My Hair Care Routine: how I healed my damaged hair without cutting it

It’s been such a long time coming and now it’s here: my hair care routine.

Ever since a previous post on why I don’t cut my hair went viral (a full year ago :O ), I’ve been getting regular requests to write a post on my hair care routine and how to heal damaged hair.

Before I jump in, let me disclaimer this (because if I don’t and someone ends up bald, I will never forgive myself)… I am not a doctor, I am in no way qualified to give medical advice, you should only trust my opinion as much as you would a friend’s or aunt’s opinion.

That said, here is how I made my hair go from this:

short-and-frayed
apologies for the terrible quality – my hair got even worse, but I stopped wearing it down for a while because I was so embarassed…

To this:

sorry for terrible quality yet again.. pic taken in my mirror this morning
Sorry for terrible quality yet again.. dawn does not make for good lighting in my bathroom. This pic was taken in my mirror this morning- hello bed head 🙂

A little history:

My hair used to be incredibly long and shiny and healthy and happy.

glory-days
It’s hard to believe I didn’t cut this based on that first picture, no?

Then I got sick. I didn’t even realize it was thinning and breaking until one I day I looked in a mirror and it was just.. Gone.

Broken, straggly, short and frizzy. My hair was not my hair anymore.

After moping for several months, I decided to start researching the crap out of revitalizing your hair. I was sick and tired of people asking me if I had cut it, or helpfully suggesting I try some random old trick that just doesn’t work.. And I was scared, because each time I ran a hand through my hair a portion would dislodge. I was afraid to finger comb, let alone brush.

And I think that might have been the first step to saving my hair. Rather, the second step. I know what the first step was.

The first step in how I revived my hair will sound loony to a lot of you. I know not everyone believes in God or that God cares about hair length and density, so here’s another disclaimer: I’m not here to point fingers or judge. As I mentioned in that post that went viral, I’m only sharing my personal conviction and it is between me and God. I do not want to or have the ability to force it on others.

That said, I do strongly believe that God is the primary reason my hair is what it is today. Let me explain…

These are the steps I took to save my hair:

  1. The first thing I did was consecrate my hair to God. He gave it to me, He knew and knows the exact number of each individual strand, and He saw it as glorious. I hadn’t treasured or respected or taken care of my gift in the past, but I was ready to start. I told Him that my hair was His, that I wanted to keep it, grow it, and nurture it to bring Him glory and to spark the opportunity to share the testimony of His grace (opportunities have sparked like wild in the last year or so 😀 ). I would do my part and leave the rest up to Him.
  2. The next step, as I mentioned before, was to stop brushing my hair. I would only gently finger comb. It didn’t take long at first because my hair was so thin and fragile, but as my hair grew in thickness and length, I spent more and more time finger combing. I’ve only just started brushing again in the last 5-6 months and am about to take another break for the duration of winter.
  3. I stopped using heat products on my hair entirely. I didn’t blow dry, flat iron or curl.
  4. I went further between washes (IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO LET YOUR HAIR SOAK UP ITS NATURAL OILS). I developed a pattern: hair down on day one, pony tale or braid on day two, bun on top on day three (and occasionally, if I could stretch it, day four as well).
  5. I started taking Biotin and loads of it. My hair was so damaged, it needed the boost. I currently take 2-5,000 mcg every day, but when I first started, I would take 5-10,000 mcg depending on the weather. I also started taking vitamin D3, C, K, E and B12.
  6. If it was cold weather, I would leave my hair down as much as possible. Adding restrictions like hair ties and braids slowed the nutrition it was receiving from natural oils.
  7. I would give my hair oil baths before each wash. 20 minutes before hopping in the shower, I’d apply some oil (coconut, olive or vegetable.. really any oil you have on hand works) from root to tip. I still do this about once a month or once every other week if it starts to feel dry.
  8. After every wash, I would apply oils immediately. The wet hair absorbed it faster (just like skin absorbs oil faster if it’s wet when applied) and I knew it was needed as I had just stripped my hair of its own natural oils.
  9. I avoided dry shampoo like the plague- yes it keeps your hair from looking greasy but at what cost? It takes several washes to get the buildup out and for the duration of the time it’s in, your hair is literally starving for nutrients.
  10. I changed up the products each time the bottles were empty. I just reasoned that my hair had gotten plenty of one nutrient and was probably in need of something else – that may be totally illogical but it worked for me. I would use curl enhancing shampoo, then anti-breakage, then shine, etc. until it was time to loop because I was out of new options. I do prefer Pantene’s line.. They’ve got some good ‘uns that create notable change.
  11. When applying conditioner, I ignored the rules and applied from root to tip. I figured that like a tree, hair gets it’s nutrition from the root.. so why are we only feeding the ends?
  12. I embraced natural. My hair was crazy, I became okay with that and stopped using hairspray to tame it unless I was going somewhere special and needed to look sleek. In the end, my hair thanked me by becoming less insane all by itself.

Improvements were subtle at first. The frayed ends started coming together and dead ends began to fade. My hair was becoming increasingly shinier and not in a gross greasy way, more in the way super model hair shines.

The curls became less frizzy and more structured into soft, bouncy wavy curls.

hair

And it started growing, and growing, and growing.

img_6292

I wish I would have taken measurements of my hair at its shortest length so I could compare then and now, but I didn’t. What I can tell you is that my hair was just between my shoulder blades at its shortest length, and it is now just above my rump (as you saw in the picture towards the beginning of this post).

I get a lot of questions regarding which products I use on my hair. As I mentioned before, I change up the product each time I empty a container (except for the oil). I’ve found that’s the best way to keep up with the many different nutrients my hair needs.

The following are products I am currently using on a regular basis. I am not affiliated with Amazon, but I did link to them for your convenience. You can find any of these products at just about any convenience/grocery store that stocks hair care items and I encourage you to look there first as it’s much cheaper. That said, I’m currently using:

products

God is amazing and I am so grateful for this gift. I’ll continue my life’s theme of never cutting my hair; I’ll cherish it and nurture it and protect it because I realized that, for me, it is symbolic of my walk with God.. And my walk with the Romancer of My Soul means everything to me.

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11 thoughts on “My Hair Care Routine: how I healed my damaged hair without cutting it

    1. I’m not going to lie, it took a good deal of time, though improvements were showing within a couple of months (healthy sheen, less frizz, etc.). The growing out took about 1.5 years. Any kind of hair restoration will take a lot of time, but it is so worth it in the end! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  1. Rachel this is the most heartwarming thing I have read in a long time-thank you so much for sharing your incredible hair story! I’ve always thought the personality and spiritual traits required to grow and maintain long hair make the beautiful fruits of the patience and dedication all that much more beautiful. Your personal story of saving your hair while continuing your theme of never cutting it has certainly confirmed that. May God be with your glorious, cherished, uncut hair and may it continue to grow forever! I would love to hear about your growth progress since this post.

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  2. Thanks for sharing! I have badly damaged hair as well, and it falls out easily. I think I will try some of these suggestions. Thanks!

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  3. I had been on the fence about adding a vitamin to help my hair and skin. I recently got back into an apostolic church and have shoulder length color damaged hair. I had looked at skin, hair and nails vitamins but they all day to avoid if allergic to sulfa [which i am]. I looked at biotin a few days ago and i can take it. Just added it to my routine the same day and also took your advice on length between washes. Thank you for taking the time to post your routine and I’m glad you are back to blogging!

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  4. This may be too personal but have you found some ways to heal your body as well as your hair? I was sick and on antibiotics for an entire year when I decided to stop listening to just an MD and to seek better nutrition. I think fibro is more complex than my illnesses (generally run down, burned out adrenal glands, frequent colds, flu and sinus infections) but I’m curious what you may have learned and if it’s helping. I wish I had known how much what we eat affects us and I’m often amused (and challenged) by a statement I heard someone quip on the radio “the original sin was a food choice”.

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    1. That’s not to personal- I’m an open book about my illness. 🙂 Unfortunately, I haven’t found too many methods to heal my body. The increase in vitamins has helped but the main thing for me is getting an overabundance of sleep. I would be dead without it. I also try to get fresh air and walks in (though consistent exercise is quite a struggle for me).

      If your adrenal glands are being mean by speeding things up, I recommend cutting back on soy, while if they’re slowing things down, I’d increase soy. I went through a period of time where I was having nothing but issues with my adrenals and that’s the advise I was given by my nutritionist. It turned out she was right and increasing/decreasing my soy intake really helped settle the adrenals.

      I love that quote- it is so true! I have food-triggered inflammation as much as the next person (or more) and have to be careful to stay gluten-free, vegan when I’m having a very rough spell.

      I’m sorry I couldn’t off more productive advise than sleep, eat and exercise. It seems to be all anyone can recommend, but it’s definitely not a quick fix.

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