I’ve been a slave to my hair straightener since I unwrapped the CHI box on Christmas morning when I was 15, and almost every day for over a decade I’ve subjected my hair to a cocktail of drying and styling of some sort.
But I’m not alone in my obsession with heat styling. A survey by the UK edition of Marie Claire found that, on average, women spend an average of 23 minutes drying and styling their hair when they go out. Another study–also by those stylish Brits–showed even more time, with women devoting 10 minutes to shampooing and conditioning, 15 minutes to drying and 15 minutes to styling.
This adds up to roughly ten days a year.
But the truth is, despite my love for the sleek and straight, every lady needs a haircation–a break from the styling to let your hair breathe.
Haircations can come in two forms: a day or two each week you avoid styling your hair or a designated stretch–a regular vacation is the perfect time–where you keep the hairdryer and styling tools at bay.
How do you know it’s time for an extended haircation? Your hair is starting to feel on the dry side. It’s lacking that bounce and shine you seek. Or maybe you notice you’re losing a few more strands than normal. Overall, it’s stressed.
For extreme damage, this might be the perfect time to work in a trim to rid your locks of split ends that no amount of haircationing can solve. But adding haircations into your regular routine can help maximize hair health and avoid heat damage, meaning less split ends and longer time before trims.
Want to enjoy a haircation for yourself? Here a few ideas:
1) Brocato Vibracolor Fade Prevention Treatment 2) Sebastian Drench Deep Moisture Treatment 3) Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Keratin Intensive Treatment 4) It’s a 10 Five Minute Hair Repair For Blondes 5) Brocato Curlkarma Energizing Treatment 6) Brocato Curlinterrupted™ Smoothing & Hydrating Treatment 7) Brocato Swell Volume™ Deep Volumizing Treatment
Use a rich treatment
A haircation is the perfect time to use a moisture mask or other intense treatment to revitalize your strands.
Skip the shampoo–maybe
Lots of women skip the shampoo in the shower to avoid stripping their hair of moisture and allowing natural oils to moisturize. If your hair is normally dry, this is key. But if you suffer from dandruff or other scalp condition, it’s good to keep the daily wash a part of your routine. The key is to keep the suds focused on the scalp and not lather all the way down to the ends.
Invest in a good towel
If you’re like me and love to wrap your hair up in a towel after a shower, do it right with a special hair towel. Standard cotton towels don’t always cut it and may be slightly damaging. Hair towels are often made of microfiber, are soft, and are made to absorb water quickly–a perk for non-haircation days, as well.
It’s great to let strands go product and heat free, but if you do need to style (let’s face it, it’s nice to leave the house, right?), air dry with light products. A light frizz serum, like Sebastian Liquid Gloss, will often cut the amount of time your hair takes to dry. Also seek out light gels and mousses that will keep your hair crunchy-fee while encouraging waves and curls. Don’t touch hair too much to avoid transferring oils from your skin to your hair, but do tousle lightly ever so often, especially with hair flipped over your head to encourage air circulation throughout your hair.
Do the twist (or braid)
A haircation is also a great time to try out new non-heat required styles like braids and twists. Jada’s resident tutorial expert Hannah Shaner has plenty of tutorials that won’t keep you bored. Hair not quite long enough or you weren’t blessed with mad braiding skills (don’t worry, I wasn’t either)? Break out scarves, headbands, and decorative bobby pins to add visual interest and keep things styled without the help of a straightener or curling iron.