3 Things I Changed About My Hair Care Routine For Healthier Hair

My hair has always been a point of pride for me. As soon as hairstyle was my choice (not my mom’s), I chose to grow it out long to copy one of my heroes, Sailor Mars. I kept it long for over 10 years, and in high school, people referred to me as “Teena with the long hair.”

Photo of author in grass with long hair

Although I haven’t grown it much past my shoulders in the last few years, I still want to take care of it. And my biggest frustration was that I could not seem to cure my dandruff. I tried every shampoo on the market for dandruff, including the nasty smelling medicated ones. Nothing helped. I resorted to expensive organic, handmade shampoo bars. Those helped a little, but I still couldn’t wear black shirts or touch my hair in front of people. 

Here are the three major ways I started taking better care of my hair, reduced hair loss and damage, and finally healed my dry, itchy scalp.

This content may contain affiliate links for products I use and believe in. If you subscribe or make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I’ll earn some money at no extra cost to you. I deeply appreciate your support so I can keep doing what I love — providing helpful content to readers like you! Thank you!

I dry exclusively with microfiber towels.

I actually made this change sort of by accident. My husband and I were on a date in December 2020 in Japan Town, and he wanted to buy treats that I couldn’t eat. While he waited in line, I went to check out a store across the mall that I was sad to see was closing.

The store was an arcade that had been full of those crane machines, and they were selling the merchandise from the machines. I’d always wanted the prizes and would have gladly just paid for them if that was an option, and now it was. I spotted a couple of Rilakkuma microfiber towels and, since Rilakkuma is one of my favorite characters, I simply had to have them.

Pink and yellow Rilakkuma microfiber hair turbans. Photo by author.

I didn’t see on the label that they were hair towels until after I got them home, but I was excited to put my cute new towels to good use.

Later I read somewhere (I unfortunately can’t find the article) that microfiber towels are actually better for your hair. They’re gentler and dry your hair faster, which I’d already noticed on my own.

I upgraded my hair brush.

When my hair was long, I used a brush with wooden bristles because I’d read that they were better for distributing the oils and keeping your hair healthy. Even after I cut my hair, I continued to use the same brush. 

In addition to the gray stuff stuck in my hairbrush, I noticed more and more of my hair was tearing and ending up in the brush. Seeing so much hair accumulated in my brush was alarming, and I wanted to do what I could to keep my hair in my head, if I could help it. I also didn’t like that my brushes always developed a mildewy smell because I brush with my hair wet.

So I set out to at least find a brush that wouldn’t get stinky, and I found Wet Brush Professional. I’ll be honest and admit I didn’t buy into the IntelliFlex bristles, but I figured with the way the brush was built, I could at least avoid the mold issue. When I used this brush for the first time, I couldn’t believe I’d been so rough with my hair most of my life. It was a little sad. But I’m glad I discovered it now and can be gentle going forward.

I bought my Wet Brush at a local store, but this brush is the same model. I’m linking to the one with two brushes because the single listing has a lot of reviews claiming that it’s not a genuine Wet Brush.

My hair brush has very little hair to clean out of it, and that’s a huge relief.

I switched to a different shampoo.

I adore my skin care brand, Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve. They’re family owned and operated, founded by a woman who was a nurse with a master’s in biology and a breast cancer survivor. The company is 99% plastic free. I always give baby powder and nipple balm to my friends who are expecting (along with a gift from their registry), and I have liked nearly every product I’ve tried.

The exception to this, though, is the shampoo. I don’t know if it’s my hair, the water in my apartment building, the shampoo bars themselves, or a combination of all three, but none of the shampoos I tried worked for me. I tried several of their shampoo bars over the course of six years.

I noticed gray, greasy gunk in my hair brush, my hair always had some sort of residue in it even though I was pretty diligent about rinsing, and my scalp was still itchy and flakey.

Purely by accident, I stumbled upon Viori and decided to give it a try, despite my brand loyalty to Chagrin Valley. I was ready to try something new in hopes that it would help with the dandruff and the gunk in my brush.

I was hooked after the very first wash. My hair was soft and had none of the dryness or residual I had experienced with my previous shampoo bar. But the best part was that my dandruff and itchy scalp improved after the first wash — I couldn’t believe it! I’d struggled with it for so long, and here was the answer.

I bought the Natural Essence version because I’m sensitive to smells and it is unscented. Though this version has no added fragrance, it does have an aroma. I don’t find the smell offensive, and so far I haven’t experienced any headaches or other symptoms I get from fragrances. The smell doesn’t seem to hang around very long, so if it bothers you, you might be able to let the soap air out and that might improve it. I also found that the smell also doesn’t seem to stay in my hair after washing. If you’re interested in trying this shampoo for yourself, use my link to get 10% off your first order at Viori!

Closing thoughts

I’m a real low-maintenance person. I don’t wear makeup or take a ton of time to style my hair before I leave home or start my work day. I’ve always been a WYSIWYG person, but I do like to take care of myself when it comes to my health, and that absolutely includes my health.

Plus, dealing with dandruff for decades with jet black hair is no picnic. I spent years being self-conscious about the dandruff and avoiding dark tops, and now I’m so happy that I’ve finally found relief for my flakey scalp.

Teena Merlan