How to have Long, Healthy and Shiny Hair

Hair? Who cares about hair? I never did, or maybe I just gave it for granted. However, if there is one compliment I get from strangers whenever I am in the world, it always is: You have really nice hair!, What do you do to have such beautiful hair? My hair is natural, and if I have a healthy mane it is pretty much down to genetics as both my parents have good quality hair.

But aside from the good genes which was just luck, I also do look after my hair naturally and in this post I'm sharing my tips on how to keep your hair shiny, healthy, smooth and bouncy.

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  • Wash your hair once a week
This mainly applies to people like myself who have dry hair, if your hair gets greasy easier, then twice a week should keep you going. I live in London where the water is pretty harsh and dries both my skin and scalp a lot. The day I wash my hair, is quite the ritual though. The night before I soak the hair in coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil and the morning after, I wash it with a Paraben Free shampoo with lukewarm water and add conditioner too. Then, whenever I can, I go out and dry it naturally.Afterwards, once it is dry, I do a plait and keep it for a few hours. This makes my hair bouncy, curly and really soft.Every time I go on holiday to France, Italy or back home to Spain I wash it as much as i like as the water is less harsh than in Britain . I also dry it on the sun and it feels as if my hair doubles in volume.

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  • Use a Paraben free Shampoo and Conditioner
I have very sensitive skin and have suffered Rosacea for many years, the creams I put on my face are all Paraben free at dermatologist orders and my shampoo and conditioner too. No chemicals, no nasty stuff. If you can't find a Paraben free shampoo and conditioner in your local pharmacy, you can use "baby shampoo" as they are also soft and kind to your scalp and hair.

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  • Dry it naturally
My mum is the owner of a very healthy bouncy mane and seeing her healthy hair after all these years I definitely listen to her advice: Wash it in the morning, ideally on a sunny day so you can dry it naturally. On winter, there are days when I dry my hair with a hairdryer if outside is raining .The results? The hair is lifeless, not only that, it feels dry rather than smooth and silky.

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  • Avoid using hair straighteners or sources of heat in your hair as much as you can
Have you noticed some celebrities with all the money in the world but awful hair? Hair that has been so overstilysed over the years that not only it looks unhealthy but stringy. Overusing the straighteners, curlers, hairdryers damages your hair. Period.Try to use them once a month or avoid altogether. Hairdressers themselves tend to have hair that is quite damaged from the tints, the heat, the blow drys, the Brasilian keratin disasters. You can do natural styling that won't damage your hair at all , or add a bit of serum if you want to control frizzy hair.

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  • Long Hair is fine regardless of your age
If your hair is healthy and you love long hair, then go for it. Don't listen to fashion magazines telling you long hair is only for teenagers.What are we gonna do? Cut our hairs and hide because we are past 30?Never! Long hair rebels are exactly that, rebels!.

Beautiful women in many countries have long hair way into their seventies. In Bolivia, the indigenous women have shiny and thick black plaits that look fabulous. Indian women also have fantastic healthy hair way into their 70's. My mum herself , a beautiful blond woman, has always had long hair and it makes her look not only younger but fun, carefree and full of personality.

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  • Add olive oil , or coconut oil for smooth hair
Since I was young, my mum used to soak my hair in an olive oil/egg yolk mixture at least once a moth. The result? The softest conditioner you could wish for and hair feeling silky and smooth. Since living in London I now use Coconut oil instead of olive oil but both work wonders and moreover,they are chemical free and 100% natural.

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  • Avoid hot water, wash it with lukewarm water instead
It is hard in winter but if you can , make sure the water is not too hot as this can damage the hair follicles. In the summer i try to wash it in cold water as much as i can but in winter, lukewarm will do. The same applies to the skin.

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So when it comes to hair, less is more and the less chemicals, the less heat, the less straightening, and less styling ; the better. Same as your skin has to breathe and needs a make up free day a few times a month, your hair needs a break too. Even if you don't have that much hair, it will at least remain as healthy as it can for longer. Never a bad hair day if you follow these tips!

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Photos of Amancay Tapia by Marta Musial , Black and White photo of my mother from her own collection