Such a bittersweet thing.
On one end, we are doing whatever we can to remove every trace of it from certain parts of our bodies, while aching for it to be thicker and more abundant in other areas, like our eyebrows and on our heads.
I feel bad for hair. I really do. Why can’t we just tell it to do one thing or the other?
All these mixed signals…
When we experience postpartum hair loss, we are overcome by so much grief. I literally would pull clumps of hair out of my scalp and stand in front of the mirror and cry. It was such a horrible feeling, especially after the great hair/skin/nails that pregnancy gave me. But I want to preface this article with this: it will pass. It takes time, and you’re probably convinced that your hair will never get its luster back, but most of the time, it works out. If it's been a while and things haven't improved, definitely get your hormone levels checked out and make sure there aren’t any other issues going on.
Another situation that causes a lot of hair loss in women is wearing the hijab. I also want to say this: it’s not your hijab’s fault. It may be the way your hair is handled under your scarf, and with a few easy changes, your hairline that seems to be receding at a foot per minute can definitely improve.
As someone who is finally climbing out of the dark postpartum hole and as someone who also has worn the hijab for going on seven years, my hair has endured its fair share of neglect. I think I completely forgot that I even had hair until after I got married lol.
Here are my 10 hair-care tips that have completely transformed my brittle, dull hair into thicker, shinier, healthier hair.
1. Save your bucks
At the salon, they'll easily convince you that an $80 bottle of something will magically transform your locks. Honestly, it’s usually the same stuff you can find at the drugstore. The key, however, is aiming for something that is sulfate-free. Some shampoos/conditioners that I swear by that also don't break the bank:
- Trader Joes Tea Tree Shampoo/Conditioner
- Whole Foods 365 Mint Shampoo/Conditioner
- The Good Stuff's "Gentle Shampoo" & "Intensive Nourishment Cream": This combo is what I'm currently using & LOVE. I appreciate that the shampoo is meant to be washed off, but the conditioner is no-rinse so all the yummy conditioning doesn't have to end in the shower.
2. Brush BEFORE you shower
This was a huge one! By brushing out every tangle from my hair before showering, I could ensure that I was able to thoroughly shampoo every strand. The breakage was minimal, and washing it wasn’t an exhausting battle of smoothing out my tangles. This has considerably helped my frizz, breakage, and overall hair texture. It dries smoother, too.
3. Flip it
I SWEAR by the idea of scalp massages. I love wetting my hair, applying my shampoo, and then flipping my head over and giving myself a nice, soothing scalp massage with the shampoo's lather. Not only does my scalp feel 100x cleaner when I shampoo this way (minimizing the amount of shampoos I have to do per week overall) but it also adds so much volume to my hair.
4. Shower less
Yeah, sounds gross, but it doesn't have to be. Shower your body daily, but wash your hair only if you really need to. I can almost promise that you're the only one that notices when your hair is oily or looks unwashed. Find some cute hairstyles that work for "dirty" hair and at the very least, wash every other day. I used to wash my hair daily thinking that it would help, but honestly, it just made my hair dry and brittle. Nowadays, if I just feel like freshening things up between shampoos, I'll wash my hair with water only and call it a day. With hijab, I can get away with washing it every 3-4 days.
5. The Proof is in the Poof.
Find yourself some nice, fluffy scrunchies. Thick, cloth scrunchies have a lot more slack in them than the kinds that are thin and firm. They give your scalp a chance to chill out, not to mention that they add a nice bit a volume if you wear the hijab. They almost act as a bed for your hair rather than something that tortures your hair. I’ve found that switching to these types of scrunchies make it so that I don’t have hijab-related headaches anymore, and less hair falls out.
6. Give your hair a break
Around the house, especially when doing chores, I find that I always used to resort to tying a tight bun at the top of my head. By the end of the day, when I'd take my hair down, my scalp literally would feel sore. An alternative I’ve been doing is tying a braid that’s loose closer to my scalp and tightens on its way down. This way, my hair is out of my face and doesn’t bother me as I work, with the added benefit of not straining my roots. Bonus points if you braid your hair after a hot oil treatment...which brings us to:
7. Don’t underestimate the power of hot oil treatments
One of my fondest memories of my childhood is coming home from school to find my grandmother waiting for me with a hot bowl of oil. She’d sit me down and spend a solid fifteen minutes just working the warm concoction into my scalp. During those days, I’d roll my eyes, thinking it was a waste of time.
Today, however, I ache for those beautiful moments with my grandma. Now that I'm married and moved out, I realize what a blessing those moments were. Back then, because of my grandma’s insistent hair treatments, my hair was thick and luscious.
Women in my grandmother’s generation didn’t have the bougie, and often times chemically rampant products we do today. They’d make their own special oil mixtures and swear by a good scalp massage. The women back in the day had such stunning hair.
Nowadays, as a toddler mom, I struggle to incorporate those hot oil treatments into my schedule. I’m going to make an effort to do it more often. As a hijabi, I could definitely even put it on and go on with my usual day, because even if I’d go out, no one would know that I have oil in my hair. Castor oil, almond oil, coconut oil, and Argan oil are all great options. Mix them all together if you want. They all have unique properties.
8. Style without heat
We hear it all the time: USE MINIMAL HEAT ON YOUR HAIR! Although straightened or curled hair looks beautiful, there are tons of no-heat hair tutorials on youtube for all hair lengths and textures. I’ve taken advantage of these. My hair can look cute around the house and when there’s a special occasion I can whip out the irons. I also love making a texture spray with some water & sea salt (1 cup water + 1 tbsp sea salt). This brings out some beach-y waves so I don't feel like a frizzy mess.
9. Incorporate DIY hair trims
With a toddler, it’s hard to schedule elaborate salon visits. Every once in a while I like to freshen up my cut and treat myself to a nice salon experience. For my trims, however, I decided that I was far more committed if I could just quickly do them at home. You can find a bunch of videos on YouTube. It’s easy, and I like giving myself fresh trims every 4-6 weeks. It helps my hair stay healthy and bouncy.
10. This last one is hijab specific— use a hijab volumizer and underpiece; these are crucial!
Let your volumizer do the work that your hair would regularly do. Tie your hair in a loose, comfortable way and add this scrunchie volumizer to your hair. Even if your hair is relaxed, this volumizer gives your hijab the illusion that your hair is in a put-together updo under your scarf. Also, it keeps your hair from getting all messy underneath. I also highly recommend wearing an underscarf/undercap/underpiece. This is so helpful because you can have a loose, comfortable hairstyle underneath your hijab and the underscarf will keep everything in place. Both of these changes really helped me treat my hair more delicately, and allowed my hair to have a break.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope some of these tips were helpful! Leave us a comment letting us know what YOUR hair care tips are. We'd love to hear from you!