Improving My Haircare Routine
Haircare is something I don't talk about all too often on my blog and that's for a number of reasons: 1) I'm super low maintenance with it, so my routine doesn't change very often 2) out of all the beauty categories, I think it's the one where our needs are more unique and individual, and 3) it's also the beauty category I'm least interested in. Over the last few months, however, I've replaced old products with new ones and have made a few improvements to take better care of my hair's health. I wouldn't say I'm overly fussy with my tresses, but having a dry, thick and frizz-prone hair type does require a little TLC, so today, I thought I'd talk you through my haircare shake up that's been working wonders for me lately.
Switching up my shampoo and conditioner
The Bumble and Bumble Creme de Coco Shampoo and Conditioner had been my hair washing staples for the last two years and although I love Bumble and Bumble as a haircare brand, it was getting to the point where my hair was becoming too used to them and I needed to change things up a little. After hearing many great things about R+Co, I decided to take a chance on their Bel Air Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner as the hair type it's aimed at is exactly mine (thick, curly and frizz-prone) and since I started using these back in August, my hair has been loving the switch up.
Made for those wanting smoother and straighter hair, I've noticed that my hair stays cleaner for longer and my curls are less wild. Although I don't get ringlets the way I used to when I was little, I'm still prone to the crazy curl and the Bel Air Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner have really helped to turn them into soft, natural waves. This cuts down the time I spend straightening them out and less heat is always a good thing, especially when my hair is already on the dry side.
The fragrance of the shampoo and conditioner is described as "Dark Waves", which sounds like a genre of music I'd totally listen to and is a warm romantic scent made up of cardamom, pineapple, tangerine, lavender, bamboo and blonde woods. The fragrance, along with the packaging, are absolutely beautiful and even better, they're also great for colour treated hair and sulphate free. I didn't think I had much of an issue with sulphates, but since reducing my use (for product build up, I still use Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo occasionally, which contains sulphates), my hair feels a lot softer. Perhaps one day when my hair gets used to these, I'll go back to Bumble and Bumble, but for now, I'm really enjoying these two from R+Co.
My poor scalp is prone to itchiness and flakiness (I know it's not dandruff because I've Googled the difference!) and I've tried many different treatments to provide it some relief. While I was browsing Adore Beauty with the R+Co shampoo and conditioner in my cart, I came across the Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo with Jujube Bark Extract and after doing some research, decided to add this too. I couldn't resist the allure of a fancy French brand, but from the different masks and lotions I've tried over the years, I can honestly say that this shampoo has worked the best. I wouldn't call it a miracle worker, but with consistent use (I use it every time I wash my hair, followed by the R+Co shampoo), it's really effective in calming the scalp and my roots are now less oily. Enriched with jujube bark extract, which soothes and cherry blossom extract to moisturise, it helps regulate excess sebum and is free from parabens, silicones and SLS. Despite it not containing SLS, I still find it to lather really nicely and I wouldn't mind giving their Cleansing Purifying Scrub a go in the future. I may also see a dermatologist about my scalp later down the line, but this is proving to work a treat for the time being.
Washing my hair more regularly
As much as I enjoy taking my time to apply my makeup and how diligent I am with my skincare routine, it seems to be a universal thing amongst us beauty bloggers to hate washing our hair. Many of my real life friends even share the same sentiments as us too. I love showering every night to feel fresh and clean, yet for some reason, washing my hair is something I always dread. With my thick and dry hair type, I was lucky enough to get away with only having to wash it once a week for a long time, but to help reduce the flakiness of my scalp, I've now upped up to twice a week and sometimes three depending on if I've got plans on the weekend. In stark contrast to my drier ends, my roots can get a little greasy from time to time, but washing my hair more regularly - and with the Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo - has helped regulate sebum and diminish itching and flaking. I know that over-washing can sometimes have the reverse effect and make you produce more sebum, but two to three washes a week seems to work perfectly for my hair type. Since growing out my fringe at the beginning of the year, I have less need for a hair dryer now too, meaning it's less of a hassle to style and I can simply let it air dry. Washing my hair is a mundane task I'm never going to look forward to, but at least I'm not alone and it's a small price to pay for the good feeling of fresh tresses, a calm, soothed scalp and the boost of confidence that comes along with it.
Investing in a silk pillowcase
Waking up with sleep creases on your face isn't an attractive look and as I have done many a time, it's even worse when you've rocked up to work with them still there! Sleep creases are actually an indication of damage from sleeping on a cotton pillowcase and when I saw that my sister had a Slip Pure Silk Pillowcase - which came highly rated from her - I decided to invest in one of my own. Having had mine for about six months now, these luxury pillowcases are a treat for both the skin and the hair as they're really gentle and never pull or tug on our delicate features. Sleep creases can turn into wrinkles over time, which the Slip Pure Silk Pillowcase helps prevent and they're even said to be more hydrating. As cotton is more absorbent than silk, this means cotton pillowcases can draw moisture from your skin and take away from our expensive night creams, so if you have a dry skin type like I do, investing in a silk pillowcase is ideal. Silk also breathes a lot better than cotton, meaning it'll keep you cool in summer and warm in the winter. On hot summer nights, I love flipping over my pillows to the cool side, but now I don't need to!
In terms of haircare benefits, Slip Pure Silk Pillowcases don't grab the hair and twist it the way cotton can and although they claim to make your hairstyle last longer and prevent bed head, I haven't really noticed a difference in that regard and I actually really like the lived in look. Having said that, bed head can also contribute to damage to hair follicles, leading to thinner, less healthy locks, while also drawing out moisture the way it does with the skin. The silk of these pillowcases feels beautifully soft and smooth, and although there are occasionally a few worries keeping me up at night, at least I have peace of mind knowing I'm lessening the signs of ageing to both my hair and my skin.
Having a dedicated hair towel
My hair is extremely prone to frizz (think Monica in the Friends episode where they're all in Barbados!) and because of that, I haven't dried my hair with a regular towel in almost 10 years. Frizz is an indicator of damaged, dry hair in need of moisture and the coarse texture and dryness of cotton or terry cloth towels can be the cause of this damage to our tresses. Another contributing factor is water; the structure of our hair changes when wet and to lessen the harm, water should be soaked up quickly. To dry my hair, I've always opted for old t-shirts, which aren't as rough and cause less friction, but they're nevertheless made from cotton and still not the best option for my hair type.
About a year ago, I stumbled upon a brand called Aquis who specialise in towels for the hair, and made from microfibre fabric, I knew this would be the perfect product for my hair drying needs. Purchased at the same time I bought my silk pillowcase, I have the Aquis Lisse Luxe Hair Towel made for short to medium hair lengths and I noticed how quickly it absorbs excess water from my very first use. The towel itself also dries really quickly too, so if you want to put it away, you can do so within a couple of hours. Super gentle on the hair, Aquis hair towels prevent tangles, cuticle damage and breakage, and although a bit of a pricier option than using what's already in our linen closets, my dry, thick and frizz-prone hair type really benefits from a singular microfibre towel.
Giving into The Wet Brush hype
A long time ago before I got sucked into the beauty blogging world, I used to brush my hair with a wide toothed comb and each time brought about a painful and arduous experience. I only ever brush my hair prior to washing it because it gets too boofy and fluffy otherwise, and it was something I always dreaded because the process would take me well over half an hour. I know there are those who are envious of people with thick locks (we all want what we can't have, right?), but it definitely has its downfalls! Amongst my sea of hair, the comb would get stuck and tangled, and getting through my knots was an agonising, uphill battle. However, in 2012 when beauty bloggers started raving about the Tangle Teezer, all that changed. I had reached the point where I was was just about willing to try anything, but the Tangle Teezer ended up being the answer to my prayers and brushing my hair suddenly became a dream. It glided through my hair with ease, never tugged, pulled or snagged, and from 30 minutes, I could now fully brush my hair within a mere two!
Then came along The Wet Brush. It was something I didn't even think twice about because I was happy with my Tangle Teezer, but after five long, good years, it needed replacing and a few months ago, I decided to finally give into the hype of The Wet Brush simply because I couldn't find a blush pink Tangle Teezer (I'm ridiculous, I know!). On my hair type, it works equally as well as the Tangle Teezer, but having now used them both, I do think The Wet Brush is the superior of the two. As well as being significantly cheaper, the main advantage The Wet Brush has over the Tangle Teezer is the handle; it doesn't make it easier to use per se, but it just feels a little nicer, if that makes any sense. Another advantage is the bristles. Over time, the Tangle Teezer bristles bend out of shape, whereas The Wet Brush bristles are stronger, more flexible and the "SofTips" on the very top of the bristles massage the scalp to stimulate circulation at the follicle. The Tangle Teezer bristles can feel a little scratchy in comparison, but The Wet Brush is so gentle, I'll often do a Marsha Brady and brush over my hair multiple times to further massage my scalp. I wouldn't say you need to go out and immediately replace your Tangle Teezer, but I do really like The Wet Brush and will be sticking with it from now on.
What does your haircare routine look like?