I get it more than most. I’m a beauty writer with long, thick hair and lots of it. Its natural texture is wavy on a good day, but, more realistically, it’s unruly and uneven with the tendency to snap up into smaller curls in some places and hang in a half-wave in others. It takes aeons to dry, rarely looks the way I want it to do when it does and then the whole process needs repeating some 48 hours later.
Most days, the last thing I feel like doing is getting stuck into the (literal) rinse-and-repeat cycle of attempting to tame it, assisted by array of styling tools that can do more damage than good. So, just quickly wash it, stick it up in a bun and hope for the best, right? Perhaps not. There’s nothing like that salon-fresh feeling where your hair is sparkling clean and actually gives you a bit of confidence as you bounce out the door. Why restrict it only to salon days?
It took me a while to get there, but now that I’ve accepted that haircare is a part of self-care, I don’t find it to be such a chore. By actually carving out some time to look after my hair, I get the results I want and I actually manage to have a moment of calm while I’m in the thick of it. For example, the wash itself: I rinse and add in a repairing shampoo, taking the time to properly massage it into my scalp, lifting away any dirt or debris, and cleansing completely.
Then, it’s water off and mask on. I brush through my hair gently, squeeze out any excess water and then layer up with a softening mask, like this one from Toni & Guy’s Damage Repair range. It has a patented fibre-strengthening system that works deep inside the hair cuticle to reinforce damaged keratin proteins, so I’m totally absolved from all of my over-brushing, excessive colouring and styling sins of the past. It works both on those exterior signs of wear and tear, so if you have split ends, breakage, or general dullness, see this as your haircare holy grail and use it every now and again to help restore those lifeless locks.
This next bit is equally crucial. I don’t just slap my hair into a towel and rub it all about, as doing so roughs up the hair cuticle, creating frizz, breakage and general misery. Instead, I squeeze out the moisture and use a kind-to-hair microfibre towel to wrap up my locks and dry them. If you air-dry, you can glaze over this next bit, but for anyone who has to use heat to dry their hair? Do it straight away. If you sit with your hair up in a towel or around your neck for ages, it doesn’t really get dry any quicker and you lose any momentum you had to style it nicely. But before you even think about switching on that hairdryer, make sure you use a heat spray to protect your hair from the harsh effects of regular blow drying.
When you’re done, why not put a jewel on the crown? I love a statement hair clip. They’re elegant in shape and size, and a perfect nod to the more-is-more accessories trend. Simply slide a couple on and show off your newly minted hair.
This article first appeared on ELLE UK.