My usual routine is pretty simple—or at least it used to be—and went a little something like this: Shampoo and condition, apply leave-in mask (if I'm feeling fancy), then pool my arsenal of vetted styling products (creams, lotions, potions—all that jazz).
Last but not least, I'll go in with an oil. It gets me through the day without looking like a frazzled poodle. Hair oil has been my right-hand man since day one. I genuinely can't remember a time when I wasn't smothering my strands in the stuff. Back in the day (or before I knew better), I would wildly pour it on in excess. Initially, I would first apply two pumps (like a normal human being), then, I'd decide this wasn't enough and go back in with a few more.
The problem with having curly hair is that, despite saturating it with styling aids, by the time it dries, the layers of products always seem to dissipate into thin air. So, the more the merrier is the motto I live by. Unless I'm leaving my hair naturally curly, I'll then go in with the heat. Usually, I'll blowdry it and run my straighteners through the areas that need it.
Nothing sounds....untoward, right? I thought so, too, that was until a recent trip to the hairdressers left me particularly dumbfounded. It turns out, I'd been doing things wrong. As I sat in the chair, watching my stylist prepare my hair for blowdrying, I signaled that I needed some oil.
"My hair is sooo frizzy," I explained. "Honestly, I load the oil on." When I was met by a look of horror, I quickly realized that maybe, something was amiss. "You haven't been applying oil to your hair before using heat on it, have you?" he said. "Ummm," I racked my brains. Was this a trick question? Was it some sort of test?
"Uh, yeah, I have," I said. "Big mistake," he beckoned me closer. I was all ears. How could my honed in routine really be so wrong? "Really, the oil should only be used on your hair once it's been through heat processing. If you use it before, you're essentially just frying it. Think of chips in the pan—that's your hair."
Gosh. It all made so much sense and yet, I had never, ever considered it. All those years of dousing my hair in oil flashed between my eyes. What have I done? This was why my split ends were so bad (it's obvs not lol). I digress.
I felt compelled to share this newfound knowledge with you just in case any of you lovely folk out there are unwillingly making the same mistakes as me. Regardless, it's really not the end of the world if you are, just make sure you stop what you're doing from this day forth.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.