One of the benefits of having straight, thinner hair was always a low maintenance hair care routine. I used to be able to blast it with heat and hairspray. My hair was so shiny and abundant that I felt like I never needed to take care of it. I would use any hairbrush or put any product into my hair because it didn't matter - it's straight hair.
Then I hit my 30's and my hair began to retaliate after years of mistreatment. The first thing I noticed was the thinning out of my hair. I was losing so much hair in the shower and every time I brushed it. I started to be able to see more of my scalp when I pulled my hair into a ponytail, and my hair didn't seem to be growing as fast.
I started experimenting with hydrating shampoos and conditioners to try and stop the hair thinning. Then came the grease! I had to wash my hair everyday and started to use stronger shampoos and completely ditched conditioners. My hair had lost its shine and was becoming brittle and coarse. My scalp was so dry and flakey I avoided wearing black clothing so I could hide my shame!
Then I found haircare TikTok. Yes, haircare TikTok! Thousands of videos about repairing and maintaining healthy hair led me to my current haircare routine.
Before following a haircare routine, here's quick thing you can do to better understand your hair. In a cup of water place a strand of your hair and see if the hair floats, sinks quickly, or sinks slowly. High Porosity hair will sink quickly and requires more hydration and product. Normal Porosity hair will sink slowly and hydrating products will soak in easily and retain. Low Porosity hair will repel water and product will build up easier on the hair. Understanding your hair porosity is so helpful when learning about how much product you should use and how often you should wash your hair (low porosity hair can be washed more often than high). I found out I have low porosity hair, and it completely changed the way I look at the products on my shelf.
Now that you have a window into how I got here, here is my low waste hair care routine for healthy straight hair.
- Shampoo your hair no more than 2-3x per week
- Using tempered water, flip your hair upside down and massage the shampoo into your scalp. Remember, if you have straight or dry hair, shampoo is for your scalp, not your hair.
- You can use a scalp massager to stimulate your scalp as you shampoo for a self care moment with added hair benefits.
- Rinse out the shampoo upside down as well.
2. Rice water rinses
- This hair treatment has roots in Asian cultures and is meant to add strength, volume and shine to your hair while encouraging hair growth.
- You can make a rice water rinse by soaking 1 cup of rice in 2-3 cups of water for about an hour and then straining the rice while keeping the water for your hair.
- Pour your rice water rinse from root to end and let sit for 2-5 minutes.
- Gently rinse the remaining rice water from your hair with tempered water.
- Avoid the roots of your hair, and apply conditioner only to the body of your hair and leave it in for a few minutes.
- Rinse out the conditioner at the end of your shower.
- For extra hydration, use leave in conditioner or oil on the ends.
- Allow your hair to air dry.
- You can wrap your hair in a tshirt or microfiber towel to avoid frizz.
- Avoid hot tools. Always use a heat protectant when using hot tools.
- Try using alternative methods for curling your hair like braiding or that bathrobe belt hair trick (don't ask me, just tiktok it).
6. Night care
- Before bed, apply argan oil to the ends of your hair to hydrate, prevent water loss, and neutralize free radicals. Benefits include shine, hydration and softness, protection, and elasticity.
- Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase to avoid frizz.
- Avoid using hair ties when sleeping to minimize breakage.
7. Between washes
- Use dry shampoo to soak up any oils collecting on your scalp.
- Brush your hair each night, start at the ends and work your way up to your scalp to avoid breakage.
- Brush your hair for 4 minutes - this will distribute the natural oils, get rid of any dandruff, and stop any product build up from accumulating on your scalp (from dry shampoo, for example)
- When your roots start to feel greasy, you can wear your hair in protective hair styles like buns, to protect the ends.
- Only use nylon hair ties or silk scrunchies to tie up your hair. You can also use hair claws and clips.
8. Before showering - hair masks
- Apply a scalp oil to your scalp and massage into your scalp for hydration.
- Leave in for 5-20 minutes or overnight for a deeper condition. When the oil falls into your ends, it may require shampooing your hair twice to get it all out.
- Depending on the amount of hydration your hair needs, use an oil hair mask anywhere from once a week to once a month. Dampen the hair, apply the oil from root to tip, and leave in for 20 minutes. Shower to remove the hair mask.
Keep in mind, everyone's hair is different and while argan oil works great for me, castor oil or coconut oil might work better for you. Washing twice a week is enough to cleanse my hair and give it volume, but working up to that takes some training and it took me a couple of months to adjust to this haircare routine. The transition time is totally worth it to have a healthy scalp and hydrated hair!
This is the low waste routine I use for straight, thinner hair. Let me know if you have any questions!