Have Your Best Hair Ever with Advice from Your Great-Grandmother!

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Sometimes old-school tips are still the best. When it comes to having long, lustrous hair, our great-grandmothers (and great-great-grandmothers) knew a thing or two. Here are 6 steps to getting the hair of your dreams without fancy products or tools.

Wash Less Often

You’ve probably heard by now that washing your hair too often–and with harsh detergents–is bad for you. But do you know why? Shampoos can strip the natural oils right out of your hair, which in turn encourages your scalp to produce extra oil. This creates a vicious cycle where you have to wash more and more often.

While some Victorian beauty manuals recommend washing your hair every 2-6 weeks, you can probably safely cut back to 2-3 times a week. Look for shampoos without sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), an ingredient that produces a lot of bubbles but also dries out your scalp.

Rinse With Cold Water

Rinsing your hair with cold water is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do for your beauty routine. Cold water seals the cuticle, making your hair appear glossier. It also helps reduce frizz. And if you suffer from a flaky scalp, cold water is a better choice than hot.

Want a really old-school beauty tip? Keep a gallon of water in the fridge and then use it to rinse your hair over the side of the tub.

Be Gentle with Wet Hair

Did your grandmother ever warn you not to brush your hair wet? She was absolutely right! Wet hair is more prone to breakage, so aggressive brushing is a really bad idea. You can gently comb out tangles while your hair is still wet. I recommend using a microfiber towel or turban to squeeze the water from your hair instead of tousling it with a terrycloth towel, too.

Boar Bristle Brushing

If there’s one persistent beauty tip for shiny, beautiful hair, it’s brushing. But not with a modern brush, which is way too harsh on the scalp. Boar bristle brushes redistribute the oils from your scalp down the length of your hair. They’re not meant to drag across your scalp or tackle tangles, which is why the bristles are so soft.

Every evening, brush your hair for a few minutes–the time will depend on how long your hair is–and see if you notice a difference after a week!

Scalp Massage

If you’re not washing your hair that often, how are you supposed to clean your scalp? In the old days, most women dipped their fingers in a little water and then massaged their scalp. The gentle exfoliation helped get rid of any build-up, and the massage stimulated the skin. Plus it was just a relaxing way to end the day!

Wrap Your Hair (or Sleep on a Satin Pillowcase)

Women of color have known about this trick for a long, long time. Wrapping your hair in a cap prevents tangles, breakage, dry scalp, and other hair issues. Sleeping on silk or satin pillowcases also does the trick. If you have long, straight hair, it’s also a good idea to loosely braid it before bed.