Friday, January 27, 2012

How To: Care For Long Hair



Pictured: Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Shampoo & Conditioner, Paul Mitchell Brush 413, Moroccan Oil Treatment, CHI Nano Hair Drier, GHD Ceramic Flat Iron. Not pictured: Fish Oil vitamins.

As the owner of a large amount of hair, I get my fare share of hair-care and hair maintenance questions, so I thought I would share my routine with you today! I've been growing my hair out from a rather artistic (read: mullet) hairstyle since 2007, but have always treated it like my best accessory. To be honest, while insecurities about one thing or another will arise from time to time, I don't often feel bad about my hair, and it certainly comes in handy when my skin acts up: instant curtain. Just kidding. Kind of (not at all). Anyways, all true life confessions aside, here's the deal:

I wash my hair two or three times a week. I know this can be difficult for some, it's a habit that I got used to when I had super short hair in college, and it just stuck with me. The more you wash it, the more it dries out. I strongly believe in using high-quality products, lately I've been using Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger shampoo and conditioner and love it (the normal sized bottles have lasted since early October). EDIT: Sometimes I'll wash my bangs alone if I need to freshen up my hair but don't have time or energy to wash the whole thing.

When shampooing long hair, only shampoo your roots, the suds will run down and give the remaining length a good once over, but shampooing the ends will dry them out and cause splits.

Do the exact opposite with conditioner: focus on mid-hair-shaft to ends. Leave on as long as you can, and rinse. Conditioning your roots will just weigh them down and make them greasy.

Post shower, apply a quarter size amount of Moroccan Oil to hair from mid-hair-shaft to ends. My bottle of Moroccan Oil has lasted for about a year and is still going strong.

Air dry your hair as often as you can. I will typically wash mine at night, blow-drying my bangs so they don't get crazy, then allowing it to dry overnight. Heat styling dries out your hair and breaks it down, so it's best to invest in high quality hot tools- I like CHI and GHD, I usually flat iron at least my bangs and roots almost daily.

I like to use Paul Mitchell brushes as well, they're great quality (the one pictured above has lasted me since 2004) and glide through hair easily.

Coloring: I do get my hair colored, about twice a year. I know a lot of people can't wait that long, and I should probably go more often, but as I'm sure most ladies with long hair can attest to: it takes too freaking long!

A word on vitamins: I take fish oil vitamins and strongly believe in them. I can't say for sure whether they have a positive affect on my hair, but I feel like they do. However, I'm no expert, so consult your doctor before starting any new kind of vitamin regimen.

Getting your hair trimmed every six weeks will not make it grow faster, it just makes it so that there is less to cut off when you do go for a trim.

So there is my routine. Once again, I'm no expert and I'm not pretending to be. But I did work in a salon for my Mother in Law, and the above is a brief synopsis of what I learned there. Enjoy!

32 comments:

Charlotte said...

thank you thank you thank you :)

Michaela said...

What about after working out? I always feel like I need to wash my hair after a workout, but then I'd have to wash it nearly every day!

Orchid Grey said...

Michaela: good question! I don't always wash it after I work out, although sometimes I do just wash my bangs to freshen things up. I think, due to old habits, i have kind of a high tolerance of gnarly hair. You could try dry shampoo though, tressemme makes a good one, plus it's cheap!

kimberrleigh said...

Thanks for the tips! I do pretty much the same thing for mine with the washing/drying regimen. My hair isn't that long yet, maybe like 2-3 inches below my shoulders but I'm trying to get it longer.

When I do have to blow dry/do heat treatments, I try to apply heat spray, like Suave's heat protectant spray. It has Keratin in it, which is suppose to protect your strands.

I think I'm going to try the Moroccan Oil like you mentioned. Thanks!

Suseth said...

I'm trying to grow my hair out so this post is really helpfully. Where did you buy moraccon oil?

Mandy Paige said...

This is great Julie, thanks!

I noticed a HUGE difference in my hair when I stopped washing it everyday. I only wash my hair about twice a week now, and sometimes only once. I don't use dry shampoos because the product feels weird on my hair and scalp. I have found that running water over my hair and letting it air dry again works just fine if it gets too gnarly.

A questions for you Julie: Do you "seal your ends" with your flat iron? My partner's mom (who worked in a salon) tells me I should, but I have heard VERY differently from a number of girls with long hair. What is your opinion?

Angie D said...

Thanks for this, Julie! I've worked hard growing it out (the longest it's ever been) and have recently discovered that it is QUITE different! Mine gets tangled a lot, and it sounds like your tips will help :)

paige said...

have you ever used the moroccan oil shampoo and conditioner? "santa" left a set in my stocking (i guess i was good last year!)and i'm interested to try it out. my hair has grown sooo long since my pregnancy and i love it, but it certainly is high maintenance. like you though, i believe in treating these long locks like an expensive accessory...good products and TLC. thanks for this post!

Birta said...

Regarding fish oil. You can get fish oil just by eating fish, like salmon. People in countries that eat a lot of fish, like Iceland and Portugal, also take fish oil supplements. I'm Icelandic and ever since I can remember I had a tablespoon of fish oil every single day with breakfast. It's great for your health, your hair, nails and skin. If I'm feeling under the weather, I'll have a tablespoon of shark liver oil, works like a charm.

Aubsent From Texas said...

Thanks Julie for reinforcing what I am doing! I wash my bangs everyday (unless I pin them back). Definitely try sauve's dry shampoo. I like it way better than the one by Treseme...it smells great and (in my opinion) works better :)

Reagan said...

i'm so impressed with your hair care advice! i'm a hairstylist/hair blogger in NYC and I pretty much agree 100% with what you wrote...especially about your shampooing routine.

Amy said...

To Michaela - I tend to rinse out my hair after working out - just water, no shampoo. Just scrub a little at the roots and add just a tiny bit of conditioner to the ends to detangle. Maybe that would work for you?

Courtney said...

Hey girl,
when I came by to read this I was thinking "hm... let's see... what is she going to have to say that differs from my routine already?" um, nothing! How funny is that? I am ALSO a firm believer in washing your hair 2ce a week, MOROCCAN OIL (I can't get by without this stuff), and like you said, shampooing roots, conditioning ends... never blow drying... I like to comb my hair out with my fingers best I can before I get out of the shower! I find less of it breaks off... and to make sure you comb from the ends up!

Other things I use that you might like if you haven't tried it:
Small Talk, comes in a little purple bottle with a green top, very small amount... it tames my hair and gives it a smoother curl or wave when I braid it or put it in a bun, but use it only on the ends and you really don't need a lot!

These are great tips :D

Courtney
I Can Be Many Things

Jul, Life Is A Romantic Poem said...

Mmmh, so you flat iron your bangs? How do you avoid the flat effect, with your bangs that stick to your forehead?
Life is a romantic poem

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to chime in and say that Fish Oil is AMAZING for your skin too. If you don't eat a diet heavy in fish & Omega 3s, your skin will suffer greatly. I can't eat fish (traumatic experience with a bad halibut in 1998 - can't even smell fish without getting nauseous!!) and I have had problem skin since high school. I read an article in Vogue abouty 6 months ago that quoted a doctor who said if you are not getting Omega 3s in your diet, your skin may suffer. I started taking Fish Oil vitamins (the chewy kind are great too if you hate to swallow big pills) and my skin has never, ever looked this good. I highly recommend them!!

Orchid Grey said...

Hi Everyone, sorry for the delay in my response to your questions!

Mandy Paige: I don't seal my ends, I can't say what's right or wrong either way, but I'm assuming that the application of intense heat is probably not the best for ends :)

Suseth: I buy Moroccan Oil at Chris's mom's salon, it's available in salons.

Reagan: Awesome! It's nice to know I'm on the right track!

Courtney: I use Small Talk too, though on occasion, i definitely love it!

Jul: I just run over my bangs real quick, and angle the iron upwards a bit. Works just fine for me, but I also like to have my bangs on the flatter side :)

Anon: I agree, I have some skin problems of my own and it always looks better when I'm taking my omega-3's! Great point!

xoxo
Julie

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

First off, excellent! I'm really trying to grow my hair (for years... I never get anywhere). Does your hair ever form a massive dreadlock at the nape of your neck just from doing normal things like wearing a scarf or dancing? This is a main reason I always end up cutting mine...

Orchid Grey said...

Emily: YES! I get the worst dreadlocks, especially because there are times that, for days at a time, I'm unmotivated to brush my hair, they just get worse. I feel your pain, darlin'!

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

Bah! Well, thanks for answering and good to know I'm not alone, but bah! all the same! : )

Petunia Mae said...

I was skeptical of the Moroccan Oil hype but started using it a few months ago and I totally love it! I also finally invested in a new round brush this week for blow-drying which has made a world of difference. Thanks for all the tips!

true_foodie said...

I do have to warn you about using Moroccan oil. My hairdresser used it on my very dry hair when she cut it chin-length. I was thrilled with the feel and smoothness of my hair, and the scent. By the time my hair grew to shoulder-length, the Moroccan Oil gave me a terrible rash on my neck. After searching on the internet for "bad reaction to Moroccan Oil" I found that I was not the only one. Just do a search yourself to find out more. Some other ingredient in the mix causes the rash, so I switched to using pure argan oil, which is the main ingredient in Moroccan oil, which is just a trademark name with many other ingredients such as perfume. If anyone else also has had a rash, try using natural argan oil instead.

Orchid Grey said...

True Foodie: While I've never experienced a reaction to Moroccan Oil before, I'm sure others have, so thank you for offering the Argan Oil tip! Maybe when my bottle runs out, I'll try that out!

kristen fitzgerald said...

So when you don't shampoo your hair do you just massage your scalp while the water runs on it? Or do you use conditioner and massage your scalp?

Orchid Grey said...

Kristen: Are you referring to days when I don't wash my hair? If so, I just put it up in a bun and don't allow it to get wet. You could certainly try just using water on off days, although I believe that it would leave your hair limp. Also, I advise against adding conditioner to your roots. Since that is where the oil in your hair originates, it would just be adding moisture to moisture, leaving your hair greasy and flat.

On non-wash days, I might use a little dry shampoo, but since I've subscribed to this regimen for over ten years, my hair has grown used to it and doesn't get greasy very fast. (it could just be my hair type, too).

Hope that helps! :)

Lucah said...

I know I'm late to the party, but I must ask about drying your hair overnight. Do you pull it up? Bun it? Do you just leave it down and sleep all over wet hair? I have extremely long curly hair, but if I sleep with it wet, I find I lose a lot of it on the pillow from tugging, and I look like an electrocuted poodle in the morn! Any tips on how you let it dry while you're sleeping?

Anonymous said...

@Lucah: I have very long curly hair, too, and I go to sleep with it wet. I use a satin pillowcase, and I sleep mostly on my stomach or side. There isn't any "tugging", hair loss, or "electrocuted poodle" look, because the hair just glides over the satin.

Orchid Grey said...

@Anon, thank you so much for helping Lucah out, I didn't realize I never responded!

@Lucah: I wash it about an hour before bed, so when I do go to bed, it's wet, but not sopping. I usually just let my hair drape over my pillow (like a troll doll). Anon's suggestion about a satin pillowcase is brilliant though!

RL said...

i'm in the process of growing my hair long again, although for my hair type i think that between shoulder & armpit length works best. i feel like i have to wash my hair daily because after about 26 hours my hair gets greasy and flat (although sometimes if i'm having a lazy day at home i'll skip washing). do you think switching between shampoos throughout the week excites your hair so it doesn't get used to the same thing everyday? i'm going to try just shampooing the roots. each day i do different things, like one day i might deep condition and other days i'll add an oil (i live in a very dry climate). you have such gorgeous hair and i havent read blogs much over the past year so i'm glad i found your hair care post!

Anonymous said...

@orchid-- No problem! Glad I could help!

Anonymous said...

i have long wavy hair and i do not use a shampoo. I get them clean using my conditioner (sulphate free), it does not make them greasy at all! I just have to use the pads of my fingers to really massage my scalp and rinse it out really well, i do it two to three times a week. Now my hair looks even more curlier(which is awesome in my opinion) when it did when i used shampoo. Anyway, i also wanted to say i am in love with your hair...lol i cant stop staring at it on all of your photos:) you look like a princess/fairy.

Nanci said...

I have very long hair and when I sleep at night it gets tangled around my arms. I am thinking of putting it in a bun to sleep and wonder if this is a good idea. Most of the time I wear it long or in a pony tail if I am going to do some work in the garden or riding. I am wondering about the bun for sleeping, if it might not help my hair from tangling around me or would it cause breakage.

Helen Evans said...

As one of its applied benefit the Argan oil is perfect in improving a color treated hair.

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