I gotta be honest with you, sometimes I feel like my hair is more popular than I am! Like, if the two of us were separate entities, maybe my hair would be getting more work than the rest of me. What the heck, hair?! As a result, I get quite a few questions about how I take care of it, to ensure it’s maintaining it’s money-making lustre (that’s a joke, it has no income). So today I wanted to share with you what it is I do to keep my hair in tip-top shape, making sure it stays nice and healthy all year round, especially while travelling (those long-haul flights will suck the shine right outta ya mane!)
First things first, I need to tell you my hair is naturally very thick and there’s a lot of it. This means it’s very resilient and because there’s so much of it, it looks really thick and healthy all the time. But we each have different hair and that’s a wonderful thing! I’m saying this because I’m a bit tired of us all feeling like our natural selves aren’t good enough or aren’t the desired ‘ideal’. You are beautiful, your hair is beautiful, whether it’s thick or thin, straight or curly, red, green, blue or blonde, everything about you is perfect! Please make sure you treat yourself with nothing but love and adoration. Alright, mushy stuff out of the way, let’s get down to haircare business.
I’m going to keep this simple – my approach to my hair is just not to mess around with it. I get it coloured maybe once every 4-6 months, so, at the most two or three times a year. The lack of chemicals, I believe, helps keep it nice and healthy and, thankfully, my hairdresser is completely non-judgey and never makes me feel bad for not getting it done more often. She always hooks me up with a colour that grows out well, cos she knows how I roll.
At home, I try not to over-do it with the straighteners. Straightening it each day can be very damaging to your beloved hair, so I try to avoid touching it with the straightening iron wherever possible. My preference is to let it air dry as much as possible, then finish it off with the hairdryer, usually just at the roots. Then, I leave it crazy and wavy and natural. If I have to style it for work, I like to braid the front up and pin it or, if necessary, give it a curl or straighten. Otherwise, it’s free-range. Do whatever ya want, hair! Be free!
I also try not to overdo it with the products I put in it. To be honest, I’m not too fussy when it comes to shampoo and conditioner because I believe they’re all pretty much the same anyway – right?! If you really read the ingredients, they’re all pretty similar. So I buy those really big, 900ml, bottles and usually go with whatever looks/smells good and is on sale. I use those big bottles to refill smaller bottles that are more travel appropriate. At the moment I’m using Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine, which is accompanied with a claim it will remain smooth for 72 hours – does it? I don’t know, it just feels clean – how the heck would I even assess that? A pie chart? A bar graph? Anyway, I literally only bought it because it was on sale at Coles and it smelled good. I would also use Pantene, Dove or Tresemmé if they were on sale.
Because my hair is so long and it gets put through hell with all the travel, I like to use a treatment each time I wash it. I probably only wash it once a week, maybe twice if I’ve been going hard-out at the gym or had to put some hairspray in it. Again, I tend to feel like not over-washing it helps keep it healthy. At the moment, I’m using a Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Intensive Hair Masque because it was on sale and looked good! Turns out, it is good. I slather it through the lengths and ends of my hair and leave it to soak then, just before I wash it out, I brush it through the rest of my hair (yep, roots and all!) This takes out any tangles and leaves my hair feeling soft, smooth and healthy afterward.
Once a week I put a toner through it, to help keep the brassiness out of my blonde. At the moment I’m using John Frieda Colour Refreshing Toner Blondes and it seems to be working really well, keeping my colour locked in and the blonde nice and creamy.
The only other product I ever put in my hair, and my absolute, number 1, ride or die, go-to product is Schwarzkopf Extra Care Hair Repair Daily Oil Elixir. I am obsessed with this stuff and would happily volunteer to be their eternal spokesperson for it. The packet says to put 3 pumps max in your hair, I start with 7 on the ends of my hair, then another 5 or 6 through the mid-lengths, followed by another 5-6 on the very tips of my ends, then maybe another 3-4 through my roots and brush it all through. Yeah, I put it everywhere! It’s mad, right? Who puts oil on the roots of their hair? Ah, me. I felt weird about it once and asked my hairdresser if it was cool to do it and she was all for it, so I feel like I’ve got the seal of approval. I will say this, my hair soaks up whatever you put on it, so that much oil probably isn’t appropriate for everyone.
I always dry my hair on a medium heat, focusing on the roots for the majority of the time, then drying the mid-lengths and trying not to get heat on the ends unless absolutely necessary (i.e. I’m in a huge rush and need it dry ASAP). Once it’s dry, I put my hairdryer on the cool setting and blast it with cold air. It just feels, to me, like this leaves it silky, shiny and soft.
When I know I’m going to be swimming, snorkelling or in a windy place, like on a boat, I tend to braid my hair into two plaits, just to stop it from getting really knotty, tangled, dried out and damaged.
When I’m working or travelling in a particularly hot/humid place, I tend to use a little bit of hairspray to keep it in place or secure a sleek bun/ponytail. Otherwise, I avoid hairspray altogether, as well as products like dry shampoo, mousse, texturising sprays etc. I used to worry my hair would look wild and crazy without all these products, but it seems to get a lot of love on Instagram, so I guess it’s doing okay without all that stuff. Most importantly, it’s healthy AF!
I kind of started this post by saying I don’t do a lot to my hair but, re-reading it, I guess I kinda do, but feel I keep it pretty simple, all-in-all. The most important things for me are making sure I pack a ton of moisture into my hair when I do wash it, then avoid using heated styling gadgets wherever possible. By keeping things pretty low-key, I feel like my hair is much healthier for it. Remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have beautiful healthy hair!
Right now, I’m going through a bit of a growing phase. I noticed my hair was getting quite long and I’ve decided to grow it out as long as it will healthily allow. I remember as a little girl loving having long hair but as I got older it kind of felt inappropriate to have super long hair for some reason. So, given this is the last year of my 20’s, I’m growing it right out! I’ve asked Matt to be my spotter and let me know when it stops looking cute and starts looking ratty, cos that’ll be time to chop it. Anyway, I hope these tips have been helpful and you find them useful in helping to keep your hair healthy too. Happy growing!
Watch my long-lasting travel makeup ‘how-to’ video
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.