Beauty and the beast: Hair care

My entire life, I’ve been told that my hair is “nice.” It’s relatively straight, smooth and tame, and while it’s definitely extremely easy to tend, I find it slightly bland. I really should not be complaining though, considering I fully take advantage of the fact that I am able to just shampoo, run my fingers through my hair and basically be set for the rest of the day.

But after a snide comment from a friend, I couldn’t help but reflect on my hair care routine, or lack thereof.

Yesterday, I flipped through Style by Lauren Conrad instead of flipping through my textbooks this busy midterm season and stumbled upon this quote:

“No matter how well you style your hair, the most important thing is its health. Damaged hair is never going to look like the luxurious locks in a shampoo commercial,” says Christine Symonds.

Inspecting the ends of my hair, I discovered how dry and brittle my hair is, even my split ends split off! I didn’t realize how neglected my hair was since I got to Davis. I can partially attribute the blame to Davis’ dry air, but if I am being completely honest with myself, I’m mostly at fault.

My current routine consists of washing it every other day with Paul Mitchell Instant Moisture Daily Shampoo. I don’t use conditioner, but sometimes I would squeeze some Neutrogena Triple Moisture Silk Touch Leave-In Cream onto my fingers and comb it through my wet tangled mess.

This wasn’t always the case. In high school, I actually cared for my hair. I believed that one’s hair is an important aspect of one’s style. It not only frames your face and helps complete a look, I personally think it is a way of expressing yourself. For example, sporting a preppy high ponytail made me feel more optimistic and outgoing, whereas using accessories like bows made me feel nice and sweet.

I used to wash my hair daily, but I learned that washing it so frequently strips away essential oils and actually leads to more add-up and oiliness because your scalp is trying to restore its balance. The concept is the same as washing your face too often. I learned to tie my hair up, but leave my bangs down. That way my bangs, which are more prone to getting oily, get washed and look decent. Investing in dry-shampoo is also an option. With some brands you just spray it on, comb your hair and it absorbs the oil. I’ve never personally tried it, but I’ve heard wonders about it.

Nowadays, I towel dry or air-dry my hair. This is probably the one good thing I do for my hair. Unfortunately, I only started doing so because I forgot to bring my hair dryer up to Davis when I moved in. I have even resorted to using my straightener to dry my hair. Don’t do this. It literally fries your hair.

It’s actually best to avoid heat and processing your hair as much as possible, and whenever you do use heat-styling products, be sure to spritz in some heat protectant.

I think the reason why my hair is so damaged is because I’ve been trying to grow it out too. For a while, I had an A-line bob. It was a terrible mistake, but in my defense I did it after a breakup. I guess the only specific piece of advice for this week’s column would be: Don’t do anything rash with your hair after a breakup. You already have to deal with a broken heart; let’s not add crazy hair to the list. Sure, hair grows and it’s only temporary, but keep in mind, hair grows extremely slowly. For me, I was waiting for my hair to grow back to normal long after my broken heart mended itself.

That’s why my hair hasn’t been touched by scissors for almost a year. Getting regular trims is essential though, because it takes off the damaged ends. I have neglected doing so in an attempt to grow out my hair.

I will begin my new hair-care routine by getting a trim to cut off the extremely damaged ends. Then I will be sure to use conditioner and heat-protectant products, and of course, stop drying my hair with a straightener. Maybe I’ll also try to incorporate nutrients that help build and repair hair cells, such as protein; vitamins A, C, E; folic acid and zinc. I heard eating nuts may help.

I also want to do something new to my hair, since I’ve never really done anything to it before. Maybe I’ll try a single blonde streak like Christina Perri. Don’t worry, I didn’t just have a breakup. It’s OK to be adventurous and try different styles as long as it’s not post breakup.


If you have any hair ideas for EUGENIA CHUNG, she can be reached at ehchung@ucdavis.edu.

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