Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Red (and long) hair care

As you probably know, I've got red hair. Long, thick, red hair. It's difficult to manage at times - but it's worth it. I've been a redhead more often than not for about 6 years. Every time I consider cutting/dying my hair another way, I'm very quickly told off!

So, I'm asked pretty often (and often by complete strangers) how I manage to deal with my hair. Well, this is how!

1. I only wash my hair once a week.

Ok, this sounds gross, I know. But red is a notoriously difficult colour to keep, and the colour fades very easily. I wash  it with either Aussie Colour Mate Shampoo or Herbal Essences Ignite My Colour, then squeeze out the excess water before using conditioner from the same ranges. After rinsing, I blast the cold water (good for closing your pores too!) so it shines. Only occasionally do I use any other product, if I feel my hair is needing a pep up, I'll use either leave in conditioner or olive oil as a hair mask. In between washes, I use dry shampoo, usually Batiste, although I'm looking at trying new brands to mix it up a little :D

2. I dye my hair every 5-6 weeks. 

I've recently went back to basics, and started using Ion products from Salon Services (aka Sally's). I personally use 006 Red Performance Colour with Ion Creme Developer, either 9% (30vol) or 12% (40vol) if I want to go even brighter! In between dye jobs, I also use Directions temp colour in a mix of Poppy Red and Pillar Box Red to keep the colour looking fresh without adding more bleach. Before I started back on Ion, I was using Schwarzkopf Live Color - and frankly, it were shit. I got into the habit of buying it because it was cheap and always on special offer. As I need two boxes for my mane, I got used to picking it up. Newsflash though - it's cheap and always on special offer because, I repeat - it's shit. It weakened my hair and was NEVER even remotely close to the colour on the box. Don't get me wrong, if you have great success with Live, fair enough, but for me - it were shit.

3. Especially for long hair, it's important to trim it regularly.

I've not had my hair cut in a while, and it shows. With such thick hair, it's important for me to cut some layers into it to make it more manageable. When your hair is long, it's a false economy to not cut it. Everyone, no matter how diligently they keep their hair will get split ends and the longer you have them, the further up they go. I had a REALLY bad haircut from an inexperienced hairdresser that caused horrible split ends and when I had my hair rescued after two weeks of putting up with it, the hairdresser had to take another two and a half inches off! Goodbye long hair, for a while :(

4. Use heat protection when using heated hair tools.

Should be a non brainer really, but so many people use hair dryer, tongs, heated rollers and straighteners without protecting their follicles first. After taking every care with the previous steps, it makes sense to follow through and not undo all that hard work! I spritz my hair with heat protection spray (personal favourite is VO5 Tame & Shine) before I blow dry my hair, then a little more if I straighten it. Blow drying, I try to leave my hair as longer as possible before turning the dryer on, so I don't need to use it too long. I always finish with a blast of cold hair if I'm not using the straighteners later, to seal. Pretty much the same theory as the cold water trick. When I straighten my hair, I first go through the length of my hair, missing the roots and tips at first, then when I've done that, go from root to tip quickly.

5. Don't be tempted to overdo it on the hairspray/mousse/whatevs.

Your standing at the mirror. Your hair is gleaming, bright and perfect. So you want to keep it *just* the way it is, right? Don't grab the hairspray and start spraying til you can't anymore. Hair products have come on leaps and bounds in recent years, but that doesn't mean you don't have to be careful in it's application. With hairspray, don't spray direct on to the hair. Instead, spray above your head and let the mist fall and settle on your hair. A few short bursts should set your look. With mousse or curling serum, the trick is to use a small amount and rake through your hair, gently squeezing, then use tongs to create your curls. With shine serum, I use a teeny tiny amount, rubbing it over my hands, and focus on the tips of my hair before using the flat of my hand to smooth it over where light naturally hits my hair.

Go forth,and enjoy your hair!

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