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I have a dirty blonde little secret, and it’s that I’m naturally blonde. Not the lovely golden or platinum blonde that most women parading around have, more like the dirty dishwater ash blonde that is often referred to as mousy. It’s really not a pretty color. Maybe with some lemon juice and sunshine it would have a better color, but I wouldn’t even know because I’ve been enhancing my hair since I was 13.
Before puberty, my hair was naturally platinum blonde but when I finally became a woman at the age of 11, my hair started to change. I had always wanted to dye my hair brown but my mom wouldn’t let me dye my hair because I was so young. The change from platinum to mousy was gradual but when I was in the 8th grade, I noticed that my hair just wasn’t the same anymore. My mom ran me to the salon one day on her own volition, and I emerged a platinum blonde again, radiant and, well, blonde. I no longer wanted to be a brunette, I was a blonde.
That lasted all of one year before I became restless and decided I wanted to be a redhead like my mom. My Aunt Geri who was a hairdresser dyed my hair with a super fancy foam dye from a box and my hair turned hot pink. The kind of hot pink that is super cool now, but was not even remotely OK in the mid-90s. I was horrified, as was she, and we topped it off with a brown dye that turned my hair kind of an auburn color. There are exactly zero photos of me from that time period because it was just . . . no.
I became platinum blonde again a few weeks later and stayed blonde for about 8 years. At some point I decided I wanted to be a red head again, so my dear friend Aimee died my hair fire engine red. I loved it. Then I got bored with it so we sat in my kitchen one night and used a Volume 40 bleach to strip my hair. Not once, not twice, but five times. At the end of the night, my hair was a really strange color, almost glowing on my head. We tried to add some dye to it and it wouldn’t hold a single molecule. A couple weeks later, my hair drank up a little dye and we added highlights. By all accounts of chemistry and biology, I really shouldn’t have had a single strand of hair left on my head at that point, but I did. Very damaged hairs, but hairs nonetheless.
That blonde streak lasted maybe nine months before I chopped my hair off and I became a raven brunette. My hair was dark, dark brown with black lowlights in it. I loved it until I realized that I could no longer pull off the make-up-less look that I preferred. I had to wear make-up with this new dark hairstyle.
Kyle proposed about 6 months after darkening my hair, and I knew that I wanted to be a blonde bride again, so I started highlighting my hair once again. By the time we were married, my hair was almost blonde again.
I stayed various shades of blonde for four years and thought I’d be blonde for the rest of my life.
In the midst of all this dyeing and bleaching, my hair all but lost its natural curliness. My hair is now just kind of S’wavy and extremely moody. It’s very curly at the temples, straight on top, and I don’t even know what at the nape. Back when my hair was healthy, I had lovely ringlets that I straightened on a daily basis because, like, who wants curly hair?!
I decided to stop damaging my hair on a regular basis a little over a year ago and began using henna to dye it red. Henna is a natural pigment and is actually used as a conditioning treatment for your hair. I love the natural color that it provides and the hair growing out is finally healthy.
I’m still contending with the effects of how badly I’ve damaged my hair and because I’m trying to keep my hair as healthy as possible, I’ve stopped straightening it so often. That means I’ve had to toy around with products to figure out the best routine for my s’wavy, curly hair. It has taken me over a year to figure it out, but I’ve finally found the perfect combination of products that give me soft, natural looking curls that don’t frizz over the course of the day, and somehow manage to retain their shape despite the fact that my hair is very long and extremely heavy. My routine produces soft curls that are free of frizz and stay together all day long without feeling crunchy or looking wet.
While I think that confidence is a cornerstone to feeling beautiful, you have to know how to be beautiful and enhance your own form of natural beauty. One of those things is knowing your hair and how to take care of it. You will feel your most beautiful when your hair is being compliant and you aren’t running around town with a frizzy halo on your head.
Enough blathering. Here are my tips and a quick tutorial for utilizing your natural beauty and perfecting those summer waves and curls:
Have the Right Products
I’ve been posting about the products I use on Instagram this week and a couple people have asked if they could buy only ONE of these products, which one they should buy. Unfortunately, the answer is: If you buy only one, you’re only going to get the benefits of one product. They each have very different functions. At one time, I was using only the Not Your Mother’s Kinky Moves and the Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray. While they worked great together, my curls would separate as the day wore on and my hair was a frizzy mess by the evening. Day 2 and 3 curls were much, much better, but Day 1 was almost always a disaster. I realized that the trick to having perfect curls was having moisturized, healthy hair. I can’t do much for the health of my hair right now, but I can make sure it’s well moisturized. That’s where the OGX Kukui Oil came in. It’s not a runny oil, it’s like a cream that has made my curls OH-so-soft and has completely eliminated any frizz that I used to have. I keep a small pot of it in my purse for when my ends begin to unravel toward the end of the day, but this stuff is amazing. Honestly. I also use Curls Lavish Curls Moisturizer. It’s like underwear for your hair and really helps my curls stay together through the end of the day. So that’s the bad news. You need all of the products. The good news? You can get them all at Walgreens for really, really great prices. If you are a Shop Your Way Rewards member, you can get them for even better prices, and rack up points so that you get money off on future purchases. More good news is that all of these products will last you a significant amount of time, depending on the coarseness and length of your hair, and they aren’t something that you should have to buy often.
Have the Right Tools
You don’t have to spend a single dime on the right tools for perfect waves. The “right” tools are:
- Your fingers
- An old, soft T-shirt
Honestly, that’s all you need. Throw the combs out, stop using towels on your hair, dispose of the diffuser, and stop being crazy. I’ll explain all this in the next step.
Know Your Routine
- While in the shower, wash your hair as you normally would, then use a thick conditioner. I like OGX Keratin Oil or their Kukui Oil Conditioners, also found at Walgreens. Let the conditioner sit on your hair for a few minutes, then comb the product through your hair with your fingers and gently work through all knots.
- Once you have released all of the knots, and just before exiting the shower, rinse your hair while combing through with your fingers. Turn shower off but stay in there! This part is a little wet and is going to go against any towel drying advice you’ve ever been given. Squeeze any excess water out of your hair. My hair is very porous and coarse so I sometimes have to ring my hair out three or four times. You do want your hair to still be slightly dripping, though.
- Now take your Curls Lavish Curls Moisturizer and spray a quarter-sized amount into your palm. Rub your hands together and work product through your hair. Now squeeze the product into your hair. You should have more water come out of your hair at this point and that’s OK. It’s not a waste of product, you’re simply pressing the product into your hair shaft.
- Take a squirt or five (depending on your hair) of the OGX Kukui Oil, rub it in your palms, then work completely through your hair, focusing on your trouble spots. For me, that’s the hair on top and at the very ends. Make sure you’re combing through with your fingers as you do this. Squeeze the product into your hair again like you did in step 3.
- Take a quarter-size amount of Not Your Mother’s Kinky Moves, rub between your hands, and apply evenly throughout your hair.
- Take an old, soft T-shirt and scrunch your hair gently towards your scalp. Why a T-shirt? Because terrycloth towels have pile that cause your hair to separate and frizz. That’s exactly what we’re working against right now. The T-shirt might be soaking wet when you’re done with this step, but your hair will be a whole lot less frizzy, I assure you. Look for any trouble spots and apply a little more product as necessary.
- If you have time, allow your hair to air dry for 30 minutes. Resist the urge to run your hands through it or scrunch. This is usually when I put my makeup on, eat breakfast, whatever else it is I do in the morning.
- Use the Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Sea Salt Spray as a finishing spray after hair has had a chance to dry out a little bit. Spray the product all over hair and use your fingers to scrunch your curls one last time. Turn your head over and fluff your curls for a little volume so that they’re not matted to your head, and you’re done!
It seems time-consuming, but it takes less time than it takes me to blow-dry and straighten my hair, it’s healthier to keep your curls flowing, and curls are gorgeous! We always want what we don’t have, right? But do you know how often I get complimented on my hair when I leave it S’wavy/curly? Literally every, single day that I leave my house.
Through August 30th, Walgreens is offering a gift with purchase that allows you to earn a FREE travel-size make-up brush set with any $20 beauty and personal care purchase (excluding baby items). Print your Walgreens Gift with Purchase coupon and run to Walgreens where you can pick up all four of my favorite hair care products!
Now that we’ve moved to the beach, I have no reason to straighten my hair and I’m learning to love my natural curls all over again. I’ve added skin and hair health back into my list of things that are important to me, and I’ve employed Walgreens to my list of places to shop because not only do they have everything I need to keep my hair healthy, they have some great moisturizing products for my skin in the land of the Sun Goddesses. I wear sunscreen every day because of my tattoos and because I have a personal history of skin cancer. My new favorite is Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance Lotion SPF 30. It has a slight shimmer to it so that my skin looks glowing all day while it keeps me protected while I’m out and about in my preferred tank tops. Kyle prefers the Banana Boat Protect & Hydrate SPF 30 because it’s not shimmery, it doesn’t cause him to break out, and it moisturizes his skin with healing aloe.
I think we’ve not only learned a great hair care routine here, we’ve also learned that the secret to good skin and hair health is moisture.
How do you keep your skin & hair healthy all year long?