I Finally Got Rid of My Damaged Hair: Here’s How I Did It

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 I was both shocked and saddened when I realized how long I chemically treated my hair. I started to get hair straightening treatments at salons about 18 years ago.

After that, I had many different hairstyles through the years, but often I would have a combination of rebonding and coloring treatments every six months or so. I have always heard of how much damage these treatments can do to the hair, but I found it convenient to have mine chemically straightened. Since I want the straightness to last long, I did not style it much. Keeping my hair stick-straight made it easy for me to look and feel prepared when I was in a hurry. However, three years ago, I became increasingly worried about the amount of hair fall I collect on my bedroom floor at the end of each day. My hair was also visibly thinner and was very dry and brittle.

In the past two years, I have been working remotely. I did not have to dress up and go out that much, either. Because of this, I didn’t find it necessary to have the same hair treatments I had before. Since my day-to-day routine drastically changed, I decided to keep my hair natural without any salon treatment. I found this experience to be liberating. I felt good about not having to visit the salon as often.

My jet black, naturally wavy hair started to show on the roots during the first few months, and I just let it grow longer. The artificial color and straightness faded because I didn’t do any upkeep. After some time, I decided to completely outgrow the chemically treated hair through months of regular trimming. More than a year after, my natural hair is now shoulder length! I love it!

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It took some time to grow my natural hair at the length that I wanted it to be. I am just glad that it now looks healthy and voluminous. I also noticed less hair fall nowadays.

Below are some of the steps that I took to help the growth process. These methods may not suit everyone, but I found it easy to incorporate them into my daily routine. I also made small lifestyle changes that were easy to maintain. I did not specify any particular brand of products that I used, but I mostly used store-brands and inexpensive variants that worked well for me.

Taking Oral Hair Vitamins

I found different brands of hair gummies online, and I decided on one brand which contained biotin and folic acid. Though I didn’t do much research about hair gummies before my purchase, I was consistent with taking the gummies twice a day, and I chose a brand that works for thinning and damaged hair in particular. I could say that I noticed some changes in my natural hair when I was still taking them. However, my natural hair was still too short at that point that the effect of taking the gummies was not noticeable. However, I didn’t care much about how obvious the effects would be at that time. I just wanted to get the nutrients to help my hair grow stronger. It’s a bonus that the gummies were delicious and relatively easier to consume as compared to other forms of vitamins. I wanted to continue taking them after consuming six bottles, but regular intake can get costly in the long run.

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Applying Aloe Vera Gel Before Bed

Aloe vera gel is a popular hair care product known to promote hair growth. I have used it mostly for skincare in the past, but I was pleasantly surprised when I started using it on my hair. I applied it at night and let my hair air-dry while I watched my favorite shows. I took this routine as an opportunity to massage my scalp as well to help me relax before going to sleep, and I found this to be quite enjoyable. When I woke up the next morning, I noticed that my hair turned smoother and softer. At times, my waves looked more defined, too.

Using Hair Oils

As a child, I remember my mother would use different types of coconut products to make my hair shine. Back then, she would cook shredded coconut in a pan and let it render oil. She will then apply the coconut oil to my hair before I go to sleep. I remembered this nightly routine I used to have, and how it made my hair strong and healthy at the time. That is why when I decided to grow out my damaged hair, I picked a bottle of store-brand coconut oil that I can use to reduce dryness. I usually apply the oil when I plan to wash my hair the next day. Like the aloe vera gel, I also used the hair oil to massage my scalp and forehead to de-stress at night. After I ran out of coconut oil, I tried using argan and marula oil. Both also worked well on my hair.

Avoiding Heat Styling

On top of having chemical straightening and coloring treatments, I caused further damage to my hair by using heat styling tools from time to time. There was even a period where I would use a flat iron right after I blow-dry my hair. Not surprisingly, my hair would end up dry and brittle afterward. When I decided to skip all kinds of hair-damaging treatments and styling, I kept my flat iron away for good. I had the damaged ends trimmed out, and nowadays my split-ends are completely gone.

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Less Restrictive Dieting

I have been a yo-yo dieter for the longest time, and I think I may have underestimated its effect on my hair. As I was trying to grow healthier hair, I noticed that I have more hair fall on periods when I eat a lot less than I normally would. I realized that the drastic changes in food intake and the stress it can bring to the body also affected the health of my hair. After that, I decided to avoid any fad or crash diets and focused on balanced nutrition and exercise.

Looking back, I realized that my hair greatly suffered because of the unhealthy habits that I had. Back then, I chased after instant results that ultimately did not last long and just left my hair badly damaged. I am glad that I took steps to restore my hair to its optimal health. Even though there are days when it is less than perfect or even unruly, I still prefer to see my natural waves now in their unique form.

By Kaye Jocson

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