Welcome to the Art for Hair Blog!

We love creating hand-crafted hair sticks, hair forks and matching jewelry to show off the beauty of long hair! Our blog features our designs, different ways to put long hair up, as well as how to care for and grow long hair and features on other Etsy craftspeople.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Washing long hair

Given how slowly hair grows, the ends of long hair are years old, and will inevitably accumulate some damage. Long hair therefore needs special care to protect it and prevent further damage. If you have short hair, damage is constantly trimmed away, so health of the hair is not so much of a concern. Although a simple regimen of shampoo and conditioner may work well, many with long hair find that their hair really benefits from something different.

Long hair often benefits from dilution of shampoo. The detergents in most shampoos do do some damage to hair, so dilution makes the shampoo much more gentle on your hair. There are also concerns about the effect of certain chemicals on the body, for example some may contribute to cancer, so decreasing your exposure is good. Try diluting your shampoo with a little water - it'll still lather, and you'll probably find that your hair actually looks better for it. I have also found that diluting shampoo with honey gives good results. Honey dissolves in water, so it's not hard to wash out of hair. It is a humectant, holding water, so helps keep your hair hydrated. A 50:50 shampoo:honey dilution makes my hair soft and shiny, with more 'body'.

Everyone's hair reacts to different regimens differently, and when trying something different, a short period of adjustment is generally required, so try to commit to at least a couple of weeks trying something different before you decide if it's for you or not. Remember, you can always mix and match the different methods once you learn about how your hair reacts - for example, you could do conditioner only with the odd shampooing if that's what suits your hair.

Condition, wash, condition
This is fairly similar to the familiar shampoo and condition, but pays more attention to conditioning the ends of the hair. First, apply conditioner to the lengths of your hair, from your ears down. Then apply a little shampoo to your head, and wash from your ears up. This hair is really the main part of your hair which gets 'dirty' and oily, and the conditioner should be sufficient to cleanse the ends. The surfactants in shampoo do damage hair, so it's better to keep it away from the ends of your hair, which are important to protect as they will have more years of accumulated damage. Gently massage your head with the shampoo and rinse. Finally, apply conditioner to all your hair. This method should help protect your delicate ends much more than simply shampoo-conditioner only.

Conditioner only
This method uses only conditioner. Most conditioners contain mild detergents so they can be easily rinsed out, and these are generally enough to clean your hair too. Apply a generous amount of conditioner to your wet hair as soon as you get in the shower, then leave it on your hair for a few minutes while you get on with whatever else you need to do in the shower. When you are otherwise ready to get out of the shower, rinse out the conditioner. You may need to experiment with different conditioners to see which suits your hair. Blondes may find that conditioner only makes hair darker, so regular shampooings may be necessary.

Help, my hair hates conditioner!
Sometimes, conditioner just seems to make hair lank and dull. This could be because it is the wrong conditioner for your hair, so experiment with different ones before ruling conditioner out (we'll be writing soon about ingredients in shampoo and conditioner). However, some people find that their hair just does not like conditioner. If you decide to just use shampoo on your hair, try to dilute it, as described above, as preventing damage is even more important if a conditioner is not used. A quick, simple way to condition hair without conditioner is to use a honey rinse. Dissolve a little honey (try half a teaspoon initially) in a cup of water, pour over your hair and leave it on. You'll probably need to experiment with the concentration of honey (too much will make your hair 'crunchy' - just shampoo again and it will be removed), but it should make your hair soft and shiny. We'll be writing more about other, natural conditioning methods soon.


Parallax Photo said...

Nice tips. I'd never heard of using honey

Walk in the Woods said...

Wow - nice info! I *do* use honey in my hair . . . and on my face . . . and on my whole body! It is a wonderful humectant!