Today I'm excited to share an update on my 6 month (almost) no heat hair journey. One of my goals this year was to embrace my natural hair texture and truly understand my hair from the inside out, in order to have the healthiest hair possible.
Much like makeup, I wanted to view hair styling (straightening, curling etc) as fun and optional and something that can be used to compliment my personal style - not something that I needed to do to feel confident or like I was "allowed" to wear certain things.
If the hair you see in advertisements and the media isn't what your hair naturally looks like, it can feel alienating and I didn't like feeling that I HAD to straighten or smooth my hair in order to wear certain things. Like I mentioned earlier, I wanted hair styling to be a fun and optional choice that I can make to suit my mood and not something that felt like it had been decided for me.
So just like I worked through my makeup dependency by going makeup-free a few years ago, I have been embracing my natural texture for the last 6 months and with a few exceptions, in an effort to make it healthier, I haven't heat styled it either. In this post and the corresponding video below, I want to share everything I've learned.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED ABOUT MY HAIR
- My hair is wavy (based on hair texture charts, it's firmly a 2a but I can fake 2b texture with certain products and techniques that I'll touch on in a bit.
- My hair is also getting slightly straighter the last few months which I've read can happen with hormonal shifts as we age. This happened to me before when I was in my teens and my relatively straight/wavy hair turned slightly curlier. It also looks straighter the longer it gets. I recently got a hair cut and it's looking wavier again.
- I have very low porosity hair (no exaggerating, it takes my hair over 12 hours to air dry and will stay perpetually wet if I tie it up or in a braid while it's still wet). I tried this recently and my hair was still wet a full 48 hours after taking out my braid.
- To help my hair grow quickly and stay healthy (all while stretching the time between washes without dry shampoo) I've been brushing with my boar bristle brush at night before pulling my hair back in a bun or securing it on top of my head in a pineapple with a scrunchie. If you have really curly hair you may only want to do this before you shower and you'll definitely want to detangle your hair first.
- Also, a healthy diet is key and when I eat well, my hair looks good - I've also been taking MSM for about a year now for muscle fatigue and over all health, but one of the main side effects for me has been that it's helped my hair and nails grow VERY quickly.
- Because of it's low porosity, my hair takes forever to air dry and as you can imagine, this has been one of my biggest obstacles in all of this because who has the patience to sit with wet hair for half a day? Also, it makes it very difficult to stick to my shower before bedtime routine that I love because then I have to go to bed with wet hair etc. Finally, I find the slow air drying time to dictate a lot of my schedule now because I have to work around my air dry time. Which for my lifestyle and preferences, isn't ideal.
- Also, studies have shown that it's actually more damaging on your hair to leave it wet than it is to blow dry it on medium heat. I've experimented with diffusing my hair on medium heat but my hair isn't curly enough for diffusing because every time I've tried, I've been left looking like a poodle and the upward motion of the diffuser leaves me with a TON of frizz. What has worked pretty well is lightly scrunching my hair in hand as I blow dry down on medium heat.
- Less is still definitely more for me - less washing, fewer products.
- Also, moisture is key to keeping my hair looking and feeling really good but because I have wavy, low porosity hair, the right kind of moisture is key. Heavy oils like coconut oil just don't work and instead of absorbing into my hair, they just sit on top it making it look limp and greasy. Instead, I love lighter oils like argan oil.
- Co-washing is great when broken up by regular shampooing (again because my hair is wavy and lo po, it can get weighed down easily by product build-up so a good clarifying shampoo is necessary every few washes - especially in the summer). If I don't remove product build-up it causes frizz for me.
- I have yet to find a way to refresh my waves that works for me because many of the methods I've tried require rewetting the hair and because of my low porosity that's exhausting. Please let me know if you have any tips!
- Beyond that, humidity and frizz are still my number 1 problem. I've tried countless products and tricks this summer and not even my old trusted products didn't work. In fact, nothing has worked as well as a keratin mask and conditioner (I let it sit in my hair under a cap while I work out so that the heat from my head can help open my hair's cuticle since I do have low porosity hair). This has sparked my interest in a Keratin treatment and after doing tons of research on the pros and cons and the safety concerns, I've decided to try it. Let me know if you've done one and what you thought.
FAVORITE PRODUCTS & ROUTINES
- For smooth, loose waves I like to pull my hair back when it's damp (NOT WET because then it will never dry). Once I do that I secure it in sections with scrunchies that don't damage the hair or cause unnatural kinks One section at the nape of my neck and then a new section every 1-2 inches. Once it's all dried I shake it out and apply a little serum or cream if necessary.
- If I want more volume in the front, I'll apply a keratin mask while I work out and then shampoo and condition. When I get out of the shower, I wrap my hair up in the turbi twist and let it dry for a bit. when I take it out, I apply the Oribe Matte Waves with a drop of the Ouai Hair Oil or this new oil that I was gifted recently (it's super light and smells like roses) and I let it air dry until it's almost completely dry - this usually takes over night for me but for you it might be faster. Once it's about 85-90% dry I secure the front bits in large velcro rollers and tie the rest back into a very loose bun. When it's dry I let it all out, shake, apply serum or cream as necessary and I'm good to go. Applying products to dripping wet hair doesn't work for me and I try not to touch it too much while it's drying to help reduce frizz. I've also found it really helpful to secure my front sections with clips to keep them where I want and keep me from touching them.
- For tighter more defined waves, I do the same but when my hair is damp I'll spray a wave spray in it (I like the Ouai Wave Spray and the Hairstory one). I'll scrunch that in and let my hair air dry. Doing this makes it artificially curly and the effect rarely lasts longer than a few hours and certainly never past day 1 which sadly usually results in me giving up and pulling my hair back. For the front, I'll twist small to medium sections around my finger or a bendy foam roller for a bit until my hair is 100% dry.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED
- I think this experiment was a success in that I feel confident in my wavy hair!
- It feels like a key part of my personal style puzzle and I love that I have the option to wear it this way - when it cooperates
- Curly and wavy hair (especially when it's low porosity and prone to frizz) takes a LOT of work to look it's best and I don't think I have the patience to stick with it full time
- Everyone has an opinion and if you let it, those opinions can easily impact how you feel about yourself so what's most important is that you do whatever it takes to feel good in your skin. You're beautiful and you deserve to feel that way!