This is one looooooong post but bare with me! If you do, you will be rewarded with ummmm sexy hair! Woo hoo! Oh and I promise to never do a post this long again!
So you wanna grow your hair huh? You want it thick, shiny and lustrous so all the boys swoon and all the girls tap you on your shoulder and say, “Oooh I love your hair, it’s so shiny, it’s so long, it’s so gorgeous and healthy looking! You’re gorgeous!” (You get the picture.)
Well over the years it’s safe to say I have become a little hair obsessed. I have pretty much researched scrupulously to find out the exact method needed to look like Rapunzel’s twin sister, or in my case Rapunzel’s Jamaican, Spanish, welsh and German half-sister????
I will say everyone’s capability to grow their hair to a certain length is different. So if you’ve never had long hair that finished just above your butt at some stage in your life you probably never will. You have to be realistic; we’re looking to attain the best possible results that your own hair can achieve. So by the end of this your hair will be in the best possible condition it’s ever been in your life!
My Hair Journey
(Skip this if you’re not bothered about my own personal journey and just scroll straight down to My 6 step rescue programme.)
It all started when I was a kid growing up in Lytham, which is a predominately white small town up north near Manchester. My mum didn’t really know what to do with my hair and neither did the hairdressers. I remember once I went to the salon to have blonde highlights like all my white friends, I ended up looking like I had bits of blonde straw extensions clipped into my hair. I didn’t know anything about moisturising or treatments back then. Then in my mid-teens I discovered relaxer and although my Mum was sceptical about me having it done I begged her to let me douse my hair in chemicals to flatten it and basically make me look like all the other kids. From then on relaxing my hair became a regular thing every few months or so until the fatal moment happened that changed everything.
It was my 18th birthday and I went to have my hair relaxed by a local hairdresser called Stuart (Ladies and Gentleman for the record Stuart was and probably still is a prick!) After I had the treatment done my head was stinging slightly and I thought my hair felt lighter than usual. Well, later on that evening I was in our local nightclub and the girl from the salon who had assisted Stuart came up to me apologising profusely (I think she was also abit pissed) saying, “I’m so, sooooo sorrrrrrrrrrry, Stuart put extra strength relaxer on your hair, then he left it on for too long as he forgot about you and when I was washing it out I had to stuff your hair into a plastic bag so you wouldn’t see, as it was falling out!” At this point I completely LOST. MY. SHIT.
After that my hair started to fall out at the back, not so I was completely bald but basically it became really thin. At the time my hair was halfway down my back, I was devastated. My Mum and I researched and found a different hair salon in Preston who thankfully specialised in mixed race hair. The hair stylist was shocked with what she saw when I went to see her. She had to cut all my hair into a bob and I cried like a baby throughout the whole experience. I’m still traumatised by that experience today. Really I should have sued Stuart but I believe in Karma so hopefully by now he’s got his. Yes, yes I know I should really forgive and all that but if you ask any woman (well 95% of women) I think they would agree with me that when it comes to our hair DO NOT MESS WITH US!
After that I carried on relaxing my hair and when I turned 20 I moved to London.
So my hair was now still in a bob, it just didn’t seem to want to grow, I was still relaxing my hair not realising the damage I was causing and to add to that I then discovered hair extensions. Great idea Bex lets ruin your hair even more! I had them glued in, Ugh!! After a while I tried having them sewn in too, (Yep I had a WEAVE! Not a full head of weave but like 5 or 6 tracks sewn in to plates in my hair)
My hair was suffering, it was dead. My hair was just basically the host for relaxer and extensions, bad extensions too!! I looked like the poor man’s version of Beyonce! I was in a bad hair cycle I couldn’t seem to rid myself of. I knew the extensions were bad for my hair but my hair was so short and in such limp condition I couldn’t see a life without them.
Anyway on a random visit to a new hairdresser, can’t remember exactly what for? Oh yes wait that’s right I used to highlight my hair too! Arggghhhhhhh!!
So just so we’re straight I was relaxing my hair, bleaching it and putting extensions in it. My hair hated me and I hated my hair.
The lady took one look at my hair and said, “Umm why do you relax your hair, your mixed race and you’re curls aren’t even tight, there’s really no need for you to do it, you need to stop with this bleaching too as all your hair will fall out if you carry on doing it and who did these extensions, you are killing your hair No, no, noooooo! I am going to help you, let’s save your hair!”
I was dumfounded, all these years of putting crap on my hair and for what!!?? Cha!
She told me to go away and have all my extensions removed then come back and see her. On my return she gave my hair a much needed trim put a treatment on my hair and suggested treatments for me at home. She told me to go away and grow the relaxer out of my hair; I gave her a look like I was a lost, confused and bewildered puppy and walked out of the hair salon with my frizzy hair-line. At first the withdrawals from having no relaxer in my hair were hard. I imagined I was walking around London with a ‘Don King’ hair line.
A friend recommended clip in hair extensions which I wore for about two years until I thought my hair was at a sufficient length to go without. Boob length to you and I! I did miss the volume extensions gave me but I did find my own hair grew thicker and stronger over time. Also I may still pop in one row at the very bottom of my hair to this day if I’m going somewhere fancy and dressing up to the nines. It just adds that bit of extra volume so why the hell not?
So if anyone reading this has experienced something similar to myself, just know your hair WILL eventually grow if you take care of it. Quit the relaxer or all the harsh bleach, and stop with the glue in extensions. They’re destroying your hair! I know some women who now have actual BALD PATCHES from wearing extensions all the time. Stop it all now. Buy some clip in hair extensions if you’re really scared of walking around with short hair for the time being and start saving your hair today!!
My 6 Step rescue programme
This programme obviously won’t work over night so this is to be spread over a 3- month period.
Nothing worth having ever comes easily but if you’re willing to commit, break old, bad hair habits and turn over a new leaf you will not regret it.
So mark the day you want to start this into your diary and watch yourself slowly fall back in love with you hair.
This programme is suitable for all hair types whether your mixed race like myself, black, Asian, white or Chinese.
Before we start anything, take a picture of your hair one from the front and get someone else to take one from the back. Before and after baby! Always worth it to see the end results.
So you’ve taken the pictures of your hair, front and back. First things first, lets get to the root of the problem, Why are you here? If its any of the below reasons I can help I promise!
A) You’ve had a bad dying or bleaching experience and your hair now resembles straw and you look like the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, You came to the right place.
B) If your hair is dry, brittle and breaking off, I feel you bruhhh, I’ve been there! Read on!
C) Your hair is thin, weak and lifeless
D) You want your damn hair to just grow!
E) If it’s all of the above, Oh sweet child don’t despair Imma get you back your hair! (Said in a South Carolina accent only) I know, I’m not normal.
Ok go to Holland and Barrett’s, if you’re from the States Wal-Mart? Or just look online and buy two products called Biotin and MSM. Make sure you buy the one that has the highest micrograms. I bought the one pictured below which contains 1000mcg and I take two pills daily.
Biotin is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids. If you start taking Biotin, hair growth can be restored and grow much thicker and healthier over time . It has been noted in several experiments that men and women on biotin supplements have had better hair growth, an increase in hair density and some have even regained their natural hair colour!
MSM also known as Methysufonylmethane is a naturally occurring sulfur contained in most of the food we eat but through processing and cooking etc most of the sulfurs effectiveness dramatically decreases, thats why leaving hair issues aside this is actually an extremely beneficial supplement to take as MSM helps strengthen our joints and also helps with conditions that cause swelling, inflammation and pain in the body. As a side affect they found that MSM can also increase the length of our hair growing cycle.
Our hair grows in three phases
- Anagen (Growth phase)
- Catagen (resting phase)
- Telogan (Shedding phase)
Through studies they’ve found that by taking MSM supplements it can dramatically increase the length of your hairs growth phase therefore giving you longer hair, now if thats not a reason to start taking this then I don’t know what is!
*****UPDATE August 2013******
Ok I have to add one more amazingly epic supplement to this section.
Since this post went live I’ve been overwhelmed by the emails and lovely comments from young girls and women of all ages who just like myself have been through or who are currently going through their version of hair hell. The two supplements I mentioned above I still 100% stand by as I myself and friends I’ve suggested these to have seen the results but I also received 7 or 8 emails from girls who had heard horror stories about Biotin giving them break outs and one girl mentioned MSM making her feel slightly bloated.
I hate to be one of those annoying people who say, “Ooooh did you have that issue? Weird I didn’t.” With Biotin for me personally it didn’t cause me to have break outs, I didn’t experience bloating from MSM either but when I asked around my friend said she did but she worked round it, now she just takes one MSM capsule in the evening ( instead of one in the morning and one in the evening) and that seems to have done the trick. As soon as she saw how fast her eyebrows were growing she couldn’t give up that MSM so easily ha! I did and still do get the odd small pimple on my forehead and maybe this is because of Biotin but it’s not enough to make me stop taking it, but I completely feel you if you’re freaking out because you have sensitive skin and you have enough shit to deal with on top of having afew unwanted friends popping up all over your face!
For this ladies I give you…
Now I’ve known about silica and it’s affects for hair growth for along time but it wasn’t until recently after researching, reading comment forms and through general word of mouth that I realized holy shit this stuff is Gold dust and whats more it’s the perfect replacement for Biotin if you don’t feel your skin would be able to handle it. On the other hand if Biotin doesn’t seem to effect your skin you could take Silica alongside this. Also, ALSO!!! Not only is Silica beneficial for the hair it’s also benefits your skin. I didn’t realise that Silica helps rejuvenate the collagen in your system so by taking this supplement it can actually reduce the signs of ageing and also clears up acne prone skin!! I mean how have I not been taking this supplement all my life!!?? If you need anymore evidence regarding the benefits of silica you should check out comment forums here and here.
The most popular choice of brand seems to be the hubner brand which is pictured above, you can purchase it here but to be honest silica is silica so I’m sure whichever brand you purchase and whether you take it in a gel form or a pill form you’ll be able to reap the benefits! Another great brand is Solgar you can purchase their pill supplement here As you can imagine even though my hair is finally healthy I have now incorporated Silica into my regime, I’m sorry but with the added skin benefits how could I not! Oh and if you’re just as obsessed as I am when it comes to finding out as much information as possible when it comes to supplement consumption find out more about this wonderous stuff here
One last thing remember guys these products will only show real results for your hair after about 3 to 4 months so stock up, then put it to the back of your mind as otherwise you’ll be 1 month in screeching this shit doesn’t work when the supplements haven’t had a chance to work their magic. Start incorporating them into your lifestyle now and see where your hair is 6 months from now and for those of you thinking whaaaaa six months!!!! Relax the time is going to pass anyway so you may aswell let it pass knowing you’re feeding your hair all the goodness and nutrients it deserves!
I’m going to have to ask you to do something hard now,I appreciate for some of you this may seem like I’m asking you to cut off your arm but TRUST me from experience my hair grew like weeds when I stopped using these things.
You have to ditch your hair straighteners!!!
I have a friend whose hair has been in a bob for over six years and never grown. She desperately wanted her hair to just grow and she could see her new hair growth coming through at the roots but for some reason her length just stayed the same.
She stayed at my house one evening and the next morning I saw her hair routine. She got up in the morning and sectioned all her hair and went through it all with burning hot hair straighteners, then she popped them in her handbag to use them after work when we were all meeting for dinner. She told me she did this practically everyday.
I cannot express how BAD these things are for your hair! The reason her hair wasn’t growing was because the straighteners were burning her hair to such an extent that her hair was breaking at the ends on a daily basis. Only small little pieces were breaking off so she didn’t notice the damage she was causing.
If you are truly addicted to these things then at least try and cut it down to just once, yes just ONCE a week. Hair straighteners should only really be used for special occasions. I can guarantee you will see your hair grow as soon as you stop using these things.
If you really cannot stand your own natural hair then maybe try popping rollers in and sitting under a hooded dryer and blow out your hair that way. If giving up your straighteners seems too hard you have to ask yourself how badly you want your hair to grow and get back into great condition. You have to look at the long-term goal, which is amazing, bouncy hair. So for now you have to accept when you wake up in the mornings your hair may look like this…
What state is your hair in?
Does it need trimming or do you need to cut at least two inches of dead hair off your length?
Some of us are deluding ourselves by saying, “Ohh yeah my hair is long!” when really the last two or three inches are split beyond belief, wispy and straggly. TRUST MEEEEEE it does not look good. The bad hair test never lies. If you stand infront of a mirror with your back turned away from it and hold a hand held mirror in your hand, look at the back of your hair through the reflection of your hand mirror. If you look closely at your hair as soon as you start seeing gaps through your hair and stringy hair towards the end, that’s when your hair has decided to do the split ends rain dance. Your hair will never grow thick and healthy because the split ends will just continue to travel upwards into your new hair so your hair will forever remain stringy and crap. Life sucks. You can fool yourself by scooping all your hair over one shoulder and admiring your length (I know that trick, you can’t fool me) but the brutal truth is, if someone is walking behind you and your hair is looking thin and wispy towards the end ITS GOTTA GO!
I will say after the big chop as some may call it. I only ever cut my hair at least twice a year, some would say that’s bad but for me it works and added with treatments and maintaining my hair that’s when I’ve noticed real hair growth.
Make an appointment with your hairdresser and get her/him to cut off all the split, dead ends, whatever is necessary. If your hair is in really, really bad condition and you don’t want to cut all your hair off so you look like a boy to get to the healthy section at least just cut off as much as you feel you can. Leaving severely damaged hair on your head will only continue to damage your new hair that grows.
(If your hair is NOT brittle weak or in bad condition and you just want it to grow quicker you can skip this part)
Everyone’s hair needs a healthy balance of protein and moisture But first, if your hair is really damaged you need to build the protein back up in your hair. Our hair is made up of 98% protein (which is called keratin) and 2% water so the more of it in the hair the healthier it will be. Simples.
Nexxus Emergencee Restorative Strength Conditioning Treatment 3.3 Ounce buy here
This product really helped me, as instructed I used it once a week for six to eight weeks. You basically have to shampoo your hair first (Make sure all shampoo from now on is sulphate-free I will explain abit more about that in a later step) then pop this on your hair for 3 minutes, well it says 3 minutes but nearly everyone I know who’s used this always leaves it on for longer. I left it on for 20 minutes with my hair wrapped in cling-film (sexy!!) – the things we do to look good!
The product will harden once it’s applied to your hair. Then after the 20 minutes is up, it suggests you rinse your hair with shampoo once more as this product has such a high level of protein in it, sometimes too much added protein can be harmful to your hair. From personal experience if your hair is on its last legs I wouldn’t bother washing it out with shampoo the very first time you use it.
Next you need to rebalance the protein/ moisture elements in your hair so as soon as you have rinsed the Nexxus Emergencee out of your hair. You must then apply a silky moisturising conditioner to soften and hydrate the hair. There’s so many out there to choose from but i’d recommend one of the ones below..
L’Oreal EverCreme deep nourishing mask
For a drugstore product this stuff is amazing. It smells lush, and leaves the hair feeling unbelievably soft and silky without making the hair feel too heavy like some deep conditioners do.
So it’s been two weeks now and you should have been using your Nexxus Emergencee treatment once a week followed with a deep conditioner to balance it out.
You need to now concentrate on your scalp. It makes sense really. Think of your hair like a flower growing in the soil. Imagine if you planted a flower in soil mixed with cement, and abit of gunge which was clogging up the nutrients it needed to grow, well the same thing applies to your hair. It wouldn’t grow into a beautiful flower no matter how much you watered it.
Healthy scalp = healthy hair
The Michael John Salon in Mayfair is currently doing an amazing treatment by Nioxin’s which is priced at £45.00 you can call them to book an appointment here
Nioxin’s Scalp Renew Dermabrasion treatment removes dead skin and impurities from the scalp. The recommended use is every 30 to 45 days for the first 3 times and every 6 months there after. You just don’t realise how much your hair is unable to grow by your scalp being clogged up by excess product and general dirt! Eww!
The treatment is split into three sections:
- Step 1 Cleanse Removes sebum dirt and dead skin cells from the scalp.
- Step 2 Optimise The hair is conditioned to strengthen against further damage.
- Step 3 Treat Increases the blood circulation to your scalp which encourages growth
If you’re on a budget The Philip Kingsley Stimulating Scalp Mask which retails at about £5:25 here is a close alternative. It’s an intensive treatment, designed for thinning hair and is formulated with vitamins and minerals to help improve the long-term health of your scalp. Aiming to improve hair growth, texture and behavior. Use this once a week in conjunction with using your other products.
So by now your hair has regained strength from your treatments. It’s basking in the benefits of not having burning hot straightening irons on it every day, your Biotin pills are going down nicely contributing to strong and healthy hair growth and now your scalp is super duper cleansed and clean and ready to grow amazingly, strong healthy hair.
Every other night I always spray some water on the very ends of my hair, (believe it or not but water is the BEST moisturiser for your hair) then I add a tiny bit of pure virgin organic coconut oil on the very tips of my hair to seal in the moisture the water just provided. Don’t just add coconut oil to the ends of your hair if the ends are dry, as coconut oil like any oil is not a moisturiser it just seals in any moisture you already have. So if its just added to dry ends it will just prevent those ends from receiving any moisture so ALWAYS make sure you wet hair first then use the oil to seal the moisture in.
Remember we are trying to maintain the length here hence doing every mother frunking thing we can so the hair doesn’t break off at the very ends. Doing this really helps, by the morning your hair has soaked up all the moisture and therefore prevented it from breaking Yeah!!!!! I strongly suggest you start to do this too, if your hair seems to be still slightly weak at the very ends.
If you wash your hair every other day or every day eeeek! Here are some great shampoo and conditioners to use to maintain balance and moisture in your hair.
Now some people do something called co-washing which is where you stop using shampoo all together and just wash your hair with conditioner. Then maybe once a month you use a soft but cleansing shampoo to cleanse your scalp.
For me personally I don’t think this is a good idea. Although I’m mixed race and my hair has curls it’s still quite European and doing this just left my hair greasy and now I know the importance of having a cleansed scalp this didn’t seem to make sense, but if it works for you great.
I think if you just stick to sulphate-free shampoo’s you should be fine.
A sulphate is a salt of sulphuric acid. With shampoo, two particular sulphates are commonly used: sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES)
Sulphate is put into shampoo to make it foam and lather. But the damage it does to your hair is worth having shampoo’s without it! Sulphate strips your hair which over time can make hair limp and dry. If your hair is suffering its worth buying shampoo’s without this stuff in it. Plus there are loads to choose from in the market nowadays check out the one’s below…
Oh and don’t think the companies don’t try and put this stuff in your conditioner too! Seriously what the hell are they trying to do to us!
Check out the list below for some great sulphate-free conditioners currently in rotation in my bathroom.
One great DIY at home treatment
Coconut oil is one of the most effective natural conditioners out there; the benefits of this stuff for the hair are endless. Its combats dandruff encourages hair regrowth and helps to rebuild damaged hair.
You have to make sure you buy the 100% pure unrefined virgin coconut oil without any added preservatives to really reap the benefits from it. When you buy coconut oil it will usually come in a solid white form. Once the oil warms it then obviously turns into liquid form. You can find it anywhere online. I buy mine from Holland and Barrett here.
To use as a treatment at home, make sure your hair is damp and then part all your hair into sections. Then rub the coconut oil into your scalp and then apply it evenly to the rest of your hair, making sure the very ends of your hair are covered too. Do this section by section until your entire scalp and hair is covered in the oil. Then you can either wrap your hair with cling-film and then wrap your head in a towel and leave it on for as long as possible, at least an hour. Or if you can leave it on overnight then wash it out in the morning. Your hair will feel unbelievably soft after this treatment. It is actually the best and the cheapest hair treatment I have ever used and many of my friends who I have suggested should try this have said the same.
So, your three months is up! How you feeling? How’s the hair looking?
Make sure you take a front and back hair picture at the end of your 6 Step 3-month programme to compare the results. (I swear I feel like a probation officer every time I type 3-month programme!)
I can honestly GUARANTEE by the time your three months are up you’ll be flipping your hair here there and everywhere and posing at yourself in the mirror telling yourself “You’re worth it” Just like the L’Oreal ladies do! Hell you might even lick the mirror you’re looking at with sheer glee!
Oh and if you managed to reach the very end of this post, you’re still reading? Amazing! I’m so sorry this was so ridiculously long!!! Apologies for writing a flipping essay but this is a subject so close to my heart I wanted to make sure I told you everything that helped me and to make sure it could help you too!
Keep going with this, I’d say I did all of the above for a solid 6 to 7 months and now I just take one of the supplements daily just to maintain the healthiness and strength in my hair. I rotate but at the moment I’m taking one silica supplement a day. Also no matter what, if your hair is prone to breakage and feeling dry always make sure you give yourself a weekly deep conditioning hair treatment at home or if you can afford it at a salon fancy pants!
So good luck with your hair journey and say goodbye to limp hair and anything else that may be limp in your life for that matter! Ahem.