My transition to natural hair care – Intro

My transition to natural hair care

It all started on a windy Tuesday night when I decided to try my sample size Briogeo Don’t despair repair mask in the bath. I ended up with the softest, curliest hair I’ve ever had and decided to take the plunge and transition to natural hair care products. 

“Natural” hair care as I mean it, is what in Italy is referred to as “biological” hair care, which is based on naturally occurring ingredients and is therefore free of silicones, parabens and harsh surfactants. 

My hair

I have talked about my hair a lot at the beginning of the blog (here). I have long, thick, wavy hair, oily scalp and I have been dying it red for 8years. I have used henna in the past, but since I have had a lot of white hair popping up, I have been using professional hair dye for the last 3-4 years, specifically Joico Lumishine and since the end 2016 L’Oreal Majirouge. I do not use heat tools in my hair, except a blow dryer in winter. I maybe use a curling iron twice a year.

In May 2018 I had a balayage done for my wedding, as I needed more dimension in my braid. I definitely succeeded and the braid was gorgeous, but this treatment left my hair very fragile and damaged.

braided wedding hairstyl red wedding hair

A small mention to my hair’s texture. I never properly understood what my hair wants to do and what is its natural texture. In summer I always let it air dry and obtain some messy, quite frizzy, beachy waves, and I help them with leave-in conditioner and light hold spray (not salt sprays, those are evil). You can see my full summer routine in this video here. In winter, I value my neck health so I blow-dry my hair, starting upside down for volume at the roots, then with a brush and obtain pretty straight, quite frizzy hair.

Why transition to natural hair care

My reasons to try this route are the following:

  1. That Briogeo hair mask was amazing, it is natural, silicone free.
  2. My hair showed some pretty awesome curling capability without any product, and I wonder if that is its natural texture.
  3. I want to get rid of frizz
  4. I want to reduce oiliness of my scalp
  5. The products I am using now aren’t solving my hair problems

My plan to transition to natural hair care

  1. Finish all silicone-based products I own
  2. Start a slow transition by adding a silicone-free shampoo that is still not natural, to clarify the build-up of product I may (or may not) have on my hair
  3. Use only silicone-free conditioner, masks and styling products
  4. Add in natural products as the others finish
  5. Maybe start coloring my hair with henna again?

The problems I foresee:

  1. The red dye in my hair will fade much quicker without the high-tech specific products I have been using.
  2. I will not be able to repair the damage in my ends afterall and will just have to chop it all off. Natural products do not contain the right keratin structures that mimic hair keratin, therefore they are unable to repair the damaged hair.
  3. Henna will keep layering on itself and I will end up with darker hair

Disclaimer

I am no hair expert, but just someone that likes to experiment. So this is my experiment. Since nothing is permanent, maybe I will learn something new and find products I love.

I am not demonizing regular hair care, silicones or any ingredient in particular. I do believe that you should invest in good, salon-grade products. If you do, you will get great protection, nourishing, repair and no build-up if you use good quality product. I saw it on my own hair when switching to Joico hair products.

To learn more about hair, hair products, dyes, ingredients, go read my friend Francesca’s posts here and here. She has worked for a professional brand, has a background in pharmaceutical sciences, and in general is a well informed blogger.

You can follow my transition to natural hair care on my Youtube channel as well, where I’m sharing my project panning challenge to finish my current hair care stash and the new products that I will be introducing in my routine.

See you there!

xo

A

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My red hair story PART 2: maintaining red hair (affordably)

After all the fuss (and expenses) to get my beautiful red hair (read my story here), I jumped into the shower and it all started to bleed out! I was devastated! Now after many months of “redness” I found the routine that works best for me in keeping my hair red and not orange-looking.

A few disclaimers first: red will fade no matter what you do every time you wash your hair, so I try to wash it 2 times a week and get through the in between days with dry shampoo. Also I have quite an oily scalp and need a good cleansing shampoo. So here’s what I do:

I start with washing my hair with the Syoss Color Protect Shampoo (5 euro) and it really does the job of cleaning my hair without striping it of all the color. I had tried other shampoos which were mild and would leave my hair feeling as greasy as before washing (what’s the point right?!). This really does the job.

Then I use my holy-grail for red hair: the Revlon Professionals Nutri Color Creme in 500 Purple Red (12 euro). It claims to be a 3 minute conditioning and color depositing treatment. 

And it works amazingly!!! Leaves my hair feeling silky and adds color to contrast the color fading. I chose the purple red version over the fire red version because the purple undertone will neutralize the orange tones that come out in my bleached ombre ends. So overall I am obsessed with this product and use it every time I wash my hair at home.
Sometimes I do sport right after work and can’t really use the Revlon colored treatment, so I will go for the L’Oreal Elvive Colour Protect 60 Second Saviour Mask (5 euro). This is a very good fast conditioning treatment and leaves the hair looking amazing and shiny! Just put it on and do the rest you have to do, then rinse it off and you’re done! It’s really great!
Then once a week I take a home spa day and treat my hair as well with a repair or colour protecting mask. The ones i am using now and like are: Wella Care Brilliance Mask for thick hair (13 euro) and Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Deep Conditioner (6 euro).
After i get out of the shower I towel dry my hair (even better if you use and old t-shirt as it will damage your hair less) and apply 1 pump of John Frieda Full Repair Serum Deep Infusion (expensive!) to my very ends to prevent splitting, followed by a spritz of Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-wheat Leave in conditioner that I got in a Waatbox some time ago.

And of course no heat styling but letting my hair air-dry in a braid or small buns to achieve nice waves.

So bottom line: you need to take good care of your red hair and it’s a lot of work!

Wash it as little as possible, better if with cold water, and use a color depositing shampoo or conditioner to contrast the fading. 
I hope this helped!
A big hug to you all!
A
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My red hair story PART 1: From Henna to True red and ombre

“I saw a girl with big red hair and I knew it was you!” This is what I hear often from my friends, and I LOVE IT. Standing out from the crowd, making a lasting first impression and being remembered is important to me and a big part of that is achieved thanks to my “big red hair”.
And it’s been a journey to get here.

My henna-ed hair

After I came back from my Erasmus exchange experience in the Netherlands in summer 2010 I decided it was time for a change, but didn’t want to ruin my really long and thick hair with cheap chemical dyes from the drugstore so I did some research and opted for Henna and started my adventure!
Henna (Lawsonia Inermis) is a natural dye used since ancient times for body decoration and hair coloring. The molecule responsible for the color is the Lawsone and it has to be released from the henna leaves before you can dye anything (this is important!). This can be achieved using an acidic liquid of any form.
Having read this and many tips from those who had already tried it on their own hair, I went looking for the product. I visited my local herbal shop and asked for henna. There are a few different powders you can get: neutral henna (which is not really henna but Cassia obovata), black henna (which is actually Indigo), red henna (Lawsonia Inermis) or any mixture of the above to get the desired color. Since I was going for red, I chose to buy 100% Lawsonia.
Next step was to pick a “recipe” for the mixture. Since I started out with medium-brown hair and wanted to go towards an auburn-red color, I decided to mix the following: 100gr Lawsonia Inermis, 125gr white yogurt (acidic for dye release and moisturizing for the hair), warm red wine (enough to reach a yogurt-like consistency of the mixture) and a few drops of lavender essential oil (to cover the smell of hay that stick to your hair).
I prepared the mixture in the evening and let it develop overnight in a warm place like close to a heater. The morning after I would apply the mixture from the roots to the tips of my hair, let it sit 3-5 hours (yes THAT long) and then rinse off.

My crazy idea

The final result after my first application was amazing! I had achieved a very natural-looking auburn color with bronzy reflections. I was very happy and continued dying my hair this way every 2 months for about 2 years. It was not necessary to dye it more often because the re-growth was not very noticeable. However, after all this time, my hair color was getting darker and darker and it wasn’t as red as I liked.

Dark red

So one day I went to a hairdresser and, together with my crazy choice to shave off a side of my head, I asked her to dye my hair bright red! I literally went to her with the picture here on the right. She told me that unfortunately it was too risky to lift the hair color so much having henna on and that I had to wait to outgrow it. So I went only for the hair cut and came back another day to get a dark shade of red that didn’t need any bleaching. And I loved it!
Since then I have kept my hair red and only added ombre toward lighter red on the ends. This last choice I regret a bit because since they had to bleach my ends, they have become dry and brittle and it takes a lot of work to keep them healthy.

The most important thing to remember about red hair: it bleeds! A LOT! So you will need to maintain it, but I’ll tell you about it in another post 🙂

My hair now: Red Ombre

So to all you girls who want to stand out I would say: go for it! All the way! Chemical dyes are the easiest way to reach the bright reds and the quality of the dyes you can find at the salons are high and don’t damage the hair too much. Always bare in mind that if you go to lighter shades, there will be some bleaching involved and you will need to take care of your hair to keep it shiny and healthy and maintain your red vibrant.

I hope this post will help some of you in your choices.
Keep rocking!
A

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