From the time I was about 16 until about two years ago (over a decade!) I tortured my hair. I went several times a year to have it chemically highlighted, I shampooed almost daily, and put it through the abuse of a blow dryer and flat iron almost daily as well. The result? Hair that was dry, flat, and weak. It may have looked aesthetically “pretty”, but the reality was that my hair was not truly healthy.
About two years ago, I started honestly asking myself why I had spent so much money and so many years habitually changing the color of my hair. I had to look inside myself and finally admitted that it was my vanity. I believed it made me “prettier” and when I admitted this to myself, something shifted in me. I was tired of letting my thoughts make me feel like I needed to change my hair color to be pretty. At that time, I stopped changing the color of my hair for the first time since I was a girl. That was my first step to getting the healthy, natural hair of my childhood back.
As my roots grew to a point where they were at an awkward stage halfway down my head, I sometimes felt self-conscious, but I let those feelings come and go and let my natural color take over, bit by bit. Eventually, my hair was a delicate ombre, and now my hair is completely natural. It has taken almost two years.
My natural hair is very different from the hair I used to have. My natural color is a dark blonde with natural highlights and lowlights. The biggest difference? The luminescence and sheen my hair has is something I have never had as an adult, and I love it. Also, my hair is soft, healthy, and strong.
Thinking about ditching the chemical color and going back to your roots? Try it and see how you like it! Nothing is permanent, least of all hair.
These are things I have done to help get my hair healthy:
- Stop chemical coloring and highlighting, cold turkey
- Shampoo approximately 3x a week, only using all-natural sulfate-free shampoo.
- Switch to a wide tooth comb for wet hair and a natural bamboo hairbrush for dry hair
- Less heat styling and when using a dryer, first letting it air-dry as much as possible to reduce heat damage. Turn down the heat on the flat iron and use as minimally as possible.
- Leave-in conditioners. I love Yarok Feed Your Ends.
- Deep conditioning treatments – there are masks/deep conditioners, but for now I saturate the bottom half of my hair with a combo of organic coconut and avocado oils about 1-2x a month
- A trim at the salon when my ends are getting dry and split
I may color my hair again in the future – never say never – but if I do, it will be more gently and because I want to do it, not because I feel I need to color my hair.
What do you love about natural hair versus color-treated? What are your favorite products for healthy hair?