Long healthy hair: the habits and products to achieve it

Minimise heat styling, watch your diet and get help from a few of these clever products

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

There is something deeply desirable about long hair. Yes, it is very much in fashion, but then it rarely goes out of fashion. Having sported almost every style there is – including a shaved head – I am in the mood for length, and have finally achieved it. It was not easy to get here.

I had to shift from my desired full blonde back to my natural colour with some added balayage to combat the dullness of my natural mid-to-dark brown hair. I cut heat styling in half, and opted for colour a maximum of three times a year. I have saved a lot of money, and grown a lot of healthy hair.

If length is what you seek, diet and good habits are key, but products also make a huge contribution.

A silk pillowcase, with its capacity to regulate temperature and allow skin to breathe, allows you to wake up less puffy and with a crease-free face. However, it is also vastly kinder to hair, minimising the ripping, fraying and pulling that occurs during sleep. Slip Silk Queen Pillow Case (€95 at net-a-porter.com) is costly but worth investing in if you can. The silk is buttery soft, and once you wake up to hair that doesn’t look slept on, you’ll be converted.

Slip Silk Queen Pillow Case (€95 at net-a-porter.com)
Slip Silk Queen Pillow Case (€95 at net-a-porter.com)

Nothing is quite so effective for healthy hair growth as minimising heat styling and bleaching, but good shampoo and conditioning products will help to preserve both new growth and pre-existing lengths at maximal strength. Kérastase Bain Extentioniste haircare range (from €21.60) is designed specifically to care for hair as it grows to ensure maximum resilience and quality. No one wants long hair if it is made stringy and patchy by general abuse and breakage.

Kerastase Bain Extentioniste haircare range (from €21.60)
Kerastase Bain Extentioniste haircare range (from €21.60)

 Once you have the length you seek, hair can be pulled down by its own weight, looking drab and flat at the root even if the lengths look beautiful. To inject bounce, try a volumiser like Ouai Volume Spray (€26 at Space NK), sprayed into damp roots and lengths, to give hair movement and boost, then air or blow dry as normal. Don’t worry about blow drying the hair sleek – an undone look is easier to manage and is much more in line with modern styling than a poker straight, perfect look. 

Hair by Sam McKnight Cool Girl Texturising Spray (€29 at net-a-porter.com) is an ideal product for gently and artfully “undoing” an overly neat style. It will add grip for upstyles and braiding, but really shines when sprayed liberally through gently waved or blowdried hair tipped upside down. 

Ouai Volume Spray (€26), Hair by Sam McKnight Cool Girl Texturising Spray (€29) and Moroccanoil Original Treatment (€37.90)

To prevent mess or frizz and to nourish the lengths and ends, apply an oil through them before drying and over any flyaways once dry. I still love the Moroccanoil Original Treatment (€37.90 at selected salons nationwide) and have not yet found an oil to top its smoothing, pacifying effects or transporting good weather in a bottle fragrance.

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