It feels like you can't go online these days without seeing a new way to get "the healthiest hair ever" or "the best skin possible!" The list of tips, tricks, and products to try are endless, and it can be overwhelming deciding what's going to be best for your hair. So I thought I'd do a little experiment. I tried five common hacks for healthier hair, and at the end of it all, there was definitely one that reigned supreme above the others.
I'll preface this by saying that what worked for my hair —what made it feel the healthiest, shiniest, and most damage-free — may not be what's best for yours. Obviously, all of us are individual, with different needs. My hair is long, thick, naturally wavy, and highlighted — so my needs would vary from someone without chemical treatments, who has thin naturally straight hair, for example. So that's not to say that this is the best hack out there, or that what didn't work for me isn't best for you.
I tried five pretty common hacks, though admittedly, I did not try not washing my hair. (I've written about it many many times before — I go one to two weeks between washes — and yes, it's amazing for my hair health.)
Here's what happened:
1. Taking Hair Vitamins
I've been taking hair vitamins for about a year now. They're supposed to help your hair grow faster, as well as be stronger and shinier — you know, all that good stuff. My hair has grown pretty fast (even my stylist admits it), but in all fairness, my hair grows fast naturally, so I can't say the pills have much to do with it.
I haven't noticed much of a difference, but then again, taking vitamins isn't the kind of difference you're going to see big changes on overnight. Has my hair changed in the last year? I can't honestly say I even remember how my hair was a year ago, but if there is a difference — it's so minimal that I can't even see it.
2. Not Using Heat
I never ever blow-dry my hair. It takes too long, and I don't know how to do it, so instead, I let my hair air dry, then I straighten out some of the front pieces, let it dry in a bun or braid for more wave, or use a curling iron on the front and sides if I want it to be more polished, but I decided to swear that off for one week.
It was a little awkward walking around with my front pieces all curly and such, however, since I wait so long between washes, as the week went on and I slept on it more (and it got dirtier), the waves relaxed a bit and looked more natural. After washing it at the end of the week, I did see a bit of a difference. My natural hair dried (pre-flat ironing) a little less frizzy and a bit smoother than normal, but it wasn't anything ground-breaking. I'd venture to say if I was willing to commit to swearing off heat for a month, the difference would be night and day — but let's be real. That's the kind of willpower I do not possess.
3. Using Scrunchies
Whenever I'm working, I always pull my hair into a ballerina bun because I cannot stand it on my face. Plus, not having it down all the time helps extend the life of my washes — but as you know, elastic is super-damaging and can cause breakage, so I switched to scrunchies for a week.
I can't say I really saw a difference, but the scrunchie definitely felt less taught on my hair, so if I was at risk for breakage with the elastic, this certainly diminished it. It's a hack that I'll keep up because it's such an easy switch to make.
4. Using A Weekly Hair Mask
A good conditioner is one thing, but a hair mask can make all the difference. I put a hydrating mask on my hair, let it set for four hours one afternoon, then washed it out and shampooed/conditioned as normal.
My hair felt shiny, healthy, and dried naturally with minimal frizz.
5. Using Coconut Oil
If it's broke, pour coconut oil on it, right? It's everyone's go-to beauty solution, so I tried a coconut oil mask, and I have to say — I was not impressed.
Coconut oil is great for those who have weaker hair and need protein. My hair, however, tends to run on the dry side, needing hydration, and it isn't weak, so protein only makes it brittle. My hair hung limp — though I'll admit, it dried without frizz — and any attempt to style it was futile. It wouldn't hold a curl, and it just felt blah.
So which hack was the best for me? The hair mask. I honestly saw a difference in one application, and it's something I'm willing to make time for weekly because it was that great. It felt healthy, shiny, easy to style, but looked fine naturally, so I highly recommend trying it if you have dry hair that tends to need extra hydration.
Images: Isla Murray/Bustle; Amazon; Moroccan Oil; Sienna Fantozzi