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Rachael’s Ultimate Guide to Growing Healthy Long Hair (Part 2)

January 22, 2012

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I hope you’ve all had success so far in your endeavor for those lush, rapunzel locks! I’m here with a few more tips to help you along 🙂

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There ain’t no doubt about it. Braided hair is hot. Alexander Wang,  Emilio Pucci, Miu Miu and Prada are all unanimous, styling their models with braids season after season – milkmaid, fishtail, messy  –  you name it, they’ve done it.

The simplicity of this trend has caused it to leap off the catwalks in a heartbeat, with on-trend girls donning braids all over the world. But there are a few things to keep in mind when styling your hair with braids.

1. When your hair is braided, make sure it isn’t tied too tight – or else it could cause breakage or hair loss (ouch!). So if you like to braid your hair on a daily basis, it is best to stick with a messy braid that’s a bit loose.

2. Use metal-free hair bands to prevent snags and breakage of your hair. These can be bought easily in all pharmacies and even most supermarkets (and can be super cheap if you buy a large pack  – you can even go halves with a friend if you don’t think you need hundreds). In the same vein, try limit your use of clips, bows and other accesories that can tangle and snag your hair.

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MYTH: The more often you cut your hair, the faster it will grow.

I’ve heard this one so many times. This statement does hold some truth to it, but it’s just over-simplified and really badly worded. It is important to have regular trims at the hairdresser, even if you are trying to grow out your hair. Like health check-ups at the doctor – but for your hair.

I know many of us doubt the expertise of hairdressers  – since the majority seem to like to experiment cuts and colours on themselves (and thus tend to look a little wack). And then there’s their shocking inability to understand the phrase “don’t cut it too short”; but all that aside, hairdressers do know their haircare better than we do. They only cut as much as they need to in order to nix our split ends. Otherwise, split ends can cause your hair to break off – which really isn’t good for your hair; and after awhile your hair will start to look dull and unhealthy.

TRUE STORY: I had a friend with ridiculously long hair, who hadn’t had it trimmed in years. By the time she did go, the hairdresser said that a lot of her hair was really, well, “dead”. She ended up having to have it cut to shoulder length to get rid of all the unhealthy hair. It was pretty depressing for her.

Yeah, yeah. I get it, “Cool story Hansel” and whatever – but hey! Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

HOWEVER, it’s important that you don’t take this to the extreme – the problem with this myth is that it suggests that if you cut your hair every hour, your hair will start growing at super speed. Which, come on – just logically isn’t true. If you’re aiming to maintain or grow your length, have a trim once every 4 weeks. If you cut it any more frquently than that, the only thing you’re doing is making your hair shorter. Duh.

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No matter your weapon of choice – curler, straightener, hair dryer or crimper – I’m willing to bet that all of us have heat damaged our hair at some point in our life. And I’m pretty sure you can tell from the term ‘heat damage’ that it ain’t good for your hair – no matter what “ionic”, “floating ceramic plates”, “frizz smoothing” crap they tell you on the box. Long term heat damage will make your hair drier, more brittle and lose that natural healthy shine.

Now, I know a lot of you, like most of my friends are the “OMG NO I COULD NEVER LIVE WITHOUT MY STRAIGHTENER WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY RACHAEL NO I REFUSE YOU CAN’T MAKE ME” types, and I get it. But it’s important to remember that those sprays your hairdresser recommended for you to buy weren’t just part of a shameless profit scheme (surprising I know XD) – it really is important to always apply product before you heat treat it. Most hairdressers will agree that if you’re a straightener junkie, it’s in your hair’s best interest to invest in a heat protectant product (usually in the form of a spray). But really, any product is better than none – so if your budget is tight, just run some leave-in conditioner through your hair before you curl, straighten or blow-dry.

Personally, I would recommend that if you can, next time you’re buying your shampoo andconditioner, choose products specifically for heat damaged hair – TRESemmé has a thermal recovery range that would do the trick. Also, try to let your hair dry naturally as often as you can, instead of always resorting to your dryer.

So that’s all from me for now, folks 🙂

Rachael

xx

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