Good Hair

I’ve been getting a lot of positive comments on my hair around the office lately. Which is weird because I’m trying to grow it and I haven’t had a hair cut since June.  As far as I can tell, my hair is a hot mess. Every day I can look forward to a new awkward phase of growth.

I do, however, have to admit my hair is in really good condition. Even though I haven’t had a trim in about six months, I don’t have any split ends, it’s very shiny and it’s so soft that sometimes (and by sometimes, I mean often) I find myself running my fingers adoringly through it. Seriously, it is like silk. So maybe what people are noticing is the healthiness.

A few people have gone so far as to ask me what my “secret” is. I have none. I do three things to look after my hair, and, assuming a similar cultural DNA, these three things will give you great hair, too.

I stopped dying my hair.
This is the number one key to healthy, shiny hair. It was really hard to grow out my dye job, but between the ridiculous amount of money I save on salon visits, and the overall condition of my hair, it was really worth it. Plus, here’s something the beauty industry doesn’t want you do know. Natural hair has natural highlights! And your hair will actually change colour from season to season.

I know what you’re going to say.

“Leslie, I can’t stop dying my hair. Look at all these grays!” Yes, I have heard this before, usually accompanied by the woman bending down before me to reveal all the gray hair in her part and prove what an insane idea this is. Maybe she’ll even say something like, “You don’t have ANY gray hair, of COURSE you don’t have to dye your hair.”

Let me tell you something, this is B.S. I have a lot of gray hair, too. And of COURSE you have it. By the time you get to my age, you SHOULD have gray hair. You have loved. You have lost people through death, falling out, or laziness. You have kids, or you lost a kid, or you choose not to have a kid and therefore have to tolerate everyone asking you when you’re going to have a kid. These are good reasons to have gray hair. Own it!

For awhile, in the early days of my adjustment to natural hair, I pulled most the gray hairs out. Eventually I decided I had to leave some for authenticity. Now, I am genuinely trying to embrace my gray hairs.  But the trouble is, gray hairs are often wonky, so I have a rule: If a gray hair comes in and it’s the same or similar texture to the rest of my hair, it can stay. If it’s in any way kinky, curly, coarse, or whatever, I pick it out. Try again, follicle.

I stopped washing my hair every day.
My hair stylist wants me to shampoo only every three days but I can’t do it – it’s disgusting. I can’t stand the smell of my hair on the third day. I gather there are some fancy new dry shampoos on the market that would help me get through the third day, but I don’t think they’re worth it. Shampooing every other day has improved my hair health and doesn’t require me to spend extra dollars (which I think are better spent on skin care, in light of my age) on another hair product. My hair is nicest if I can coordinate shampooing with the day I go to the pool, but it’s not an exact science. If life dictates I need to wash my hair two days in a row, fine, I’m not going to go mental about it. Bottom line: Shampoo less often.

I use Moroccan Oil.
Recently I saw something on the news about the miraculous properties of argan oil. It’s the fountain of youth, they said. The cost of argan oil is akin to that of gold due to the fact that the argan tree grows only in a small area and extracting it is a huge pain in the ass.  Upon hearing the price, I said, out loud to myself, the TV and the cat: What kind of a moron would spend that much money on a hair product??

The news clip went on to explain that argan oil is marketed under the brand name Moroccan Oil, and I then died of exasperation because *I* am the kind of moron who spends that much money on a hair product – and I didn’t even know it was argan oil, argh! The day I returned from Cuba, I decided to get a hair cut.  Our flight was several hours late getting in and I didn’t get to bed until 6am. When I woke up, I really needed to write that article for spacing, but I was all screwed up from being awake all night and eating dinner on the plane at 3am (seriously) and I couldn’t get focused. I figured getting my hair fixed was at least productive while not being too taxing on my addled brain. Long story short, if you go to the salon with your defences down like this, you are going to get upsold on product. I left with the Moroccan Oil.

The good news is, because you don’t have to use very much, a bottle of Moroccan Oil lasts a really long time. I’ve been using the same bottle since early March and still have about a quarter left to go. I only have to distribute a dime-sized amount on my hair every other day (on wash day). So, yes the initial outlay (around $40, in Toronto) is a crime, but the actual per use cost isn’t bad. Also, for the love of God, don’t waste anything left on your hands after you put it in your hair, rub it on your elbows or legs – it’s excellent moisturizer.

There you have it. Go forth and make your hair healthy, while I try to recover from the shame of writing such a long post about my hair.

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