naturally, a product I’d recommend is the OGX Biotin & Collagen Amplifying Lotion*. I apply this all over my hair and blow it upside down for about 2 minutes and then blow dry my fringe with a Lee Stafford Barrel Brush just to give volume whilst mostly avoiding heat.
If you struggle with frizzy and damaged ends which just call out ‘straighten me’ then it’s really hard to stay away from heat. I’ve been loving the Lee Stafford’s Ubuntu Oils range for smoothing out my hair so that I don’t have to straighten out the frizz. My miracle product right now is the Lee Stafford Moisturising Blow Dry Smoothee*. Since using this post-wash I have noticed a huge difference in the overall look and feel of the ends of my hair. Although its designed as a blow dry product, it works miracles on your hair when you let it to dry naturally so that it doesn’t frizz up. It seals the cuticles and is loaded with moisturising vitamins and really does work magic.
B12 / Iron / Vitamin D/ Biotin Supplements
Going back to nutrition, if I could go back in time and hand myself a heap of supplements to take last year, I would. I’ve stuck to a routine of taking all of these vitamins and supplements everyday and over the past month and a half is when I’ve really noticed a change in my hair. B12, Iron and Vitamin D deficiencies can all contribute to hair loss, along with anxiety, fatigue, depression and a whole other heap of nasty stuff. As I’ve been taking Biotin along with all of these, it’s hard to say whether it’s Biotin that has been making the difference, but given the rave reviews I think it’s worth giving a go.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there is not really a shampoo and conditioner combination on the market that I truly believe works wonders. But three products I always invest in are; a good intensive conditioner, detangling spray and hair oil. I’ve been going back to the Redken Deep Intensive Conditioner for years, it’s loaded up with proteins to repair the hair cuticle and always leaves my hair feeling amazing. I only use it once a week, though, as too much protein sucks the moisture out of your hair and makes it more prone to breakage. My go-to detangler is currently the Breaking Hair Detangling Spray* by Lee Stafford – I just can’t get enough of Lee Stafford at the moment and this makes brushing my hair when it’s wet so much easier. I always use a tangle teezer and start from the bottoms of my hair and gently brush upwards. As for hair oils, I swear by the Keraste Elixir Ultime* which does everything you’d want from an oil, a pre-shampoo treatment for super coarse hair, a blow dry product to tame frizz and a finishing serum to smooth out dry ends. But of course, nothing beats Moroccan Oil, I love the Glimmer Shine Spray for finishing off my hair.
So there you have my main tips, but the main things I’ve learnt is eat heaps of spinach, use no heat and take your supplements!
What are your tips for hair growth?