My mom isn't exactly a beauty guru, but she has taught me a few things over the years that have stuck with me. Thing number one: STAY OUT OF THE SUN! Thing number two: COVER YOURSELF WHILE YOU'RE IN THE SUN! Skip the next twenty or so sun-related things on the list and you'll find a slew of haircare and grooming tips, many of which I still use. Today I thought I'd share some of the most useful things she taught me over the years, plus a few I picked up on my own—if I had a daughter I'd share them with her, but since I don't, I'm cool with letting my sisters (and brothers) on the internet in on my tips and tricks.
MOM TIP #1: IT'S BEST TO DYE OVER DIRTY HAIR.
I've been dying my hair on and off since the tender age of twelve. My older sister actually helped me out the first time—add one trip away from home to visit her in Connecticut to one box of drugstore "blonde" dye and what do you get? Hair that's barely lighter than your natural dirty blonde color! (Note: I discovered later that you need bleach to go really blonde. Just FYI.) Surprisingly enough my mom didn't seem to mind—not sure she would have felt the same way if I'd come with purple hair instead of a different shade of brown, but once that happened, natural-looking box dye was suddenly okay. The next time I dyed my hair at home my mom told me to wait at least 24 hours after washing my hair—advice I still follow to this day. Some folks say that dye "sticks better" to dirty hair, but the real reason is that your scalp natural oils protect it from getting irritated by the dye—and those oils get washed away when you suds up with shampoo. I think 90% of the times I've dyed my hair in my life I ended up doing it on a Sunday evening—nobody's judging me if I don't wash my hair all weekend long!
|My mom, picking ribbon out of my hair. I'm sure this was unsolicited.|
MOM TIP #2: GIVE YOUR HAIRBRUSH A BATH PERIODICALLY.
I'm guessing most of you wash your hair on the regular, but what about your hairbrush? Even if you clean the excess hair out of the bristles every day, dust and oil can build up in there. I remember my mom washing her brushes with baby shampoo when I was a kid, so when I was older I started to do the same. The type of cleaning method you use depends on the material the brush is made of—for plastic and synthetic "hair" brushes, I just give them a soak in baby shampoo or dish soap then scrub and rinse. For copper bristle brushes, dipping the bristles in a mixture of lemon juice and water and then drying with a soft rag does the trick nicely. For wood or natural animal hair brushes refer to the manufacturer's instructions—they may require more delicate care.
MOM TIP #3: GET REGULAR HAIRCUTS.
I'll admit that as an adult I'm not as good about this as I should be, but it's still good advice: Get regular haircuts to keep hair nice and easy to brush! It seems that split ends are sort of inevitable (at least for me), so trimming them off regularly helps keep my hair from turning into a terrible, impossible-to-brush mess.
Fun fact: My mom took me to get regular haircuts from the same guy for over a decade. Dude also pierced my ears when I was nine. And helped my dad get some fake hair to use in a play. There's something to be said for loyalty!
MOM TIP #4: GIVE YOURSELF REGULAR SCALP MASSAGES.
For the longest time I wondered why my mom would creepily rub her scalp whilst watching television—turns out she was giving herself scalp massages. You know, multi-tasking. Scalp massage is helps increase circulation on your head, which is beneficial for your hair follicles and stress relief! Guess what she was doing wasn't so crazy after all. If you don't want to use your fingers, you can purchase a scalp massager made of wire—but personally I find that a hairbrush made with copper bristles (like Goody Clean Radiance) does the trick really well.
MOM TIP #5: DON'T PULL YOUR PONYTAIL OR HAIR CLIPS TOO TIGHT.
Whenever I pull my hair back into a ponytail I have the urge to pull it as tight as I can so it stays out of my face, but after getting a small bald spot from pulling too hard (and years of lecturing from my mom) I learned not to do that. Turns out wearing your hair pulled too tightly over an extended period can lead to hair loss or patchiness—the correct term for this is Traction Alopecia. You don't want it, so be gentle when pulling your hair back and use soft elastics meant for hair. No rubber bands from the supermarket allowed, guys.
Those are some things I learned from watching or listening to my mom—now let me tell you a few things I've picked up myself over the years that are worthy of passing on.
REBECCA TIP #1: CHOOSE THE RIGHT HAIRBRUSH FOR YOUR HAIR TYPE.
I have very, very tangle-prone hair. For a long time I couldn't figure out how to remove knots without ripping half of it out... turns out that the tiny, round brush I was using were a terrible match for my long, wavy hair. A paddle brush is a safe everyday choice for most hair types, and especially good for detangling—at last, my haircare match! Lately I've been using Goody's new Clean Radiance paddle brush, which is really cool because it has copper bristles. Why copper? Copper bristles reduce natural buildup produced over time, which in turn leaves hair looking healthier and shinier.* They're also spaced out nicely, which helps evenly distribute your scalp's natural oils.
REBECCA TIP #2: YOU CAN (AND SOMETIMES SHOULD) USE OIL ON FINE HAIR.
Now here's one that goes against my mother's advice: For years she told me I should never use oil treatments on my hair because it's too fine and the oil would weigh it down. I think that's good advice for someone with an oily scalp, but if you're prone to dry flakies, a little bit of oil can actually do you a world of good. The trick is to use only a couple of drops, and to use a light oil—my personal favorite is camellia. I apply it only to my scalp and the very ends of my hair, which makes it feel moisturized, not greasy.
REBECCA TIP #3: LEAVE BLEACHING TO THE PROFESSIONALS.
This is another one that will probably seem obvious to many of you, but in case any of you are considering bleaching your hair at home, I'll throw this out there: Don't. Well, don't unless you really know what you're doing. I had years of experience dyeing my own hair and even mixing my own color, but lifting color is a different thing entirely. Through trial and error I learned how to do it properly, but not before frying my hair, of course.
That's me as a blonde. Mmm, crispy. The moral of the story is that if you dye your hair a weird color you can usually fix it, but once hair is fried by bleach, it stayed fried until it grows out or gets chopped off. Don't fry your precious locks.
REBECCA TIP #4: SILK OR SATIN PILLOWCASES ARE GREAT FOR FRIZZ AND TANGLE-PRONE HAIR.
A while back I decided to try sleeping on a satin pillowcase because someone told me it would prevent me from waking up with weird-looking face wrinkles. Turns out, they're also great from preventing your hair from balling up into a rats' nest of tangles as you toss and turn in the night! If you have issues with frizz or tangling, definitely consider picking one up.
REBECCA TIP #5: DON'T WASH YOUR HAIR EVERYDAY.
This is another one for the ladies and gents with dry scalp problems. If you have fine hair it can be tempting to lather up your hair every day, but a lot of shampoos are essentially detergent—too much too often can dry your scalp out. My hair looks and feels much better if I wash it every other day—I just add a touch of dry shampoo if it's looking a tad greasy.
The next time you're at Walmart, don't forget to look in the haircare aisle for the new Goody Clean Radiance brushes! You can also purchase them online.
What do you think of my mom's haircare tips? Do you have any pieces of advice you'd pass on to your kids or little sisters? Let me know in the comments!
*Results based on consumer usage and perception study. #CleanRadiance