My hair’s journey from thin and oily to thick and healthy

by | Nov 28, 2018

Have you ever wished you had someone else’s hair? Maybe some curly layers, or a shiny ponytail, or an effortless messy bun?

I know I did. I always had painfully thin, oily hair; I had to wash it every second day, buy ‘thickening’ shampoos, and cut in lots of layers to give the illusion of volume.

After a surprising journey that went for over ten years (during which I learnt the important value of humility, and hats), I discovered the secret that transformed my hair from looking like Medusa’s snakes into thick, bouncy locks.

This is my hairy story.

First, I learnt that pregnancy won’t always result in great hair

I had my first baby at 27 and thought the upside of wild pregnancy hormones would be wildly growing hair – it didn’t happen.

I had my second baby at 30 and guess what, hey presto, my hair changed! Not because of the hormones, mind you, but because I basically didn’t shower for three months. I had bred a non-sleeper. My magic trick was putting my hair in a bun without a hair tie (gross, I know).

Then, I learnt that how often you wash affects your hair.

The upside was that when I started washing my hair again, I noticed it started getting oily five days later instead of two. I had accidentally ‘reset’ the oil balance on my scalp, which was a bit of a revelation to me.

I discovered there are a LOT of different ways to wash hair

I started doing some research and experimenting with alternative ways to clean my hair that didn’t upset the oil balance again. Over the course of two years, I tried:

  • Conditioner-only washing. Shampoos strip your scalp of oils, but conditioners don’t. I tried using only conditioner for about two months. The end result? A flat, unclean mess. Thumbs down.
  • Raw honey and apple cider vinegar. Yes, really! The science was there, but to be honest the four months I stuck with that regime wasn’t fun. My hair was kind of dank and scraggly, and that magical breakthrough to beautiful shiny hair never happened the way the websites promised.
  • Clean shampoos and conditioners. I looked for brands that didn’t strip the scalp of oils and didn’t have toxic chemicals like SLS. This took a lot of experimenting and a lot of bad hair days. Frizz, split ends, and generally unclean hair were standard for a long time.

I learnt that loads of hair falling out in the shower is a bad sign

When I had my third child things went from bad to worse. I would have given anything to go back to my oily, thin hair, because my hair was a frizzy nightmare.

Huge clumps of hair would fall out when I had a shower – enough that I was sometimes worried I was going bald.

I was also exhausted all the time, and cranky, and I realised there were other things going on with my body I needed to deal with.

Eventually, I learnt the big secret

I started focusing on nutrition and adding in the foods I’d lost during my pregnancies, like omegas and healthy fats. I drank more water and felt my energy coming back. 

After about a year, I caught a glimpse of myself when my hair was in a high bun, and realised I had a mass of new hair, about 6cm long, sitting at the nape of my neck. It looked like a little bob. My hair continued to get thicker, and stronger, and it stopped falling out in the shower.

I had to grow out my layers because they were so thick it looked like I had a bowlcut-with-a-mullet hairstyle.

Today, I still use clean shampoo and conditioner. I only wash every five days or so. But ultimately, I learnt the secret to healthy hair is as simple as a healthy body. No amount of products or zany concoctions can get the same result as what your body can do when it’s got all the resources it needs. Feed your body, feed your hair!

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