Repair the Hair

Life Ramblings

I think the Boston wind damaged my hair. Or maybe it was the ten years of blow drying. I also can’t understand why I have split ends the week after I get my hair cut. Either way, I’ve noticed that my ‘underneath’ hair is in bad shape. And since it’s my wedding year and I have an excuse to worry about frivolous things that don’t really matter, I decided to take charge of this hair situation and challenge myself to repair the [underneath] hair:

1.Shampoo. I’ve never been one to spend a lot of money on shampoo – partly because I’ve never had income before now, but mostly because there doesn’t seem to be clear evidence that expensive shampoo is that much better. I’ve asked hair dressers year after year and they all say different things! Some say that the only thing that matters is how shampoo makes your hair feel, while others say the quality of the ingredients is essential. And then there’s the idea that nothing matters as long as it’s sulfate-free! Who really knows, but buying better shampoo for the next six months can’t hurt, right?

I’m trying Aveda’s Damage Remedy, and while it doesn’t leave my hair feeling incredible in the moment, I do feel like it might be doing something long term.

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This TJ’s sulfate free shampoo was also recommended to me, so I’ll give it a try once the Aveda runs out (and it’s like $4).

2. Leave-In Conditioner. Though I’ve tried a few of these over the years, I really can’t stand the residue that most of them leave behind. But, a friend recommend this Unite Conditioner to me, and I LOVE it!!! It detangles instantly, smells wonderful, and seems to make my hair smoother. It’s also pricey, but seems to last months and months.

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3. Deep Conditioner. The same friend who recommend the leave-in, told me about this Wella self-warming mask. I’ve only used it twice now, but it’s so neat! It warms up with the friction of your hands! And seems to leave my hair feeling soft. I think it might decrease volume (not that I have much to begin with) the day that I use it, but I can’t really tell yet.

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4. Heat Damage. I’m a big blow dryer person. While I don’t usually dry all the way, I can’t stand how my hair feels when I air dry. It also makes me freeezing, and since I have to wash every day (or I turn into a brunette of sorts), I’m pretty dependent on the fryer. But, I took some of your advice, and started washing my hair at night a few days a week and using dry shampoo in the morning (after another shower). I still think my hair looks really gross and have to wear it up when I do this, but at least it saves the heat damage 2-3 days/week. PS: the Unite spray above is also a UV and thermal protector.

5. Towel Turban. I switched to a microfiber towel that is apparently less damaging than the big heavy towel sitting on your head and ripping out hairs. I’ve actually had this for a while, and was wearing it right before Matt proposed. Who knows if it helps, but it’s soft and doesn’t weigh my head down when I’m getting dressed:)

6. Silk Pillow Case. I just can’t get into this. Not yet, at least. But I’ve heard it’s great for your hair. Is it wrong that I just want my bedding to match?

Wow, I feel silly for writing so much about hair. But that’s my story.

Do share your hair repair tips please!

  • Lindsay
    November 14, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    I go to the Garden Salon here in Durham and they all swear by reducing the number of times you wash your hair per week. I agree with you, though- even with dry shampoo it still feels greasy. I really love the shampoo by Alterna called Bamboo. It is expensive but I really do see improved results. I think it can be purchased on Amazon or at Ulta.

    • Laura
      November 15, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Some of my friends go there! I think the dry shampoo is as close to less washing as I can get:)

  • cathy
    November 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    what do you mean by underneath hair? do you highlight your hair? I used to and once I stopped I noticed how much healthier it became.

    • Laura
      November 15, 2012 at 10:38 am

      The hair underneath the top layer that grows more from the neck area. It’s much darker and almost a different texture. I’m guilty of using sun-in for years to lighten my hair! I’ve heard it’s really bad so I’m switching to highlights this year – I’m nervous that’s going to be really damaging too though…

      • Megan S @ gourmet or go home
        November 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm

        Sun in!!! I remember that stuff, I totally used to use that! In terms of highlights, I think it really depends on the hair salon and product. I am so happy with the dye my salon uses and have not noticed any damage to my hair the past couple years at all! Ask questions.

        I am a firm firm believer in only really good hair products (obviously I know that is not an option for everyone at every time). Your hair is the only thing you wear every day!

        I am obsessed with Pureology shampoos and conditioners. They feel absurdly expensive but are cheaper on amazon, last forever and make my hair feel so good both in the moment and long term. My advice about expensive products is to see if you can buy a sample size first to see if it’s worth it.

        I use the ‘it’s a 10’ brand leave in conditioner with keratin. If you blow dry so often I’d recommend a leave in with keratin to help protect from the heat. Also a good blow dryer. Different heat sources heat the hair differently. I also let my hair air dry as long as possible whenever I can and then finish with the blow dryer. Less heat = less damage.

        Sorry I rambled so much about hair in the comments f the blog, I just really like hair stuff:)

        • Megan S @ gourmet or go home
          November 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm

          (omg so embarrassed now that I see how long that actually was…)

        • Laura
          November 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm

          I really want to try Pureology!!! Maybe I’ll buy the sample!

          Thanks for all the info:)

  • Stephanie
    November 14, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I think all this advice is really going to depend on each person’s hair type, but I’ve felt that I’ve had to go through a similar regime, myself. I don’t spend much on shampoo, but I use an Argan Oil type conditioner (I’m using a sample that’s lasted forever) that smells like oranges. I leave that on only for a few minutes, then rinse (many have recommended cold water for the conditioner rinse). Afterwards I use either a lotion based Argan Oil product or the actual Moroccan Oil in my wet hair. I have to air dry because my hair is super susceptible to split ends. I usually put it into a bun and it releases into beautiful curls the next morning. I rarely actually use heat to style my hair… maybe once I get it to be healthy I’ll be able to straighten it again.
    I also found out that your brush really matters, as well. I was recommended Maison Pearson brushes, but being $150 I am going to go with the cheaper and just-as-good Denman in their nylon and boar bristles, which are good for thicker/coarser hair. These types of brushes distribute your natural oils through your hair and protect your entire hair strand. A lot of times brushes don’t do this and you end up with dry ends.. which is my problem. I haven’t bought it yet, but will be doing so this week.
    I’m also hoping to find a good shine serum/spray. I used to use Oscar Blandi’s jasmine serum, but it’s pricey… thinking I may just splurge soon.

    • Laura
      November 15, 2012 at 11:17 am

      “Releases into beautiful curls” sounds delightful:) Thanks for the brush rec.! I’ve heard that the brush matters, but didn’t really understand why until now!

  • Sophie
    November 15, 2012 at 6:47 am

    I tried the TJ’s Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner because I have 3 girls and the scent of the Tea Tree is supposed to repel lice (something you don’t need to worry about, but with 3 school-aged children, our family does). In any case, we all loved the conditioner but the shampoo made our scalps itch!

    Then again, no one got lice all winter last year, so we are again using the TJ products this winter!

    Good luck. Your hair is gorgeous — I certainly can’t tell from pictures that it is damaged in any way.

    • Laura
      November 15, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Thanks! Good to know about the Tea Tree Shampoo – I feel like I’m sensative to an ictchy scalp, so I might not try it afterall…

  • Caitlin
    November 15, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Thanks for the great info in this post! I think I might try that Wella mask. Currently I use Morroccan oil after every wash and I love it! It is kind of expensive at $40 for a large bottle, but I use so little each time that the bottle has lasted almost a year. I also have been depating a Keratin treatment, but those come with a hefty price tag.

    • Laura
      November 15, 2012 at 11:12 am

      You’re welcome! Def. get the Wella mask, especially since it’s only $12!

  • Leslie
    November 15, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I know that my curly hair has different needs, but it is true that shampooing less often, as well as shampooing only your roots, is a huge help in saving your hair. The thing is that you basically have to train your hair/scalp to get used to it. It could take a few weeks of feeling kind of yucky before the oil production in your scalp slows down and adjusts to shampooing every two or three days. Sulfate free products are great, as are silicone free conditioners, which weigh the hair down and can create a greasy feeling. If you feel like your scalp needs a good scrub, try using some coarse sugar, like sugar in the raw. Finally, keeping healthy fats and proteins in your diet, especially in the dry winter months, is key. Sorry for the novel, I clearly think about hair way too much! šŸ™‚

    • Laura
      November 15, 2012 at 11:20 am

      I hear ya, but I just can’t stand the grease! I actually tried to train my scalp when I was abroad one summer, and just couldn’t stand it after 2 or 3 weeks. Thanks for the sugar rec.! Avocado and nuts are staples in my diet, but I don’t so as well with protein:)

  • lynn
    November 15, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I think you and I have the same texture hair (blonde, fine but a lot of hair). I love Nexxus Diamatress body shampoo, then when my hair is semi-dry I use very sparingly Nexxus serum Y a leave-in spray serum that produces amazing looking hair. These products really don’t repair hair though and i’m not sure anything does except trims and less processing. Your hair looks pretty on your recent pics though.

    • Laura
      November 15, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Thanks:) It’s mostly the underneath part that gets gross. I want to try that serum!!!!

  • Liz
    November 15, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I swear by the Organix brand Moroccan Argan Oil shampoo and conditioner. I’m a hair dryer and I also use a flatiron (so bad!!!!) on my fine hair, and this stuff leaves it feeling and smelling amazing. And it’s not expensive!

    • Laura
      November 15, 2012 at 11:06 am

      I tried that in Dallas! I liked it overall, but it felt sticky when I was blow-drying…I might give it another try!

  • Vivien
    November 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I love the pro naturals moroccan argan oil line for repair, it made my hair look gorgeous!

    • Laura
      November 15, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      I get confused by all the oils! The oil is the same, but the products made with the oil are all different, right?

  • Pamela
    November 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    It is expensive, BUT, my hair was also pretty destroyed by heat styling, so I bit the bullet and got a Keratin treatment that defrizzes/straightens the hair and it lasts 5-6 months. It is amazing because it keeps my hair really soft but also really straight so I don’t have to do any of the heat styling I was doing daily, literally daily, for years (literally years). Anyway, it is an initial splurge, but I really am happy with it, and the amount of time I save in the morning is worth the price (mine was 250 bucks and it takes about 3 hours in the salon). It’s another option!

    • Laura
      November 15, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      My hair is super straight already, but that does sound worth it! My friend got one and loved it too!

  • Alexis
    November 15, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I use Aveda’s Scalp Benefits Shampoo and Damage Remedy Conditioner. Before I started using it, my scalp got really itchy and too much of my hair started falling out (stress!). I think you have the most beautiful hair though so keep doing what you are doing! šŸ™‚

    • Laura
      November 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      Wow, thank you:)

  • Elizabeth
    November 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    You should try Birchbox (; it is only $10 a month and they send you skin/hair/makeup samples. I like it because (1) the products are great for traveling, (2) it lets me try out alot of products, and (3) once you give feedback on the samples, you get Birchbox points (100 points = $10 on!

    • Laura
      November 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      I’ve read about that on Kat’s blog (Tenaciously Yours) and wanted to try it!

  • Melissa
    November 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I use the unite leave in conditioner and LOVE IT! I have also been using Therma-Fuse products for the past year and a half and my hair has never been healthier. I have natural curl and normally flat iron at least 5-6 days a week. The Therma Fuse stuff is designed to be used with the flat irons and blow drying and strengthens your hair at the same time. Its not cheap. But its worth it, and the product lasts forever. A little bit goes a long way!

    Good luck

    • Laura
      November 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Sounds like a good investment!

  • Jennifer L
    November 17, 2012 at 2:12 am

    The only hair repair trick I’ve really learned…. is using Kerastase. I think I’ve tried everything and nothing ever seemed like it changed my hair much. I always read of celebs using it to repair their hair after a movie, but it’s so expensive. It really is worth it, for me anyway! But the price still hurts šŸ™

    A trick for the dry shampoo…. I put it on my hair before I go to bed! It seems to work better for me than applying it in the morning. I still wear it up like you, but it looks cleaner (just not shiny like a real shampoo).

    • Laura
      November 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Great tip! I’ll try that next week.

  • Monique
    November 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    thank you for the tips, I also use pro natural moroccan argan oil which has helped me a lot to repair my hair. šŸ™‚

  • Katie
    November 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I want to add one more point to the less shampooing argument. Let me first say that a year ago, I washed my hair every other day or everyday – without exception. Today, I probably shampoo and condition twice per week. First, my hair/scalp has definitely gotten used to this and that process probably only took a month or so. I have tried a zillion dry shampoos and while some of them were OK, they still left lots of extra product on my hair. Which is fine for day two, but I don’t want 4 days worth of product buildup on day 4 – see what I’m saying? I don’t remember where I got this advice, but I use baby powder on unwashed hair with great success. I just sprinkle some powder on my hands – rub it together and run it through my hair (sometimes reapply by section) with my hair flipped upside down. Now, this won’t give additional volume, like a dry shampoo would. However, it does take away any greasiness, etc. and doesn’t leave that goopy product feel. It’s worth a try – trust me. And, it’s super cheap! šŸ™‚

    • Laura
      November 20, 2012 at 7:59 am

      I actually tried baby powder way back when and it did do a good job! I’ve never tried your application technique though and I bet flipping and adding the powder and brushing helps distribute it better – I usually just spray the top! Thanks for the advice:)

  • Katie
    November 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    One step I forgot to add – be sure to brush your hair, a few minutes after the powder application. This gives the baby powder a chance to soak up the oils and your sort of brush it out/redistribute. Good luck!

  • Katie Cummings
    November 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    I totally feel you on the needing your pillow cases to match your bedding, I would suggest looking for a complimentary color (especially as you’re probably registering for bedding?) For example, I have white sheets, and a tropical quilt, so my pillow cases are bright blue. I wouldn’t want an awkward color but I think during the holidays you can probably find a decent silk pillow sheet set in a color that will compliment your room.

    • Laura
      December 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Thats a good point!