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Wish my hair was down to there!

IMG_7123For some people, growing your hair long and healthy is a time commitment and lifestyle change.

If you are one of the blessed folk that nature chose to gift with thick, shiny, grow-like-a-weed hair, this blog may not apply to you, but you can certainly learn some tips that will prolong your cut or color services. And! When your friends moan about their hair and express their jealousy of your lustrous mane, share a few of these tips with them and sound like a pro yourself!

First, let’s eliminate all the bad habits that break or damage your hair. Most people have healthy hair, but it is treated as though it were made of titanium. And before you know it, those tresses are straw.

Breakage factor #1: Ponytail tension. Strong hair or weak hair, ponytails are the biggest culprit for breakage, and I’m not just speaking to the elastic-band-with-metal-wearers. The only thing worse than a tight ponytail with a piece of metal sawing away at your locks is a wet ponytail.

Hair long enough to pull into a ponytail is at the very least 2 years old. It will weigh a couple of ounces if it is bone dry with no gunk in it. Hair that is bra-strap length will weigh 4-6 oz. That’s almost half a pound of gravity tugging at your fragile baby hair that never seems to grow out around your face and neckline!
I’m not saying not to wear your hair in a ponytail, and I am certainly not suggesting you cut it off! I have been impatiently growing my hair for 6 years, and I still think I can get it a little bit longer… I am going to let you in on my secrets and dispel some urban legends along the way.

Wear a ponytail the right way! The right way is a different way than yesterday. The key is to switch it up. Give those poor tired baby hairs a rest by moving the weight to a different area. Put it on the crown, drop it low, slip in a top knot, and split it into 2 little piggy tails. You can dress up the infamous dress-down do by pinning your bangs off to the side or back into a pomp. You can add a headband or scarf/bandana to hide the baby hairs that have already broken that are bothersome and unsightly while helping the tension factor at the same time. If you’re really feeling randy or need to wear your hair up to go out because of humidity maybe, then French-braid the front and pin it into your pony; or pull your hair into a crown ponytail but leave the front hair out. In 2″ sections, twist the hair around your fingers a couple of times and drape each section back and pin.

I can go on and on with different ways to style your hair in 5 mins, but that’s another topic!

So I mentioned a wet ponytail also. Hair is at it’s most vulnerable when it is wet. Not only is it heavier, but water changes the elasticity and hydrogen bonds that make up more than 1/3 of your hairs’ strength. Ever notice those random hairs on the side of your head that are so teeny and tightly curled that it could be from an Afro wig? That is caused by brushing/stretching those individual hairs while it was too wet. You can eliminate that breakage by towel drying your hair as much as possible before combing the tangles out.

Being a naturally curly gal which of course tangles instantly into dreadlocks, I am a big fan of detangling moisturizers during the combing process so that I don’t rip out undeserving follicles… That reminds me of two more things to keep in mind. Check your bristles, and brush with care.

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