Holy grail hair tools for low-maintenance, healthy hair
Caring for your hair doesn't have to be a hassle. Why not make it a relaxing ritual instead?
In my eyes, hair care is all about working WITH your hair instead of perpetually trying to "tame" it. It's all about embracing and showcasing what you've got. Your way might be different, and there's nothing wrong with that. BUT this post will be focusing on my low-to-no-effs-given method of keeping your style and hair health on lock.
This article rounds up all the hair tools I've found that have made my hair routine low-maintenance and painless. I'm at a point where I can basically just wake up and go. As you'll see, most of my hair maintenance routine all happens before, during, and after washing.
Everyone's hair care ritual will be different, but this one is mine. I hope there's something in here that inspires you to try something new or look at yourself or your hair routine in a new light.
Unless linked otherwise, all the tools mentioned are fairly easy to find either at your local haircare store or online.
Before I get into the tools, here's a side note about my hair type. It's coarse, oily, and I have some grays. It's on the wavy side, around a 2b. I bleach some strands and sometimes dye it with natural dyes. I also work out several times per week, and that paired with my oiliness tends to have me washing my hair more often than the average person, which is about 3-4 times per week.
I have a hair cut that requires little to no upkeep, and I have an oval to square shaped face. As I write this, I have a long, razor-cut shag with short curtain bangs. I've also had an A-line cut in the past that was really fun and carefree. Look to your hairstylist or online for more fun but low-upkeep ideas that work well with your hair type and face shape.
This is actually the newest addition to my routine. If you've looked into caring for wavy or curly hair, you know it's kind of taboo to ever brush your hair. I didn't do so for a long time because I like having piece-y, beachy waves that won't frizz.
The downside of never brushing your hair is that the ends of your hair never get the nourishing oils that your scalp naturally produces. Because of this, brushing is actually especially important to those with wavy or curly hair types that are prone to static and flyaways. The trick to brushing correctly is to do it at the right time using the right type of brush.
Try this: Before washing or co-washing your hair, brush your hair all over, in all directions, for five full minutes. Your natural oils will become nicely distributed across your strands in preparation for the wash. If you're co-washing and/or using the correct shampoo that won't strip natural oils from your hair (see tool #2 coming up next), your oils will stay along for the ride and the dirt, products, and excess oils will wash away. The result will be healthier hair that is more protected from the elements and much easier to style. Brushing also increases circulation to the scalp so that your hair will grow faster.
You can also brush intermittently through the day as you need to. Just use a styling cream to restyle when you're done.
The best type of brush to use for this purpose is a boar bristle brush with a flexible base. Natural or vegan is fine. My go-to brush that changed everything for me is from freeyourhairbrush.com. Her vegan brushes are different because the bristles are different lengths to reach through to your scalp and give you a nice circulation-boosting massage. Each ethereal brush design has a different intention to go along with it. Roxie, the woman who makes them, is really shaking up the textured hair community with her hair brushing revolution! Check them out here! (Note - This is an affiliate link! All proceeds go to small women-owned businesses. :)
A second type of brush I sometimes use in my routine is for styling wavy to curly hair. It distributes product and separates strands into more defined natural waves or curls. I'm using my cheap, 20-year-old knockoff of a Denman brush, so I didn't feel very drawn to picturing it here on the internet! Basically any skinny bristle brush will do the trick, but if you need to buy one new, the Denman is the gold standard. It's quite the rabbit hole if you search for "Denman brush" on YouTube.....
I will give the basic rundown of how to use the Denman brush in part four of this article.
2. Hair cleansers
To have healthy hair and a healthy scalp, you need cleansing products that don't strip your hair's natural oils. Ingredients to steer clear of are sulfates, lye-based "shampoo bars", alcohols, and silicones.
I formulated shampoo and conditioner bars that you can grab right here. At optimal pH, they're full of nourishing and gentle ingredients that your hair and scalp will love. They're also perfect for spill-free travel, and they have compostable and recyclable packaging. What are you waiting for?
If you have dry, curly, and/or color treated hair, exclusive or alternate co-washing might be a good option for you. Check out my blog post about what happened when I tried it for a whole month with one of my conditioner bars. (tl;dr my hair is a bit too oily, but I still like to do it every few washes.)
3. Scalp brush
A scalp brush, a head massager, a shampoo scrubber, a hair cleaning thingy. Whatever you like to call it, it's a round handled disc with silicone spikes to gently massage shampoo or conditioner into your scalp and hair. It's used to gently loosen debris and remove dirt while you clean your hair. It also increases circulation for optimal hair growth. And it feels really, really nice!
4. Large tooth comb
A wide tooth comb is perfect for gently working conditioner or other products through your hair while removing tangles in the shower. Quick, painless, life changing.
Before using a towel is where you can use your Denman-style skinny bristle brush if you're going for defined waves/curls. Use it at the point when your hair is sopping wet and you have added any product to your hair. A few swipes of a Grunge Goddess conditioner bar works nicely. In larger clumps, brush your hair outwards from your scalp, curling it gently around the brush as you go. After you get to the end of the strand, give it a little shake from the top.
5. Microfiber towel
Unlike rough and stubborn terrycloth, a microfiber towel swiftly dries your hair without damage to the hair shaft. Experiment with using gentle plopping or scrunching motions with the towel to retain your natural wave or curl shape. Then comes the difficult part: refrain from fingering through it as you air dry or diffuse. When it's dry, you can separate your locks apart as much or as little as you see fit.
In a pinch, a cotton t-shirt also works great in place of the towel.
I've been cutting my own hair for years in between salon appointments. For me, razor cutting retains my natural texture the best, and I love the slightly undone look it gives. I refresh my bangs and crown layers every few weeks, but I leave it to the pros for the length.
For techniques, I love Jayne Matthews's bang cutting and layer cutting classes.
More into the blunt look? Nothing against scissors. You do you. We can still be friends.
8. Styling tools
One of the best ways to prevent damage to your hair is to ditch hair elastics and heat tools! I absolutely love hair forks, hair sticks, and claw clips. Etsy has some unique and gorgeous sticks and forks, and there are many tutorials on YouTube and other social media. I'm sure you can find something to perfectly match your aesthetic. Have fun!
What tools are make-or-break for your hair situation? What is your relationship with your hair like? Are you going to add any of these to your routine?
Do share in the comments, I'd love to know!
- C <3