Take one look at a wedding board on Pinterest, and you’ll immediately be bombarded by stunning hairstyles. When I was planning my wedding, I worked my butt off to give my hair as much love as possible to achieve “mermaid hair” for the big day. I wanted long, beautiful, luscious locks to cascade down my back. So, I set about doing all the wedding hair care routines I could test to set myself up for success chasing that goal.
If I just described you, this post is exactly what you need.
When I set out to write this article, I’d planned to include all of my Products and Practices in one post, but it quickly became far too long for one. LOL. So, in this article, I’m going to be covering the six best wedding hair care routines you can use to cultivate a great environment for your hair to grow in. And if you want to dive into all things products, you’ll want to read this post!
Before we dive into the good stuff, I do want to set a disclaimer:
When it comes to growing out your hair, unfortunately, there’s no one quick fix. If there was, I’d have found it by now. When it comes to your hair and implementing what I’m about to share with you, you need to think of your hair like a vegetable garden: you’re planting the seeds for next season’s harvest. Start early.
Once your hair grows a couple of inches out of your head, you’re fighting an uphill battle to take care of it. Your energy will be so much better spent working to foster a great environment at the source for future hair to grow than trying to resurrect flimsy or frayed lengths. In other words, you’ll spend twice as much energy trying to transform your lengths than it will take setting yourself up for successful future growth. Taking care of your lengths is important, but it’s not our main strategy.
Now that I’ve laid the groundwork for you, let’s dive into your new wedding hair care routines!
Hair Routine #1: Conditioning my hair upside down
My hair is low porosity, which means it struggles to retain moisture. The ultimate catch-22: it needs extra moisture to thrive, but can’t hold onto it. After practicing the other five of these wedding hair routines for months (and seeing improvements), I was still struggling to figure out how to get enough moisture into my lengths. One day I decided to try conditioning my hair upside down (bent forward in the shower). With the conditioner in my palms, I lifted it up to my ends and scrunched the product upward through my hair. It turns out that conditioning my hair this way actually helped it retain moisture so much better; after just a few washes I started to notice a difference in my hair. Now months later, I’ve completely turned around my dry texture!
Hair Routine #2: Braiding my hair every night
When it comes to protecting your lengths, the most important thing you can do is to limit breakage as much as possible. To limit breakage, you should aim to limit the amount of friction that’s happening to each individual hair strand. Sleeping with your hair in a braid is a great way to accomplish that!
When you’re fast asleep, you’re tossing your head around all night, and if your long hair isn’t secured, it can be prone to being bent in ways that create breakage, especially when it’s trapped under the weight of your head. So, by incorporating this wedding hair care routine of tying your hair back in a braid before going to sleep, you’re dramatically lowering the chances of that happening. Plus, it helps lower frizz that can stem from your hair being rubbed against a pillowcase, AND there’s a good chance you’ll wake up with some half-decent waves.
Hair Routine #3: Using a scrunchie/hair tie higher up on the braid strand
Even with all of the habits in this article, as well as all of the products I regularly use [PRODUCT POST LINK], I was still seeing extreme breakage on my ends for a really long time. I was stuck in this cycle of doing #allthethings, but seeing negative net growth (because I’d constantly be cutting the broken ends, unable to slow the damage).
On any given night I would brush my hair (with a wide-tooth comb) and proceed to stare incredulously at the crunchy ends that were left over. A small pile of 1-2″ broken ends would inevitably end up on the counter, staring up at me accusingly. And as much as it pained me to do, I would cut off 1-3″ of my hair, above where the worst of the damage was, to “start fresh.” That cycle would repeat another two times every year. I couldn’t understand what was going on.
And then, a couple of months later…
A realization dawned on me as abruptly as a lightning strike: my hair tie was part of what was causing this. I’d been religiously braiding my hair before bed for years and would use a standard Goody elastic at the very end of the strand, to capitalize on the braid for maximum waves the next day. I was pretty literally suffocating my ends, so of course they were dropping like flies!
From that day on, I’ve been diligent about making sure I’m tying my braid off at least 3-4″ up from the ends of my hair so the tips can breathe a little easier. This was the same time that I switched to loose scrunchies for the same reason. I also try to stagger the tie placement every night (sometimes it’s 2″ from the end, sometimes 4″) so I can distribute the burden on my hair.
Great news: it worked! I’m still a bit surprised, but at the same time, not surprised at all. I’m pleased to report that I no longer have a pile of broken ends on the counter from brushing my hair, and my (attached) ends get less crunchy every day. If you’re seeing similar chronic end breakage, you should definitely re-evaluate your related habits and investigate what might be causing it. Your findings might surprise you!
Hair Routine #4: Not wearing your hair in a ponytail every day/all-day
This is important to avoid because wearing your hair in a ponytail all the time can create a similar problem that I described above: when you’re putting pressure on the hair strand in the same place regularly, it can cause weakening, and then breakage.
Plus, over time this habit can actually cause your hairline to recede from the pressure on your scalp, and your hair to thin. No thank you! Be kind to your hair (and your scalp) and switch up the way you wear it. If you need to have it pulled out of your face, try using a claw clip instead; it’s gentler than a hair tie.
Hair Practice #5: Trimming ends regularly
Let’s start at the top with myth-busting: trimming your ends does not make your hair grow faster. But it DOES prevent your split ends from traveling farther up the strand.
Basically, you’re heading off any future damage. By getting ahead of damage and breakage, you’re making small sacrifices now (tiny, regular trims) instead of a bigger sacrifice later (large multi-inch chops because the damage has gotten so bad). This is why people think it does make their hair grow faster; eventually, the tiny sacrifices add up and the result is positive net growth.
Trims aren’t something to be scared of or dreaded; they’re part of healthy maintenance! If you think you’ll forget to do this (hi, it me), set a recurring reminder in your calendar for a 15-minute appointment in your bathroom. Don’t come at me for DIYing. I’ve been doing it for a decade and have survived just fine. 😂 (I can’t be the only one who can’t be bothered to go to a stylist for this)
Hair Practice #6: Habit stacking
If you’re looking at this list thinking “Holy hell, who has time for all this??” this habit is for you. Habit stacking is so valuable, especially at the beginning when you’re getting used to doing it regularly. Jen Sincero likens habit stacking to a carpool. You’re going that way anyway, so why not pick up your friend on the way?
Start small and choose just one or two things that interest you, and then think about which existing habits you have that you can stack the new one(s) on. Maybe you do this new habit right after putting your PJs on at night, or you place your new claw clip next to your eyeliner as a cue to use it.
Once you start small with your stacking, eventually it becomes second nature and you can add even more together. For instance, my evening routine includes normal things like putting my PJs on and washing my face, but it also includes spraying my dry conditioner on my hair, followed by braiding my hair, followed by applying oil serum to my ends. It all takes less than ten minutes but makes a huge difference!
Taking proper care of your hair can feel like a full-time job sometimes, but setting up comprehensive wedding hair care routines are always worth it in the end, especially if you’re craving drool-worthy wedding locks that are both stunning and healthy. If you haven’t already checked out my companion hair-care article about the six products I employ for even more epic hair care, you’ll definitely want to read up on that.
Cheers to you for getting after your dreamy hair goals! Your future wedding-day self will thank you for getting started today. Remember: you’re planting the seeds for next year’s harvest.