Swapping from your old chemical based hair products to beautiful natural alternatives means starting again when it comes to finding the perfect products. If you have longer locks, we've asked low tox hair expert Alana Nelson for some tips on maintaining beautiful long hair naturally:
1. Choose the right shampoo & conditioner:
So often I see women that come in to me with long hair that's not working for them. It can be flat, dull and even greasy looking. My first question is always regarding their home hair routine and the culprit can often be the wrong products for their hair type.
FIX: Use shampoo and conditioner for your hair TEXTURE. Ie. If you have fine/medium hair strands, use a volumising shampoo and conditioner as it will leave the hair feeling "squeaky clean and lighter in weight". Alternatively, those with thicker, frizzier hair types need a colour or moisturising shampoo and conditioner that can add moisture and weight to tame fly-a ways and frizzies. My fave toxin free shampoo and conditioners I recommend are: Acure and Pineapple Heads shampoos and conditioners. Even though Pineapple Heads are marketed as a kids product, they are amazing on ALL hair types (including colour treated) and great as a family "all rounder".
2. Nurture the mid length and ends:
Having long hair in good condition doesn't often happen by luck, but requires a little extra love and attention. The longer the hair the older it is since it grew out and away from the shelter and nourishment it received from the scalp. Hair past your shoulders may have seen a couple of winters with cold winds and artificial heating, a few summers of salt, sand and chlorine. Countless blow-dries and hot styling do's..... as you can imagine, it's had a lot done to it and understandably needs some extra TLC in return.
FIX: Long hair often requires an extra daily leave in treatment, applied away from the roots and only to the mid lengths and ends this will help combat and put up a barrier against the elements. They usually come in either a spray, cream or oil form. I would normally recommend an oil for the driest and/or thickest of hair types as it can tend to leave fine or healthier hair a little flat or greasy and a spray or cream is better suited to this type of hair instead. I love Pineapple Heads Detangling spray and Acure Argan oil as a quick fix.
3. Be extra gentle with wet hair:
Depending on how you treat your hair when it's wet will affect how shiny and healthy it looks when it's dry. Too often people use a dry bristle brush on wet hair, pull at knots, tie it up tight and basically not have a gentler approach to their hair when it's wet. Hair when wet is a lot more fragile and has the ability for an extra 60% stretch as opposed to when it is dry.
FIX: Dry brush your hair before washing to remove extra tangles and stimulate blood flow to your scalp. Use a wide toothcomb to gently comb out wet hair and always allow it to dry before tying up. Basically be mindful that your hair is much more fragile when it is wet.
4. Support your hairstyle:
Many at home attempted hairstyles fall short and aren't able to last or be recreated much to the frustration of many longhaired women. If you think styling products are wasted in long, then think again.
FIX: Choose the right styling product for the look you are trying to achieve. Allow your hair to be semi dried before applying product. If your hair is too wet the water won't allow product to work properly and you'll end up wasting too much or having an uneven result. For volume in long hair, it is really only required on the top and crown section, so save product by only applying it to those parts. A mousse or root boosting product works best for this. My toxin free pick is Yarok volumising mousse. And for fly away hair on fine hair types I also love Yarok hairspray applied to your hands or a brush and smoothed through the hair for a natural finish. Or for taming thick hair Mukti wax or Acure Argan Oil are perfect in a small amount warmed between the palms of your hands and applied to hairline and ends for control and shine.
5. Vary your hairstyle:
Try to avoid wearing a ponytail every day. I see this often and it's such a shame! It's a band of breakage and split ends that runs horizontally across the hair a few inches down from the scalp and it's caused by wearing a ponytail everyday and tying it up in the same spot! It is really hard to hide once you have the breakage on the top layer of your hair.
FIX: Mix it up! If you do wear it in the same pony everyday then you should at least consider: Why you do this and if it's time for a change of style? What other alternatives will keep your hair pinned out the way. Try and google simple up hair styles to vary it and consider using pins, clips, plaits or braids instead of the same old hair elastic.
If breakage has already happened consider and follow all the advice above to keep your hair as hydrated and healthy as possible to help it grow out as quick and healthy as possible.