Retro Essentials: Hair Care

Y’all know I have a fairly unusual way of approaching hair care and hair styling. However, it does seem to work since my hair grows like weed, is of a pretty good quality, and I seldom have any issues with it. So let’s have a look at some hair care tips that work for me and enables me to incorporate vintage styles into my everyday style even when it comes to my hair.

1 Don’t be an idiot
Practice some common sense with your hair. Think about what you put your hair through and how that affects it. Do you work outside? Then it’s likely to assume that the constant sun exposure will bleach your hair to some degree. Do you use bleach and then a very vibrant colour? In the long run, that’s going to wear on your hair and to maintain good quality hair you might want to keep it a bit shorter. If you have some form of problem with your hair or scalp, go through your routine and your day to day life and see if there’s anything there that might be causing those problems. The solution isn’t always a new product or a radical change, it can be as simple as doing less to your hair.  Also, study up on basic science. If a product says it’s “chemical free” it’s lying to you. The entire world consists of chemicals, you’re 100% chemicals. Chemicals aren’t inherently dangerous. The important thing is which chemicals and how much of them you expose yourself to. Everything is dangerous once it reaches a certain level but most things are fine in small amounts. Just because something is labelled as organic or natural doesn’t mean it’s inherently better than ‘regular’ products or that it’s less harsh on your hair. Check the ingredients list, if you try a product and react to an ingredient then note that down so you can avoid that particular ingredient.

wpid-20150630_215014.jpg2 Colouring & Cutting

Again, it’s a question of moderation and the quality of the product you use. I’d recommend going to a professional to get it done and find a professional that actually does listen to you. Colouring treatments are rather expensive and can damage your hair if you use them too often. My recommendation is to pick a colour that is pretty close to your natural hair colour so that your roots aren’t immediately visible. Think of it in the same way as you do foundation, it’s meant to match you. Also, consider the undertones of your skin. Just like with makeup, colour and undertones really do matter. If you opt for a colour that is very different from your natural one, have a plan for how you intend to grow it out. Don’t fall into the trap of bleaching dyed hair to then colour it again, it can do some serious damage. Also, be honest with your hairdresser. If you’ve dyed your hair at home, tell them when they ask you. When choosing a hair dresser there’s going to be some trial and error. Pay attention to what they say. If you’ve previously had good results with others and then see a new hair dresser who says completely different things from any other hair dresser you’ve ever visited, that is a major warning. Everyone can make a mistake, but don’t give people more than two chances, especially if the problem stems from them not listening to your ideas. Oh and make sure they know how to handle your hair type, especially if you have a type of hair specific to your ethnic group. The photo is of me the last time I went to the hairdresser.

In regards to hair cuts, the better you treat your hair the less often you’ll need them. Also, be aware of your hair type when you decide the kind of style and length you’re going for. If your hair is extremely fine and thin, then don’t go for an extremely long hairstyle. Pay some attention to the shape of your face and body. Your hair is not a separate entity, it’s a part of the entire package. Choose a style that fits in with the kind of outfit and the style of makeup you prefer. Your face shape is extremely important in determining which hair cut you should go for, it’s a bit like styling your outfit according to your body shape. Even with vintage styles there’s several different options. Does a 1920’s pixie cut or short bob look better on you than the long lengths of the 1960’s? Oh, and it’s complete bs that you need your hair cut every 8 weeks. How often you need to cut it depends on a lot of factors such as your styling, your diet, your hair type, etc. I usually cut my hair 2 or 3 times per year. I think I last cut it last semester and have pretty much no split ends.

3 Styling

wpid-20150831_080255.jpgRepeat after me: Stay Away From Heat.
No, I’m not going to stop nagging about it, frequent exposure to heat styling is one of the most damaging things you can do to your hair. It’s also seldom necessary. In regards to curling there’s so many different options beyond a hot curling iron. Pin curls. Foam rollers. Those velcro rollers. Braids and twists for looser curls… Does your hair look frizzy? Put it up in a bun rather than try to iron it into place. If you do proper sets or have them done by a hair dresser, they’ll last a day or two. That’s why women back in the day didn’t wash their hair too often, to keep the curls. Be gentle to your hair. It won’t matter how nice you are to your hair otherwise if you keep burning it into submission. Same thing with teasing, use it for special occasions only. Again, moderation is key.
This includes hair dryers by the way. Use them every now and then if you want to, but it might be a better idea to shower at night and let it dry while you sleep.
Be aware of what your styling does to your hair and do a brief cost-benefit analysis. For example, I often wear my hair in a high tight pony tail. This puts strain on parts of my hair meaning that it’s more likely to break there, that’s why I have a fair amount of baby hairs around my forehead. I try to moderate that by using loose hair clips to put it up in a bun or just wear it down fairly often.

4 Care

I’ve written this before, but it seems a lot of people struggle with the idea. Don’t wash your hair every day. It dries your scalp out and causes your hair to become greasy faster since your skin overcompensates to recreate the oils you just removed. Change it to every second day. You can have a shower and just rinse your hair with water everyday, but use the shampoo more sparingly. Use products that get along with your hair, that’s more important than the price tag or how ‘natural’ it is. For me, Tresame shampoos and conditioners work really well. They’re also fairly cheap and last forever. Occasionally I’ll use a hair mask or hair serum from Etude House. I try not to use too many products as they tend to start building up and then you’ll need to wash it more often, causing more wear on it. Oh, and use a gentle brush. Start with something that’s not too dense and then a denser one afterwards if you really need it. Try not brushing your hair when it’s wet. Also, don’t brush your hair too much as this also causes strain on it. Beware of what you eat. Try to eat things that are nutritious, especially things like salmon, spinach, and fruits. I find that my hair seems to be of a better quality when I eat these things.


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