Having Healthy Hair

A friend of mine works in a store, and he was complaining because people are always coming in and asking him about which shampoo to use.  He is not an expert in shampoos.  He is a store clerk.  How is he supposed to know?  If you want to know how to take good care of your hair, ask someone with good hair what they do.  A lot of people have always commented on my hair. In fact, at times, I have found people trying to cut their hair or dye their hair trying to make it look like mine.  I have a friend who said to me that as I get older, she knows that she is prettier than I am, but people still think I am pretty, and she is sure it is my hair.  The truth is, I have worked hard at learning how to take good care of my hair, and I do it.  I have lived all over the world, used all kinds of products, known all kinds of people, and asked all kinds of questions from people all over the world.  I have got some things figured out, so I am going to share them with you.

brown sliced soaps
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This is what Romanian homemade soap looks like. Many people use it for baths, for hands, for faces, for hair, for dishes, and for the laundry because they don’t have money to be buying soap. They make it out of pig fat and bones when they butcher their pig.


To begin with, don’t wash your hair with soap made for hands.  My brothers used to do this, and it made their hair look like straw.  My mother had to lecture them and make them start using shampoo and cream rinse (conditioner).  Don’t wash your hair with dish washing liquid either.  I have done this when I was out of shampoo, and dish washing liquid is harsher than shampoo, and your hair won’t be as soft.  If you decide not to run to to store for shampoo, it works in a pinch, but be sure to use conditioner afterward, and only do it once.

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As for shampoos, most of them are good.  I really can’t tell a difference between “extra volume” shampoo or any kind with something like that written on it. Those are just marketing ploys. If the shampoo has been around for a while, you know that it is good because people keep using it.  If the company is in business, you know they have decent shampoo.  Read the directions on the bottle.  Do what is recommended to to with that shampoo and cream rinse.  My mother used Breck shampoo for years, so I used it growing up, and it is good.  I use Pantene shampoo because I know it is good and I travel, and you can find it all over the world, so I don’t have to be poking around trying to find which one I like because it is sold everywhere.  My cousins used Herbal Essence, and that is also good. It smells really good too. The truth is, most shampoo you buy is good or people wouldn’t be buying it.

four assorted perfume glass bottles
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It really doesn’t matter what kind of shampoo, so use one you like. Except, don’t use perfumed shampoo. When I was in Romania, I found perfumed shampoo. It made me think of 1700 in France, and I was intrigued.  I bought some and used it.  It made my hair downright fragrant. I loved it!  However, if I used it more than once, my hair began turning to straw. The perfume wasn’t good for my hair.  I had to change shampoos.

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Sometimes people have the problem of washing their hair, but their hair still looks dirty after they have washed it. That is called “over styling.” The first time I encountered it was when my cousin had a problem in high school.  I told her I thought she wasn’t getting the shampoo out and needed to rinse it better. She asked me to wash it for her, and I did, but I couldn’t change her hair.  It was better after I washed it, but only a little.  At times, my hair does that, and I have figured out that it is what is called “over styled.” You have tried too hard to have nice hair and used too much cream rinse or products like that too many times.  If this happens to me, I have learned to put aloe vera gel on my scalp before I go to sleep. However, sometimes, that isn’t enough.  If it isn’t, I just leave the cream rinse off of my hair a time or two, and it gets better.  In extreme cases, I would probably use that dish washing liquid on my hair because it really cleans tough, but I have never gotten that far. Usually, leaving the cream rinse off once works for me.

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There have been people in my family with a dandruff problem too. For normal dandruff, Head and Shoulders works, but in my family, there have been people with such a hard problem that Head and Shoulders didn’t work.  We learned that they should use T-gel, a kind of shampoo made with T-tree oil.  It takes care of really tough dandruff problems. We learned about it from a dermatologist.  It also works to get rid of or ward off lice if there is a lice break out at your kid’s school.

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When I was in Romania, the women were really into dying their hair. However, they didn’t have much money and did it as cheap as they possibly could, and some completely destroyed their hair. Their hair ended up broken and looking like straw.  I have talked to hair experts in America and in Korea because as I get older, I also dye my hair, and I don’t want my hair to look like straw.  They all seem to agree.  They said that the cheap dye you buy in the stores that you put on yourself usually has little pieces of metal in it that make it stick to your hair, but the little pieces of metal also tear your hair up.  The dye the professionals in the hair shops put on your hair is more expensive, but there is no metal in it.  The best hair dye is probably the henna hair dye.  It doesn’t tear your hair up, and it also doesn’t make your scalp itch like many hair dyes do.

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If your hair is dark and you want blonde hair, getting blonde hair will tear your hair up.  My hair is very dark, and so is my sister’s.  My sister always wanted blonde hair.  She bought some blonde hair dye while we were growing up and used it. It made her hair orange. In Japan and Korea, I noticed that there were lots of people with orange hair who had dyed their hair. I have also seen blacks with orange hair.  The first lady in a hair shop I asked about this phenomena said to me that my sister’s hair turned orange because we had too much Indian in our family and that people who aren’t completely white were going to get orange hair if they tried to make it blonde.  The next lady I asked explained to me that people with dark hair have to change their hair a lot to get blonde hair.  She said it was possible, but they had to use too much hair product to get it as far as blonde.  The more you use of this product, the more likely you are to tear your hair up.  Most people with dark hair stop at getting red hair, and it is healthier for their hair, but people with black or dark brown hair can get blonde hair, but they will tear their hair up in the process.

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Other thing that can tear your hair up is perms and straighteners.  I have tried both.  I actually had them done in a hair shop because they are hard to do alone.  However, if you go to a hair shop where the people understand and care for your hair, you can get by with using these things without tearing your hear up.  I had a straightener on my hair a long time, and I went to the hair shop regularly to let the lady at the hair shop put her special treatment on my hair because I didn’t want my hair torn up.  When she moved away, I stopped using straighteners because in the other hair shops I go to, they just don’t seem to know how to do a good job taking care of it.  If you get someone who is good and knows how to take care of your hair if you have things like this on your hair, use them, but otherwise, you will end up having to cut your hair off from lack of care which is what I had to do when the lady who used to take care of my hair moved away.

When I lived in America, they had hot oil treatments for sale in the stores.  Those are helpful to take care of your hair if you have a perm, a straightener, or dyed hair.  You need to do it every few months.  They are just a very small tube that you put in a cup of hot water.  When you wash your hair, you just take the oil that has been warmed from the cup of hot water, rub it into your hair, and leave it sitting for a while with a towel on your head. It has been a while since I have seen one of these since I can’t get them in Korea, but they work.  Just read the directions.

There are several different kinds of essence, but this is what I use.

Here in Korea, I have discovered a thing called “essence.”  It is not just something that smells good. It is something that takes care of all those ends that are kind of frizzy looking and stick out of your hair.  I always noticed that when I went to the hair shop, the lady at the hair shop put a little bit of something on her hands and rubbed it into my hair before I left, and it really helped the look of my hair. When I asked what it was, the lady said “essence,” but I still didn’t quite understand.  I went into the bathroom one day at the university where I was teaching, and it was raining outside and making my hair just downright unmanageable.  Little frizzy pieces of hair were everywhere.  One of my students was there, and she saw my hair and my disgust, and she said, “You need essence.”  I began searching the stores for “essence.”  I found some, and it works well. It is just a small bottle, and you put a little on your hands and rub it through your hair. I blew my hair dry this morning, and I didn’t like what the ends looked like, so I rubbed some essence on my hands and rubbed it into my hair. It looked a lot better.

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Her dyed blonde ends on her hair look just a step a way from straw.  She needs essence, a hot oil treatment, a treatment from her hair dresser, or to cut those ends off. However, I have seen worse, so If I were her, I would try the treatments first.


If you don’t think you need to, it is better not to get a perm, put a straightener, dye your hair, blow your hair dry, or roll your hair because those things can tear your hair up.  The less you do to your hair the better. However, we like to look nice and neat. We don’t want stringy or frizzy looking hair.  We want our hair to lay right, so we do all those things.  If I wash my hair and I am not going anywhere, but am at home for the day, I just let it dry naturally to give my hair a break.

This is my daughter’s pony tail. She never blows her hair dry. She never dyes it. She never puts a rubber band on it. She always uses conditioner after she washes her hair.  She never even rolls it.  She has never had a perm or a straightener on her hair. She only goes to the hair shop about once every six months for a trim. She doesn’t need the essence because she doesn’t mess her hair up at all. She is a little lucky because she has just enough body in her hair not to worry about it. It isn’t too straight or too curly, or anything.

If your hair is long, don’t put it in a pony tail or pig tails with a rubber band.  A rubber band will break your hair.  Use a clip, a scrunchy, or a piece of elastic covered with fabric.

If you want your hair to grow long, leave it alone and let it grow.  Occasionally, your are going to have to have it trimmed to keep the messed up ends out of your hair, but if you let the lady at the hair shop cut it as often as she wants to, your hair will never grow. I had a friend who always had long hair until she went to beautician’s school.  She said beauticians are all taught to push getting your hair cut, and they wouldn’t leave her hair alone. My daughter wears here hair very long, but it took keeping her out of the hair shop to let it get long.  If you want long hair, stay away from the hair shop.  However, to try to keep it healthy after it is as long as you want it, get it trimmed slightly occasionally, but remember not to get it cut more than it will grow.  If you have long hair, you will need the cream rinse, the hot oil treatment, and the essence even more.  A lot of girls and women who want long hair are just not patient enough to let it get that long, but leaving your hair alone is the only way to let it grow.  Just wear it in a pony tail for a while and leave it alone, and it will grow.

You see, I am getting older, but my hair doesn’t look like straw, and it always looks clean and healthy. I know how to take care of my hair. I hope some of what I have learned helps you. My hair has been blown dry and had essence put on it here.

I never use hair spray. It makes my hair feel to strange. I never “rat” my hair.  I used to use mouse trying to control the frizz, but I think essence is better. I want my hair as natural as possible, but still fixed.

I may not have answered all the questions you might have when you walk into a store trying to figure out what to buy to take care of your hair. However, hopefully, with this information, you can do a good job on your hair, and you won’t be bothering that young store clerk who is probably more baffled than the customers with all those products on the shelf.  I have asked a lot of questions of people all over the world and experimented a lot through the years trying to figure out how to take good care of my hair. Hopefully, the things I have learned will help someone else.






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