“You have such thick beautiful hair!” “Can I please have your hair?” These are compliments I often hear. I don’t necessarily feel I am ‘blessed’ with fabulous hair, rather, I know how to look after it, and put time and effort into keeping it beautiful, strong and healthy.
Looking back on my life; there has been one constant, hair. I was always the annoying kid playing with everybody’s hair, the teenager dying his friend’s hair, the varsity student with different styles and colours and the young adult styling everyone before we went out. Hair has been an obsession of mine for as long as I can remember, so much so that recently at the age of 25 I pursued a career in it.
I walked into Scar Hair, the top salon in Cape Town and asked to apprentice there. Six months later I was on the floor at a new barber shop they had opened, Widow Maker, and living my dream. The knowledge I had absorbed in that short amount of time, changed my life.
Hair, personally, has the best texture to play with in the whole multiverse. However, the top contributor to damaged hair is mechanical damage. The biggest contributors to mechanical damage are:
- Brushing your hair, this can cause the hair to knot and break.
- Washing your hair too vigorously, this can cause the hair to tangle and eventually break. When we wash hair, it causes the hair cuticle to flair which makes the hair more susceptible to tangling.
- Drying your hair with a towel too viciously, when hair is wet it becomes more elastic which makes it more fragile and mistreating your hair when it is wet is a recipe for mechanical damage.
- Playing with your hair/touching your hair, the constant friction on your hair weakens the hair causing split ends and breakage. Even tying your hair up is considered mechanical damage.
- Everyone loves the wind in their hair, but it is one of the biggest contributors to knotty hair and damage.
- Styling your hair. (The GHD is the WORST! – always use a heat protector!)
What I am saying is, to have beautiful hair, you have to treat it like the fragile drama queen it is.
Coconut NO NO!
Coconut oil to your hair is the equivalent of smearing bird poo on your body and expecting it to be clean. Coconut oil is a myth; it has no benefits other than making your hair extremely oily, eventually smelling and difficult to clean. The molecular size of the molecules in coconut oil is too big to penetrate the hair and it lands up coating the hair shaft and leading to a nasty buildup which begins to smell, is hard to wash off and a hair stylist’s nightmare!
Instead use something like argan oil or macadamia nut oil as this has the right molecular size to penetrate the hair shaft and keep the hair healthy and beautiful to give you that ‘length drop’. I use Luxe Oil, it contains argan, almond and jojoba oil and smells fantastic.
Trim your bush
It is madness that by cutting your hair, your hair gets longer? Seems counterintuitive, right? WRONG! If you could only take one thing away from any of this information (the secret to my beautiful hair) is trim your hair. As your hair grows, the longer it gets and the more it ages. The older the hair is, the weaker it becomes, the weaker it becomes, the more susceptible it is to damage. The more prone to damage the hair is, the more the ends split and break. The more your hair breaks, the less length, (healthy length, rather), you will gain.
I trim my hair monthly, just a baby trim on the edges, this makes sure the ends that are splitting, are removed to allow my hair to grow, healthily and intact. Essentially, to get that “length drop” you so desire, you need to make sure you care for those ends and keep them healthy. As the hair splits, the split moves up the shaft. If you do not get the split in time, the damage will travel up the hair shaft, rendering more of your hair damaged and resultantly more of your hair needing to be cut off at your next visit to the salon.
No shortcuts on the path to attaining that gorgeous mane
If you want something in life, you have to put time and effort into it. Salon shampoos are always going to be better than anything you find in the shops. A salon bought masque every five washes, is essential to maintaining your mane. The Kevin Murphy range is what I use and swear by to ensure my locks are luscious and beautiful.
Avoid anything store bought for your hair. If you use box dye, you may as well plan the funeral for the integrity of your hair. Once those cheap chemicals touch your hair, you’re probably adding a couple thousand to you next salon visit and your hair will never be as healthy. The colour molecules in box dye are larger than salon dyes and resultantly are harder to lift from the hair. Most salons offer free consultations where they can professionally advise you on the action plan forward with your hair; Scar Hair offers this service, give them a call and ask for a free consultation.
Remember the road to fabulous hair, is a journey. With love, effort and the right stylist to guide your journey. You will eventually reach that hair nirvana you so long for.
Smudged Contributer and Hair Consultant