A lot of people ask me about how I keep my hair long and healthy, which is kind of funny since I am so incredibly lazy when it comes to any kind of beauty routine at all. Every time I get my hair cut, the hairstylist always freaks out over how healthy my hair is, and wants to know what I’m doing to keep it that way. The truth is, I do very little. Almost nothing. I think it’s partially my “laziness” that keeps my hair soft, shiny, and healthy. Just like with exercise, when it comes to hair care & styling, more is not always better.
Here’s a general rundown of how I take care of my hair & a few tips on how to get your own best hair; switch over to some of these minimalist habits and you’ll likely not only find that your locks are healthier, but also that you have saved yourself a lot of time and money, as well.
I only wash my hair every 3-5 days.
I used to wash my hair every single day. Sometimes twice a day; it’s hard not to want to after a good sweaty HIIT workout, you know? But a few years ago, we got so busy with work & moving into our new house that I ended up going without washing my hair for days at a time. At first, it was hard not to keep washing incessantly because initially my hair felt “dirty” or greasy by day 2. Quickly though - within a month of only washing it every 4-5 days - my hair stopped feeling heavy or greasy, until around day 5. After a month or two of dropping the frequency of washing my hair (I still use shampoo & conditioner), I realized that it felt much more soft, supple, and healthy. I kept the habit of washing my hair less frequently & my hair has never felt better. As a bonus, I’ve saved myself a ton of time & money on shampoo & conditioner. Even if you’re leery, I encourage you to try this; just give it a month or two for your hair to adjust.
I never use any styling products.
Shampoo & conditioner are all that I use on my hair. I never use hair spray or gel. I hate the way it makes my hair feel and many of the ingredients in products are drying and abrasive, so I skip any kind of styling product completely. Yes, this is arguably easier with some hair types than others, but like I’ll argue below (see: grass is always greener), there’s beauty in embracing what nature gave you.
I never dye my hair.
I know it looks like I do - the sun bleaches out parts of my hair and makes it look like I have either highlights or perpetual grow-out, depending on how much sun I’ve had. I think that a big part of my hair being healthy is the fact that I never color it. If you love coloring your hair, try to be mindful of the ingredients and methods in the products you use.
I eat for a healthy body.
When your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, your hair is more likely to thrive as well. Eat a nutrient dense, minimally processed diet and your outward appearance will benefit as well as your internal health.
I exercise regularly.
Aside from being a significant factor in maintaining a healthy bodyweight, minimizing chances of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, being the most effective and safest way to cope with depression, exercise can also be a factor in keeping your hair healthy and lustrous. Keep in mind that this is yet another instance where balance is key; smart amounts of exercise will keep your body, and thus your hair, healthy. However, these are things that can absolutely be “overdone”. Excessive exercise can actually contribute to hair loss, which is just another reason to practice moderation. In short, you can’t abuse your hair, or your body, and expect good results.
The grass is always greener; letting your hair do it’s own thing
We’re groomed to want what we don’t have - it creates consumers. But the truth is, constantly lathering in chemicals for texture or color changes, and daily styling with heat will do a number on your tresses. What about just working with what we’ve got? Letting our hair do it’s thing? Natural hair - whatever that might look like on each of us - is beautiful. Your natural hair is your own; own it. Our hair, like many other things our bodies take care of best without our interruption, knows what it’s doing. Try to leave it alone more often, let it do what it wants instead of continually trying to alter it into something that it isn’t, and it will thrive. Even if you don’t do this all the time, working more “okay hair, do what you want” days into your life will inevitably make for healthier hair (and you’ll save time & money).
Drink lots of water.
I drink a ton of water - at least a gallon every day. I don’t set goals or track my water intake - I just try to drink enough to feel good, which varies each day, depending on whether or not I exercise, the temperature where I’m at, how much sodium I’ve eaten, etc. There is no magic number of ounces that applies to all of us; instead aim for your urine to be either clear - be aware that you can also overhydrate - or light yellow.
Steer clear of severe diets, yo-yo dieting & fad diets.
All of the above are harsh on your health, and your hair.
Mane needing some extra love? Put food on it!
There are so many easily accessible & dirt cheap food items that you can make a mask or leave-in out of that it’s ridiculous - there’s bound to be one that works for your hair type. Here are a few to try (don’t be surprised if it takes some experimentation to find something that works for you);
- Coconut oil - I use this one because it's unrefined, cold pressed, organic & fair trade. It also smells great. Warm & melt a small amount in your hands & run through hair (especially dry ends) after a wash, or for a deep conditioning, apply generously to the ends of your hair or anywhere you feel the hair needs a little moisture - for an hour or overnight.
- Castor oil - same instructions as coconut oil. I use this one; sometimes blend it with the coconut butter to make it less thick/easier to run through hair.
- Olive oil - same instructions as coconut oil
- Mayonnaise - I know it sounds gross but it makes for some seriously shiny, moisturized hair. Work through hair and let sit for 15-20 minutes before washing & conditioning as normal.
There are a ton of food masks and remedies for hair; avocado, egg, apple cider vinegar (for cleansing), etc, etc - I have yet to try many of them but the internet is full of people who have worked various food through their manes and come out very happy with the outcome. All I’m saying is, do some research and you might find a clean ingredient, super cheap, almost-magic hair serum in your own kitchen. Let me know if you're interested & I may write more on this later.
When you do use product, check the ingredients.
I’m lazy but I’m not arguing against ever doing anything to your hair. It can be fun to mix things up with a totally different/unnatural-to-your-natural hairstyle. The good news is that the industry is starting to change; lots of companies are coming out with products that are made of natural ingredients. This is very good news; the more the industry moves to more natural ingredients, the better for our health & our hair.
Take styling shortcuts where possible.
I style my hair as lazily as humanly possible, which reduces damage; I hate blow drying my hair, so I often try to time my washes with a day where I can just let my hair air dry. Sometimes I like a little wave or curl in my hair; in the picture above, I have run a straightening iron through only 5-7 locks of hair (to curl) throughout my head, and then let it eventually bully “wave” into the rest of my hair over the next few hours, which means that I have minimized the amount of overall heat exposure to my hair. There are lots of ways to apply this to your own beauty routine; if you see a short cut that minimizes the heat/styling you have to apply to your hair, take it.
Disclaimer: I realize that I only have one type of hair and I am not a hairdresser or specialist of any kind, so I have NO experience with any other type of hair. I also have plenty of "bad hair days". This is just my personal routine & experience. With that said, I think that all types of hair benefit from not being beaten into submission via heat, chemicals, or brutal constant styling.
This is not a typical Fitness Blender article - we usually don’t cover beauty topics. However, I started to get tired of all of the endless ads telling people (especially women) all of the garbage that they “need” to look and feel good. It seems that the beauty industry is a lot like the fitness industry; full of crap (for lack of a better word) that you don’t need.
I ultimately decided to cover some topics of this nature because we put these products on our bodies, and many of the commercial products out there are full of ingredients that you’re likely better off without. This is especially apparent (and a little spooky) when you think of the accumulative effect of wearing these things day in, day out, over the course of years. I’m not try to be a fear monger (I actually try not to worry too much about these things because stressing out over every little thing is arguably as unhealthy as covering yourself in chemicals daily) - but, the truth is that natural ingredients & lazier minimalist habits work better anyways!
What are your thoughts? Would you like to see an equivalent article on skin care (spoiler; it’s equally lazy)? Do you have any tips of your own that you’re willing to share? Tell me in the comments below.