By Janness Koh
Let’s talk about all things hair today which I’m very excited to share. The compliments I get the most are always about my hair and allow me to be thick skin here, I do have to say my hair looks very good compared to a lot of people :p
Thanks to mum’s good genes, I was gifted with thick hair to begin with so lesser woes when it comes to hair fall which can be more with longer hair. I do colour quite regularly and also have them straightened annually so this article might help you if you want to find out my tips and tricks in minimising the after damage and also growing them out longer.
I will be sharing products that I use and works for me but everyone is different so it might work differently for you. It took me lots of trial and error in countless products so be patient when it comes to haircare as you won’t see results right away. I must also state that I am by no means an expert or professional in this area, it is just my experience and experiments that works for me over the years.
There are some options that you can get in stores for this but I find them rather expensive so I like to do some DIY. An easy option is to get sea salt that isn’t too coarse since it is for the scalp. Mix some sea salt with an oil infused shampoo in your palm and gently massage it directly into the scalp for a good few minutes. Do note that the scalp is going to feel dry afterwards because of the salt. You can also choose to use sea salt with an oil like coconut oil, avocado oil, etc if you have drier scalp. This is a good step in cleansing your scalp, getting rid of product buildup, oiliness, as well as good for blood circulation. It allows your scalp to breathe properly. I do this once a month.
Another good treatment is none other than the apple cider vinegar rinse but rather than rinsing I like soaking them for a good 20-30 mins before washing them off so it adds as a treatment for the hair too. Apple cider vinegar is ph balanced so don’t worry about it being too acidic for your scalp, your hair will also feel so smooth and shiny after but it does leave a smell for days, especially strong when hair is wet. I do this once every two weeks. Do take note that I find this method can wash off some of the colour if you have coloured hair. I use 1 part raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water.
I believe I read somewhere before that you shouldn’t be using only one shampoo all the time or it doesn’t work properly once your hair gets accustomed to it? Something along that line anyway. I have been mixing it up since then and I have my regular shampoo and shampoos for specified purpose like strengthening, dandruff, and hair loss. I don’t necessarily have hair loss right now but I use it more as a preventive measure rather than using it only when it starts. Shown in the photo are some of these shampoos I use and I highly recommend you to try Nizoral if you are struggling with dandruff or sensitive flaky scalp like me. I first use it once a week and after the second application, it cleared the flakiness completely. Now, I sometimes use it once every two weeks or even less frequent. Thanks to my aunt and sis for this great recommendation!
Treatment (wash off and leave-in)
Jumping right into wash off and leave-in treatment as it really doesn’t matter what conditioner you use but if I have to recommend, I like any of L’Oréal’s and Sunsilk’s. I use a deep conditioning treatment as much as twice or thrice a week religiously as this is how I keep my hair relatively healthy and not as dry despite the many chemical process I did.
Redken’s all soft heavy cream is probably my favourite as it is as described, leaves hair super soft after rinsing it off. I really like Marc Anthony’s treatment that comes in small packets too. Another good drugstore option is L’Oréal’s hair mask that comes in small tubs, used up mine so wasn’t able to show in the photo. I also swear by Alterna’s hair products especially their Caviar series and the Dry Kendi Oil, two thumbs up! I recently found a new product by Palmer’s and really like it, its their Manuka Flower Honey leave-in conditioner which makes my hair feels really soft without any stickiness. I like using that and of course the miracle leave-in product from the cult brand it’s a 10 as a detangler which works so well combing out the knots in my hair.
Generally, what you want to look out for in haircare products are ingredients like hydrolysed keratin and the many different oils that are good for repairing damaged hair and replenishing moisture.
Tonics and Supplements
I also believe that you need to replenish the nutrients inside for it to work as it is just as important if not more important than what you apply externally. I have been taking GNC’s Women’s Hair, Skin & Nails Formula supplement for years now and I definitely see a difference in my nails and hair growth. Recently, I have also started taking extra virgin coconut oil capsules as I read that coconut oil is supposed to be really good for both the hair and skin, even supermodel Miranda Kerr uses it in her diet. However, I tried taking coconut oil in its oil form and yucks I can’t deal with the oily after taste so capsules are more fuss free.
Another product I swear by and have recommended it to tons of people who wants to grow their hair faster is Kaminomoto’s Hair Growth Accelerator which I have been using for years too. I always go back to this hidden treasure after going for a haircut that leaves my hair several inches shorter than I would like and it really does help speed up the time to grow it back. Mane ’n Tail’s Hair Strengthener works pretty well in making my hair stronger with less breakage but not sure about the claim to be a conditioning treatment. It also does have a slight stickiness after using but I just use this on and off as an extra step.
You will be surprised to find how some hair tools can really make a difference into your daily haircare regimen. Instead of towel, I have switched to a microfibre hair turban which helps to absorb water better and also not damage hair follicles that normal towel does. You can opt for a cotton t-shirt too but remember never rub the towel or t-shirt against your hair to dry, just press the towel or t-shirt against your hair to remove the excess water. I managed to get a really good hair turban from the brand Turbie Twist in USA, not sure if you can find it in Singapore but I know Watsons carry their own brand and places like Spotlight carries too.
Long hair tends to tangle badly when it’s wet so I only use a wide tooth comb, avoiding a tug of war. Also highly recommend buying Tangle Teezer’s comb as I really find they do not tug when combing and have lesser fallouts. I use the tube like one in the shower for combing out and making sure conditioner or treatment is distributed evenly and smooth out hair cuticles to absorb the products in. The other tangle teezer is for general combing when hair is damp or dry.
Once in awhile I do a home treatment rather than paying a high price for hair treatment at salons. I buy hair ampoules from Qoo10, apply on clean hair and use an electric heating cap for 30-45 mins. Seriously it’s the same thing as paying to do in hair salons at a small fraction of the price.
- It’s a myth that for hair to grow you need to trim regularly. Your hair grows from the roots not the ends, not sure why people even believes in this saying. If you want to grow it long, you want to not trim as regularly and only cut max 0.5-1 inches at a time. I only trim my hair once every 6 months or longer than that.
- Cut away any split ends yourself regularly. This is important if you want to grow it long since you aren’t trimming as often and long hair tends to have more split ends. If you let it accumulate too much its just going to split further up and resulting with you needing to chop off a lot and never able to reach your desired length. Do this step and you will find that you really don’t have to go trim your hair as often. Do it next to a window with natural sunlight, the best to spot split ends!
- Let your hair dry naturally instead of using a hair dryer. Hair definitely has some damage whenever you use hot tools like this even if you were to use a heat protector. I almost never use the hair dryer unless I shower really late coming home from a night out and desperately need it to dry to be able to sleep
- If you can handle, take cold shower which is actually better for both your skin and hair. Hot showers open up your pores and hair follicles which then makes hair more prone to fallouts. If you have to take a hot shower, rinse over with a cold blast after that. I have not taken a hot shower for more than 10 years now even if the water is ice cold from rainy weathers.
- Diet and lifestyle affects as well, you want to avoid eating too much processed food and MSG.
- Last but not least, do not be lazy! You cannot expect immediate results and you just need to be disciplined in keeping to whatever methods and regimen you choose.
PS: Food for thought because I always wonder what I rather have… Would you rather have beautiful hair and really bad skin or bald with beautiful skin? Comment below!