I'm back. Sorry for the wait.
I get so many people saying to me "Don't you dare ever cut your hair". So I am still up on the chop off idea but it certainly has become a lot of work time-wise. But I do like some of the benefits too. Okay here is some of what I do.
After all the trial and error in the beginning I seem to have found the right products and technique for my hair. I keep about 8 jars and bottles of various conditioners (plus flax seed oil spray) in my shower. I rotate products all the time never using the same ones for long. I instinctively know when my hair needs protein or not, oil or not, something light or something heavy, just by how it feels when wet.
My hair had way too much protein in the beginning (very stiff dry hair) so I cut out the protein completely for about 6-8 months or more....until I found out I did need protein (limp hair) but not all the time. My hair loves silk protein, less likes wheat protein, doesn't mind keratin. I also did a lot of home made DT's, way less now.
No silicones for me. I used to do my hair twice a week, but now with this length I end up waiting a bit longer, I do get at least three great hair days and a couple of so-so hair days each time. With the length I can easily do various up-dos when it is less than perfect.
I co-wash mostly with a very basic low-cost conditioner (it has coconut oil in it, kinda like Suave)- takes about a half a bottle but it only costs 1 Euro a bottle, but I have others I use that are a bit more expensive in my rotation and sometimes I combine them. Once in a while, like twice a year I do shampoo my hair with Neutrogina shampoo for mineral build-up since my water is so hard. I ALWAYS mix it in about a cup of water first, this is so it does not touch my hair in an undiluted form, for more even distribution plus I am able to use less and get the same results. I do oil the ends first, but often the reason I use shampoo is because my hair is so oiled and gucked-up in the first place (like at the seaside during the summer). I tried the so called more gentle shampoos containing coco betaine etc, but my hair hated it - it felt like fiber glass! I don't use shampoo bars because of my hard water....unless I want dull hair, which I don't!
I then wide tooth comb my hair with the co-wash conditioner under running water which helps the hair slide down, sometimes using a goody ouchless brush that does not snag my hair - it slides off the knots if they are big and does not snap hair and sometimes I have to add more conditioner on the way. By the time I am done detangling my hair is thoroughly rinsed out. I then use a more consistent conditioner, sometimes with protein, sometimes an acid balance mask with protein, sometimes something heavier that has oil in it but no protein. I leave that on while I do other things that need doing. :-) Then rinse out well.
Sometimes I'll add a bit of light conditioner as a leave in on the canopy, sometimes I finish with an AC rinse (haven't done that lately - think I will try it again) and sometimes I put a few drops of flax seed oil (which my hair LOVES) in my palms, and rub the ends with it. One final rinse and I am ready to get out of the shower sopping dripping wet. No towel drying or blotting for me.
Sleeping and oils:
I use satin pillow cases and do a loose pineapple on the top of my head, knot the length around in a very loose bun and clip it in place with a claw clip. In the beginning I would often do a big oiling the day before cleansing. I haven't been doing that anymore. My hair likes most oils, but loves shea butter, flax seed oil and when I finally tried olive oil (it's a food
for me in my mind
) it love it. Coconut oil is fine, jojoba is totally out and not good. I can tell if my hair likes one oil or the other if it feels softened, if it feels stiff or comes out oily looking then it does not like it IMO. But I rotate oils in any case - once again! And mostly use them in the Summer or seaside vacations.
Next time I will write about trims, summer and the pool/sea and the styling routine - and whatever else you might inquire about. :-)
Hope this helps someone. And have a lovely day!