By Sahar Yakhi
This summer, I’ve attended more barbecues, pool parties, beach volleyball games, and patio dinners than I can count. All those events required me to style my hair and/or get into chlorinated or salt water. The salt and chemicals combined with the heating tools I use have done a number on my hair, not to mention the chemical processing I do at home.
If your hair is dry to the touch, brittle at the ends and wont take to styling tools anymore, I have an at-home guide to help nurse your locks back to manageable.
Four steps to un-summering your dry hair
First and most importantly: trim, trim, trim. It’s so important to get those dead, split ends out of the way, because those only get worse as your hair grows. Getting a trim every six weeks can help your hair grow. Well, actually, your hair will grow anyway. What the trim does is help the ends stay healthy so your hair grows at its full potential rather than breaking off and falling apart. So, you’re essentially preserving your hair’s quality by trimming it.
Second, give the hair dyes and the bleaching a rest, at least for a few months, so your hair can repair. Wear your hair in cute Dutch braids or ponytails while it regains its strength. If you must use hot tools, use them sparingly. Remember, we’re in repair mode.
Third, invest in some good products. You don’t have to break the bank to do this. As most of you know from my previous columns, I’m always on a mission to find great products at the best value. If you have naturally dry hair or if your hair has become dry, don’t use shampoos with harsh sulfates in them. They strip your hair of its natural oils, and nothing is as good as your hair’s natural oil.
I like a combination of sulfate free shampoo and cowash. A cowash is a conditioning cleanser that doesn’t lather. One of my favorites is As I Am coconut cowash. It can help strengthen your hair by eliminating the harsh lathering effect caused by regular shampooing. As I Am offers an incredible line of products, and at less than $10 a bottle they’re not a bad deal. One bottle should last you a month.
Every couple of weeks, you do need to break down some of the buildup in your hair. You may find your hair will get a bit limp and heavy from oils. For that, I like to incorporate a sulfate-free shampoo that does lather but doesn’t strip your hair like regular shampoos.
I like L’Oreal Ever Pure products. They are affordable (usually around $7 a bottle), smell amazing and get the job done.
Now the most important part: conditioning.
You can use a conditioner from either of these two product lines – L’Oreal Ever Pure or As I Am – or use a deep conditioning mask from Shea Moisture. They have many options, but I like their Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque the best. It smells amazing, and it coats the hair in some heavy-duty conditioning.
These products are all the $10 to $15 range.
Fourth, don’t wash your hair every day. You don’t need to. If you do intense workouts daily, invest in a dry shampoo to absorb some of the sweat and oil. Wait at least three days; if you can bear it, wait up to a week before you rinse your hair.
A trick I like to use to get the sweat smell out of my hair is wetting my hair in the shower and only conditioning it (rather than shampoo and condition). It gives you the just-washed feeling without washing.
When it is time to shampoo my hair, I rinse twice with a cowash and apply conditioner. I let the conditioner sit in my hair for the remainder of my shower and wash it out at the end so it can soften my hair. Every second to third time I’m supposed to shampoo my hair, I use the sulfate-free shampoo and condition as I normally do.
That brings us to leave-in conditioners and hair treatments. While my hair is damp, I apply It’s A 10 Miracle Hair Product. This gets a little pricey at around $15 a bottle, but it’s worth it.
Infusium leave-in hair conditioners work brilliantly too. Also, if you’re a fan of hair oils, jojoba oil works really well because it can be absorbed into your hair quite rapidly due to its molecular structure (science!). It works faster than other oils.
Bonus round: hair masks
Once or twice a month, I love to apply this homemade hair mask. It’s so easy to make, and it works really nicely to soften my hair.
Sahar’s Hair Mask Recipe
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons coconut oil
First, wash hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. Then, mix the mask ingredients in a bowl and heat in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Apply generously to your hair and brush through. Wrap your hair in a plastic hair cap, and then wrap again with a scarf or bandanna or even a knit beanie to prevent the mixture from dripping.
Leave the conditioner in overnight. In the morning, wash your hair again with a sulfate-free shampoo. Don’t apply too much shampoo, though — just enough to remove excess product. Apply a leave-in conditioner and style as usual. Your hair should feel really soft.
This is a lot of information, but your hair is an important part of your look, your presence and your general allure. A bit of effort is definitely worth it. So, to recap, this is my hair repair routine:
- Wash my hair once a week for two to three weeks with a cowash.
- Condition after each cowash with a sulfate-free conditioner.
- Every two to three weeks, wash with a sulfate-free shampoo and condition as normal.
- Put a leave-in conditioner in my hair such as It’s A 10 or an Infusium product.
- Two to three times a month, apply a homemade hair mask and leave it in overnight.
- I don’t style with heating tools as often during this repair period, and I wear my hair in a braid for work rather than heat and style it. I leave the heavy styling for nights out with the girls, date night or other special occasions.
- Trim your hair every six weeks. Tell your stylist you’re trying to grow your hair, so they know how much to cut.
The repair period can be as long as you like. You can follow the regimen for a month or so, and then ease back into your regular routine while incorporating these new tips.
I hope you enjoy this new routine, and your feedback is welcomed. Let me know what works for you!
Check out Sahar’s other makeup pro tips on YNOT Cam right here.
Sahar Yakhi is a 10-plus-year veteran of Hollywood’s highly competitive makeup and visual effects industry. She is a graduate of the Hollywood Makeup Academy and specializes in glamour and theatrical makeup, lending her expertise to film sets, photo shoots, special events and education. Find her on Insta at @DarlingOlive and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.