8 shortcuts to simplify your hair routine
We've all seen them: blogs and YouTube videos where hair devotees wax long and lyrical about their complex, multi-step – and multi-hour – haircare routines. Yes, the end result is almost always predictably gorgeous – but it can be more than a little dismaying, too.
After all, how could your hair ever look great if that's what it takes? It's easy to feel defeated, but don't give up just yet. If your hair is not your hobby, or you're just extremely time-poor, here are a few simple hacks to streamline your haircare – for locks just as beautiful as those who have hours and hours to spend tending to their tresses.
#1: Deep treat your hair while you dream
Want to stop hair breakage, infuse moisture and increase growth but don't have the two-hour time slot to spare? You can save yourself from long deep treatment sessions intruding on your busy day, by deep conditioning overnight while you sleep. This takes the lengthiest part of washing your hair right out of the middle of your routine (plus saving you that oh-so-inconvenient return to the bathroom to rinse).
The method is known as pretreating and is done on dry, dirty hair the night before a wash. It works especially well with oil treatments like coconut oil and olive oil and has been shown to reduce hair damage in scientific studies. Be careful with pretreating overnight with any conditioner which contains water as an ingredient, however. Leaving your hair wet for excessive periods of time can result in a particular kind of damage called “hygral fatigue” which is caused by too much moisture.
#2: USE YOUR deep conditioner as your conditioner
Sometimes it's OK to forego conditioner and skip straight to your deep treatment. Especially when you're super busy. Strong, concentrated hydrating treatments in particular can work very quickly and don't need to be left in for hours on end. Five to 15 minutes should do the trick, especially when you've already put in the time pretreating while you snoozed the night before. Stronger protein treatments will need a moisturizing conditioner as a follow-up, to keep your hair from becoming brittle, so keep this method strictly for moisturising and light protein treatments. And for best results with these speedy deep treat sessions, don't forget your shower cap, foil cap, cling film or plastic bag.
#3: Schedule Your Haircare Time Down To The Hour
The secret is moving your hair from the “If I get time” list to the priority list – aka the same one that eating, showering and doing your kids' hair are on. Just like all the other important things you have to do each day, pencil your hair in so it gets done. Give yourself a weekly appointment in your bathroom, surrounded by all your necessary products and tools. And accept no interruptions!
#4: Don't Let Your Hair Get Tangled, Ever
Think of all the time and hair you lose from those epic, mega detangling sessions. You can save over 90% of that time by taking simple steps to reduce tangling both during and between washes.
#5: Multitask: Wash and condition while you shower
Unlike the olden days before showers existed, it's no longer just a fact of life that hair and body should be washed separately. In fact, it's little wonder that you're pressed for time to squeeze in your wash regimen if you're making it a separate event from your shower.
There are a few other good reasons, too: Washing and rinsing your hair upright in the shower is much quicker than the old stooping over the tub or sink method and you can even slot in time for your conditioner to “work” while you take care of other showerly needs. Not to mention how it gets your scalp cleaner, drastically reduces tangles and is much kinder on your back.
#6: Don't Rinse Your Conditioner Out Before You DT
If you really want to do the two-step conditioning method that Dominicanas swear by, here's a hack to fit it into your busy schedule: Apply your rinse (regular conditioner) first, let it sit 1-2 minutes, comb it through, DON'T RINSE, then apply your deep conditioner. Leave that in for 5 minutes or so, and only then rinse.
Skipping the first rinse saves time and, as noted above, stronger conditioning treatments often work extremely quickly and don't need to be left in for ages, even on the thickest, coarsest, or least porous hair.
#7: Invest in more effective products
Let's be clear: Cheap products save you pennies but cost you hair and time.
The trouble is, cutting out the main ingredients really cuts into the product's ability to moisturise, detangle or protect your hair, and seriously adds to styling time – not to mention the additional elbow grease it takes to comb through your hair with no help from a product you paid good money for.
For conditioners, that means you will simply have to use more of the cheap stuff to get the comb through. Watered down leave ins, meanwhile, can have you reapplying product to dried-out hair on a daily or twice daily basis, instead of keeping your moisture locked in for days at a time, the way a more effective product would.
Low end products are all too often a false economy for your hair – to save money on haircare follow our frugal haircare steps instead.
#8: Don't be afraid of gel
This translates into hair gels that are flexible, can lock moisture into your hair, help protect it from the elements and more – all the while helping you stretch your style out a few more days so you don't have to spend time redoing it. Look out for nature-based formulas with ingredients like flax seed gel or acacia gum. These natural polymers provide super-flexible hold, are great at locking moisture in, and – best of all – do not leave your hair feeling coated in plastic or covered in flakes.
You Can Keep Up – And Have Great-Looking Hair!
See? Haircare doesn't have to be hours and hours in the making. Get consistent with a good routine and good products – and a couple of artful shortcuts – and you'll get beautiful hair in almost no time at all!
Caroline | Caroline | Tamahaji | Daniel Lee | allthecolor | Darwin Bell
DHA Hair Care Experts