I thought I would do a blog about hair growing basics. By trial and error I have found a lot out about the best and worst things I can do for my own hair. And hopefully some of this information will be helpful to others. So this is a haircare tips blog specifically relating to colouring and growing your hair.
I will punctuate it with some photos. I’ve wandered thru the flat trying to find good lighting to get a photo of my freshly hennaed hair…it’s not easy! Of a dozen locations I think only two give any idea of my hair colour…with moodlights and fairylights everywhere it’s easy to get cool selfies in here…not easy to get ones of hair colour though. Also, henna really looks different in different light. In artificial light it can look bright red, in candlelight almost black – and in daylight somewhere in the middle. (Though being a nocturnal hermit type, no one sees it very much in daylight!)
Will post up some through this blog though so you get an idea can see how well conditioned my henna mix leaves my hair…and how it looks if left to dry naturally. Kind of wavy. V hippie, boho, preraphaelite – just how I like it!
In my henna mix…150g henna (my hair is v thick. Most people would only need to use 100g tops for hair my length). Two table spoons of sun in (the peroxide makes the henna stain v deep – I don’t use it every time but found lemon juice, which is used for the same, dried my hair badly but the tiny amount of peroxide in sun in didn’t. I would not recommend it to everyone but it works for me!). Two tablespoons of coconut oil. This moisturises and conditions and also makes it much easier to rinse the henna.
Henna is a powder and the mix is like making runny mud and covering your head in it. Then in plastic. Then a towel. Then leave it for 6 hours before washing it out. The henna makes your head v heavy so I tend to apply it to sections and wind them around each other at the front of my head (like my marie antoinette up do for curls in another blog; picture below shows the effect immediately after untwisting the antoinette up do – it settles down into waves and curls…v big hair!).
Some people complain that henna is so permanent. But that’s a good thing for me!
Some get purple or blueish tones if they over henna…I think mine is less prone to that because of the sun in used in my mix and also there a big sections of white hair now…the front right of my hair is totally white and you can see it is much more orange than the rest after henna! So over time mine is liable to become more yellowy red/orange and less bluey red because there will be more white.
It does mean I have to my roots regularly though…white roots with red hair makes it look like your hair fell out if you leave them! White or grey hair is a “cold” colour and contrasts with red very noticeably. Some people say their grey hair doesn’t take dye or henna at all. To them, I would recommend testing different acidic additions in their mix – wine, lemon juice etc – because that may help. If you’re not anti peroxide, you could also try my sun in mix but do be careful…some people’s hair reacts badly to peroxide – do proper strand tests before you use it all over your head!
Sometimes people report their hair changes texture – I am not really sure if mine has but it’s pretty strong and it’s had white bits that have spread since I was 15. But certainly post menopause women’s hair texture tends to change and you may need to adapt the way you care for it.
I am 42 now and for a long time I had very long hair – long enough to sit on – I never trimmed it but I never got split ends. I did henna it though and that improves the condition of your hair. The worst thing that ever happened to my hair was using serums and high performance conditioners. These eventually led to me cutting my hair shorter and shorter because I didn’t know why it was getting frizzy at the ends. The reason was…silicone. Some people can use it. Some can use it occasionally. I can’t use it at all. Silicone makes your hair look and feel softer by literally coating it. But that coating doesn’t necessarily come off with shampoo. And if it doesn’t, it essentially waterproofs your hair and you can’t moisturise or deep condition it. Look out for “cones” in your skincare products too. They can have a similar effect on your skin!
One thing I would mention though is that if you are growing your hair (and I am), when it reaches the length mine is now, it’s best to wear it up because the friction of the ends on your clothes can cause breakage and leave some people thinking their hair simply won’t grow past shoulder length. It gets easier to protect the longer it gets. When you can plait it or put it up v quickly with a stick, it’s a lot easier to manage than short hair.
Another problem can be friction from your pillow. Silk pillows will prevent that (also better for your face!) – but finding a comfortable way of wearing your hair in bed is a good idea. A very high pony tail that you plait is a good one – or two high pony tails because the weight of your hair needs to be distributed well so it doesn’t pull. If you wear tight pony tails you can actually end up with the hair thinning because it’s being pulled out. But what’s comfortable will vary depending on the position you sleep in. For example – if you sleep on your back two braids might be better. If your hair is heavy, a french plait might prevent pulling. I used to pull my bed 6″ from the wall and sleep with my hair hanging off the bed behind my pillow! My cat used to hide under the bed and play with it sometimes…that’s probably not good for your hair!
My plans for growing my hair out mean I use cone free products (Lush Rehab shampoo…and Lush conditioners – American Cream (contains lanolin), Veganese, Jungle or Happy Happy Joy Joy depending on how my hair is). Henna it and deep condition with coconut oil fortnightly. Have a silk pillow. Don’t use heat or styling products on it. Wear it up most of the time and especially if outside (sun, rain, wind…all can take a toll) or exercising.
So far, without any trims…it’s grown half an inch a month and has no split ends…and that’s after cutting it short 18 months ago. This meant none or my hair had been bleached, dyed or exposed to silicone…so I have a better idea of how my hair respond to being grown out. I have wrecked my hair several times from bleaching it too often and not knowing the perils of silicone and friction damage. We’ll see how it goes!
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