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Three Steps to Healthier Hair

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Do you like your hair?

Even though I receive a lot of compliments, I still complain about mine!

My strands are stick-straight, don’t hold a curl, and are nowhere near as thick as my sister’s hair.

Then again, her hair takes 45 minutes to blow dry, while I can do mine in 3 minutes flat. And regardless of how straight my hair is, it does have one thing going for it: shine! It also grows super-fast:

kt1

I credit my healthy, shiny hair to three things: shampoo, babying, and diet.

How to get Shiny, Healthy Hair

1. Use a high-quality shampoo. I can’t say enough good things about Desert Essence coconut shampoo and conditioner.

mecoconut2

Initially, I bought this because—well, hello! It’s coconut! But it truly is the best shampoo I’ve ever used. Prior to trying this, I would buy the cheapest shampoo (of the brands that don’t engage in animal testing). I have “normal” hair (not too dry, not too oily), so I wasn’t picky about brands.

This shampoo normally sells for about $8, but I buy in bulk at a grocery store called Sprouts, when they have a 20%-off-all-vitamins sale. That helps. Plus, sometimes quality products are well-worth the extra cost.

hair

2. Don’t over-process your hair.

I only wash my hair on days I run (4-5 days a week), and my hair-care routine is pretty minimal (basically because I am lazy and don’t want to spend the time with a curling iron or round brush!) After washing, I spray in a detangler. (Long hair can get knotty!) Then I comb the knots out, blow dry it for three minutes (or less), and I’m done.

In the past, I’ve done highlights a few times, and I’ve had three perms (only one of which actually worked; the other two fell out!). But the last time I did anything chemical-y to my hair was in high school. I like my natural color, so why dry it out by adding highlights? (I’m not ruling out another perm, though. Being a curly-top is fun!)

3. Make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats in your diet. Low-fat diets might be good for calorie control, but they wreak havoc on hair and skin! I prescribe large doses of the following:

fudge3

Raw Chocolate-Fudge Cake

Ok, maybe not large doses… but seriously, if your hair and skin are super-dry, consider adding healthy vegetable-based fats (nuts, nut butters, olive oil, coconut, etc.) to your diet. Even in the dead of winter, my skin is still soft.

Step Four: Embrace your hair, whether curly or straight! (I need to remember to take my own advice on this one. Do as I say, not as I do!)

hair2

Do you like your hair?
And what’s your hair-care routine?

P.S. Click the link for a picture of me with permed hair.

🙂

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. I love the Desert Essence Coconut Conditioner! It smells like heaven! I like to use a biotin-infused shampoo, though, for some extra oomph 🙂

  2. VeggieGirl says:

    Totally JUST used that Desert Essence coconut shampoo 😀

  3. Stefanie says:

    I need to check out that coconut shampoo. I have been looking for a new brand to try. After years of hating my curly/poofy hair, I have finally started to like it. 🙂

  4. Hela says:

    I would love to have super-fast growing hair! Mine is, like, super SLOW growing… But I still love it, because my hair is red, curly and just special, as nobody else has the same hair colour 😀 Despite the fact that I consume a lot of healthy fats (I had Chocolate Chip Boatmeal for breakfast and added coconut oil- what a bliss!!! It was so yummi), my hair is VERY dry, but this is due to our hard water, that kinda dries my hair out… I was at the hairdresser 2 weeks ago and he actually had to wet my hair during the cut, as I went super dry after washing.
    My hair routine includes washing my hair and using conditioner every 1 or 2 days and some leave-in conditioner or, special treatments for my tips about 3 times a week.. I am like you, my hair is really fine and I blow dry it for only about 2 minutes, that´s it 🙂 I would rather sleep longer in the morning than get up early to blow dry and straighten my hair, like friends of mine do…

    1. Haha I’m with you! I’d rather sleep ;).

  5. Awesome! I have fine, relatively dry hair and cannot wait to try out this shampoo. I already have it in my iHerb shopping cart (they have it for $6 so it isn’t too terrible).

  6. McKella says:

    Like you, I have very stick straight hair that won’t hold curl for anything. I don’t dyenor heat style it, mostly I just wash it every other day (with cheap shampoo) and blow it dry. Done.

  7. Rachel says:

    OMG, the timing of this post is too funny. Just last week I showed my husband your blog and (stalker-style) clicked back through previous photos of your hair. “How does she get her hair to grow this fast?” I whined to him. I think I need to get some coconut oil and start using it in recipes like she does. Maybe that’s her secret as otherwise our diet is very similar, I mused to him. Backstory: I used to have hair long enough to sit on. Then I cut it off to about your length now. Without putting scissors to head, my hair now in just two or three inches below my shoulders (due to breakage)!! I could cry. I want my long hair back so badly. I feel so guilty, but I recently just switched back to Pantene (I know, I feel terrible) because thats what I used when I had my butt-length hair. The breakage has stopped and my texture has improved. Don’t think me a copycat, but I am going to try your recommendations and see if I can’t get my hair back and get off of this evil Pantene. Thank you!

    1. Aw Rachel, I hope it works! I knew a girl once who had hair that long (in frst grade). At the time, my hair was in a pixie cut, and I wanted her hair sooooo badly!

  8. Gen says:

    Your hair is gorgeous! Thanks for all of the tips! 😀 oh and my sister says thanks for the happy birthday and that she LOVED the cake!

  9. Anonymous says:

    when is the larabar raffle drawing?

  10. LOVE that you posted this! I have been looking for a new shampoo! 🙂 Thanks Katie!!

  11. I bet that shampoo and conditioner smell amazing!! 🙂 I really like my hair (color and texture). The key to taming my long hair is TONS of conditioner in the shower and leave-in conditioner/detangler 🙂

  12. Jess says:

    i hate my natural color, so i always dye it and get highlights. i follow the cg method, and that has worked for me. i try to use organics primarily, but sometimes they can be quite expensive.
    no cones, no sulfates, etc, just gentle shampoo wash, rinse, condition, detangle, rinse, apply acid, leave-in, brush out, and gel. in the morning it should be controlled and fuller, not too stiff.

  13. You have such beautiful hair! I used to before I permed it a million times in grade and middle school…and then of course the highlights in high school…so now I am really trying to focus on my natural color and taking days off of washing and even blow drying…

  14. Katie you are so gorg. I know you didnt ask (but I always like to know) – but I ADORE your hair when it is super long (aka below boobs) or super short (around your shoulders). You rock both so well. And the curly is super cute too!

    1. Wow, you really know how to make a girl’s day! (And for the record, I think you are super-beautiful as well!!) Also, I’m glad you said you like it short… because I’m thinking about cutting it off for the summer. Long hair is just such a pain to comb out sometimes!

  15. Debra says:

    Thanks for the tip- I will look for the shampoo. The cake looks amazing!!
    Blessings, Debra
    Raw Vegan Diet

  16. Paula says:

    I was using Jason (not so happy with it) but switched to Wen (shampoo & conditioner in one) for a couple of months and I really like it. I am 57 yrs old and thought I lost my once mane-like mop, and thought my hair was thinning, but this product, combined with my letting my hair grow out from a short hair-cut, is working out well.

    Does the Desert Essence have laureth sulfate in it (a surfactant in most shampoos that dries your hair out)?

    1. From their website: All of the Desert Essence Organics products are free of parabens, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, phthalates, artificial colors, silicones, EDTA, glycol, and petroleum-based ingredients.

  17. Kim says:

    Mmmm…coconut shampoo??? I’m going to have to look for that! At the moment I use JASON brand shampoo and conditioners but I still haven’t found the product that works best with my hair. It’s so incredibly thick that it’s hard to rinse completely clean and because I don’t like to use a hair dryer on it I typically end up waiting at least 12 hours for it to dry. That’s pretty much my hair care routine; wash and wear!

    My mane is a strange mixture of everything from fine blond hairs to thick, wiry black ones. It’s hard to handle, won’t hold a style for long, takes too long to dry, and it’s too heavy for most elastics and clips to hold it but I love it for its strangeness. People have asked me in the past if I dyed my hair because even in the winter I have blond streaks. For some reason, they’re on the underside and are only really visible when I put my hair up!

    Now for breakfast…I wonder if there’s any coconut in the house…

    1. The coconut shampoo smells so good I sometimes want to eat it. And now I understand why it actually says on the bottle, “Vegan and gluten-free”!

    2. Holly says:

      Your hair sounds like mine! I have super thick hair. It takes too long to dry and style (I use a straightener some of the time- not necessarily for straighteness but to take out the frizz.) My hair is neither curly or straight, just in the middle. I’ve been searching for a good organic s/c for a LONG time. Most of them don’t even come close to being enough moisture or they won’t rinse properly. Definitely going to try this stuff!
      (all those s/c’s that don’t work- my poor husband has to use them up. 🙂

  18. Leashieloo says:

    You have great hair, thanks for the tips! My only complaint is that my hair is TOO FINE. Hello volume? Where are you?!

    1. I ask my hair that too! It never answers. (Except sometimes it says, “Your sister stole it!” lol)

  19. Shannon says:

    I definitely follow number 3, but I do like having fun with my hair so I do tend to process it slightly. Although my stylist is always amazed at how healthy my hair is (last time, because I had absolutely no split ends, we didn’t have to lose any length.) I’m all like “whole avocados baby!”

    Definitely going to try out that shampoo if I can find it though!

  20. Veronica says:

    Great tips! I need to work on #3 and #4. I’ve been eating more fats lately and hope to keep that up, despite the temptation to nix them for calorie-reducing purposes. I made a Masoor Dal with Cauliflower and Kale (http://reciperhapsody.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/masoor-dal-with-cauliflower-and-kale/) and added two tablespoons of olive oil to the recipe, despite my tempatation to either only use a tiny teaspoon or not at all. It was still reasonable in the calorie department, though. Your hair is gorgeous and def gives us a reason to follow your advice! I like you much better with the longer, straight (or slightly curled) hair, BTW. My routine is very simple. Wash, condition, rinse, comb, air dry.

    1. Ooh thanks for the link. I love finding new ways to eat kale!

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