I get lots of questions about my hair, and hear quite often that I’m “lucky” to have the hair that I do. I think that’s totally fair, since my mom and grandma passed on the genes of full, thick hair. But having full hair doesn’t mean “healthy” hair. Growing up in Brazil I always felt pressured to have straight hair. There used to be a stigma that people with curly hair weren’t as pretty; probably because wavy/curly hair was more common. So when puberty hit and my straight hair became curly and wild, I started looking for ways to make it straight. I don’t remember having a flat iron back then, but I do remember the first time I purchased a curling iron, and used that to straighten my hair. Then someone told me about a treatment I could do at the salon that would make my hair as straight as could be. It was called the “japanese” treatment. I went to the salon, and bargained with the owner to have her do my hair, and I would give her daughter English lessons. I think I was her guinea pig, her test subject. Four hours later I was left with hair so damaged I had to get it cut to my chin! She also colored it jet black so it wasn’t as noticeable. It took a couple of years to get things back to normal.
Brazilian’s obsession with straight hair meant the hair industry stayed busy trying to come out with other ways to permanently straighten hair; and years after I moved to the USA, they came out with something similar to the “Brazilian Blowout,” but way more effective. For my own hair, it means having super straight hair, with no frizz, for about six to nine months! Absolutely incredible, and I was hooked. The last time I did though, was about two years ago, and once again things went south in the hair department. I still don’t know what happened exactly, but I trusted my hair to a friend’s mom visiting from Brazil, and my hair was once again completely damaged. This time around it wasn’t just breakage though, my wet hair resembled chewing gum, stretchy and thing; and was like crunchy straw when it was dry. I remember calling my dad and just balling my eyes out. Probably because of my Brazilian culture, my long hair was part of my identity, and having it ruined left me feeling super sad.
If you look at my hair now you’d probably never believe that was 2 years ago, because it’s back to healthy, and probably even better than before I had the treatment done. I can’t even tell you how much I spent in the beginning trying to find products that would fix the problem. The unfortunate truth is that it was so far gone growth was the only option for me. What I needed was products that would help it grow, and keep the grown out part healthy. I had been bleaching the hair and had to stop completely. I was lucky enough that my hair grew out pretty well, looking more like an ombre style. I also found an amazing hair stylist who knew how to give me lots of layers to keep cutting the bad stuff out.
I stopped using cheap stuff and invested heavily in good products, but there are some changes I would highly recommend to everyone trying to get healthier hair, no matter the current condition of the hair. So here they are:
Sleeping with hair up in bun:
This one is completely free, and your hair will thank you! Instead of sleeping with your hair down, just put it up in a top bun, and it will reduce tangles and friction as well.
Look for hair products that are more natural. I look for sulfate-free, paraben free, fragrance free, etc. I had good luck with Monat, even though that brand still has fragrance listed as an item.
While my hair was still in bad shape I tried my best to not use a hair blow dryer or straighter. Now I use a heat protectant from Monat.
I love moroccan oil! It smells amazing and helps my ends stay fresh.
Don’t wash hair everyday:
This is so huge in getting hair back to a healthy state. Our hair is most vulnerable when it’s wet, so not washing every day will help a lot. I only wash 2 times a week, and use dry shampoo in between. Because of the environment, and the ozone layer, I’ve stopped using all aerosol products, so my dry shampoo is powder form, from Primally Pure.
Better hair bands/ties:
So there! I hope these tips help you get the healthy hair you’ve been wanting!