The Hip Mom’s Tale of Three Hair Regimes

Having a bad hair day? The Hip Mom can help!

I am not sure there is any greater enemy of a girl’s hair – well, MY hair – than a Tulsa winter. The cold, dry air here renders my hair dull, lifeless, and liable to catch fire from a flyaway spark.  Even my daughter’s usually thick, lustrous red curls become a static-y mess of cowlicks.

Now I know that I have some hair addictions that don’t help the dryness problem:  for three years now, I have been religiously getting blonde highlights, which I love.  And every other day I roll out my hair in hot rollers to smooth out the frizz and general misbehavior.

So: mea culpa. But not everyone suffers from grumpy, downtrodden hair – there are plenty of moms running around with a kid or three in tow, rocking their minivans and sporting luscious manes. How? They can’t all be flying to LA for top-secret hair masques and blowouts with the stars, can they? What is their secret?

And before I go any further, I suppose you are probably asking: Why am I fretting about hair anyway?  What a frivolous topic for a MOTHER. But even if you are rocking your skinny jeans and your skin looks like a dewy teenager’s, if your hair is flat and blah, you – or at least I – feel grumpy and frumpy. And you don’t want that mood rubbing off on your babies! Of course, in the end I know that with all my fretting about hair, I want the “not pregnant” look – and I am pretty sure there isn’t a product or stylist out there who can help with that little issue.

But I am hopeful that even while I weigh more than a baby rhino, I can at least have better hair. So off I go in search of some hair love. My first stop is the Ihloff Salon, where I order up one of their Aveda Damage Remedy Hair Spa treatments. The treatment, chock full of mystical emollients, promises to deeply moisturize my hair and add shine. The lovely stylist Hannah shampoos and conditions my hair, and then sprays on the treatment – it takes less than a minute. I sit with the treatment for five minutes, and then whoosh! After a quick blow dry, she is done with me – I’m in and out in about 20 minutes. Now, unless you follow up with a full style – for extra money – I wouldn’t recommend doing the damage treatment if you have somewhere chic to be; my hair initially looked confused and in shock.

Hannah also recommends using Aveda’s Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner. These two products promise to “drench even the driest, most brittle hair with moisture, leaving it soft, supple, touchable.” So does any of this stuff work?

Well, my hair right after the treatment is kind of freaky looking, flyaway and out of control.  But it does seem to be shinier. It’s only after a week – a week of using the shampoo and conditioner, which really do seem to penetrate my thirsty hair – that I notice finally my hair has some of its mojo back – almost like it just returned from a Caribbean cruise filled with a lot of limbo-ing and mojito-ing. So was it the $55 damage repair treatment, the excellent shampoo regime, or simply the hair gods deciding they’ve tormented me enough?  I wish I knew!

Then I talk to three ladies who consistently slay me with hair envy. First, I speak to Karen S., whose blonde locks always look perfect. She is almost apologetic that her hair looks so good because she swears by simplicity. These great curls are the result of a quick curling session with something called a double-barreled curling iron. Because her hair has some natural curl, she just twirls the top layer. Another secret? She uses her curling iron starting at the top of her hair, instead of at the ends. That way, her whole head will hold more body throughout the day, instead of being weighted down at the ends. So intuitive, but I had never thought of that little trick!

Karen doesn’t use any fancy products, although she will occasionally do a heat protecting, deep conditioning treatment since she does give her curling iron a workout.  She washes her hair every other day: Overwashed hair doesn’t hold curl well and dries out, especially during the winter. Her favorite product has nothing to do with looks. It’s like perfume for hair: Tresemmé Fresh Start Refreshing Hair Mist! It’s super cheap, and just a spritz or two will “add shine and neutralize odor” between shampoos – so you don’t smell like the guacamole and onions you just gorged on at the Mexican joint.

Then I talk to my dear friend Ann H., whose rich red hair always looks ravishing. Alas, I’m not sure if you can get that color. She can prove that it is the real deal by her 12-year-old mini-me who cartwheels by in a flash of red. But besides that enviable color, her auburn hair always looks show-stopping. How?

Well, I am learning that everyone’s hair is different. While Karen doesn’t find that the more lux shampoos and conditioners make a difference, Ann says whatever she’s washing with makes a huge difference with her hair’s mood. She swears by Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner for dry hair. She alternates her Pureology with Bumble and Bumble Quenching Shampoo and Conditioner. Without her good shampoo regime, Ann notices her hair becomes dry and lifeless. But besides her shampoos, Ann, too, keeps it simple: In the winter, she’ll wash her hair just twice per week to prevent drying. She’ll blow it straight with a wide brush and blow dryer.  In between washes, she’ll refresh it with the curling iron for extra body. But that’s it; no fancy hair spa treatments or jillion-dollar blowouts.

Finally I talk to Emma X., my son’s Chinese teacher, whose jet-black hair is always impossibly shiny and put together. She has a few tricks up her sleeve, too: While she just uses Pantene shampoo and conditioner, she will follow up with a dab of the deeply moisturizing Moroccan Oil and rub it through her hair. This keeps her hair shiny and conditioned; she’ll also spritz the Moroccan Oil spray to refresh it. Moroccan Oil isn’t cheap – the small size runs around $40 – but you only need a dab each time you use it.  She also tries to not wash her hair too often, but usually makes it a day and a half before she feels the need to wash it. She doesn’t blow dry it to avoid all the damage heat can do, but sort of pats it gently to dry it a little faster.

And then some really intriguing insider information: She uses a silk pillowcase, which keeps her hair smoother and better behaved when she doesn’t wash it! I had never thought a pillowcase could affect your hair, but it makes sense – your hair spends a lot of time on a pillow. Another tip:  Emma sleeps with a humidifier in the winter, which not only helps with those winter sniffles, but also helps keep her hair and skin better hydrated. What a great idea! I use a humidifier for croupy kids, but never thought of using one for MOI and my beauty sleep.

So there you have it: Three women, three different approaches. Did you learn anything?  Play around with products and styles. Experiment until you find something that works best for you. Don’t over-wash your hair, especially in winter. Hopefully you will find the right regime for your lovely locks.  Because when your hair looks great, you feel on top of the world.  And a bad hair day can really ruin your mommy mojo. Which is no laughing matter.

Categories: Hip Mom