A few months ago I had my doubts. My color-treated hair (thanks to a pernicious highlighting habit) had my hair dry, brittle and angry. There were moments I wondered if my gorgeous mane would ever return. As a long-hair devotee, these golden locks are as much a part of my identity as my smile. So rather than throw in the towel (more on that topic later) I opted to do more research and work to repair the damage.
First things first. Dehydration of all varieties takes a toll on the body. Texas is known for its dry climate, and my hot yoga sessions likely contribute to the excess torture on the hair. So upping my water intake was the first and most obvious step in the repair process.
Then the research began. What products, habits, hacks and changes would I make to bring these dull strands back to life. Was it even possible? A candid conversation with my stylist resulted in him reassuring me he'd seen far worse. That said, the switch to sulfate-free products was crucial. Stop stripping the hair with harsh detergents. Next? A reconstructing conditioner would rebuild broken chemical bonds in the hair. Somewhat reversing the damage we do each time i frame my face with blonde. And a thermal protection product is a must before drying, curling or otherwise "doing" your hair. Even air-dry experts benefit from a smoothing product to coat strands and smooth the follicle.
And about those tools... if I was still rocking a basic hair dryer I was missing out on an opportunity to achieve hair nirvana and causing deep damage each time I blow dried. And styling tools? Skip them all together unless you're willing to upgrade to the newest ceramic and tourmaline versions.
fast forward to today, this hair-lightening, heat styling enthusiast can assure you: Shiny, bouncy Victoria's Secret model tresses are not beyond your reach. With a few key shifts in your get-ready routine and a few hardware upgrades, a glossy many can once again be yours.
- SULFATE-FREE IS YOUR HAIR CARE SAVIOR
Stop using anything with sulfate. Even your corner drugstore has a bevy of great options (I'm looking at you, L'oreal!) to hydrate, smooth and soften your hair. If budget allows, Kerastase Bain Therapiste is legendary for its uncanny ability to revive and rescue too-far-gone locks.
- PROTECT & PERFECT
After showering, a pump of Wella Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir on damp hair is a keratin treatment that restores the shine you've been craving while rebuilding lost protein structure. Before drying, use Tresseme's Keratin Smooth Heat Protection spray to keep unwanted damage at bay. (Note: this is magical, extremely affordable & widely available.)
- BLOW IT OUT LIKE A BOSS
The Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is all the rage right now, but I really love the ion producing dryers. The T3 professional dryer is better for your hair than air drying. Let me repeat, better for your hair than air drying. Yes. So if you dry your hair ever and live on planet earth (all of us should be raising our hands) this is a technology we need to adopt. It is clinically proven (yes, there were studies) to improve shine, volume, manageability and style retention all while reducing frizz, dryness and static. So get on that, sister.
- STYLE IT UP SAFELY
You'll be hard pressed to beat the runway-worthy bounce and volume of hot rollers. If you plan to roll (and I'm a HUGE fan of this effortless hair styling method), you mustn't resort to cheap curlers. Opt for high quality, larger rollers that pamper your hair. I love the T3 Voluminous Hot Rollers (via Nordstrom also) for the busy-girl's guide to bombshell hair. More of a beachy waves fan? T3 (again) is the one you want. This version does the spinning for you, requiring absolutely no pro skills at all. More on my "everyday bombshell" styling methods here.
- KEEP IT GLOSSY, GIRL
Regular readers know where I'm going with this... you need a silk pillowcase. Why go to all of this effort and expense only to undo months of effort while you sleep? A silk pillowcase allows your hair to glide over your pillow without pulling, bending, breaking or roughing up the texture. Say bye-bye to bedhead (and wrinkles) with this small but wise investment.
- COMMIT TO YOUR HAIR CARE (AND YOUR STYLIST)
Why the sudden damage to my hair? Three factors. Well, four, actually. Texas heat, hot yoga and daughter #2 all contributed to the overall dryness of my head full of hair. But as a result of the addition of my littlest one I "cheated" on my longtime hair stylist for about a year and had a girl coming to my home for cuts and color. It was fast, easy and (curiously) less expensive than the salon. Did I mention she offered to do this at my home? I was hooked on the idea of convenience with a newborn in my house.
As a decade-long Aveda color user, the switch to traditional harsh bleaching techniques took its toll. Quickly. My long hair became brittle, broken and damaged. I was saving time and money while ruining my mane. Turns out those plant-based coloring techniques Aveda built its reputation on are more crucial to hair health than I imagined.
My point? Stay loyal to what (and who) works in your life. If you are in a committed relationship with a stylist and a brand and it works for you, stay the course.
In many ways, this hair care failure is what led me to a more long-term view of hair health and necessary upgrades. The simple shift in shampoo & conditioner resulting in a major change in smoothness and scalp health. The tools? Painful investments, but realistically they were purchases I'd been putting off for many years. The new me has a new appreciation for heat styling, weekly masks and (yes) essentials like silk pillowcases.
My message? Bouncy, glossy, Victoria's Secret fashion show hair can be yours - even without a Ken Paves or Jen Atkin to tame your mane (although that helps). With the right care and a few cool tools you too can have the tousled curls of your dreams and enough shine to stop passers by in their tracks. You can do it. I believe in you!