Do Healthy Hair Hacks Really Work?
Maybe. Maybe not. But I tested two anyway so you don't have to.
My morning routine remains pretty much the same, day in and day out. I wake up between 5:30 and 6:00 A.M., brush my teeth, shower, get ready for the day, and either plant myself at my desk at home or head down to the office to do some "important" day-job work. I have naturally curly/wavy hair and don't have to do much to it in order to achieve a natural, beach-wave look. But I do wash it with natural shampoo and conditioner and have tried in vain to keep my oily hair in check. See, around the age of 23/24, something happened.
I developed oily hair.
No big deal, right? Oily hair? Who cares? There are far worse things in life than oily roots. Trust me, I get it. But oily roots can still be a hassle, and after having tried a few trendy techniques to tame my greasy locks, I figured I was done giving healthy hair hacks a go. Alas, my hair is still slightly oily and has become the bane of my existence. So of course, the obvious solution was to try more hair hacks. Why the heck not?
But here's the thing: hair hacks don't - and won't - work for everyone. There's simply no way that everyone's hair will benefit (or not) from these "tried and true" hair hacks blowing up our phones on Refinery29's Snapchat stories or Cosmo mobile subscriptions. Case in point: my two-week trial with two of the latest hair hack trends. One was great, the other was a flop, but nonetheless, I learned one very important thing: the health of one's hair stems beyond the shampoo you use, or don't use.
Week #1 + Hack #1: Shampoo Before You Shower
Out of two trendy hair hacks I tried, this one was probably the "weirdest." It seems counterintuitive to me to shampoo my hair before I've even stepped foot in the shower, but after seeing it on one of Refinery29's recent Snapchat stories, I decided to give this hack a try. The premise behind the shampoo-before-shower hack is supposedly that doing so helps to lift bacteria, dirt, excess oil, and product buildup away from the scalp more effectively than a regular shampoo technique. It sounds simple enough, and so is the method; you apply and massage your shampoo into and throughout your hair before you shower, then rinse it out once you are ready to hop into the shower.
Is this method effective? As someone who washes their hair everyday, I found this method to be actually quite effective, and was pleasently surprised to find my hair feeling and looking less oily. My roots had more body to them than they typically do, and my hair certainly felt more clean overall. The great thing about this method is that it didn't add any extra time to my morning routine, which is always a bonus if you already rush to start your day on time.
Week #2 + Hack #2: Condition Before You Clean
I moved on in week #2 with this second hack, which is pretty darn common, but I wasn't really "excited" to try it; I have fine hair which tends to get weighed down quite easily from conditioners and hair products. Typically, I will only condition the ends of my hair about 3-4 times per week with a light, botanical conditioner, or I'll sub that out for a hair oil. Nevertheless, I was interested in seeing the results from this method.
The idea behind this hack is to apply your conditioner first, rinse, then shampoo. It's the exact opposite of what many of us have grown up being taught or learning how to do in order to care for our hair, and there were a couple of mornings where I almost forgot not to shampoo my hair first. But this routine is simple enough to do and stick to.
Did I like the results? Well, to be honest, I found the hack ineffective.
This hack didn't seem to do all that much for my hair, perhaps because you end up washing the conditioner out. This is supposedly meant to help nourish your hair without weighing it down, but I found my hair felt and looked the same. I didn't notice any significant changes and my hair was still as oily as it usually is. I had suspected this would be the case, but as my mother always says, "Never try, never know."
Though I'm all for trying new things and discovering new methods of caring for my skin and hair, there's no doubt in my mind that hair hack #1 was far more more effective and productive than hair hack #2. Not every hack will work well for everyone, but my consensus is that a good hair oil and semi-often hair mask does the trick in nourishing my hair without needing to add a conditioning method to the mix that yields little to no results. Looks like hair hack #1 will be my go-to shampoo method from here on out.