Updated May 03, 2010
My Hair in the Shower|
To begin with, I wash my hair every morning using the CO (conditioner only) method. I have three reasons for doing so: washing every day keeps my hair moisturized, I find it easier to detangle wet hair, and damp updos look more polished & give better hold. I like to use a cheap, runny, non-cone (cone is short for silicone, a key ingredient in many hair products) conditioner on my scalp and a better, more moisturizing conditioner on my length that may or may not contain cones.
Let me explain the reasons for my scalp CO criteria:
For scalp CO my favorite conditioner scent is White Rain Tropical Coconut but I like most of the White Rain and VO5 Naturals lines for use on my scalp. Suave, however, results in an itchy scalp (I may be allergic to an ingredient). White Rain can be difficult to find. In my area it is only carried at Dollar Tree stores (not to be confused with The Dollar General Store, they don't have it). The great part about Dollar Tree though, is everything in the store only costs $1 each. Once a week I use a shampoo to remove any buildup.
First, I apply a liberal amount (about a palm full) of VO5 or White Rain condish to my scalp hair only. At the same time I put a heavier conditioner on the length, often with a generous amount of honey mixed in (for added shine & moisture), then I wrap the length around one hand and place all of it into a showercap on my head. Often I mix an even amount of honey (the kind you eat) with my length conditioner while it is in my hand. The honey is a humectant, meaning it draws in moisture from the air, keeping your hair moisturized throughout the day. Honey also gives added shine once your hair dries. Any conditioner you have that is thinner/runnier/lighter than you would prefer, pour some in your hand then mix it with honey and it will thicken up the conditioner, making it easier to spread over your hair. You can also use honey as a leave-in of sorts. If you didn't mix it with conditioner already, then instead try spreading about 2 tablespoons of honey on your hair after you have rinsed out your conditioner. Then do one more quick rinse for just a couple seconds before putting your hair into a towel to dry. I promise it will not dry sticky (well at least mine never does).
I switch a lot between 'cone and 'cone free conditioners on my length because the 'cone free ones don't always provide enough slip to remove tangles without causing breakage. The best 'cone free conditioner I have used thus far is a tie between Biolage Conditioning Balm (salon product) and Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose (at health stores). L'Oreal Nature's Therapy Mega Moisture is my tried-and-true favorite of the 'cone variety (a life saver when it comes to detangling!). Usually I will use cone free conditioners for a few weeks or a month then I will get tired of them and try cones for a week or more. Cones can be really good for making my hair silky when it otherwise would be one giant tangle. Just don't overdo it and remember to shampoo when you start to notice buildup.
At the end of my shower I remove the showercap and thorougly rinse the scalp area, taking about 2 minutes to ensure all the conditioner has been removed. I'm not as careful about rinsing the length, but it usually takes a couple minutes to detangle under the shower stream. If I don't get all the tangles out that is ok, I will detangle more thoroughly after I take it out of my towel. At this point I may add honey as a leave-in. Or not. Usually I skip that step out of laziness. :) Finally, I bring the length around to one side, squeeze the extra water from it, and put on a hair towel/turban. Yes, I can still use a Turbie Twist style hair towel at knee length. Here is a page with photos explaing how I wear it.
After about 30 minutes, I remove the towel and use a wide tooth seamsless comb to spread out the hair and help it dry. If find that if I do not comb after removing the hair towel my hair will just hang in one big clump and take forever to dry. I give my hair a few more minutes to reach the right stage of dampness then comb once more to smooth it out before making an updo.
My Hair Throughout the Day
At home I often wear my hair down (at least for part of the day, while it dries) but when going out it is
My Hair at Night
At night I wear a sleep cap, which isn't very appealing, but it is easier than a braid and keeps me from having a mass of tangles in the morning. Occasionally, I will do a light oiling at night using Monoi (coconut) oil or jojoba oil. If I had an updo in all day, it is not unusual for my hair to still be a bit damp when I wash it the next morning. I have never had any problem with this though, and in fact I think it contributes to the health of my ends.
Damp bunning is a great way to pamper your hair. If you have ever taken your hair down after it has been in a damp bun all day you will know what I mean; the softness is incredible! That said, I would not advocate for keeping your hair soaking wet 24/7 or on a regular basis, but with damp bunning my hair has a chance to dry at the scalp and the length will dry to at least 50% while in the bun.
My Hair - Maintenance
Usually once a week I deep condition using a heat cap for 30 minutes. I try to do this either the day of or the day after shampooing so that my hair has the best chance of absorbing the treatment. I have lots of deep conditioners since my hair likes both protein and moisture deep treatments. My only real preference here is, again, Biolage Conditioning Balm and L'Oreal Nature's Therapy Mega Moisture. I get good results with most deep conditioner / deep treatments I have tried. Even if a conditioner is not labeled as a deep conditioner, if you like it for daily use you will probably find it even more effective as a deep conditioner.
Protein treatments I use only once a month or less often. They give my hair fullness since they fill in the cuticles but they can be bad for tangles. If I have time I will follow the protein treatment with a second 30 min. deep treatment using a moisturizing conditioner to counteract the tangles caused by protein. If not, I will rinse the protein treatment out in the shower then put on a little of a moisturizing conditioner and rinse again.
I have, for the most part, given up seach and destroy (s&d) missions to trim damaged or split ends, for a multitude of reasons. While others have great success with it, s&d tends to strain my eyes, requires hours of time, and produces little result. With over 150,000 hairs on the human head, I find the idea of examining each one for damamge to be overwhelming. Plus, now that I am maintaining knee length, I trim the ends frequently so I am not as worried about splits. Yes, splits can be found on the end of any hair, not just the longest ones, and of course the shorter ones will not be cut when you trim the ends, but again, I have had no trouble just ignoring them.
While I was actively growing I had yearly trims of 1 to 3" on average (whatever I felt was necessary) in an attempt to thicken my ends. As I reached new lengths it took time for the thickness of my hair to catch up, and so I had to trim to keep the ends from appearing whispy. While growing I tried not to trim too often, because I found that people who trimmed regularly seemed not to keep much of their growth. This can be frustrating when you do not see any progress, so that is one reason I preferred not to mess with scissors too often, instead allowing my hair to fairy tale. Personally, I hate trimming, so it would be hard for me to get scissor happy, but I see how it can happen.
Now that I am maintaining at knee length I prefer to trim about every 4 months. Instead of doing frequent trims of 1/2" or less monthly I prefer to see progress when I trim, so I wait longer and trim larger amounts.
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