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Looking after long hair

(31 Posts)
BsshBossh Sun 24-Mar-13 16:48:38

I'm over 40 now and the quality of my long hair is getting worse - straggly, dry, thinner, but I don't want to cut it yet as the length really suits me. I need to nurture it better - condition it more, take hair vitamins (do they actally work???), get more regular trims.

What do you do to look after your hair and scalp? How can I improve the health of my hair and scalp?

Technoprisoners Sun 24-Mar-13 17:09:57

How often do you colour it? That's the single biggest factor, I think. If you use permanent colours, can you give your hair a break with semi colours now and then? And, laying off the hairdryer etc whenever you can. Kerastase do a gorgeous night-time masque which smells lovely. Chop as much off the ends as you can bear. Massage scalp often. Take small handfuls of hair and tug gently to stimulate growth.

BsshBossh Sun 24-Mar-13 18:18:25

I colour it every 8 weeks as I'm very grey and not yet ready to celebrate it. It would show through semi-permanent. And I use hair dryer most days so will stop that a bit (easy to do as I work from home). But your tips are fantastic. Is the night masque greasy - would I need to sleep with a towel on the pillow?

VBisme Sun 24-Mar-13 18:22:56

Lanza Keratin healing oil, used as a mask once a week, (wash off in the morning, yes, definitely use a towel). Stay away from the hairdryer / straighteners when possible.

MrsBertMacklin Sun 24-Mar-13 18:38:33

What do you use to detangle your hair? If not already doing so, using a plastic wide-toothed comb to detangle when wet really helps me keep my hair from snagging, comb starting from the bottom up to prevent knots.

A good quality hairbrush will stimulate your scalp and distribute oils from your scalp to the ends of your hair.

Don't twiddle or play with it. I'm a nightmare for doing this while watching TV, hence 99% of my hair being in fantastic condition and the bits within reach of my hands being split and straggly.

Do an exfoliation treatment on your scalp once a month: soft brown sugar and olive oil is nice.

MumOfAPickle Sun 24-Mar-13 18:45:00

I've had great success with that morrocon oil stuff. Got a little bottle from the hairdressers & I use it on damp, combed through hair before I blow dry and I have to say it's been great. Hair is noticeably shinier than if I forget to put it on and it seems in nicer condition then it's been in ages. The bottle was £14 and is tiny but it's lasted 9 months. I only wash/dry my hair every other day though which I think also helps.

NuzzleandScratch Sun 24-Mar-13 18:47:21

Oh my goodness, DO NOT tug on chunks of your hair, it will not make it grow, that's ridiculous! I'll come back later with some advice, I'm a hair specialist, but couldn't let that one go!

BsshBossh Sun 24-Mar-13 18:50:40

Great tips, thanks all. Nuzzle, will wait expectantly.

TeamEdward Sun 24-Mar-13 18:55:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QuietNinjaTardis Sun 24-Mar-13 19:02:34

I use miracle oil (bought from aldi for a couple of quid!) after washing and conditioning. Comb it through before blow drying. My hair is so soft, I love it. Only prob is I'm running out and aldi don't have it at the mo so don't know what to get next!

Iwantmybed Sun 24-Mar-13 19:08:06

Same as Teamedward, shampoo the roots only and condition away from the roots. I also use extraordinary oil from loreal with a tangle teezer. I try to dry naturally but usually blast it then leave and maybe a quick straighten.

BsshBossh Sun 24-Mar-13 19:45:59

Right, will buy hair oil tomorrow. Don't know why I didn't think of that as I'm originally from India and all my family there oil their (lustrous, silky) hair <doh!>

Snowcatliveshere Sun 24-Mar-13 19:52:06

Same here re hair getting dryer /straggly but want to keep longer (am actually growing it) also colour every 4 weeks. I have layed off my ghd's and am in love with my new babyliss big hair. Also take perfectil / treat regularly with ojon treatment and the best - vo5 hot oil treatment which I have used for years and years. Yesterday in desperation I tried olive oil as per a demo on u tube and was totally amazed - couldn't do it often but fab for an emergency. My hair is now the best it's been since in years.

Snowcatliveshere Sun 24-Mar-13 19:53:59


BsshBossh Sun 24-Mar-13 19:57:40

Will try Perfectil, thanks. My diet is, generally, pretty good. Aside from a bit of excema on my hands, my facial skin is quite radiant and no wrinkles yet (at nearly 43). But are there any foods you all swear by?

NuzzleandScratch Sun 24-Mar-13 20:20:40

Ok, I'm back!

There are really two aspects to this, the internal (diet) and the external (hair care etc).

Where diet is concerned, the most important food group for hair is protein, as hair is made up mostly of a type of protein called keratin. You need a good intake of the essential amino acids in order for the body to produce a good quality, strong hair, that will be less liable to break. The best source is first class protein (meat, poultry, fish & eggs), but vegetarian alternative such as beans, pulses, lentils & tofu are good too. You should aim for 2 portions per day. Red meat is an excellent source of readily absorbable vitamin B12 and iron, which are essential nutrients for optimum hair growth, so try to eat this once a week.

You should try not to go longer than 4 hours without food, as the hair follicle will start to become depleted of nutrients after this time. Hair cells are the second fastest dividing cells in the body (after bone marrow), so their demand for energy is extremely high, hence a poor diet will often be reflected in the hair.

With regard to supplements, my short answer would be don't waste your money. When people come to see me in practice, I often recommend blood tests, and where deficiencies show up, specific supplementation may be recommended. Otherwise, the best thing is to aim for a healthy, balanced diet, unless there are obvious exclusions from the diet.

Remember that changes to your diet can only affect the new hair growth, as once the hair has emerged from the scalp, it's dead. Hair only grows half an inch per month, so sadly it will take a while to see the results of these changes!

Now to the external. Unless your hair is in absolutely dreadful condition to the point of snapping off, I would say you are fine to continue to use colour. The psychological side is important too here, if you do not want to be grey! You just have to make sure you take extra care of your hair to counteract the inevitable drying effect of the colouring process. The advice up-thread to use conditioning masks and oils is good, as well as a nice moisturising conditioner after every shampoo. Always just have the regrowth coloured, so you are not colouring on top of colour.

In terms of washing, it is fine to wash your hair every day! It is a total myth that this is a bad thing. As long as you are using a shampoo that is sufficiently gentle, no damage will occur. Never pile the lengths of long hair up on top of your head to shampoo, as this can lead to tangles & matting. Just let the suds run down the lengths. As mentioned above, condition only the mid lengths & ends, as the hair may look lank if you condition right up to the roots. Ensure the conditioner reaches all your hair, sometimes a comb can be helpful to ensure an even spread before rinsing.

Always use a comb rather than a brush when the hair is wet, as the hair is much more vulnerable to damage when wet. You should ensure your comb is saw cut, rather than made in a mould in 2 pieces (check between the teeth, if you can see a join, this is bad!). As mentioned above, start near the ends and gradually comb from higher up.

Now to drying. Blow drying is actually not too bad for the hair, providing the setting is not too hot & not held too close. However, by far the more damaging element is the tools used. NEVER use a bristle brush! These are the worst thing for your hair, they will tear it apart. Use a brush with plastic prongs. Also to note here, a brush will not stimulate the scalp or distribute oils, these are also myths. If you leave your hair to get very greasy, you will find this has no bearing on your dry ends! The oils do not travel down the hair shaft. Scalp massage will also not stimulate growth, as hair loss/thinning is not caused by a lack of blood flow (this was debunked about 100 years ago!).

Lastly, don't use hair straighteners. They are the single worst thing you can use on your hair, and I have seen dreadful damage to people's hair from their use. They are often viewed as not much different to using a hairdryer, but they are much hotter, are in direct contact with the hair, & there is the added friction of dragging them over your hair. The key to achieving long hair is keeping it in good condition, and this will be far less likely if straighteners are used.

Obviously the ideal is to leave the hair to dry naturally, but many people either don't find this practical, or don't like the look of their hair when dried this way. Certainly if you can do it occasionally, it would be good.

With regard to trims, only have enough trimmed to remove any obvious breakage/spilt ends. If you leave bad spilt ends, they may continue to spilt further up the hair.

The only aspect of your op I can't comment on is where you mention your hair is thinner. There can be so many reasons for this, I couldn't comment without seeing someone in person. However, I hope you might find some of the above useful.

ihatethecold Sun 24-Mar-13 20:46:45

Great advice nuzzle.
Can I ask you something?

I have long,thick very dark hair. It's in good condition but I'm getting long grey hairs in it now. Have done for about a year and I pluck them out when they stick up.
I keep toying with putting on a colour that will last about 6 weeks. Not a permanent colour.
I'm put off because my hair is long and it's such a palaver. My question is, should I pay more for the hairdresser to do it or just do it at home?
Which brand is the least damaging to hair? If I buy one from the shops to do myself.
I really don't want to ruin the condition of my hair

BsshBossh Sun 24-Mar-13 21:24:24

Fantastically useful, and from an expert too smile Thank you (and to everyone on this thread). I have an actionplan now.

NuzzleandScratch Sun 24-Mar-13 22:08:00

Happy to help! grin

Ihatethecold , I always suggest people get colour in a salon, much better to be in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing. Just because colours are sold for home use, doesn't mean they don't have the potential to cause harm. I wouldn't really name a brand, as formulations change all the time anyway. The best thing is to go to a salon personally recommended by someone who goes there.

ihatethecold Mon 25-Mar-13 06:38:49

Thanks nuzzle.

ihatethecold Mon 25-Mar-13 06:41:25

I also use hair oil. Biolage or l'oreal.
My tip for long hair is to put it on before you shampoo.
It makes my hair silky.

I also use the biolage shampoo and conditioner and my hair is in much better condition. I get it off the Internet and its about £15 for both. The bottles are a good size and you don't need much product on your hair so the bottles last me about 4 months.

AgathaF Mon 25-Mar-13 08:36:50

I recommend using henna to cover grey (obviously not practical if your hair is blond!), rather than the normal hair dyes. I started using it about 18 months ago, and it's made a definite improvement to my hair.

Lottapianos Mon 25-Mar-13 09:18:50

Nuzzle, could you recommend any natural or chemical products for my extremely dry, frizz prone, tangled ends, naturally curly hair? Thanks

ihatethecold Mon 25-Mar-13 09:51:39

does it cover your grey hair properly agatha?
how often do you have to put it on?

AgathaF Mon 25-Mar-13 10:29:37

ihatethecold - it does cover grey pretty well. I use the Lush henna, and mix 2 blocks of marron with one block of noir, which I have found gives me the best coverage and my hair is a sort of dark red colour. I do it about every 4 weeks, the same as I used to do 'normal' hair dye, but I think it actually lasts better. Somehow, the regrowth is not as obvious and harsh looking as it used to be.

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