Hair It Is

Hair. It’s a magical, fantastical, incredible material. We can cut it without pain. We can change it’s color. We can shape it and even change it’s structure. It regenerates itself even after we’ve nuked it with chemotherapy. We can see what’s in the body (chemicals, drugs, nutrients etc.) by testing the hair.

Straight hair strands are round and the curlier the hair is, the flatter the strand. Sort of like if you were able to pinch that round strand between your fingers.

Hair can be evil too. Once it’s cut, it can bury itself into the skin like a splinter. Honestly, I hate hair once it’s been cut and on the floor. It doesn’t all go to the floor; it goes everywhere. As a woman with long hair, I know it can be annoying. If I’m outside it’ll blow into my face, mouth, eyes. It’s long enough to get caught between the chair & my back making it yank my head. It’s long enough to get into the sink when I’m rinsing after brushing my teeth, not to mention anything I do that’s elbow high.

Hair can take a lot of abuse. At some point after too much abuse, there’s no coming back. No amount of conditioner or potion will restore the hair back to it’s original self. The only thing to do is cut off the damage. Conditioners and miracle potions help only mildly damaged hair and even then it’s just a band-aide until it’s long enough to cut. I wanted to show a photo of damaged hair but all of the ones I saw were just ads for products to “repair” damaged hair and the “before” pics were of girls with their hair teased & ratted & generally wadded up to look like it was damaged when it wasn’t. So lame and misleading.

Now I’m going to say something that could send people screaming out of the room. Oil is good for hair. (Don’t freak out.) People act like oil in the hair is the worst thing ever. It’s not. It’s actually the opposite. The hair needs the oil. There’s an oil (sebaceous) gland associated with each hair follicle that the hair grows out of. It lubricates the hair and scalp as it grows out of the skin. My guess is that it could be itchy or even painful if the hair didn’t have some coating between it and the skin. Hair is mostly made up of a protein called Keratin and under a microscope a hair looks like it has scales. A healthy hair has scales that lie flat but in damaged hair the scales are raised or curled or even frayed.

When *people shampoo their hair every day, it strips the oil out and the hair doesn’t get the chance to protect itself. The scales (cuticle) get dried out and get brittle. Then you factor in any chemicals you’ve put on the hair and the heat from styling and your hair is in trouble. The ends of the hair have it the worst because on longer hair the oil doesn’t get to them, even if you don’t wash your hair every day. The ends are the oldest, the weakest and get the least amount of oil. So they feel brittle, dry, or crunchy and they split and break. TIP: If you want your hair to grow long, get regular trims. You don’t have to take a lot off; a quarter to half inch will do if you do it every 6-8 weeks. So many women are afraid to get their hair trimmed when they’re trying to grow it out. They don’t realize that the ends are getting fragile & breaking off anyway.

*When I say “people” here, I’m mostly talking about women with mid-length to long hair. This also applies to guys with mid to long hair, but since they don’t use curling irons or chemicals (unless they bleach it) their hair doesn’t damage as fast. People with short hair get it cut much more frequently and since it’s short the natural oils get a chance to protect more of the hair. Even so, it’s better not to shampoo every single day.

If you want to be kind to your hair and keep it healthy, eat healthy foods. What goes in your body shows up in your hair. Both bad and good. If at all possible, don’t shampoo it every day. I get it if you have super active oil glands. Most people don’t though and can shampoo at most every other day. At the very least, skip a shampooing on the weekend. If your hair is dry, brittle, and/or damaged, get a hot oil treatment at the hair salon. Or do a treatment at home with some hot oil products you can get at the store. Make sure it’s 100% plant based oil like coconut, almond or jojoba. Follow all safety instructions and test for allergic reactions if you have sensitive skin.

If you decide to do a hot oil treatment at home, and you’re not allergic here are some tips. Unless you’re someone who shampoos their hair every day, don’t put the oil on the first 3 inches from the scalp. The natural oils have been able to protect that section by spreading when you brush. Of course it’s ok if you want to cover the entire length of your hair, you just don’t have to. If you shampoo every day, then cover the entire length of hair.

Have a shower cap handy, or a disposable plastic cap that you can get at places like Walgreens or Amazon for cheap. It has to be plastic to keep the body heat & moisture in. Some of the treatment kits come with one. Wash & towel dry your hair till it’s damp. Protect your clothes with a dry towel around your shoulders. You don’t need much oil to spread through your hair. Depending on how long & thick it is, a couple of tablespoons should coat it. You’ll want to leave it in for about an hour. It won’t hurt to leave it in longer than that but it’s only going to absorb so much. Shampoo the oil out, and style as usual. You may notice an immediate change or it could take several treatments. Treating every other week or every 3 weeks is plenty depending on how often you shampoo.

There are also argon oil sprays that you can use in between treatments on dry hair. Spray from mid-length down to the ends. You don’t need to spray much; just spritz a light mist in random sections. You’ll brush it through and it’ll spread with the brush. The spray oils are very light, not sticky and don’t weigh the hair down as long as you’re not heavy handed with it. Your hair will appreciate it.

This is the one that I use. (No affiliations, no compensations.)

I hope this information helps you understand your hair better. Maybe it’ll help with keeping your hair healthy which in turn makes it more manageable and beautiful.

This was my hair a few years before I got cancer.

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7 thoughts on “Hair It Is

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  1. Thanks for the informative blog! What beautiful hair you have! Lately I have seen a lot about tea tree oil. I am currently using a tea tree oil shampoo and love it! Have you ever used it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tea tree oil shampoo is great. We used it a lot in the salon. Thanks for the compliment but my hair looks nothing like that now. Since it’s grown back from chemo it’s much longer now as well as gray, wavy & frizzy. It’s gone back to the wild. ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aw, your before photo is gorgeous. I’m sure you miss it but am glad to have it regrown no matter how wild it is now. I’d like to see a current photo ;-). Thanks for sharing all the hair care lessons. I’m with you on not washing my hair every day! My hair doesn’t get oily, and I can go 14 days in-between washing, probably longer, except I feel like I should wash it by that time. I have been on a mission to eliminate all the chemicals and have recently started just using Castile soap (unscented). It’s impressive how it lathers and cleans. My hair has always been wild and crazy and still is though. It does feel great and has extra bounce when it has just been cut. I’m going to try cutting it more often as you suggested. I’ve been waiting too long in between trimmings that I do myself. I’ve been having an itchy scalp with the change in seasons so am trying Castor Oil treatment. That has helped. Have you tried it before?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I remember correctly (it’s been a while), as we get older our hair gets drier. As we go grey, the texture changes and it gets more wirey and resistant to chemicals. I haven’t used Castile soap or Castor oil. Truthfully, I’m sick of my long hair. In able to function I have to put it up. Otherwise it’s into literally everything I do. Like getting caught on the broom handle when I’m sweeping. Weird, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. With all different stages of gray I have going on my hair has every texture available to a human head. Pulling it up in a messy bun works wonders, probably the only reason it is still long is that that’s an easy hairdo and a solution to the extra wild days! I know the pain of how it gets into everything – and yes the broom handle too. Do you think that’s the reason witches were pictured with brooms? πŸ€”πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

        Liked by 1 person

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