I know from personal experience how your hair, or lack there of, can really affect how you feel about yourself. In 2009, I had hair extensions put in. I had been growing my hair for years. It had finally gotten it to my chest area, but my hair is not naturally super thick and I wanted fuller, thicker hair. At first, I had the beaded extensions, where the hair stylist attaches the extension to a small section of your own hair and crimps a "bead" on to keep it in place. I loved how my hair looked, and it was an instant boost of self confidence. I regularly maintained my extensions, going to the salon once per month to have them adjusted or to have new ones put in. I was very diligent about taking care of them and my natural hair.
|With extensions in 2010|
In the summer of 2010, I met my fiance and shortly after I moved to Miami. I started going to Prive' hair salon and they offered extensions that were "taped" in by a special keratin tape so I switched from the beaded method to tape. I noticed that around the fall of 2010, my hair felt thinner and my extensions were falling out more and more. It was almost as if my real hair was too thin to support the extensions anymore. It became increasingly worse and was really frustrating for me so one night in April 2011, I bought the bond remover from Sally Beauty Supply and took them all out by myself. Adam came home, and I was sitting on the floor sobbing, surrounded by my fake hair lol! Its funny now, but at the time I wanted to crawl in a hole and die!
It was extremely difficult to deal with the damage that the extensions had done. My natural hair was broken off, and visibly thinner. I even had some small bald spots; it was horrifying! I went to my stylist at Prive the next day, and she cut my hair to right below my shoulders. To have short hair in Miami, where you are surrounded by Spanish women who have beautiful, thick, long hair is beyond depressing. As silly as it sounds, it affected my self esteem as I didn't feel pretty without my long hair.
|Short hair in Costa Rica, Aug 2011|
I became determined/borderline obsessed to learn all that I could about making my hair grow long again. I read long haircare forums, hundreds of online articles, and books about the cycle of hair growth. I tried all sorts of crazy concoctions hoping that my hair would grow faster. Did you know that you can actually put Monistat cream (for yeast infections) on your head and supposedly it speeds up hair growth? Google it! I never tried it because I read that it can cause bad headaches, but I seriously contemplated it.....a few times! :)
I started really babying my fragile hair by doing weekly coconut oil treatments, and banning all sulphates & damaging hair care products. I also banned all heat products, and only shampoo my hair every few days. It took about a year just to get my hair back to normal (not long, just normal), as in normal thickness. In January 2012, I started taking a hair vitamin called Viviscal. I believed that its made a huge difference in helping my hair grow. They might actually work a little too well, an unfortunate side effect I've noticed is hair growth in unmentioned areas. Get them here. Also around the same time, I started taking a supplement called MSM. MSM is for joint health, however one of the side effects of MSM is that it puts your hair in the anagen phase for longer than normal (told you I did my research). My hair has stopped shedding significantly since I started taking MSM. You can purchase it from Whole Foods, or any vitamin shop.
|Slowly growing....Left pic 2/2012 Right pic 8/2012|
Last summer, I stopped getting regular trims. I feel like I have seen the most significant hair growth since I stopped getting it trimmed every 6-8 weeks. I've gotten 2 trims since last July. I think that this is fine for me since I am taking such good care of my hair, and I hardly ever use heat products. I do however, perform regular "search and destroys" on myself, where I snip off any split ends that I see.
It has now been 22 months since I removed my extensions and chopped off my hair. Its finally getting longer, and isn't so stringy looking from all the damage.
|Its getting there....Feb 2013|
I have tried many different hair products along the way, and I thought that I'd share with you a list of what I have been using regularly:
Pureology - Purify Shampoo (clarifying shampoo that I use once per month)
Pssssssssssst! Instant Dry Shampoo (the best dry shampoo I've found!)
Loreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner
Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Bodybuilding Volume Conditioner
Alterna Caviar Repair - Micro Bead Fill & Fix Treatment
Kerastase Resistance - Masque Force Architecte
Joico K-Pak Reconstruct - Deep Penetrating Reconstructor
Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Overnight Hair Rescue (overnight mask)
Leave In Products
Healthy Sexy Hair - Soy Tri-Wheat Leave in Conditioner
Pureology - Essential Repair Split End Correcting Treatment
Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Photo-Age Defense
Alterna Bamboo Smooth - Anti-Breakage Thermal Protectant Spray
Alterna Hemp Organics - Color Hold Thickening Compound
Kerastase - Elixir Ultime
A few things that I do (or don't do for that matter):
- Only shampoo hair every few days. I use dry shampoo in between to freshen up my roots.
- Massage your scalp; it stimulates the hair follicles.
- Use sulfate free shampoos only.
- Regularly use deep conditioning treatments for maximum moisture.
- Never wrap hair up in a towel (it causes breakage).
- Only use heat products a few couple times per month.
- Take hair vitamins daily (they work!!!)
- Use a clarifying shampoo once per month to remove product buildup.
- Never brush hair when it is wet! I use a wide tooth comb, and am very gentle.
- Experiment with natural oils. Coconut, olive, and avocados are a great start.
It was my goal to grow my hair out for my wedding, which is in April. I don't think that my hair is going to be at my ideal length, so even though I vowed that I would never get hair extensions again, I'm considering it. I might get clip ins, or possibly have real extensions but only for a few weeks this time. I'm not sure yet......however, my quest for a long mane continues!
I would love if you would share your favorite hair care products, or any tips that you have for growing out your hair!!
Thanks for reading my blog!