It’s no secret that I love to dye my hair. But after a few bad experiences I take a lot of measures to take care of it and make sure I either don’t or minimise the damage as much as possible. I have even used coconut oil on my hair before bleaching and I swear to you it turns out several shades blonder with far less damage.
But let me back track. I was vaguely aware of heat damage. I made to believe that hair dryers are the enemy and straighteners are fine. Never could figure that one out since a straightener is far hotter.
My hair dresser, who I thankfully not only don’t see anymore, left town, had once told me that I needed to “use more heat” when I use my hair straightener and stupid me, I did. She also used to constantly accuse me of having bleached my hair because of the way my ends felt. Looking back I realised they were singed and that she was adding to it.
I was on Pintrest looking for hair care recipes. Yes on Pintrest. Anyway I came across several videos by African American women who had their hair damaged by their hair dresser and like many women had gone to great lengths to take care of their beautiful hair. That’s when I learned about not only the damage that can be done by straighteners but how many hair dressers don’t know about it.
I read and watched a lot of videos by a lot of women from all over the world. All of them had the same or similar experience to me. But I want to share how bad mine was.
Just a little info about my hair. I have very fine hair but I have a lot of it. It’s actually very thick. When I go to the hair dresser my hair is doused in product to appear and feel thinner than it is and I tell them I have a thick afro and they laugh at me like I am exaggerating. So like the idiots these women are, they clean and blow dry and go omg you hair is so thick and fluffy and I complained for 20 minutes about this which they ignored me about.
So I not only get an overdone blow dry but after using the wrong heat level on their hair straightener treating my hair like regular white or european hair like most of their customers I have honestly had them go through 5 PASSES with hair straighteners and that’s not even the worst because at the end there’s a final pass. It’s no wonder my hair was screwed!
I also have one section of hair that has a frizzy kink. Just one tuffed area this is all tight kinks while the rest is very thick fine combination of European and Spanish hair. I not to long ago learn my grandfather was African American and my grandmother was Spanish Irish. Which was a surprise to me because I am super white and don’t look the slightest bit Irish, Spanish or African. My mother has commented that sometimes with certain makeup I look a bit Spanish. Knowing this though explains a lot about my hair type for me because every hair dresser automatically assumes I have regular thin white girl hair and I don’t and they never consider the work I put into it to make it thinner without thinning it.
I have a lot of volume for “fine hair” and I’ve had it described as fair hair but I now doubt these women knew what they were talking about and really shouldn’t call themselves professionals. My hair is prone to frizz and I complained about this and I was once again told to “use more heat”.
I am glad that so many UK and USA ACTUAL professional hair care stylists post so many blog posts and so many people make posts about hair care because I never would have found out how bad their advice was.
Now for my hair since I went more natural (not fully because all the way was just as damaging) I no longer have frizz and my hair is no longer growing slowly. I was growing below average because of the damage. I also now straighten my own hair and I try to only ever do 1 pass with a GHD hair straightener. It’s brilliant. I love my GHD straightener.
I also gave up using conditioner and replaced it with Coconut oil or other various oils and I no longer wash everyday after how much I read about how bad it is for you. I no longer have the issues I used to have either. Dandruff, dry itchy scalp or over oily. I actually use Castile soap on my hair often and hydrate it with oils or chamomile tea. Sometimes I use store bought shampoo but I try to make sure it’s sulfate free and/or paraben free. Nak has to be my favourite brand right now. I barely have to use any and it’s helped repair my hair.
I have been to absolute hell and back. My hair was so damaged for not just the “professionals” but their bad advice. I had to cut off my hair completely shaved 3 times the splits were that bad and that close to my scalp! It’s taken me forever but my hair is to my shoulders. I’ve been able to straighten it when I want to without the damage to my ends for the first time ever.
I am extremely glad that I spent the extra money on a GHD. It’s also a lot safer to use with it’s auto turn off and adjusting the heat itself. I would love to buy one of their hair dryers for the winter. If I don’t dry my hair in winter i get very sick. It’s ok in summer because it’s so hot it dries fairly quickly.
And that was another thing too. Because my hair is far thicker than it appears they didn’t use the appropriate heat or techniques to dry my hair. It was frequently damp before they would use a straightener and steamed my hair. I don’t know about other women but steam is very bad for my hair! It certainly doesn’t add moisture either. I’ve heard a lot of positive about steam straightening. It’s definitely not for me.
My hair will turn out fluffy but after the roots are dry, it needs to be dried on the lowest setting otherwise it goes frizzy and feels brittle and no amount of heat protect will aid it in drying faster. I know my hair, it would be weird if I didn’t. But no. Full heat for 10 to 20 minutes followed by a straightener.
The only time I had ever walked out of a hair dresser without getting it straightened was to get away from them and I tied my dry frizzy fluffy hair back like, oh yeah this is totally fine. I was pissed off because I told her nicely what my hair was like, don’t do it but she not only ignored me but passively suggested she knew better and had no care for how it turned out. I was not happy, never went back and I made sure to tell others not to as well.
I was talked into going to a hair dresser. Comments about how bad of a job I do made me self-conscious enough to go. I’ve had a hair dresser comment that even though my own cutting wasn’t star quality, it wasn’t bad and if it made me happy and I felt ok I should keep cutting it myself and she also saw the other “professional” hair dressers work and commented about how bad it was.
I don’t go for a cut because none of them listen to me. None of them believe that once my hair dries, if it’s layered or cut to a certain length I can’t tie it back, I have a huge head. Every single time it’s cut too short and it takes me 6 months to almost 2 yrs to grow it back because my hair not only grows slow but like I said, I got a big head.
I cut my own hair because if it goes bad, I only have myself to blame and it didn’t cost me $80 to fuck it up. And I’m ok with that. I can leave my house if I cut my hair bad but not when I’ve paid for it. And I can’t really afford it either.
I also learned about a dry cut. If I knew that sooner my hair would have looked nicer in the past. I was always told by pretty much everyone never to dry cut. A bit more research, I have come to find that not only is it popular but it’s recommended for my type of hair. When my hair is went it’s anything from 3 to 8 inches longer depending on how fluffy it goes and the volume it reaches on certain days. If you think about it, that’s a lot of difference and it makes a HUGE difference when I tie my hair back. I hate having my hair in my face! So not being able to tie it back when it’s all natural and dry and free from any product drove me absolutely crazy!
I don’t like wearing product in the summer because it makes me sweat and my scalp itchy and I don’t like it fluffy in the summer because it’s like wearing a wool jacket on my head and I also don’t like using oil in my hair in the summer because it makes it’s way to my skin and burns… So yeah you guys get the gist of it. It’s been a very harsh learning curve. Like learning about my hair all over again.
I also used to get a lot of flyaways too but not anymore. Especially since I started to use just a tiny amount of oil in my hair. I have tried Shea butter out of curiosity but it’s to heavy for my hair. Almond did a pretty good job but Coconut is the best. I use olive oil when I want something more conditioner like and once in a while like once a month to once every three months I make up a deep conditioner batch of oil that I keep in the fridge. Here’s some of the recipes if you made it this far through my rant:
Deep Conditioning and Hair Lengthening:
- 5 tablespoons of Olive Oil (Any type just as long as it’s pure and healthy)
- 5 tablespoons of Almond oil (I use sweet almond oil)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of Eucalyptus oil or Peppermint oil or Teatree. Or 1 teaspoon of all three. If you do 3 teaspoons add two more of olive oil. If you are prone to reactions to eucalyptus or peppermint oil then I recommend halving this measurement. It makes your scalp tingle a little bit and encourages circulation.
- 2 to 6 teaspoons of coconut oil. It’s up to you. I use 3 sometimes.
- Optional, 1 2inch cube of cacao butter. It’s solid so it’s pretty easy to measure it out in cubes.
Gently heat the oil. I just use a pyrex measuring jug and slowly heat it up in the micro wave. When the oil is warm, not hot, carefully take it out and place ontop of a tea towel and stir until the solid oils melt. Allow to cool once stired in. DO NOT put in the fridge. Because of the cacao butter it can become too hard in a really well working fridge. If it goes a little solid, that’s ok, it will apply better.
Use small amounts on your finger tips and massage into your scalp. Focus on your scalp. Then use a comb to brush the excess oil down and through your hair. Apply slowly more oil through the rest of your hair and focus on your ends. Leave on for a minimum of 2hrs but preferably 6-8 hours. I tie or wrap my head up and sleep in it.It’s a good idea to put a towel on your pillow.
Because of the stimulating effects of the eucalyptus oil, you might notice a dramatic increase in hair growth. I wouldn’t do this more than once a week because it would definitely become irritating. Wash out as you normally would wash you hair but use HALF the amount of shampoo you normally would. The oils create excess foam and you won’t need anywhere near as much as you used to.
Thick Oil Conditioner:
3:3:3:3 ratio in tablespoons
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil or Almond
- Cacao butter
- Optional; a few drops of essential oils for smell.
Apply to the scalp first and massage through. Best to leave on over night but leave in for a minimum of an hour. Use calming essential oils such as lavender at night or bright energetic oils if in the day such as peppermint, sweet orange or basil.
Protein and thick:
- 5 table spoons of olive oil
- 1 egg (2 if they are small)
- Greek yoghurt. Use large dollaps at a time and mix until it looks like a comfortable mask consistency. No greek yoghurt is the same. The one I buy is thick like feta but the one I prefer to eat is runny.
- Coffee grounds
Note: This can stain your hair with a brown tint if you have bleached hair but it’s only a stain and washes out. This is because of the coffee grounds.
Preparation & use:
Mash it all together into a goopy paste. You can use a hand mixer if you like or a hand blender but it’s best to just dive right in with your hands. The mixture is also great for your face as a face mask. Apply librally. If you have long hair you might have to double the batch. Take your time. Leave in for 5 to 20 minutes. You can leave it in longer if you wish but since it has yoghurt, it can spoil and smell bad. Rinse out but don’t wash or condition. It is a condition. If you do feel the need to wash out, use the gentlest shampoo you can find.
- 1 to 3 tea bags Pure chamomile tea. 1 tablespoon if pure from a bag.
- Optional; Honey 1 teaspoon per cup.
WARNING: This can have toning effects on blonde hair and have hair lightening effects on hair even if it’s dyed black. Going into the sun with this mixture WILL lighten your hair. Some may not notice and it can be a gradual thing. If you are of dark skinned complexion and get this on your skin and go into the sun it can have skin bleaching effects. Make sure to wash it off your skin before going into the sun.
Boil water and make tea as you usually would. Steep until cool or luke warm. Do NOT put in fridge. If you cut corners, the tea won’t be as strong. Let it sit. Tell people not to throw it out. You will need a strainer or use a coffee filter. I use a paper filter. Sometimes some petals or pollen escape the tea bags.
Once cooled place into a clean spray bottle. If you don’t have one, store in an air tight jar. Try to use this blend within a few days. If you have short hair, halve the mixture.
Spray onto hair. It can have an almost hair spray like effect if you added honey and make your hair feel a little stiff once dry so style as if you have applied mouse. Apply as much as you like during the day and rinse out at night. Apply as much as you like or as little as you want.
Chamomile and honey are naturally antibacterial. It will have healing effects on your scalp but that doesn’t mean the tea can’t go bad. I wouldn’t use this mixture after 1 week. Smell your mixture to judge if it’s still usable. You can store in the fridge if you like.
- 1 egg
- 1 half to whole avacado
- Olive oil. Enough to make a thick to runny paste. Usually 1 too 3 tablespoons will do.
- Optional; quart of a cup of green tea.
Preparation & Use:
Mix and mash into a paste, apply and leave in for 20 minutes to a max of an hour.
*You can use just one of these or all mixed together
- Full fat milk (cows milk)
- Coconut milk, full fat. Don’t bother with fat reduced or light. It’s healthy fats anyway and shouldn’t have trans fat in it if it’s pure.
- Homemade rice milk (Watch this youtube video for how https://youtu.be/6XfRxitN56w)
- Homemade Almond milk
- Homemade Oat milk
Why homemade? Because you know what’s in it and get the FULL benefits!
How to make Almond Milk:
- Half a cup of almond
- 2 cups of water
- Fine mesh or cheese cloth or muslin.
Soak over night a half a cup of almonds. Blend thoroughly your almonds in 2 cups of water or 1 cup if you want it particularly rich. Let sit and steep for a couple of minutes. Up to 20 to let it all sit to the bottom. This makes it easier to separate it. Pour into a glass bowl. Filter carefully and thoroughly. It takes some time and strength. You can use the left over almond meal to make a cake or cookies.
How to Make Oat Milk:
- 1 cup of rolled oats. If using steel cut, use a quarter of a cup.
- 2 cups of water
No need to soak. You can but I don’t. If using steel cut oats, soak over night. But for rolled oats, put into a blender with two cups of water and blend thoroughly. Depending on your blender this either takes a while or is very quick. Cheap blenders sometimes merely spin it around and sort of blend it.
Filter carefully and take your time. This is very slimy. You will need to frequently scrape the bottom of your milking bag or filter and you might need to triple filter.
Preparation and Use for Silky Milky:
Use just the one type of milk if you like or add in all of them together. I recommend all three homemade non dairy milks. It’s also nice to bath in these milks for full body moisturising.
Apply to hair like a wet slimy mask, assuming you used the oat milk otherwise, take your tie and apply with a clean food brush or hair dresser brush. You will need to towel wrap to keep it moist. Leave in for 10-30 minutes. Rinse and enjoy.
Coconut milk on it’s own is very effective as well as rice milk on it’s own.
Dark Chocolate Mocha Rich Stain and Healthy Hair Mix:
*This WILL stain your hair! If you wash it afterwards, the stain won’t be as noticeable and it fades quickly.
- Fresh coffee grounds. 3 tablespoons
- 1-2 cup of water
- 2-4 tablespoons of Cocoa or Cacao powder. If not then Carob is fine.
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
- Oil of your choice and use to make the mixture thicker.
Mix, mash and stir until the dry ingredients first. Add the water slowly. Mix as thoroughly as you can. Slowly add the honey. It will likely turn more like a sticky paste. When that’s stirred in as thoroughly as possible, start adding the oil until it’s a thick body scrub like texture. Add more oil if it’s too dry. You can apply this mix to your face and body and use as a scrub but be aware that it can stain. If using on your face, add some greek or all natural yoghurt.
Apply liberally through hair and let sit for as long as you can stand it. Rinse out thoroughly. You might need to shampoo. If you do, use a gentle shampoo.
*Much like the Chamomile, these can be used all day and as much as you like. Though some teas will stain so be careful if you don’t want your hair to stain.
- Pure green tea
- Rooibos tea (can stain)
- Dandilion tea (depending if from the flower or root it can either stain or lighten)
- Black tea (stains)
- Fruit based teas eg Blueberry (definitely stains)
- White tea (subtle ginger stain or golden effects)
- Chai (with or without milk)
On their own, these teas can be very effective rinses. There is no need to add honey but you can if you like and sugar is acceptable too. Though if you use sugar it can make your hair stiff like you have used mouse but it washes out easily and does no damage to your hair. It’s harmless.
Chai tea usually has cloves and/or cinnamon and can stimulate circulation in your scalp. Whether or not you use it with milk, it will either have more or less of a hydrating effect.
Some of these teas have more of a cleansing effect than a moisturising one. It can also help strengthen your hair. I have read that for some people it has made their hair thicker because it’s improved their hair’s health so much.
This one I don’t have a recipe for. There’s hundreds out there. I just used extra black tea when I did my hair and lots of oil. Since Henna can dry and dye your hair, I only recommend it if you are comfortable and ok with the colours and are prepared for possible dryness.
I have seen some people use it in their youtube reviews and it doesn’t die because of using all cold ingredients. I used it to dye my hair but I was shocked at how well it worked and how silky my hair turned out. When I washed it out my hair felt really brittle and gross and dry and I was worried even though I also added conditioner. When it dried however, it was silky soft. And I used a conditioner that is usually bad for my hair but unfortunately it was all that was there to use.
I also read that the tea you use, really matters. So consider it carefully before jumping in and doing it. It also stains for a looooong time so clean your face immediately after you are done or during the process. Just be sure that if you use lemon juice or anything acidic to add honey to balance the PH.
What you eat greatly effects your hair’s health. Poor diet certainly doesn’t help. I mention this only because I am surprised at how many people don’t know about it.
I’ve used all of these and honestly, all of them haven’t just helped repair my damaged hair, make it grow faster and thicker (within a reasonable amount of time, not over night) it has worked better than anything store bought. And I have really committed to hair care regimes in the past. It does make me often think about how many products are out there, don’t do what they promise just for the cash. It’s basically the old “snake oil” trick.
Right now I am in a happy and comfortable place between all natural and not so natural hair care. I do look a lot more closely at ingredients than I used to now. If I don’t recognise what it is, I don’t buy it and I rarely use heat or I use cool hair styling methods. Another great youtube and Pintrest find.
It’s really amazing at how much bad advice can effect a person. I am glad that I found so many alternatives. And I’m even happier now that I don’t have to chop off my hair again for a LONG time if I keep taking more natural approaches. It’s sad that it even had to get that far but it was also good for my confidence too. I was afraid at first, but really, it wasn’t that bad at all. I enjoyed haivng a pixie hair cut for a long time.
If you guys have any other natural hair care remedies PLEASE share them in the comments below for others to find!