Long & Thick Hair Care

So in case you haven’t noticed I’ve got quite a bit of hair on my head. And when I say ‘quite a bit’ I actually mean so much that when I schedule a hair appointment it usually takes upwards of an hour to dry my hair with TWO stylists each wielding hair dryers tackling cousin it over here. Seriously. I also get it thinned and even then I need the ginormous hair ties to hold it back!

photo via

So now that I’ve proved to you I actually have long and thick hair, you can believe the tips I’m about to impart to you.

1. Buy the best shampoo & conditioner you can: everyone’s budget is different but buying the best line for your hair really makes a difference. In my mind I section out hair care lines into three different tiers: 1) you can find in grocery stores 2) those that you can find at Ulta 3) those in specialty stores or at the hairstylist. Some of these overlap obviously but you get the picture. The ones from the first tier are chock full of wax to keep the product lasting longer and wax is not good for your hair. Some of my favorite brands are: Aveda, Chi, John Frieda, Biolage, and Paul Mitchell.
2. Switch your shampoo & conditioner when you shower: I always have two to three different brands and switch it up at different times. Plus use this Neutrogena shampoo twice a month to get all the gunk out of your hair.
3. Comb through your hair while the conditioner is still in it: use a wide tooth comb and comb through, starting with your ends, then twist is up and get along with your shower routine. This helps coat all the strands and detangle your hair. Plus it’s much easier than trying to fight it after you get out!
4. Air dry when you can: everyone knows heat styling damages your hair, so I usually air dry. I wash my hair at night and go to sleep with it wet. Sometimes if it’s not dry in the morning I will go over it with a hair dryer but usually it’s pretty dry. 
5. Deep condition at least once a week: thick and long hair needs deep conditioner! It needs it like you need air! It strengthens, protects, and revitalizes your hair. Find a good one (or use coconut oil), saturate your dry hair, throw a hot towel around it, and chill for 10+ minutes, then rinse. Oh lordy it feels so good! 
Is there anything else you do with long or thick hair? 

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  • Sarah Beth

    Love this and have to say I do all of these things but the combing part! I have a great Tangle Teezer comb that is so easy at taking out knots and doesn’t rip out much hair, I swear by it. What type of deep conditioner do you recommend? I found one at TJ Maxx a few months back and love it, but they never have it any more and I don’t know what to do!
    xx

    mysmallrayofsunshine.blogspot.com

  • http://fridaymorningbuzz.blogspot.com/ Tami

    Ugh — SO jealous of your gorgeous locks! Mine are just short and nappy and I wish it would all grow faster!

  • http://callmesassafras.com/ Allie // Call Me Sassafras

    I use designline tea tree shampoo and LOVE it! I have very oily hair and have to take showers every day (exercise/sweat) but it makes my hair not frizz out despite the frequent showers. I also recommend the organix keratin pre-heat hair spray for days that I straighten it. Then Garnier Fructis has a great no-frizz serum that I use as well! Thanks for sharing your tips!

    Why exactly should we use multiple shampoos by the way? Just curious–hadn’t heard that!

  • Allegra Benz

    I always use a serum on the ends of my hair after I get out of the shower and after styling with heat, it keeps the ends from looking fried, and keeps my hair looking shiny and healthy for weeks in between my haircuts! Garnier Fructis has a great one. Moroccan oil is great too!

  • http://duchessofplumewood.blogspot.com/ Katherine

    Oh I love me some Moroccan oil! I use a little with my bumble & bumble cream before I dry my hair and it doesn’t come out all crazy poofy! Love it!

  • http://duchessofplumewood.blogspot.com/ Katherine

    I totally understand the showering everyday! After about 10 minutes on the elliptical I’m like oh dang well there goes my hair! And as for the multiple shampoos there are different ingredients in each that do different things but I just firmly believe that switching it up makes my hair healthier. It might sound stupid but I swear my hair ‘gets used to’ a shampoo!

  • http://duchessofplumewood.blogspot.com/ Katherine

    Haha thanks Tami, those aren’t mine in the picture but I love that girl’s hair too!

  • http://duchessofplumewood.blogspot.com/ Katherine

    I love getting my Chi products from TJ Maxx! Maxxonista! I use a Neutrogena deep conditioner or I will stick a towel in the dryer, saturate my hair with coconut oil, wrap my hair in the towel and sit for 20 minutes like that. Oh your hair is so smooth!

  • http://www.colormebrave.com/ Paulina Dombrowski

    Great tips. I have always have had long hair and all these tips come in great hand let me tell you.

  • Vanessa Peebles Alexander

    I have long, thick, wavy and dyed hair. It has been something I struggled with my whole life. Finally now at 33 years old, I feel like I’m starting to figure it out.
    I always have the hairdressers thin out my hair… Wash with cold water… Deep condition at least once a week (sometimes even over night)…..I can never use the same brand of shampoo/conditioner for more than a few days…. And wide tooth comb before brushing. The one thing I swear by is hair oil. Whatever kind works best for you. Lots of them help with protecting hair from heat and condition. They help with detangling and more. Just dont use toooo much.

    I don’t dry my hair though… It just takes toooo long. If I go to bed with it wet it’s always wet the next day. Drives me crazy…. Wish there was a easy way to dry thick/long hair. Any ideas?

  • Kristen Alonzi

    I have always had very thick hair, and after I had my daughter, the soft waves got tighter and my hair appeared to have even more volume! 6 months ago I stopped using all the name brand shampoos/conditioners that I purchased from the salon (supply) store. I decided to give natural a go, and started using Whole Food’s 365 brand products — I will never go back to anything else! You have to use quite a bit because there are no added ingredients to make it “spread out”, but I haven’t had a hair cut in 3 months and NO split ends. My hair is shiny, healthy, no build-up, I’m in love!

  • Sirena Bondy

    I use an egg yolk/olive oil home hair mask once a week, it’s cheap and easy to whip up, 2 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 cups of water. It totally helps your hair get that natural shine and strength back after all the usual damaging products/styling tools!!

  • Kate

    Do you have any advice for styling long thick straight hair? My hair does nothing. It won’t hold a curl. It takes a billion elastics and pins to hold it in a bun and still chunks stick straight out. It’s too thick to braid, and pieces stick straight out of the braids. Basically I wear it down or in a ponytail.

  • Kai May

    Its called emolsify and you shouldnt use anymore than normally. Cheaper shampoos emolsify morr because they are designed differently. If you shampoo twice and rinse properly you should never have any build up. As well during and after pregnancy your different hormone levels affect your hair.

  • http://duchessofplumewood.blogspot.com/ Katherine

    My hair has a lot of natural wave so I don’t personally have that problem but since I’ve danced since I was 3 and a ton of my dance friends had stick straight hair I learned their tricks. They always said day old hair (ie not freshly washed) was easier to work with. For up-dos teasing your hair with a light hairspray (I love Aveda) works great for the pins to grasp. Curls: have you tried the overnight methods? The sponge curlers, the sock bun with damp hair, etc?

  • http://duchessofplumewood.blogspot.com/ Katherine

    I need to try this! So easy!

  • Sarah Botts

    My fave mask for growing, and keeping my hair silky soft is as simple as coconut oil. I put hot water in my sink and warm the oil up, then I just take a little bit on my fingers and massage it on my scalp and down my hair shaft until it is fully coated. Then I just chill out for as long as like with my hair in a top knot. I even run over it with a blow dryer so the oil soaks in better. Coconut oil has fatty acids and other things in it that promote hair growth, as well as the scalp massage. When I get in the shower I use my regular shampoo (Mane’n’tail, love it, but I find it’s a bit drying) as well as conditioner (herbal essences, hydralicious. Not my favorite, but it gets the job done). When I get out of the shower I comb my hair out with a wide tooth comb, run my fingers along the now hardened coconut oil to melt a little bit and apply that to my ends to seal in extra moisture. My hair is thick, but not super long and this keeps it healthy. ( I highlight my hair and hat style it maybe once a week)

  • Jessie Hardesty

    Gee, this sounds like me. I completely agree with switching up the shampoos every now and then. I switch between John Freida’s Sheer Blonde and good old fashioned Head and Shoulders, especially in the winter to keep my scalp from getting dry. I have a hard time not blow-drying my hair in the winter, given how cold that can be, but I try to keep it to once a week or less, and then sleep on it wet the other times. If I’m lucky, I wake up with a pretty wave. If I’m unlucky, I give it a generous dose of flexible hold hairspray and contain it into a bun (with the help of two hair ties, a set of spin pins, and a bobby pin or two to catch the stubborn strays). But as much work as my long hair can be, it’s so much less work than when I’ve made the mistake of cutting it shorter. The length seems to give it weight that it needs to stay under control.

  • lauras.art@gmail.com

    I have been doing all these for decades! However, I am 50 now and losing my hairline! The last 7 years I have been using Sulfate Free products and I do not brush my hair only use the comb in the shower every morning. I would like to just say you really should brush your hair! Not sure it really works but I just bought my 1st brush and plan on using it everyday to see if it helps. Anyone else have this problem have any help please pm me!

  • lauras.art@gmail.com

    I love coconut oil on my skin in the winter and seeing it can help fight fungus I use it in the shower as a moisturizer right before I get out. It is very dry here so it helps with that, also. Now I will try it on my hair. Thank you Sarah.

  • Tatyana Gordon

    I use a tea tree oil shampoo and Garnier triple conditioner. Sometimes I use herbal essences none of your frizzness. I like to use as many different products in my hair, because I am just starting to understand it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my natural hair, but I do miss my relaxers. I had no lye ones, but I miss having straight hair. All those hair masks do nothing but make my hair softer. I miss the pin straight hair

  • Haley

    I have completely straight hair but what i have found that works is maybe a day two after washing it you can try curling your hair with a straightener there’s a lot of good YouTube videos to show you exactly how to do it but that’s only if you’re okay with using heat that’s the only thing that will work on my hair because my hair so straight and when you do that use a light hairspray right after you curl the hair it’s very easy and Mine stay all day especially in nice weather but good luck

  • Hayley Mandel

    actually you shouldn’t comb your head wet in the shower because the water makes it weaker so the hair is more likley to fall out…. what ive done is use some detangling spray (if the knots are that bad) and brush out my hair before getting in the shower…. its harder work but the end results definitley pay off lol

  • SaraJane

    I highly recommend nioxin scalp therapy treatment. If you can afford the whole line its amazing!!

  • Kaitlyn Guise

    Yes but wide tooth combs are meant for wet hair so it doesn’t tug and pull your hair and make it weaker

  • curlshairs

    Amazing with your hair styles.

    http://www.curls.biz/

  • http://kelsiesnailfiles.blogspot.com/ Kelsie Rogers

    By coconut oil, do you mean the oil you can buy straight from a grocery store… or is there a special one for hair that I could purchase from a salon?

  • Ellie

    I use coconut oil from the store every time I wash it. Warning: If it comes in a glass jar, don’t screw the top back on tight or you won’t get it back off after you use the jar a couple times. I have ridiculously dry hair, so I put oil on my scalp and in my hair with an applicator bottle and wait 30+ minutes with my hair in a bun. Often I end up shampooing twice just to make sure all the oil got back out, and then use conditioner. Only do this every time if your hair is REALLY dry.
    Happy moisturizing!

  • jordyn

    How long do you leave it in

  • Ashton Arnold

    Okay, well I have curly hair and if I wait ’til it’s dry and comb it guess what I have? That’s right, I look like a 80’s rocker. So if you would like to impart some of your knowledge on me about combing it when it’s dry without spending 2-3 hours making it look better that would be delightful.

  • HanLynn25

    Actually it’s fine to use a wide tooth comb, as long as you are gentle on the tangles. But I started doing this over the summer and my hair is much softer and less breakage. Also never brush wet hair, the hair has more elasticity when wet, therefore causing the chance for split ends to be more prominent.

  • Tamika Marie Willett

    I have similar hair. It’s very thick, has a slight wave, but it’s difficult to do anything with. Hairspray is my best friend. I try not to do to much hairspray because I have very oily hair, but because it won’t hold a wave, curl, bun, or hairstyle I have to “back comb” and hairspray. You can watch YouTube tutorials and they can be helpful. Also watch tutorials on how to use hair accessories. You could be using them wrong. My hair has short layers on top, so it will not stay well in braids, so there’s really nothing I can say for that, once again hair spray or if you can find a gel in a spray bottle you spray a small amount on your hand and smooth it through your hair. Back combing can help with bringing volume into your hair, and keeping everything in place, because then the pins have something to hold. Hope that helps!

  • Tamika Marie Willett

    This was very helpful! I chopped all my hair off about two years ago and it’s finally back to my collarbones, I don’t use much product in my hair because I have such oily hair. The deep conditioning I should definitely partake in though! I really fry my hair with how much I style it with heat. Does anybody know if keeping it in a ponytail is damaging?