When it comes to skincare, makeup and fashion Lana Graves has created her own unique and trending style through her photographic self-portraits. Lana’s Instagram page is definitely one to follow.

Getting creative with how you look and pushing the boundaries can be great fun, but sometimes it doesn’t always go quite to plan. Lana shares her own ‘bad hair’ experience with us and explains her routine to restore her hair’s health and vigour.

“I’m currently in the process of growing my hair which I, unfortunately, ruined during the pandemic, so I wanted to share my story with you about the haircare mistakes I have made so you can avoid doing the same. I also want to explain which haircare routines I found worked best for me, helping me to restore the health of my precious locks and prevent breakage. I’ll also give some tips on how to boost and grow healthy hair.

Just to give some context to my own story, I started to dye my hair when I was a teenager and I have probably tried just about every possible colour and shade. I’m confident I can now name myself as a ‘professional hair destroyer’ with far too many years of experience behind me!

As we all know, the long days of the pandemic spent at home were very often extremely boring, so to pass the time and cheer me up I decided to make quick some improvements to my personal style and look. Unlucky for me I decided to start with my head, making some big changes to my hair. At the time I had gorgeous long black hair and so I decided it would be a great idea to dye this and go for a blonde look, using a home dye kit I thought this would be fine and I might just keep it for a couple of weeks.

I would, in retrospect, always recommend never to dye your hair at home. Always choose a professional, over some impulsive wish because there will inevitably be a price to pay. This quick change turned out not to be a very smart move for me and I certainly paid the price! Almost straight away, I could really feel and see the damage to my hair and so I decided the only thing to do was to chop off everything which I felt was badly damaged. The resulting loss of the length and the quality of my hair also meant I lost a lot of my own self-confidence. So to get back on track, I needed to establish a good haircare routine. With a little research and some trial and error, I have found one which really works for me.

Tip 1 / Nourish your hair overnight.
Hair oil treatments are superb in promoting health growth and they work as an amazing scalp treatment. Hair oils seal the moisture in to your locks, preventing breakage and adds shine to your hair.

I would recommend the wonderful Patchouli & Black Pepper Face, Hair and Body Oil. Simply apply 10-15 drops of your favourite oil on the palm of your hand and gently massage your scalp with fingertips using a circular motion, apply the rest of the oil on the length of your hair, and wash off in the morning. I would recommend to cover your hair with a towel or shower cap and leave it overnight for the best results. After washing out, add a couple of drops on the damp hair to protect your hair from heat, this makes it easier to tame hair and get rid of the frizziness, hair will look silky smooth and shiny. And obviously hair will smell divine!

Tip 2 / Don’t wash your hair too often.
Only wash your hair when it really needs it, especially during the hotter months. Finding ways around washing your hair can be tricky. But believe it or not there are plenty of reasons why you should stop washing your hair every day, and I’m about to share them. I’m not saying to go a week or two without a wash, but as it relates to the health of your hair and scalp, these things are helpful to know. I totally recognise that everyone’s hair is different, and some people tend to have more issues with oil than others, so just to be clear, I’m not saying that what works for me will work for you. Once I stopped lathering up my strands daily, my hair got shinier, my scalp became less dry and I almost forgot what was meant by ‘split ends’. One great benefit of washing your hair less often is that your hair colour will stay for a longer time, so it won’t fade so quickly. Also, washing your locks too often usually causes split ends and dry scalp, it may prevent this problem too. And a very important benefit is to reduce energy and water consumption, I believe it’s very sustainable approach.

Tip 3 / Use natural haircare products
Opt for products without without parabens and SLS. It’s very important to use shampoos and conditioners without chemicals, with natural based ingredients, such as Bath House who use a coconut derived surfactant.

Hair products that contain harsh chemicals are not only bad for the health of your hair and scalp, they are also thought to affect overall health. When you apply products to your hair and scalp, they get absorbed by your skin and make their way into your body. Ingredients like parabens and phthalates have been linked to health concerns like breast cancer, due to their ability to mimic hormones. Opting for natural hair products will help to prevent health problems associated with such ingredients.

Many natural haircare brands use recyclable or biodegradable packaging. This means, once you’re done with the product, the packaging won’t harm the environment or be discarded in a landfill site. Instead, the packaging will either decompose or be reused, therefore reducing harm to the planet. Refillable products are amazing, you don’t need to get rid of original packaging, simply buy a refill, it’s a more sustainable in my opinion.

As sad as it is, animal testing is unfortunately still carried out on a number of products throughout the hair and beauty industry. Going natural with your haircare products usually means going cruelty-free, this is true for Bath House products which are all vegan and cruelty-free.

Tip 4 / Don’t brush wet hair
Brushing hair when it’s wet can actually over stretch, over pull and ultimately tear your hair. Hair is in its strongest state when it’s dry. Instead, detangle your hair with your fingers, a more gentle approach. It’s better to wait until your hair is completely dry to do any further brushing. Please be careful and don’t stress your hair when it’s wet.

Tip 5 / Follow a healthy diet
Fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains and proteins are appreciated by your hair as well as your body. I have been vegan for 4 years now and I always keep my diet balanced, I’m always trying to reduce my intake of fast food, salt and sugar. It’s also important to include plenty of water in your diet. Drinking the recommended 6 to 8 glasses of water a day will keep your skin and hair properly hydrated, and will boost your follicles growth potential. Don’t forget to take supplements too, it will add extra benefits to your health.

Tip 6 / Visit hairdresser regularly
Always be very careful of the impulsive use of the home-dye kit and if it goes wrong trying to fix it yourself can spiral out of control so seek the help of a professional. Stick to a routine and arrange monthly or 6 weekly appointments with your hairdresser to give your hair professional grooming and always asks for advice. This will deal with any potential problems as well as help to maintain the condition of your hair.

Once your hair’s structural integrity is harmed, there’s no way to repair it (remember, this is what happened to mine) and so it simply must go. There’s no treatment that’s going to help. If your hair is burnt, you’re going to have to trim or shorten it, by cutting it off and letting the new hair grow through.

Healthy hair isn’t straightforward – and it would be a disservice to your time and energy to pretend it is. It does take time and the build-up of self-knowledge to discover and focus on what really works for you. After all, we are all different, however, you don’t have to go on the haircare journey alone there is plenty of advice and professionals who may help you with your haircare routine and hair concerns.

Follow Lana Graves on Instagram @lana_thegraves.