I'm going to start off by a brief historical rundown of my mane journey. During my teenage years, it was the poor victim of much experimentation: it's had a very close, long-term relationship with ever color of the rainbow, has been every length imaginable (bangs, short bangs, pixie cut, superlong, awkward in-between stage...) and it never failed to convey whatever phase i was going through to the people of this world. My hair has pretty much been the ultimate partner in crime throughout all of my self-expression trials and remains just as faithful to this day: my shoulder-length, messy blond hair still immaculately telegraphs who I am. I even went brunette for one whole year to "see how it would feel" and while it didn't look bad -- it actually looked pretty good -- it was like wearing a disguise. My own father would pass me by on the streets without recognizing me (true story).
But I digress. After this "experimental phase", it was back to basics, which meant blond and long. It was long for a long while. Very long. Mid-back long. Until I decided to cut it back in 2008, in a liberating move that was essentially one of the final steps of locking in my locks' identity. Since then, it has basically hovered between my jaw line and right below my shoulders, a very happy medium that feels completely natural to me. Every time i come up with the brilliant idea of perhaps letting it grow a tad longer, it never fails to remind me that it just doesn't look, nor does it feel good. I simply cannot bear to have it any other way. To better illustrate my hair history, you'll find below an embarrassing yet necessary illustrative timeline (Tavi Gevinson, anyone?).
Now that that's out of the way, onto the good stuff, aka what you want to know. You'll probably be disappointed to hear that i really don't do much to it, and while my strands are far from an afterthought, I am lucky to have been born with a low-maintenance situation up there. Which is not to say that I don't have my own set of problems: my locks are incredibly fine, straight and lifeless, but their redeeming quality is that they are numerous. Read: fine-ass straight limp hair, but tons of it so it looks full and it therefore ables me to work with what I've got. My biggest secret is that i only wash my hair about once a week, or at the very least every 5 days, and use about 5 different products through the course of the week.
Here's the breakdown of my wet hair routine:
- After a wash, I let it hang out in a towel for a while and in the meantime, I do my face. That way, when i remove the towel, the hair's still wet but no longer soaked, kind of a halfway point between wet and dry. Then i spray in some It's a 10 Miracle leave-in product and just run my fingers through to detangle. I never use a comb or brush while wet because this will just make my hair extra straight and I'm not really into that.
- The next step is oil: I use 1 pump of Joico K-Pak oil on the ends for extra shine and repair on my deader-than-dead bleached ends.
- Then, I squeeze a dollop of Bumble & Bumble Texture cream about the size of a quarter into my hands, rub together, then rub onto my roots. This is for volume, as it lifts the roots when it dries. I kind of rub the last of what's in my hands into the ends. As its name would have it, it helps with texture. Then just air dry and let it do its thing. When it's at the point that it feels dry, i like to put my hair up in a high bun. This move enables a few things: more volume, more texture, a hint of waves and a hell of a mess, just like i like it.
Since an entire week spans between shampoos, a little bit of maintenance is necessary for a number of reasons. It's not because my hair is less used to shampoo that it doesn't go greasy. What infrequent washes help with is that it just takes longer for the greasiness to develop, so dry shampoo is a serious lifeline, plus it gives and awesome texture to my fine hair.
Here's a breakdown of how i care for my hair between shampoos:
- Dry shampoo: I've tried a lot of different brands but i always go back to Batiste. The fresh scent is my favorite, but tropical comes in at a close second. I spray my roots, rub to incorporate and it works miracles. The biggest best-kept secret about dry shampoo is that it doubles as a root booster. Think about it: all that scalp oil not only makes you look like Kurt circa 1993, but it's also hefty stuff for your strands to deal with and weighs them down, heavily, one by one. By spraying powder in the problem area, it imbibes all of that oil, thus making your locks light and lively again. There are so many options out there though, and to help, I've rounded up a few:
- Awapuhi Wild Ginger texturizing sea spray. As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest challenges i face with my hair type is its lack of body, texture and all around shape, so I need all the help I can get. I've tried a lot of different things and many versions of the sea spray. You know, to look like you just spent the day at the beach and whatnot. The most famous one is the Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray, but somehow it just doesn't really do much for my hair, personally. The one I really love is from Hawaii-harvested hair care line Awapuhi by Paul Mitchell. It's amaaaazing and their sea spray does wonders for me. If my hair is looking overly straight or drab, a few sprays of this miracle potion, followed by some scrunching with my hands gives that instant aspirational messy beach look boost.
- Pantene Pro-V aerosol hairspray. There is no competition between the aerosol or the spritz hairspray bottle -- aerosol always wins. No need to look too far for a good one either: i swear by this product. It serves as a nice finishing touch, keeps volume locked in while maintaining a natural look. No crunchy hair disasters, nor wetness occurrences (which is what spritz bottles will do), only hold hold hold, which is exactly what you want in a hairspray. I use this to boost my roots and/or to give my hair extra texture and movement.
Other tips, bearing in mind my hair type, which is blonde, straight, fine and abundant:
- I never brush it, other than right before i get in the shower to wash it. Never comb or brush to detangle while wet - it will break it and cause bad split ends. The other reason for why a brush never meets my lid is because of its propensity to fall straight and flat. As you are now well aware of, I am a fan of the messy look and if I brush it, it ends up looking too polished for my taste.
- I never part it. I just let it fall as it may because I don't like it to look too calculated or precise. It inevitably always ends up kind of to the side, but the part has never actually experienced what it's like to be a straight line. I would highly suggest it if you like the bed head look.
- As a blonde, I would HIGHLY (read: do it or regret it) recommend washing your hair with a purple shampoo. Here's why: blondes can go brassy faster than you can say blondes have more fun, and one of the ways to prevent that is by using a tone-correcting purple shampoo. I'm telling you, you'll never look back. I personally like the John Frieda Sheer Blonde Color Renew Tone Correcting Shampoo and the Phyto Phytargent shampoo, but there is a whole gamut of them (see below). Some of these shampoos are more intense than others and if you wash your hair more than once a week, you may not want to use it every time. And here's another secret: if you use a purple shampoo, there is no need to use a purple conditioner -- the washing part will do the trick and unless you want your hair to start reflecting purple, I would stay away.
- If you're a night shower person and can't do the whole air dry routine, which I used to be when I worked in an office, this is what I recommend to do if your hair is like mine: go to bed with wet hair. You'll wake up with tons of volume but won't look crazy since your hair doesn't curl. It's like real, authentic bed head.
And now for my final hair bow, here is a video to demonstrate EXACTLY how I go about my wet hair routine. Watch and learn (maybe)?
Here's hoping all your inquiries have been addressed. Do you use any of these products? Do you also have an embarrassing experimental phase you're trying to wipe from history? Let me know, I can keep a secret!