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You don’t have to buy the most expensive shampoo and products to get beautiful, healthy hair. I’m not going to argue against the fact that when it comes to products you often get what you pay for. I will, however, say that there are small changes you can make in your daily routine that will leave your hair looking and feeling better than it ever has. People have always asked me what I do to keep my hair long and healthy and they are often surprised by my answers.
When I commit to following these simple rules I always see the results so I wanted to share them with you guys! Continue reading for ten easy ways to get stronger, healthier hair.
Keep your conditioner in longer
Most people condition their hair the same way they shampoo it. What I mean is that they put it in and immediately wash it out. However, I spend about thirty seconds working the conditioner into the middle/ends of my hair and then tie my hair into a loose low bun. I go through the rest of my shower routine (washing, scrubbing, shaving) and the last thing I do is take my bun down and wash the conditioner out. Even if it’s just for an extra minute, my hair is always a little softer and healthier looking.
Turn down the heat
If you’re like me you like your showers steaming hot. A fair warning, this is horrible for your hair (depressing – I know). Extreme heat and healthy hair do not mix well, which is common knowledge. You wouldn’t believe how many people forget this when it comes to water temperature though! If I’m just body showering and my hair is up and out of the water I bring the heat. But, when I’m focusing on washing my hair I try to keep it at a lower temperature to prevent more damage then it already goes through on a daily basis.
This is also true for any heat products. Depending on your hair type, you may not need your straightener or curling iron at the highest temperature. I never use my blow dryer turned all the way up, even though it may take longer to dry. Test out the temperatures on your tools, you may be surprised that half the temperature gets the job done just as well!
Shock your hair with cold water
This one is tough for me in the winter, but it really enhances the shine in my hair so I try to do it as often as possible. Before you get out of the shower rinse your hair in cool or cold water. It closes your hair particles and increases its shine. It also helps prevent further damage if you’re planning on styling your hair after you get out of the shower.
I was a division I athlete for four years in college and played sports as long as I can remember. I had my hair up more than I had it down. I also thought that the tiny flyaways and baby hairs around my face were just something I was born with. I was wrong, they were a result of having my hair up so much. Once I graduated I started using clips to pull my hair back when I needed it out of my face, and I only really use hair ties when I’m working out. Less than six months later not only do I barely have any of those little hairs, but the overall breakage and brittleness of my hair has significantly decreased.
Use a wide tooth comb after the shower
While I know not everyone brushes their hair when they get out of the shower because they are naturally blessed with a beautiful head full of curls, I am not one of those lucky people. If I don’t brush my hair after my shower it dries ten different ways and I end up looking like some sort of creature. However, I always used a brush and only recently did I make the switch to a wide tooth comb and I am hooked.
When someone recommended this to me I immediately pictured a small comb that would snap in half the first time I tried to run it through my wet hair. But, she talked me into it because she had seen the benefits first hand. I went to my local beauty store and found the sturdiest wide tooth comb I could find and started using it after I got out of the shower instead of my brush (it cost me a little over $3). When your hair is wet it is at its most vulnerable, using a wide tooth comb has the same benefits in terms of brush but cause significantly less damage than a brush.
Use Sulfate Free Shampoo
This one is a little pricer than the other options, but definitely has the most extreme benefits, especially for those of you that have color-treated hair! There are always benefits to going more natural and cutting out chemicals in any beauty products. Sulfates are extreme on hair, stripping it of its color and causing frizziness.
Fair warning, sulfates are the main ingredient in the “bubbly” effect that most shampoo has, so if you switch to a sulfate-free shampoo you should expect fewer bubbles when you lather!
Weekly deep conditions
It’s important to set aside time at least once a week to deep condition your hair and revitalize it after all the damage it was faced with throughout the week. This process is a little bit more time consuming, but will leave your hair feeling touchably soft and ready to take on the next week. I usually use it as an excuse to lay around in my robe for a half hour with my hair tied up with the conditioner in and a face mask one. Two birds with one stone, right? 🙂
Wash your hair less
This one will come as no surprise to many of you, but I can’t have a blog post one easy changes without including this one! If dry shampoo isn’t your best friend already, it will be soon. Washing your hair strips it of its natural oils, which protect it from further damage. Also, if you’re not washing your hair everyday, you’re probably not going to have to style it with heat products everyday. What I mean is if you blow dry, straighten, or curl your hair every time you get out of the shower then imagine how much less damage your hair would undergo if you cut your style time in half!
If you’re looking for a good dry shampoo checkout my recommendation in my last blog post here
Water is life. Literally. There are so many benefits to being hydrated for overall health, so it should come as no surprise that your hair benefits from more water too. Being hydrated will increase the strength and shine of you hair and will make you appear healthier overall. This may be the easiest way to get healthier hair and the one I encourage you to try the most!
10. Blow dry your hair when it’s already 80% dry
Don’t blow dry your hair immediately when you get out of the shower and it’s still soaking wet!! Go through your entire routine and save the blow drying for the end. It’s natural to want to immediately blow dry your hair, especially if you have curly hair but resist the urge. If you’re looking to grow your hair longer and strong and prolong the time between your cuts, this tip is so important.
Who would have thought making a few small changes to your daily routine would have such dramatic effects? These are almost too easy and too obvious that some of you may be rolling your eyes, but I promise you if you give them a try your hair will strengthen dramatically.
If you have any of your own tips for stronger, healthier hair leave them in the comments below!
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This one is a serious must try. It’s so good it doesn’t feel healthy!
I am always looking for tasty, healthy alternatives to my favorite foods that will satisfy my cravings and won’t break the bank. This recipe may be one of my all time favorites, and it’s loaded with vitamins and “good” fats which means it won’t leave you feeling hungry and looking for more at the end. The best part is that they are super easy to make and the ingredients are inexpensive, especially if you have a fresh produce market near you where you can find great deals!
First, let me start by professing my obsession with sweet potatoes. It took me a while to become acquired to their taste, but after I saw their unbelievable health benefits I knew I had to. If you don’t believe me, check them out on the “World’s Healthiest Foods” list. For starters, one sweet potato contains over 400% of your daily vitamin A. The health benefits are numerous and you can read about them else where if you feel so inclined, so I won’t go into it in depth here. Just know they are a great source of antioxidants, they have anti-inflammatory benefits, and they improve blood-sugar among many other things.
The secret to delicious, crispy sweet potato fries is simple.
Soak them in cold water and then coat them in cornstarch. This is an easily missed step that often gets skipped when people are in a hurry. But if you have the time and the patience I highly suggest following all of these steps to leave you feeling fully satisfied.
If you’re like me you need something to dip them in. Make sure you’re not undoing all the effort you’re putting into being healthy with your dip though! When I don’t feel like making anything I’ll use organic, low-sugar ketchup. When I am up to making my own dipping sauce I try to avoid anything that calls for mayo (although there are some healthier forms of it), and gravitate more toward dips with Greek yogurt as an alternative. The dip I used this weekend that is featured in the picture is a Garlic Avocado Aioli, and it’s super simple!
The Perfect Sweet Potato Fries Recipe
- Preheat your oven to 425F. Line your baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- After you wash them, peel and cut your fries into the same size pieces to ensure they all have the same cooking time. I personally like mine thinner, for added crunch but I’ll leave this up to personal preference. Just make sure you keep an eye on them while they’re cooking, especially if you slice them thinner than ¼”.
- Soak them in ice cold water. This added step is the secret to success with sweet potato fries. It draws out the starch in the potato and allows them to cook all the way through. Soak them for at least 1 hour (I occasionally soak them overnight when I’m feeling really proactive).
- Towel dry the sweet potato fries off
- Put potatoes into a large plastic bag and add cornstarch. Make sure the bag is still full of air (you may have to blow some air back into the bag), then seal and shake it. There should be a thin layer of cornstarch coating all of your fries. I don’t always use the full amount of cornstarch – add it little by little so you can judge the necessary amount. You don’t want your fries to be white, just a nice light coating.
- Add your oil into the same bag and shake. Just like the cornstarch, I add the oil gradually. You want your fries to be evenly coated in oil, but not soaked.
- Pour fries out onto your pre-oiled baking sheet and spread them out so none of them are laying on top of each other or touching.
- Add black pepper
- Place them in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, then take them out and flip them to ensure that they are cooking evenly. After another 15 minutes you may want to take them out again every five minutes and continue to rotate them. Total cooking time varies depending on the potatoes and the oven, so be patient!
- Add garlic, salt, parmesan cheese, parsley, and any other yummy ingredients you can think of!
- Don’t put too many in at once. If you load them all onto one tray they will create steam as they cook and provide you with a mushier fry.
- Don’t salt until after they cook. For the same reason – as salt cooks it draws out the moisture of the potato and will create steam in the oven and make your fries mushier, too.
Garlic Avocado Aioli
- 1 Avocado
- 2 Tablespoons of Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 Clove of Crushed Garlic
- ½ a lime squeezed
Directions – Combine all of the ingredients into your NutriBullet or blender and blend for about 20 seconds. Salt to taste.
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