History Of My Hair
I get asked a lot about my hair so I decided to include this page for general interest. I have been growing it since 1999 and it is now roughly 36inches long. I had short curly hair as a child but as a teenager I often had it cut short for ease. I first began growing it out when I left high school. In college It was quite long. I'd had it permed for extra curl though my hair is naturally curly. It reached down almost to my belt buckle and I tried dying it black - once. It turned out grey but luckily for me it was a wash-out-in-six-washes type of dye and I spent a day rinsing it out. I have never dyed it since. After one year in college I got sick of my hair constantly blowing in my face during the winter months so I buzzed it all off. Total skinhead! Mistake! I don't look good with no hair. I grew it out once more and a year later it was down to my waist and again I got tired of the hassle of dealing with it and having not learned my lesson the first time I sheared it all off for a second time. I started growing it out again immediately after. In November of 1999 my hair was short and curly but growing out. By October 2000 it was down to my belt buckle again and since then I have not given in to any temptation to cut it. I don't go to the hairdressers as I find it such an ordeal - seriously I'd rather have a root canal than go to the hairdressers - but occasionally I trim my hair myself to deal with split ends. My hair is now so long that I can sit on it, which can actually be a little annoying. I do get tempted at times to chop it all off again. I resist though.
I get different reactions to my hair. I get quite a lot of compliments from strangers, particularly older ladies and Asian females. Long hair is an ingrained part of some cultures and important in many religions. I have experienced some negative reactions but fortunately these have been few and far between.
Christmas 2009 I decided I would like a fringe as I wanted to do something a little different with my hair without being too radical (I just can't decide whether to go for the full chop or not; I think about it from time to time and then choose not to). I cut my hair myself (always a silly thing to do as I never get it right but do I learn?) and for a week or two I thought it looked alright. I soon changed my mind and began growing the fringe out. At the end of December 2009 the fringe was just touching my eyebrows; at the beginning of May 2010 it was two inches longer, completely and annoyingly covering my eyes and creeping down the length of my nose. It was in that frustrating stage of being long enough to irritate me but being too short to really do anything with. In November 2010 the fringe was double the length it was the previous November. Grow, darn it to heck! Grow! By January 2014 my fringe had grown to about half the length of my hair. Long enough to tie back (phew!). It is now October 2014 and my fringe has almost grown back to the length of the rest of my hair, except, weirdly, for a bit on the left side that seems reluctant to grow out.
Maintenance Of My Hair
I believe that the state of my hair - anyone's hair in fact - is down to several factors.
Genetics likely plays a large part. The women in my family have always had good strong hair, thick hair. There seems no history of thinning or baldness.
Health and diet are obviously important. What you put into your body affects your hair, skin and nails. You can tell a lot about what's going on inside a person's body by looking at what is going on on the outside. Cracked nails, thinning hair and dry skin are all indicators of certain problems, and in many cases a lack of certain vitamins and minerals is often at fault. Hair is a most useful indicator of overall health as it is such a noticeable part of your body.
Hair is made of protein and a diet rich in protein will be beneficial to its condition. My diet is quite rich in protein: fish, cheese, chicken etc and I feel this has helped to produce my rather fine barnet. However I don't recommend that you rush out and stuff your face full of cheese in the hope of suddenly achieving nice hair. Build up your protein intake gradually and don't forget that the human body needs a balanced diet: protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, fat, salt and sugar are all necessary requirments. I know there is a lot of talk about the evil of fat and salt but the body requires a measure of both. Just don't have too much. A balanced diet and as my father is overly fond of saying "everything in moderation" and you can't really go wrong.
The environment you live in will have some impact on your hair's condition. Pollution, cigarette smoke, weather and the tools you use to straighten, crimp, curl and dry your hair all have their parts to play. A lot of this can be combated with the right hair care products. I haven't used every product going but of the ones I've tried I have three favourites: Tresemme, Herbal Essences and Pantene. I use a seperate shampoo and conditioner as I don't care for two-in-ones. It takes a little more time in the morning but I think it's worth it. I think Tresemme is the best shampoo for what is does for cleansing, conditioning and protecting my hair but I like the various scents that Herbal Essences contain. It would be great if someone could combine the two.
My Morning Routine
I wet my hair with warm water - with my head hanging forward over the bath (bath or sink - whichever works for you) - so that I can get at the roots. Then I shampoo and wrap my hair in a warm towel. While letting the shampoo soak in for a few minutes I do whatever else needs doing: brush teeth, wash face etc then I rinse out the shampoo and use my conditioner. Again with my head hanging down over the bath and working from root to tip I add the conditioner. Then I brush through to work out the knots accumulated throughout the night. I don't use a special brush. Just a cheap plastic one. I've tried a paddle brush, which is supposed to be specifically for long hair but I didn't like it. It tangled my hair further. Once all the knots are out I wrap my hair in a towel again and leave the conditioner to soak in for a few minutes. Then I rinse, while brushing out the excess conditioner. Then I use a comb to remove excess water and then wrap my hair for a final time. All this takes about half an hour. I like to keep my hair wrapped for as long as possible before getting the hairdryer out as drying hair completely from soaked is not good. It takes twice as long and increases the risk of burning the hair. I like to let my hair dry naturally for as long as I can - until it's almost dry if there's time - then I get out the hairdryer. Again nothing fancy. Just a cheap hairdryer - no attachments as I can't be bothered with all that. Again I hang my head forward and work from the roots to the ends. It takes ten minutes to dry my hair with a dryer - twenty if I'm forced to dry it completely from soaked. Then voila! It's done. When I have time I'll leave the shampoo and conditioners in for longer so that they get a good chance to really work through the hair.
My Hair Trivia
- My hair colour is natural
- My parents are both brunettes but a blond gene is running through my family
- My hair is naturally curly (more wavy really)
- I always work from root to tip when applying shampoo or conditioner
- I massage my head when applying shampoo and conditioner to stimulate the roots. Maybe that has no effect but it feels good and certainly can't hurt anything
- At night I drape my hair over the pillow to try and minimise tangling while I sleep.
- I wash my hair every day. I've changed my mind about letting the natural oils build up. There are differing opinions as to whether that is really beneficial but I find that it just makes me feel grubby having unwashed hair
- I'm trying to get into the routine of using a hot oil conditioning treatment at the end of each week to improve my hair's condition (especially beneficial during the harsh winter months)
- I normally have very good nails - usually long (I've had them at least a half inch long in the past) and very strong
- My skin is not too bad. I was never prone to blackheads even as a teenager. I get one or two spots every now and then but nothing too gruesome. I find that I'm getting a few more spots these days so I'm now using Garnier Deep Pore Wash in the mornings, which is really good. Witch cleansing wipes are quite good and I'm trying out L'Oreal Age Perfect wipes, which are quite good if a little pricey (they do nothing for spots but they do smooth out the skin and give it a fresher appearance)
- I used Nivea moisturising cream as a teenager, which I liked even though it made my face look shiny. Nowadays I use it at night time just before I go to bed
- I also use Bio Oil (or the cheaper alternative Recovery Oil). It's just as effective as any anti-wrinkle cream and also helps with scars and sunburn. I get sunburned really easily if I don't wear a good sunscreen. Sometimes I forget and end up looking a bit like a boiled lobster. I find that regular exercise helps the sunburn to clear up quite quickly
My Tips For Healthy Hair, Skin And General Health
- Protein good for hair
- When using the hairdryer don't use it too close to the hair and keep it moving back and forth as much as you can. This way you minimise any risk of burning the hair
- Don't smoke. Leaving aside the fact that it is unhealthy and an expensive habit, it makes you stink and turns everything a nasty shade of yellow. That includes your teeth, your nails and your hair
- If you must drink alcohol then do so sparingly. Alcohol dehydrates your body, which in turn dehydrates your hair, making it brittle and prone to breaking
- Don't use elastic bands to tie up your hair. They cause breakages
- Calcium good for bones and teeth
- Eat as much fruit and veg as you can. I'll be honest and say I don't eat as much as I should but I'm trying. Avocados are quite nice and can be eaten or used as facepacks. Anything good for you that can be eaten is usually ok to put on your face. Chips are not good for you so don't put them on your face
- Drink plenty of water. Again I'm guilty of not adhering to the eight glasses a day rule but I try. Both water and fruit and veg are good for your skin not to mention your general health
- Have a bath with milk in it. Hey, it worked for Cleopatra! I'm trying out coconut milk.
- Don't forget to exercise. You needn't go mad with weights and jogging twenty miles a day. Twenty minutes of gentle exercise everyday is quite enough. Sometimes I do half an hour to an hour on my exercise bike. At the moment I'm exercising using the Wii. It's quite good.
- I have a cup of green tea every morning. Herbal teas are better than ordinary tea and green tea is a good source of antioxidants, which are good for you. And, I know this made sound a little gross, but before I chuck the teabag out I wipe it across my face and hold it for a while under each eye. It's very cleansing. And I save some of the tea in the cup and soak my hands in it and rub it well into my skin. I swear it makes my hands look smoother and less wrinkled. I also put a teabag in the bath and soak in it
- Singing is good for you. It can aid the healing process, combat depression and help to improve your breathing. And you don't have to be Russell Watson to give it a go. Do it in the shower when no one else is about if it makes you feel uncomfortable to do it in public. You don't have to be good. Just open your mouth and make a noise. If nothing else you can hum along with the radio
- Try to lead a stress-free life. Easier said that done perhaps but think about all those things you worry about and ask yourself if they really are worth that worry. All that frowning you do will only add lines to your face. All that anger you feel over silly little things will give you ulcers. Stress puts bags under your eyes and in some cases can lead to severe hair loss. So the bus was late, you had a bad day at work and the queue in the post office was a mile long. So what? Get some perspective and remember that all that anger only affects yourself and that you'll pay for it later with a churning gut and an outbreak of bad skin
- I find that salt and vinegar Pringles are bad for my skin. I break out in spots after eating them, but dagnarnit they are so scrumptiously tasty!
- A coffee facemask is something I've been trying out recently, and it does seem to freshen up tired looking skin and help combat dark eye circles