How I care for my waist-length hair: A simple, natural hair care routine for healthy long hair.
I often get asked about my natural hair care routine and how I grew my hair to waist length without it suffering from damage, breakage, or dry, split ends.
My hair care routine is super simple and completely natural. No special, expensive hair care products needed in my natural long hair regimen: All I use is a natural shampoo and a few oils.
My Hair Care Routine for Healthy Long Hair
I have thick, coarse, straight hair between waist-length and hip-length. I try and wash my hair only two to three times a week, when it looks oily, and not over wash it as it can dry out my scalp leading to dandruff and also cause damage to my hair, leading to brittle, dry hair and split ends.
However, if my hair starts to look greasy after two or three days, I either braid my hair, use a dry shampoo or wash my hair a little more that week.
Oil Treatments for Healthy Long Hair
Before I wash my hair, I massage my scalp with a natural vegetable oil. Rosemary-infused olive oil has been my favourite these past few months, but I also love applying a coconut oil hair mask or a natural hair growth serum that I’ve made myself. Applying oil to the scalp helps to promote hair growth, prevents premature greying (though I’ve still gone grey early thanks to genetics), and makes hair soft and glossy.
Coconut Oil Hair Mask
If I’m using coconut oil, I’ll usually apply it to my hair as a hair mask. I apply this hair mask one to two times a week, and have found it to be one of the biggest game changers in what has kept my hair strong, healthy and nourished while it’s grown to this length over these past two years. Throughout this time, I haven’t had it cut once, so I was wary that split ends would be a problem, but since using this hair mask, my hair has maintained its strength so much more, and brittle, split ends haven’t been something I’ve needed to worry about!
I apply the coconut oil onto my hair by massaging it onto my scalp and the roots of my hair, then comb it through to coat each strand of hair evenly and make it to the ends of my hair, helping to prevent split ends. From there, I allow it to soak in and work its magic for three hours. After the allotted time, I’ll wash it out with shampoo and warm water (it takes a couple of washes to completely remove the oil from my hair). Please note that coconut oil can clog your drain, so if this is a problem, I would probably avoid using it on your hair. Olive oil, jojoba oil or sesame oil are other great options in place of coconut oil.
I’ll usually apply the rosemary oil onto my hair the night before I plan on washing my hair, or one hour before I wash my hair, massaging the oil into my scalp well and coating my hair in it.
When applying the rosemary-infused oil treatment onto my hair, I’ll begin by parting my hair at the top of my head and apply a drop or two of the oil with my fingertips or a dropper bottle. I’ll then make another part about half an inch or so parallel to the first and apply another drop of oil. I continue to do this all over my scalp, then massage the oil into my skin using small, circular motions for a minute or so. I then use a wide tooth comb to work the oil from my scalp to the ends of my hair, then I tie my hair up into a loose bun for one or two hours.
How I Wash My Hair
I usually wash my hair using a natural shampoo bar by Ethique specified for oily hair. Sometimes, I’ll wash my hair with a homemade shampoo if I have some on hand or if I’m in the mood to make a batch up.
I wash my hair in the shower, shampooing only the roots and massaging my scalp well to remove any oils and impurities before rinsing. I wash my hair with warm water to start, then cold to lukewarm water to finish. After rinsing, I squeeze out any excess water with my hands, then I tie my hair loosely up in a towel to dry; I never rub my hair dry with a towel to prevent damage and breakage.
I haven’t used a blow dryer in years, nor any form of heat treatment on my hair for that matter, such as a hair straightener or curler. This has made all the difference in keeping my hair strong, healthy and lush.
I prefer to air dry my hair. Having never enjoyed the process of blow drying my hair, I’ve always preferred letting my hair air dry naturally on its own. Because I have long, thick hair, blow drying took ages, and I was always left with frizzy hair afterwards. When I let my hair air dry, it’s so much softer and glossier. Plus, I can use the time that would have been spent drying my hair for something else!
How I Detangle My Hair
It takes some time to let thick, long hair air dry naturally, so to pass the time, I’ll usually cook, blog, relax, read a book, or do whatever takes my interest at the time. Once it’s initially dried a little in the towel, I take it out and leave my hair down or tie it up into a loose bun. On a hot summer’s day, it takes around three hours to dry, while on a cool winter’s day it usually takes longer.
I never comb my hair while it’s still wet to avoid hair damage and breakage, and I avoid using a brush to detangle my hair. Instead, after air drying my hair, I use a clean, wide tooth comb. I use a wooden comb to detangle my hair, and to keep my hair clean for longer, I wash the comb when I wash my hair, using a little natural castile soap and water to wash the comb.
How I Manage Split Ends
While split ends are inevitable when growing hair really long, I have found that applying a natural hair serum for split ends onto the ends of my hair regularly to be helpful in minimising the effects of split ends, and keep my hair looking healthy and strong even at the bottoms.
The hair serum I use specifically targets dry ends, helping to re-hydrate and revitalise damaged hair. To apply the serum onto the ends of my hair, I’ll place a couple of drops onto the palm of my hand and use my fingertips to smooth the oil from the middle to the ends of wet or dry hair. The oil can also be used for a scalp massage; simply rub a few drops between your fingertips and massage it into the roots of your hair. To finish, apply some of the oil to the ends of hair to seal split ends. If you have dry hair, let the oil soak in overnight, otherwise you can wash it out after one to two hours.
How to Tie Up Long Hair to Avoid Damage
Traction alopecia is a form of hair loss that can be brought on from always tying hair back too tight, leading to a receding hair line and overall hair loss. To avoid this, I try and wear my hair in loose braids, a low ponytail or bun, or simply out and au naturel.
I never tie my hair up too tight, particularly at night. I’ll usually wear my hair in braids, out, or in a low ponytail or bun. I wear my hair loosely and usually only use hair scrunchies to tie my hair up to avoid breakage and damage to my hair overtime.
Any bands with metal on them are likely to catch on hair, while tight elastics can leave hair dented and can snag. Instead, choosing hair ties made from fabric will help prevent dents or kinks in your hair. I usually use hair scrunchies made from organic fabrics like hemp or cotton to tie my hair, as they’re softer and less damaging. If I do choose to use hair ties, I’ll use these plastic-free hair ties made from 100 percent organic cotton. They’re free from elastic and metal bands, and are strong enough to hold thick hair, yet soft enough to not pull or make creases.
My favourite way to tie my hair of late has been in soft, loose braids, so I don’t need to tie my hair up tight or with strong elastic bands to hold it in place for the day.
I will keep this post updated if I change and improve my hair care routine. Thank you so much for following along.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. I am not a doctor. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, recipes or tips mentioned in this post.
What’s your hair care routine like? What products do you use? Share in the comments below.
Lots of love,