Hair Care Tips from a Cosmetologist

Our first guest blog is here! We interviewed our friend Jenny, who is a cosmetologist at Liv Aveda Salon and Spa in Mankato, MN. She went to school at Aveda in Minneapolis and is amazing at all things hair and beauty. You can check out her Instagram here!

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How often should people get their hair cut?

Good question. This really depends on the length of your hair and how you want to maintain your style. For most of my women with a pixie or short bob style, 4-6 weeks is optimum; especially to maintain shape and movement within the cut. Those with a longer bob, no longer than their shoulders would benefit from a haircut every 6-8 weeks. Women with hair longer than their shoulders should definitely be getting a cut every 10-12 weeks. The health of the hair is most important at this length, because the longer the hair, the more prone to dryness it is.

I’m on a budget. What brands are best for my hair?

My best advice is to invest in a solid shampoo and conditioner and from there, get one product that addresses your #1 concern. At that point, you’re setting up a good base from our hair and taking care of it from the outside and you can build up from there.

What is the most destructive thing I’m doing to my hair?

I’d love to say that there is one main thing that is causing your damage, but in all honesty it’s a combination of things. Here are a few of them:

  • Using low quality shampoos and conditioners. Many of the products you can easily purchase at Walgreens or Target have high amounts of wax and harsh surfactants that result in an oily scalp and dry hair. Asking what your stylist recommends is always the best option.
  • Not using a quality heat protectant before using any sort of hot tool (blow dryer, flat iron, curling iron) is another big one. If you don’t use a product that protects your hair from the heat, you’ll end up with dry, brittle ends. Certain brands of styling products offer more than just heat protection in their formulas and you can find something that offers volume, moisture for your curls, and heat protection. The Aveda products I work with are great examples of this. If you’re rocking the 2nd or 3rd day hair and using hot tools on dry hair, you’ll want to invest in a protectant for dry hair and a product to put in before you blow dry your wet hair.
  • Having your hot tools set at too high of a temperature can also be an issue. Even if you’re using the best rated heat protectant, flat ironing or curling your hair at a temperature that is too hot for your hair will certainly cause damage. How do you know if it’s too hot? Ask your stylist what he/she recommends for your hair type (coarse, medium, fine) and texture (oily, curvy, wavy, straight) because it definitely depends on your specific needs.If you’re tools don’t have a temperature setting, it’s worth finding one that does.

How can I make my hair healthier?

Hair is made of protein and just like your skin, it’s an outward expression of what’s going on internally (hormone imbalances, poor diet, dehydration, stress, new medication, etc.) First and foremost, if you aren’t taking care of yourself properly as a whole, your hair doesn’t have the nutrients to be healthy either. The biggest suggestions I typically make are to eat nutrient dense foods that are rich in antioxidants, fatty acids, B vitamins, protein, and healthy fats (a quality multivitamin/mineral supplement is helpful too), drinking lottos water throughout the day, getting regular haircuts, and being kind to your hair. If you use a quality product that adds thickness and volume and if you take care of yourself and your hair properly, then your hair should grow. On average, healthy hair will grow half an inch a month, which would be 6 inches a year.

How often should I wash my hair and train it for less washes?

My favorite question. This really depends on your hair type, length, and lifestyle, but if I were to throw out an average amount of times most women should shampoo their hair, I’d say 3-4x a week, skipping a day or 2 in between washings. For most people, washing daily causes excess oil production of the scalp and dry hair — if you start washing less and allow your hair to train itself, your hair will actually be less oily than it was before. Keep in mind that if you use a low quality shampoo and conditioner, you’re likely seeing oiliness due to the waxy ingredients building up in the hair. If you can go longer in between shampoos, go for it!

It will take time for your hair to get used to your new washing schedule, probably a couple weeks. Using a quality dry shampoo is great for training your hair. I love the Aveda Shampure dry shampoo because it’s a powder and truly does the job well. Unfortunately, a lot of aerosol dry shampoos contain propane, so be sure to read ingredient labels. Another way to help train your hair for less washing is by stimulating your scalp. I will often rinse my hair while I shower instead of shampooing on my “off days.” Brushing your scalp and hair before bed is another way too.

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Photo Credit: Alice Grace Photos

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