natural hair

I gave up hair straighteners for a week and this is what happened

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  • Air-drying FTW

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    I may get complimented on my casual ‘long hair, don’t care’ attitude but in reality, I do care and I did not in fact wake up like this.

    Up until the age of around 15, I had pretty poker straight hair, which I always thanked my dad’s Asian roots for, but when puberty really kicked in, the universe decided I should swap and take on my mum’s curly, frizzy mane instead. (Sorry mum.)

    This meant that regular air-drying resulted in that big, old, triangular barnet kind of look (not chic) and blowdrying led to me looking as if someone had just rubbed a balloon up and down my head for a few hours (really not chic.)

    So, it’s no surprise that I resorted to using the best hair straighteners a lot.

    The only problem with using straighteners on dry, coarse, thick hair all the time is that it can be pretty damaging.

    And yes, our senior beauty editor Fiona told me off: ‘Heat styling can damage the cuticle (outer layer) of hair making it drier, causing split ends and potentially breakage!’ she warned me.

    That’s when my journey towards natural hair, and healthy hair hacks, started and I can now say I’ve been heat-free for a while now.

    My smooth hair wizardry involves importantly investing in a hydrating and de-frizzing shampoo, some good hairbrushes, a silk pillowcase and a silk hair wrap to sleep in. It’s all very luxurious and an investment that saw me wave buh-bye to bad hair days.

    ‘If your hair is curly or frizz prone, start by combing your hair in the shower while your conditioner is getting to work,’ Fiona instructed me. ‘Then dry your hair with a T-shirt rather than a towel to avoid roughing up the cuticle. For that same reason, every hair type benefits from sleeping on a silk pillowcase as cotton is rough against strands and strips them of their natural oils.’

    ‘And remember, eschewing heat styling doesn’t mean you have to forgo all styling products,’ she continued. ‘A salt spray misted onto damp hair beefs up fine hair – simply scrunch the ends while it dries for the best results. If you want beachy waves, wash your hair before bed, apply a little mousse and work it into a loose plait. Sleep in it and in the morning release those soft curls.’

    I mean, essentially, this all just involved washing my hair and adjusting the tools I used.

    I once read that Hawaiians use kukuí nut oil for their waterproofing properties since the amino acids and essential fatty acids in the oil has the power to penetrate your whole hair shaft to keep frizz at bay so I tried OGX’s hydrate & defrizz kukuí oil shampoo to suitably feed my hair.

    OGX Kukui Oil, Shampoo and Conditioner

    Then I invested in some good hairbrushes from classic brand Mason Pearson and vegan alternative Eco Tools because what brush you use matters hugely.

    Daniel Gill, Beauty Buyer at John Bell & Croyden told us: ‘Many people don’t realise there are particular bristles suited to each type of hair. For fine to normal hair, pure bristle is recommended, nylon for thick or wiry hair and a mix of the two if your hair is normal to thick, or particularly long. For a secret weapon against static, a mix of the two will become your new best friend as the nylon bristles help to separate and straighten, which the natural boar bristles help to condition and add shine.’

    So, what did I do? I washed my hair, let it air-dry slightly, used some OGX kukui oil anti-frizz hydrating oil and I slept in a Silke hair wrap on my Amara silk pillowcase.

    And then… I did in fact wake up like this.

    The best way to air dry your hair

    Step 1: Wash your hair at night using a deeply hydrating shampoo.

    Step 2: Pat dry your hair gentle with a towel and comb through.

    Step 3: For straight hair, sleep on a silk pillowcase (or use a silk head wrap) and for curly hair, loosely plait your way when it’s damp for a natural wave.

    Step 4: Spray some hydrating oil on your hair to finish it all off, et voila, once it’s dry, it’ll be frizz-free and all-round fabulous.

    That’s it. I’m converted.

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