I'm definitely a low maintenance girl when it comes to my hair. I don't have a huge stash of styling products, and I tend to be pretty cautious about investing in high end products because historically what other people recommend doesn't tend to work that well for me. My hair is waist length and has been for years, so I thought I’d talk about what products I use to keep it healthy and how I like to style it.
WASH & CUT
This might be gross to some people, but I only wash my hair once or twice a week. Three days used to be my maximum, but with the help of trusty dry shampoo (my favourites are Colab & Batiste) I’ve trained my hair to go longer between washes. There's so much general advice out there about how to make your hair grow faster, but I don't really think anything is going to make that happen. I think what you have to do is take care of the hair you have, because if it's damaged it'll break off and look thinner at the ends, which means you'll need to trim it more often. I trim the ends of my hair myself about once a year because they're in pretty good condition (if I do say so myself), and my fringe every other month as it needs it. I know that's not for everyone because some people love the experience of going to a hairdresser and having it done professionally (I also dye mine myself) but as my style and colour is pretty uncomplicated I prefer the convenience (and $$) of doing it at home.
When it comes to washing, I'm not especially loyal to any brand, though I have repurchased the L'Oreal UltraRich Shampoo & Conditioner a few times and really enjoy them. At the moment I'm alternating between them and the Aveda Black Malva Shampoo & Conditioner. I've only used these a couple of times so far so I can't give a verdict on how well they work, but they're designed for toning brown hair. Like how blondes use purple shampoos to take away brassiness, a lot of people's hair, regardless of the colour, has red in it. Back when I was using packet dyes, my hair started to pull really red when I wanted it to be a cool dark brown, so on the advice of a hairdresser friend I started buying my own dye and peroxide and mixing it myself. I'm not sure if a toning shampoo & conditioner alone is going to work miracles, but I would 100% recommend mixing your own dye if you're having the same issue I had.
When washing I like to focus most of the shampoo on the roots of my hair where it actually feels dirty, and only put a little bit through the ends. Then I'll put most of my conditioner on the lengths and ends of my hair rather than on my scalp. I keep a clip in my shower so I can put a hair mask in and then get it all out of the way while I shave and do whatever else, and then I rinse the mask out as my last step. At the moment I'm using the OGX Argan Oil Hair Butter but I think it's a bit too heavy for my fine hair. In the past I've enjoyed (and prefer) the Macadamia and Toni & Guy hair masks.
After I wash my hair I run a detangler through it and then brush with my Tangle Teezer. I know brushing wet hair is meant to be a huge no-no, but after I wash my hair it's always knotty, and I pretty much never brush it when it's dry because it turns into a fluffy, static-y nightmare. That's only changed recently with the help of Aveda's Smooth Infusion which tames all the fluff without weighing my hair down or making it look greasy. This has been a life-saver for me and I'm so glad I've finally found a product that suits my hair perfectly! I also think changing to a Tangle Teezer has made a really big difference (apparently the Wet Brush is good too) because even though 99% of the time my hair is wet, it's so easy to brush out knots because it doesn't pull on your hair too much and it hardly takes any time at all. It's definitely a LOT easier on my hair than the traditional bristle brush I was using before I bought it.
After brushing I run a bit of product through the lengths, and at the moment I'm loving the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Cream. I got a bunch of samples from Sephora Hawaii last year and since I have such a long washing cycle I've still got several left. All I want from a product is for it to help my hair air dry smoothly and keep frizzy/fluffiness at bay, and that's exactly what this does for me. I also like to put a bit of the Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse right on the ends since that's the oldest hair, and therefore the driest, and I think this really helps keep my hair healthy and save it from split ends.
When it comes to styling my hair, as a teenager I was all about the daily straightening. At some point I stopped using heat on it altogether, which more than anything was just a result of laziness. I already had the idea for this post in mind, and when Irresistible Me contacted me about trying out their Diamond Hair Straightener* I thought it was a great fit. One of my favourite things is that I don’t need to use it every day like I did in high school because the style lasts for so long. When I straighten my hair after washing and letting it air dry, I can get through the whole wash cycle without needing to re-straighten. When I don’t straighten my hair, usually by about day 3 I’d feel the need to wear it up, but because it’s much smoother and gets less tangled I don’t have that issue anymore. I find this straightener is also really handy for when my fringe gets a bit long and unruly. It has a tendency to go all over the place, but a quick run through sorts it right out.
I can also use it to curl my hair, which for some reason no-one seemed to know about back in high school. But unless you're seriously into your hair tools and want several different sized barrels for curling your hair different ways, you can just YouTube a quick tutorial and learn how to use a straightener. If you want a really thorough review on this particular one, check out Mika's blog post for a tonne of info. A couple of cool features of the Diamond Straightener that I really like are that although it comes with a US plug (I already had an adaptor but you can get them on eBay for a dollar or so) it automatically changes itself from Fahrenheit to Celsius, and it also turns itself off when it hasn't been used for 30 minutes, which is such a great idea and I don't know why all appliances don't do that!
In terms of styling products this is where a lot of recommendations fall flat for me. When I'm using heat on my hair I like to use the Bumble & Bumble Hairdressers Invisible Oil Primer to help protect it from damage. But aside from that, things like texturising sprays, which are super popular, just don't do it for me. I've tried a couple and feel like they make my hair feel matted, sticky and tangled. Maybe I'm using them wrong but I've tried several different ways and I think they're just not suited to my hair length and type. As my hair gets to the point of needing a wash, or just if I don't feel like wearing it down, I like to throw it up in a huge messy bun which I started doing based on this tutorial. I find it super quick and easy but it still looks cute so I rely on this style a bunch.