Thursday, December 4, 2014

Beauty Tips: learning to embrace my natural curl and growing my...

Today i want to share with you how i am learning (because i am still
learning) how to embrace my natural curl and grow my hair out.

firstly my hair history... i've use hair straighteners on my hair for
the last 10 years, the first half of which i actually straightened it
and the second half of which i use it to curl my hair. they were GHDs
but were still very damaging to my hair. any time i wanted to let my
hair dry naturally it would be a very frizzy mess of curls and straight
bits and ringlets and waves, it couldn't decide what it should do
because it was so damaged.

then one day in may this year, when we were celebrating my husband's birthday in london with my cousin everything changed.

i had been feeling strange about how 'natural' my hair was, i talk about
natural haircare and natural beauty all the time on my youtube channel,
but i felt like my hair was the one area in which i wasn't really
practicing what i preached.

so that weekend in london i washed my hair as normal and let it dry
naturally over breakfast with my cousin. before showering i had asked
her if she would help me sort my hair for the day, saying that i'd leave
it to dry naturally but that 'because it would be such a mess' i could
use some help putting it up. anyway, once it had dried she looked at me
and told me that i'd be crazy to do anything to it, rather it looked
amazing just left down. her husband and mine agreed so profoundly that i
spent the day in london with my natural hair (yes, i was looking in
every window and bus reflection to check it throughout the day).

the only other time i'd had an epiphany like this about my hair was when
i went on a lake adventure day in a wetsuit and i knew there'd be no
power socket. that was when i was dating Pete (my now husband), and it
would be the first time he'd see my real hair. i had spent a long time
the week leading up to it dreading him seeing 'the real me'. BUT, when
he saw my natural curls he didn't laugh, he didn't joke, instead he
stared. and later he told me that he dreamt that his future wife would
have hair like that. awesome!

so, with these combined experiences i really felt i had the confidence
to go for it. i spoke with my cousin about how i should manage at work,
as i felt i looked unprofessional with my hair all in 'disarray'. she
said 'wear a killer outfit and do your make-up properly, then whack a
grip in the front bit' - very sound advice to which i still keep.

so i've only used heat on my hair 3 times since may. once at the hairdressers and the other two for special occasions.

i've had to have a lot of encouragement along the way to stick with it.
Pete has been really amazing at boosting my self-esteem where necessary
and tell me that i look beautiful when i look as though i'm faffing.
particularly when i was going on my birthday meal back in july...

my family are the most lovely and awesome bunch of people i know, and i
respect their opinions greatly, and on the odd occasion they'd seen my
real hair they had been less than complimentary, instead they had called
it 'frizzy' or 'messy' or told me to go and sort my hair out. it was
with sincere trepidation that i would ever let them see my real hair for
fear of their comments really shaping the way i saw myself.

so for my birthday meal i spent a lot of time preparing myself and Pete
spent a lot of time encouraging me and told me that he thought i looked
beautiful and that it didn't matter about anyone else's opinion. and he
was right. as it happens it seems like someone had forewarned my family
that i was nervous about my hair and that they should all compliment it,
so they went out of their way to be nice about it - which (although it
was a little disingenuous) i loved and did improve my mood a lot.

since then, they've got used to seeing my real hair and they actually
like it! at my grandads 80th, he said 'i can't believe you ever
straightened it'.

yes, there's a lot of emotional baggage attached to my hair, it is after
all supposed to be my crowning glory, and the thing that makes me
attractive to men, it's supposed to be sexy and lustrous and shiny. it's
supposed to look polished and healthy.

i think i'd really reached a tipping point in May, further helped by my
having found plenty of split ends, and realising that my hair was not
growing out, however much i wanted it to.

so, in the pursuit of long hair and gorgeous shiny natural locks, i
embarked on this crazy journey to just let my hair be. here's some
things i'm doing to help my hair restore itself:

  • trimming my split ends - i bought a pair of professional hair
    scissors from boots, and have been using them to trim off any split ends
    i find. there were loads to begin with, and by removing them have
    noticed the shine come back to my hair, and the curls start to look more
    even. (be careful because trimming split ends can be really addictive!)
  • haircuts - i hadn't had my hair cut professionally in 4 years,
    instead i've been doing it myself and so it had lost some of it's shape.
    i spent a lot of money on a professional cut and it made me feel like a
    million dollars, so i'll probably go annually from no on.
  • shampoo and condition - every  2 days i shampoo and condition my
    hair. i'm currently using that Jason Biotin range, which seems to be the
    first natural conditioner to moisturise my hair without leaving it
    feeling greasy. 
  • finger combing - i do this when i get out the bath and shower, and this helps the curls to dry more evenly.
  • gently does it! - as with my face, the best way to look after your
    hair is to be gentle with it and respect it. instead of roughly towel
    drying as i used to, i just gently pat it and smooth the towel over it
    to get rid of excess moisture before just leaving it to dry.
  • eat well - this is something i've always done for the functioning of
    my own body, but it's important to remember that shiny hair is
    encouraged by a plant-strong, nutrient-dense diet. get as many fruits,
    veggies, nuts and seeds into your diet to help it grow. i don't take
    supplements at all, instead i just eat real food and lots of it.
  • water - again, like with your skin, your hair benefits from you
    drinking water, so get as much in as possible. i try to get at least 8
    pints a day!
  • exercise - now this is an area i'm definitely learning in. i haven't
    been the best exerciser in the past, and i am constantly changing my
    routine because of the changing seasons. however the majority of the
    year i spend on my bike riding long rides in my local forest and no
    matter the season i am always walking everywhere, and hiking on holidays
    too. one thing i need to work on which will help a lot with the shine
    of my hair is making sure i sweat more, so i'll be working on that one
    in the coming months!
  • silk pillows - i have one which i don't use, but i might get it back
    into use to see how it goes. this should really help prevent split ends
    and encourage shine.
  • invisibobbles - i find sleeping with long hair very tricky, and currently pop it up using an invisibobble.
    it doesn't catch and stays in my hair all night. i'm not sure that it's
    particularly eco-friendly, but it does the job for now.
  • coconut oil - the magical wonder product that works for everything -
    popping this on the end once in a while will help provide moisture to
    your hair and is the best and only hair treatment i would ever use or

So here's my video on the subject in case you haven't already seen it: