Recently I found myself exchanging beauty tips with the inspiring Serena Guen of travel and culture magazine Suitcase. She specifically asked me about hair, an area I get asked about a lot and so I decided to share my top tips for healthier and more lustrous hair. As with most things of substance in life, some commitment is required but I promise that the results will make it worth it.
- Wash your hair less - I wash my hair once every 6 days - I hate greasy looking hair, and need it to feel clean, but your hair gets used to it over time. A reduction in washing allows your hair and scalp more time to do its natural thing and counteract all the chemicals most of us put in. To start with, I would just add an extra day in between washes, it may be slightly greasier than you'd want for about a month but then it would get used to it. If you are doing a workout in a heated room or are exposed to hot weather then of course it's a different story - you should at no point allow yourself to get stinky hair, that's my rule and no amount of loving the Earth would ever change that!
- Eat lots of good cold-pressed fats - Argan oil, olive oil or fish oils will 100% make your hair shiner to say the least. I swear by this. Aim for 2 tablespoons a day, consistently! Make sure your oil is pure by purchasing from a trusted source.
- Sleep more - Lack of sleep contributes to dryer, limper hair. I notice the difference in my hair after just one bad night's sleep.
- If you are going to dye your hair do it consciously - I made a decision a few years ago to stop dying my hair, though I understand this won't be appealing to many people. It's more that if you do dye it, you should be actively working on giving it back some love, for example, in the way I describe in my next point.
- Oil your hair - To promote growth and allow your hair to be as healthy and strong as it can be. You should be oiling your hair at least once a week before washing. This means rubbing a few drops into your hands before transferring onto your hair. It's a good idea to massage the scalp with oil too from time to time. This will make a huge difference in the long run. It's a must to use natural, pure oils, as synthetic products sit on the hair and don't penetrate. For this reason, many of the heavily marketed serums available will only give short term 'relief' and won't actually improve the condition of the hair but could make it drier over time. It's an illusion! Olive oil is great (I used this for years before argan oil) however, it is very greasy so you have to be careful and wash it a few extra times to get it out. Argan oil is perfect as it's not very oily and you can wash your hair as normal without the need for extra washes. Or you could experiment and mix the two together. This is not my invention, it's been practiced by certain cultures for centuries and makes part of Ayurvedic rituals.
- Go easy with appliances - I never use tongs or straighteners as I feel that they burn the hair and that blowdrying is better. If you want to give your hair a break from heat in general, velcro or foam rollers on almost dry hair get you far, I'd recommend using a medium heat setting on your hairdryer to get the hair then put the rollers straight in, leave in for as long as possible, I have been known to pop to the shops like this! From time to time as part of giving my hair a rest, I like to let my dry hair naturally and when it gets to a damp state, I brush in some sea salt spray along with 2 drops of argan oil, then plait it and leave it to fully dry for a beach hair effect. Rest weeks are important and make part of a sustainable and effective approach to your hair health.
- Shampoo and Conditioner - I'd been looking for a shampoo I could really recommend for the past 10 years. Most are horrifically chemical laden and amongst other things ruin your natural oil balance, there are many natural options out there but sadly they don't usually work well. I'm so grateful that my friend Pier who is a hairdresser recently got me on to the Oi Collection by Davines. It's almost 100% natural, smells amazing and the brand itself is committed to sustainability and looking after the environment in fact they grow some ingredients on their own farm. If you are after a 100% natural option I couldn't recommend this shampoo bar more, it leaves the hair soft, light and fluffy- in a good way! Oh, and it's made using our argan oil, so you can be rest assured that they don't skimp on ingredients.
To conclude; as with most things, a bit of a compromise goes far. For example, rather than saying to yourself you'll never use appliances again, change it up and have a few regular breaks in between uses to then enjoy the end result when you do use them. It's a shame to 'overindulge' and get to the point where the hair is very damaged and the consequences are close to irreversible. I don't believe in quick fixes, good simple habits combined with an initial investment of time and patience is the way to go, and it's empowering!