This year has been tumultuous at best. On my best days, the anxiety of ever-changing news updates drives me to take action to support my community and virtually check in on my friends. On others, I find it impossible to get out of bed and take care of myself. Usually, I’d relieve my stress by going out for a run with a buddy or having a picnic with some friends, but that’s not a safe option right now. Instead, I’ve looked inwards and started developing a more robust self-care routine.
Along this journey, I’ve gotten into a more regular exercise routine, started meditating daily and even started learning some Hindi online. I’ve also – thanks to my brother’s amazing slow cooker recipes – started eating healthier. Feeling better on the inside made me want to start treating my outside self more gently, too. I decided to stop heat-styling my hair, and start the process of using more gentle, hydrating products to coax my hair back into its natural waves.
At the beginning of March, my partner and I decided to stay with my family for a few months. This time proved to be the perfect opportunity to experiment with my hair-care routine – after all, nobody was really going to see me if I was having a less-than-perfect hair day. I was so excited when my mom and ultimate beauty inspiration, who has a long, cascading head of curls, decided to join me.
My mom loves her hair. When I was growing up, she was always experimenting; she’d grow her hair out long and suddenly chop it to a bob when she felt like a change. She tried highlights, jet black dye, and even went dirty blonde for a while! In the past few years, she’s grown her hair out long and settled into deep brown highlights, but she’d started blow-drying her hair regularly and smoothing out her natural curls.
Thinking back, this transition to constant heat-styling comes as a surprise to me, because my mom has always had a “less is more”, natural approach to beauty. She typically doesn’t wear makeup, and her skincare routine is as simple as possible, favoring natural oils over store-products. She claims those are her secrets to having amazing skin after age 50. The same translates to her hair-care routine – so we took this approach together when selecting products for our new routines. The best ingredients, products that were hydrating but balanced with protein, and all free of silicones, parabens, dyes, and mineral oils.
That “less is more” approach – or in this case, zero of those harmful ingredients – is what I loved the most about Pantene’s Nutrient Blends Collection. I’ve been using their Hair Volume Multiplier shampoo and conditioner which includes bamboo! The products are gentle enough for my heat-damaged hair, so I can trust them to help me coax out my curls again. The products are inspired by cultures from around the world and users can celebrate their unique “hairitage”. I love that the products are enriched with vitamins that leave my hair feeling silky, and my girlfriend can’t get enough of the scent.
Returning to my natural hair texture has been quite a journey, with good hair days and bad hair days in equal measure as my hair heals. It’s been such a blessing to be able to share in my new routine with my mom and have someone to discuss everything with. When we do new things together, like trying to teach each other how to wrap our hair into a turban after a shower, we always end up with something to laugh about. Plus, all those scalp massages to encourage hair growth have definitely helped us relax in lockdown. As we embrace our natural beauty, we’re getting closer and closer to my mom’s “less is more” beauty philosophy.