One of the top questions I see on social media is about growing hair long and healthy.
Neons, pastels and grays are super fun colors to rock but that amount of processing combined with heat-styling, using harsh ingredients and/or generally not taking care of your hair, makes for damaged, broken, brittle and sad locks.
Northeast Pennsylvania licensed cosmetologist Chiara Reha specializes in color and has been through her own reparative hair journey over the past few years. Like most of us, she colored or bleached her hair and used heat tools as a teenager, but she really started to experiment with color when she was in beauty school — all while she continued to use hair dryers, flat irons and curling irons to style. “My thick, long hair became a thin, short, fried mess. And when I say ‘fried mess,’ that’s an understatement,” Chiara said. “My hair used to be my security blanket, and when I saw the damage that I had done it was super upsetting to me.”
As you might know, I’m a firm believer that how you look affects how you feel and we always deserve to feel our best. A few years ago, Chiara decided to make a change and created a new routine to breathe life into her hair. Her results are impressive and she spilled her tips to Hey, Beautiful so we can all have long, luscious locks.
Explain your routine to get your hair back to its healthy state. When did you start to notice it was working?
I had always used decent quality products, even before going to beauty school, but I knew I had to step it up a few notches and really invest in nursing my hair back to health. I switched between professional grade sulfate-free, reparative and moisturizing shampoos, conditioners and hair masks. I also did a low maintenance color on my hair, so I would not have to color it much at all, protecting its integrity. I would get trims every six weeks on the dot (instead of once or twice a year like before). I also would do a full Olaplex system treatment every two weeks, and slept in Olaplex Hair Perfector No.3 once a week. I would wash my hair as little as possible, probably about two times a week, and lived on dry shampoo. Keratin smoothing treatments or Brazilian blowouts also did wonders for me. A good leave-in conditioner and serum also work amazing to help repair, hydrate and smooth hair. The first time I really noticed a difference in my hair was about 10 months into my reparative journey. It definitely didn’t happen overnight, although I wish it would have. Time and patience was definitely key.
What were some hero products you used along the way?
Olaplex strengthening treatments saves your hair’s life, and I swear by the entire system. Over time, it really strengthens the internal structure of the hair. You don’t notice much of a difference at first but over time I really felt my hair get stronger. It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Product always gives my hair an extra boost of moisture. Plus, it adds shine and silkiness, controls frizz, seals and protects hair color, detangles, prevents split ends and breakage and enhances natural body. It’s also a heat protectant.
Tell me some other tips for someone who wants to grow their hair or just keep it healthy.
First and foremost, trim your hair every three months at least. If the hair has split ends, you won’t see length as it will continue to split up the hair shaft. If it’s really damaged, then it should be cut to a length that eliminates any stringy, broken pieces. Another huge thing is a good hair care regimen to fit your specific needs. This includes professional shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, serum and hair masks. Lastly, avoid heat styling as much as possible.
Any tips for those who want to keep their hair healthy on a budget?
Healthy hair doesn’t always have to mean tons of super expensive, high-end products. Sexy Hair, Verb, Matrix and Paul Mitchell all are fairly reasonable, professional-grade products. If those lines still break the bank, I always recommend anything in the OGX line which can be found in any drugstore, Walmart, Target, etc. Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist also is a great, affordable hair mask that can be used as a deep conditioner or every day treatment.
To see more of Chiara’s work, follow her on Instragram @hairbychiiiiiiii.
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT