With the summer slowly creeping away, I thought it would be the perfect time to write about preserving that summery sheen the sunlight always gives my hair.
I have a lot of hair. Without fail, new hairdressers will always mention how thick it is, and it brings back not-so-fond memories of brushing out knot after knot when I was a child. Luckily, I’ve found a few easy ways to maintain my hair now. That includes preventing tangles, and giving it volume and shine!
1. Choose a Natural Shampoo that Works
I cannot stress this enough. There are a lot of natural shampoos on the market now, but only a handful that I swear by. The key to finding a good shampoo is to look out for the ingredient sodium coco-sulfate.
Sodium coco-sulfate (SCS) sounds very similar to sodium lauryl-sulfate (SLS), but trust me, they’re not. (Disclaimer: I am not a chemist, but I have done my research). SLS is made using palm oil, an incredibly cheap and unsustainable oil, while SCS is made using coconut oil. Both are processed the same way, but end up with different results.
Hairdressers such as the wonderful Sara Steele advise against using SLS, as it strips away your hair’s natural oils and can irritate your scalp. SCS is a gentler alternative, and it straddles that fine line between cleaning my hair and scalp, without taking away all its moisture.
My favourite SCS shampoo is Avalon Organics Rosemary Volumising Shampoo. This stuff froths like a regular shampoo, smells delightful, and leaves my scalp clean and my hair shiny.
If that doesn’t sound good to you, try checking out my list of favourite natural shampoos.
2. Condition Those Locks!
I used to think conditioner was a big ol’ scam. Especially when the whole anti-SLS movement happened: big cosmetics companies were selling harsh shampoos that stripped your hair of oil, and then conditioning products that added some of that oil back in.
It seemed like the perfect plot – and one I still wouldn’t put past some manufacturers – but my faith in conditioner has since been restored.
Conditioner is a great product for smoothing hair, reducing tangles when brushing after washing, and giving extra moisture to the ends of your hair. In fact, I only ever use conditioner in along the length and ends of my hair – never around my scalp. This method will prevent greasiness, and still give an even shine all over.
My favourite conditioner has to be Balance Me’s Protect and Shine Conditioner. Smelling like oranges, and with 99% natural ingredients, I couldn’t really ask for better. It also has a twin shampoo, if you like nice-looking brown bottles in your bathroom!
3. Hair Oil is Everything
*Insert hands-up emoji here*
I would be nowhere without my hair oil. In fact, my hair oil is also a face oil and body oil, because it’s just a high-end argan oil from Art of Bam. I love one ingredient beauty products, and this is possibly my favourite of 2018.
Once I’ve washed my hair, I use the pipet and drop five droplets of rich argan oil into my palm, press my palms together to heat the oil up slightly, and then run it through the length of my hair. Again, not at the roots, as I don’t want to get greasy.
The combination of wet hair, conditioner and oil makes it so easy for my hairbrush to glide through and take any knots out. Then it’s onto the hairdryer, which I use to dry my hair on a medium heat setting until it’s about 75% dry. And then I leave it to naturally finish off.
4. Scent + Shine
On a normal day, my routine would stop there. I’m a hair fusser, so I’ll tie it up, take it down, push it behind my ears, and repeat, all day long. I don’t style it much, but when I do, I’ll wait for it to be 100% dry, and then take my straighteners to it for straight or curly hair.
When I’m done styling, I’ll spritz on O&M Frizzy Logic Finishing Spray and Hairy Jayne’s Floral Hair Perfume to give it a nice smell and extra shine. Having spent so long using natural, unscented products, I really relish those that have delightful smells and make me feel like 14 year-old me using Toni + Guy products for the first time. There’s something really luxurious about it all – and the glossy look it gives my hair is everything!
(Oh and if you were wondering… no, my hair colour is not natural, but my hair dye certainly is!)