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Great Hair Day Secrets - Hair Care How To

Karen Marie Shelton Hair

Great Hair Day Secrets - Hair Care How To

Generally speaking my hair is very well behaved.  The reason?  Many years of working diligently on my hair to keep it in tip top shape.  When you shower your hair with love it will return the favor.  I promise.  I'm living proof.  Ask anyone who knows me and my hair and they'll back me up on this.

Let's start with the basics.  My hair is naturally wavy with loose ringlet style curls scattered throughout the edges and at the nape of the neck.  The weight of my hair, which is hip length, keeps the waves and curls to a minimum.

(Image of my hair in 2011 - Photo of Karen Marie Shelton - - All Rights Reserved)

When I met Curly Girl Lorraine Massey on her first book tour many years ago she took one look at my hair and said "you're a curly girl."  We didn't agree on that, but I respected her opinion and frankness.

My Natural Hair Type And Texture

Can I get my hair to be really curly?  Yes, but only under certain conditions and I work at it.

My hair, which is medium thick has a a coarse cuticle.  My hair has grown so long in the past that I could sit on it.  Unfortunately at that length it was literally a pain in the rear.

As a result I keep it hip length which doesn't get in the way of sitting.  The weight of my current hip length acts to diminish the natural wave and curls.  The only way to get my hair super wavy or curly is to work at it when I cleanse my hair.  If I use curl enhancing cream and plop my hair, I can usually get curls.  If I braid it while it's damp I can get a lot of natural texture.

Rag Rollers Versus Hot Irons

I rarely use a hot iron of any kind because of the risk of damage.  If I want to add a lot of curls or waves I use traditional rag rollers.  Or I do a wet set with large foam or self adhesive rollers and a hood dryer.  Whenever possible I air dry my hair to avoid drying it out.

I've been growing my hair since 1988 with a few detours along the way.   In the mid 90s I switched to a long hair expert who promptly chopped my mid-back length to chin length.  I cried for days.  But the good news?  It grew back.  As he promised, it was much healthier.

Trimming My Own Ends

HairTopia Beautiful Hair Oil

Now I trim my own hair except when I go to California where my dear friend Celebrity Hairstylist Robert Hallowell carefully snips along the edges removing any tiny splits or tears.  He takes hours to trim my hair and I love him for his care with my tresses.  I never let anyone else cut or trim my hair.  Only Robert.

When I was in cosmetology school there were a few close calls when some of the students wanted to take a scissors to my hair, but I resisted all attempts.

I also trim my ends according to the moon phases.  Yes, it works for me and I have been using the moon since 1988 to help my hair grow. Does it really work?  I think it does, but I encourage everyone to form their own opinions after trying it for awhile.

Natural Hair Color

My hair is naturally dark blonde, but the base is a medium golden blonde.  Rose Zuniga, my hair colorist for the past five years.paints on highlights and low lights to create a beautiful soft and natural looking hue which has dimension and shimmer.  She only uses Matrix SoColor which works best on my coarse hair.  Sometimes she paints on low lights in a light caramel.

Since the mid-1990s I have been only washing my hair with diluted shampoo (DS) approximately every 10-14 days.  I dilute a moisture enhancing formula from the Phyto, Rene Furterer, JF Lazartique or Leonor Greyl lines.  And yes, I do rinse with water only ever few days to keep my scalp clean and the rest of my hair fresh.

My favorite shampoo to dilute?  The truth?  I have two current favorites which are Phytojoba and Rene Furterer's Karite Intense Nourishing Shampoo.

I've been using Phyto and Rene Furterer products on my hair since my trip to New York in 1996 when I discovered both lines and my hair fell in love.  Will these lines work for everyone?  No.  But they are my go-to product lines.

How I Cleanse My Hair Once Every Ten Days

1.  The night before I plan to cleanse my hair I will apply a few drops of HairTopia Beautiful Hair Oil (BHO) to the palms of my hands and massage them together.  With my oil coated hands I finger pick the oil through my strands focusing on the dry ends and any other dry sections.

Sometimes I might add a few more drops to my fingertips and carefully massage the roots.  I am careful not to scratch, pull or apply too much pressure to the roots.

2.  Once the BHO has been layered through my hair I braid it and sleep on it over night.

3.  Right before I cleanse I fill four clean gallon jugs with tap water.  Three of the jugs have lukewarm water and one has cool/cold water.  I also have a separate clean one quart bottle filled with lukewarm water mixed with 1-2 teaspoons of shampoo.  This is my Diluted Shampoo (DS) personal formula.

4.  Before I get into the shower I undo my braid.  I carefully detangle my hair using my Mason Pearson (my favorite) paddle brush or one of my Conair brushes.  I love Conair brushes and adore Anna at Conair who has done an amazing job of educating me about all of the Conair tools over the years.  I detangle slowly from the ends up to the roots.

5.  I turn the shower onto lukewarm.

6.  After I step into the shower I pour the first jug of lukewarm water over the top of my head to make sure I get my hair really wet in preparation for the diluted shampoo.

7.  Once my hair is very wet from the first jug of water, I shake up the diluted shampoo formula to form a suds.  I drizzle the suds over the top of my head and allow the suds to flow down the length of my strands.  I pat the suds into my strands, but do not scrub, rub or massage.  For areas of my hair that need a little more cleansing, I drizzle suds in that area.

8.  After drizzling the suds onto my hair and patting it through I put my head under the shower and rinse well.

9.  At this point I pour the second jug of lukewarm water over the top of my head and rinse, rinse, rinse the diluted shampoo from my hair.

10.  Once I have completely rinsed out the diluted shampoo formula I use my fingers to gently squeeze the excess water out of the length.  I do an accordion style gentle squeezeing.

11.  I apply a rinse-out conditioner with lots of slip from the top of my ears down to the ends.  Sometimes I apply near the roots, but for the most part I don't.  I use a variety of rinse-out conditioners but focus on products which are labeled as smoothing or super hydrating.

12.  Once the rinse-out conditioner is lathered on my damp strands I use a Conair wide tooth comb in combination with my fingers to slowly and methodically detangle my strands from the ends up to the roots.  This process may take several minutes due to the amount and length of hair I have.

13.  After my hair is completely detangled I use the third jug of lukewarm water and pour it over the top of my hair to rinse out the  conditioner.

14.  Sometimes I also will stand under the shower head if I feel I need to rinse out more of the conditioner after using my third jug.  I like to leave a very thin coating of rinse-out conditioner on my hair so usually the water jug helps me achieve my ultimate rinsing goals.

15.  Again I use my fingers like I'm playing an according to gently squeeze the excess water out of my hair.

16.  Finally, I bend over at the waist, as far as possible, and pour the cool/cold water from the last jug over the top of my hair making sure that it covers all the hair from roots to ends.  By bending over at the waist I minimize the contact of the water on my body.

17.  Once my hair is completely rinsed with the cool/cold water I again lightly squeeze the water from my strands with my fingers.

18.  I turn off the shower and towel blot my wet hair with a thick soft towel that is "hair-friendly" and does not have rough fibers.

19.  Once my hair has been blotted I apply a leave-in styling cocktail.  Sometimes I combine Phyto 7 or Phyto 9 with a dab of Phytodefrisant.  Other times I will apply a blob of Rene Furterer - Fioravanti Shine Enhancing Detangling Cream Rinse into the palms of my hands and massage together.

Note: Even though the Fioravanti instructions say to rinse after detangling, I usually don't rinse it out and leave it in the hair.  I am addicted to all of these products.

After I apply my leave-in conditioner I finger pick my damp hair, working in 8-10 individual sections from the ends to the roots.  Usually my hair doesn't need a lot of hair picking if I have already detangled in the shower.

19.  Once my hair is detangled I usually pull my hair back into a pony.  I hold the base with one hand and the tail with another.

I lift the very tip of the ponytail and twist it clockwise over the top of the base one time.  From that point I twist the tail clockwise until it folds over on the base.  Then I clip the wet bun with a hair friendly jaw or claw and allow my hair to air dry.

For special occasions I may dry my hair with a long finger diffuser which enhances my natural waves and curls.  Once every few months I may also use a 100% boar bristle brush and blow dry my hair straight with my dryer set on a cool, low speed.

20.  When my hair is completely dry I apply 1-2 drops of shine serum to the palms of my hands and massage together.  Then I swipe the top of my hands over the top of my hair just to lightly coat and block frizz.


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