Though the last several months of pressing pause on our "normal" lives have proven to be challenging due to inevitable uncertainty, there is a silver lining to this said pause. We have been given the room to step back, reflect, and make time for self-care that seemingly always fall to the bottom of our to-do lists. Whether it’s dedicating nights to applying face masks and meditating or indulging in the latest beauty products and rituals like dry-brushing, we’re finally able to take the time for ourselves.
Don't laugh, but one of my silver linings, if you will, is accomplishing my biggest hair goal: growth. An aspiration that has felt nearly impossible the last decade or so has come to fruition due to years of intensive trial and error and a newfound dedication. As a blonde who will never sacrifice my highlights, I’ve resorted to alternative remedies to improve my hair’s overall health and to ultimately grow it. While my hair length has been stagnant since 2007 (the year I got my most dreadful haircut), 2020 marks the first time my hair has consistently grown, and I owe it to my strict product regimen and advice from the experts.
IGK Salon colorist and haircare guru Ryan Pearl, who also happens to do Hailey Bieber's color, advises, “Use products, especially for color-treated hair or those with thicker hair! Products act as a protectant against the sun and a barrier when you are in the oceans or pool and against environmental stressors.”
Yes, it is about using the right products, but it is also about consistently using them. In my recent haircare journey, I’ve learned to make the time for minor things, like leaving a hair mask on overnight or avoiding heat altogether and actually staying consistent in my ritual, thus manifesting real results. I’ve essentially mastered the art of hair growth and have broken it down into three imperative categories: maintaining scalp health, applying nourishing masks and treatments, and focusing on the connection between my overall health and hair heath. Keep scrolling to discover the products that completely changed my hair for the better and how much my hair has changed in a year.
Maintain Scalp Health
According to Iris Rubin, MD, dermatologist and founder of Seen, "healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. It’s important to use hair products that respect your scalp since the hair follicles are the manufacturing plant for the hair." I took this photo back in May, two months into my meticulous hair routine and when I took my scalp health to a whole new level through these products.
This shampoo is infused with all of the key hair-growth ingredients, including keratin, biotin, and coconut oil, needed to purify the scalp and the hair.
"Seen promotes scalp health because it is clinically proven to be nonirritating and to not clog pores. The result is stronger, fuller, healthier hair," reveals Rubin.
Once you understand what kind of hair you have—fine, thick, wavy, etc.—find products that cater to your specific hair type. Case in point: I have fine, color-treated hair, so Ouai's Fine Hair Conditioner works miracles on my hair.
An extremely valuable lesson I learned is to treat your scalp with the same respect and treatment as you do your face and skincare.
I use this massager every time I wash my hair to increase scalp stimulation and circulation. I also love the versatility of this tool. You can use it with or without product and on wet or dry hair.
Expert advice: When I know I am not leaving the house or do not need to be on any Zoom meetings, I will lather this in my hair and let it sit all day.
This year, I officially abandoned my brush. I am all about combs now, as they don't pull as much on your hair and are more delicate with fine, color-treated hair.
Masking & Treatment Remedies
It sounds silly, but before 2020, I never felt like I had time for hair masks. I was either in too much of a rush from events to dinners or simply too lazy. Garren, celebrity stylist and co-founder of renowned haircare line R+Co, reveals the secret to hair health. "Healthy hair and stronger hair depend on your diet, hormones, thyroid, and your choice of shampoo, conditioner, and a treatment masque," he says. This picture was taken back in late July. By then, I was consistently using hair masks almost four days a week.
"If your hair is damaged and your scalp needs extra attention, I would recommend De Luxe Reparative Masque," says Garren. R+Co's Bleu is a new, all-natural, vegan, and clean-formula line, and I'm obsessed.
Expert advice: On the days when my hair is feeling ultradry or dull, I use this hair mask as my conditioner to repair and restore each strand.
If you have blonde, color-treated hair, this product is a must.
I also use this hair mask as a conditioner if my hair is feeling desperate, and the smell of this Intense Repair Mask is one of my favorites.
According to Shiva Tavakoli, founder of Joon Haircare, "Consumers will notice results the moment Joon's Saffron Hair Elixir touches the hair strand. Within seconds, hair becomes noticeably softer, less tangled, smoother, and shinier. The benefits become even more noticeable over time as the antioxidant and reparatory properties of Joon have the opportunity to make changes to the chemistry of the hair strand itself. Used over time, consumers will find their hair is healthier, shinier, and frizz-free."
Try replacing your dry shampoo with this root refresher to avoid overwashing your hair. When you overwash your hair, you strip the hair of its natural oils, so it's important to keep the washes spaced out.
Beauty From Within
The big reveal: Before this year, my hair had never gone an inch past my collarbone. This picture was taken in early November, and you can see it goes several inches below my collarbone. I am an advocate of fostering wellness and beauty from within, which is why I've continually used supplements like Nutrafol (check out my review of the brand). "Wellness comes from within. Your hair health is indicative of your overall well-being, and Nutrafol is all about promoting a healthy lifestyle change that combines a holistic approach with a functional medicine perspective," advises Sophia Kogan, MD, co-founder and chief medical advisor at Nutrafol.
"Hair wellness starts from within, and our supplements are effective because they target the root causes of thinning hair, like stress, environmental factors, nutrition, and hormones. That being said, we are all unique bodies with unique biochemistries, under unique stressors, living in various environments, and encountering a variety of challenges. Therefore, the more precise and targeted the formula, the more effective it will be for you. That’s why we created our hair wellness quiz, a tested algorithm with questions that guide your best recommendation for a core hair supplement and targeted boosters," reveals Kogan.
This formula has become an integral part of my morning routine. Enhanced with 18 whole foods, including bio-fermented maqui berries, queen garnet plum, pomegranate fruit peel extract, vitamin C to help boost collagen production, and zinc, Glow Inner Beauty Essential can easily be mixed with your go-to morning drink for healthier hair (and skin and nails!).