The topic of long hair care has fascinated me recently, so I now look more carefully at my own. By now I have collected quite a few tools used to detangle, comb, oil and clean my hair. So I want to share an excerpt of my “hair toolkit” and routines today.
Update: This post is several years old by now and quite a few things changed in my hair care. (Also my hair got much longer and healthier in the meantime.) If you are interested in how my long hair care changed, let me know in the comments!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Detangling, brushing, “mechanical cleaning”
The Tangle Teezer
I´ve been reading about it many many times on the internet before I actually stumbled upon it randomly in a local drugstore one day and instantly bought it: the Tangle Teezer*. I have thick, curly and easily tangling hair, so I never enjoyed brushing. Even with the most careful approach, I ended up getting stuck. I damaged my hair and had to brutally “unknot” it.
Now with the Tangle Teezer?
Obviously, it still takes some time and care to detangle. Nevertheless, I manage so much easier and it is so so so much less painful! (And I also found a super easy way to go back to a really clean Tangle Teezer after using it!)
Sure, plastic is not the most hair friendly material. And yet no other brush has given me this comfortable way of ordering my curls so far.
Normally I use it shortly before the next wash. As you might know, brushing destroys curls and leaves the hair fluffed up. So after brushing, I have to braid or bun it up, no more loose flying mane!
The dust comb
A quite new, but already much-appreciated tool in my long hair care tool collection is a Hercules Sagemann* dust comb. Believe it or not, your hair gets dusty, especially if you have thicker hair. Daily washing is not recommended and in my case also really not helping in letting the hair look better. (It’s soo dry!)
So I am trying to make the interval between hair washes longer and longer. Nevertheless, I want to clean my hair in between, just not with water, but mechanically.
Here is where the dust comb* comes into play. It has very fine rows of teeth. Those help to get out dust, dandruff and everything else the hair might have collected. It also distributes the sebum along your hair. No, this is not disgusting! It is actually the perfect mix of oils etc for the dry lengths of the hair.
Combining the different combs
Naturally, the comb is not able to brush my hair all by itself. I have to do a thorough session with the Tangle Teezer before. But after those two rounds of first detangling and then combing my hair feels awesome! Clean, sleek, silky. (Because I am naturally curly I will still look like an exploded pillow, but the feeling…!)
Long hair care: Putting the mane away
As I wrote earlier, I can only wear my hair open and flying shortly after washing and before brushing – not the longest period. So most of the time it is in a braid or a bun. Luckily I have found ways to deal with the “headache long hair“. No more mean headaches from hairdos!
My hair tools for updos
So far I am very minimalistic with my accessories used for this: Every now and then a hair donut*, mostly just my invisibobbles*. Awesome fact about those phone cord like little things: With them, you can easily pull off nice looking updos, no need for those pesky little bobby pins that you always(!) lose after a few uses. Below is a Youtube tutorial from the official invisibobble channel in which the nice blonde lady makes a pretty braided updo with only one invisibobble! I´m sold.
Long hair care: The washing process
My hair is not only quite long by now, but also a very thick mop. This means washing is more than a 5-minute time investment. As a teenager, my locks went from frizzy but rather straight to kind of curly and unmaintainable. I was desperate! I tried every hair product I could find. Shampoos, conditioners, hairsprays, coloring experiments, you name it, I tried it. Little did I know that those products would only make the “inner” state of my hair worse, giving me more frizz, dryness etc in the long run.
Learning about better hair care products
In the last years, I found more and more silicone free shampoos in drugstores. So I changed to using exclusively those for washing. At first, my mane seemed to become worse without the silicone film, but in the long run, my hair got stronger and healthier. I achieved less split ends, more growth, more natural shine without using extra products. This also made the washing process very straightforward: Wet the hair, put shampoo in, let it air dry. Admittedly the last step can take up to a few hours.
Testing new types of hair products
Recently though I have been reading more about the whole long hair topic again. And I found a new way of washing, maybe even better than just silicone free: Using Indian herbs! Yes, this sounds weird at first and it is a bit more complicated than the shampoo process, but you gain some big advantages with the herbal wash. First of all, they don’t contain tensides. This is not only better for your hair (less stress), it also means less ecological damage. Second of all, while they still have a cleaning effect due to the saponins they contain, they can also help with dandruff, eczemas and other scalp problems – all natural.
Washing my hair with Indian herbs
I have been using the powders from Khadi in my last few washes after buying some at a local wholefood shop. As recommended on many forums I got the herbal wash powder*, which is a mix of different herbs, Shikakai powder* and Amla powder*.
How I use these herbs
I mix 2 spoons of the powder with boiling water to turn it into a thick, grainy paste which I then apply to the scalp and hair. With a shower cap and towel wrapped around, I then let it soak for about half an hour. And then it’s time to wash it off. Because of the grainy consistency, the washing out part can take quite some time until all the crumbs are out. A solution for this might be filtering the paste through a coffee filter before using it.
Even more experiments
As I got different powders, I am still experimenting with the right mix and the best way of preparing it. Do I leave it overnight and then filter? Do I mix it and use it as soon as it cools enough? And how often do I need to wash like this?
The results on my hair were really good from the first try though. So the testing process is more fun than an obligation. My locks became really shiny, way sleeker and they feel stronger somehow, saturated. Maybe they are eating the herbal powder, I’m not sure.
The washing cycle
Depending on which powder mix I use, my washing cycle hasn’t changed for now. After 3-5 days the tresses need a wash. Any washing is a mechanical strain tough. So my goal for the winter months is to get to only washing them once per week. After having tried a few herbal washes, I’m positive I will reach this goal. Without having to run around with a greasy head.
Long hair care: Haircare oil
As I wrote earlier, I have a history of trying loooots of hair products to tame my wisps. But then I started going silicone free and wanted to stay as natural as possible in hair products. I went from using honey rinses over avocado puree and beer as a mousse to oils. The latter is what I am still using. No need for preparing an oil treatment, you just take the oil and gently massage it into scalp and hair. Also, if you look at the properties of many virgin oils, they are pure health for your hair.
Related: The 11 best oils for your hair
Which hair oil works for me
While I have tried many hair oils my favorite at the moment is linseed oil. This is definitely dependent on hair type etc and will differ a lot from person to person. But for me, this particular oil gives me the best results. It doesn’t leave my tresses stringy or dry. Instead, I have very soft, silky and shiny hair after leaving the oil in for a few hours.
Other nice hair oils
Other oils which are great for long hair care are macadamia oil, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, argan oil, pumpkin seed oil…just to name a few. If I have more time and feel like giving myself a treat, I also sometimes cook up my own mix. (In case you haven’t noticed, I am really into homemade beauty tips!) For my homemade hair care, I experiment with different oils or adding shea or cocoa butter. I love experimenting with ingredients both for their properties and definitely also for their smell. There are just so many ways to create your own awesome homemade hair mask or homemade hair cream!
Long hair care: remove split ends
Once my whole head is all oiled up I either braid it or bun it up in order to no get everything oily or – when I have enough time and something nice to watch – I get out my Jaguar hair scissors. No matter how careful you treat your hair, you will always find some split ends somewhere. This means that cutting those out is an important part of long hair care. So whenever there is a possibility, I hunt for those and get rid of them. (In case you want more details, I wrote a whole article on how to stop split ends.)
For this to actually make a difference for the better it is really important to use proper scissors! Do not use nail scissors and definitely not craft scissors. Buy proper hair scissors* and have someone sharpen them regularly. Otherwise, you achieve an effect opposite of the desired one: Instead of getting rid of split ends, you cause even more!
How do you manage your hair? Do you do something special? Or do you mostly just ignore it? Let me know in the comments!
*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.