Hair is never just hair. It's a direct reflection of you; it gives people a glimpse of who you are before you even open your mouth to speak. That's why coming back from a haircut that's too short or just not what you expected is so damn hard. Take it from Lana Condor. Back in 2018 the actor starred in Deadly Class, a TV series that required her to cut off most of the long black hair fans had come to know her for — and she's been trying to grow it out ever since.
"They took a razor and just hacked my hair to pieces," she recalls to Allure. Though she loved being in the show, she didn't love the shaggy style that resulted. And daily heat styling plus the bonded extensions she later wore for the sequels of To All the Boys I've Loved Before had her hair feeling more damaged than ever. "My ends are still healing."
So Condor went on a mission last year to restore her hair's health back to its original state. Clearly, it worked because, on our Zoom call, her wavy hair falls well past her shoulders (without extensions) and is shiny enough to distract me from my prepared list of questions. To someone whose hair grows at the pace of a snail, it seems like a total miracle that Condor can go from choppy bob to Rapunzel length in just two years — but as she tells me, all it requires is figuring out what works for you, sticking to it, and having some patience.
Condor's hair, as she describes it, is dry and prone to dandruff. "I have to actively seek moisture for myself and my hair or else I'm just a flaky mess," she jokes. To combat dandruff, she likes to use Neutrogena Healthy Scalp Clarify & Shine Scalp Scrub every couple of weeks and sticks to conditioners and masks that contain hyaluronic acid for hydration.
"A hydrating hair mask I will do once a week; I'll let it rest in my hair for a little bit longer than [the label] says, and I'll put a little shower cap on it to just make sure all that moisture get in my scalp and in my roots." (Some of Allure's favorite damage-repair masks, by the way, include Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask, Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioner, and Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shots.)
The real kicker for her, however, has been avoiding heat-styling at all costs. That comes with a tip that's a little harder to follow: you have to care less about what your hair looks like. "I moved to Seattle and because it rains so much, it's hard for me to keep [my hair] cute because it just immediately gets wet and then puffs out a little or loses its shape," she explains. "It's so hard to keep an actual hairstyle when there's so much water, so I've just accepted my natural state, which I think is healthy."
In short, Condor's approach to healthy hair growth is just about taking care of herself in a way that's manageable. "I feel like we have all the time in the world and no time at all every day," she says. "These days there's so much going on that the least we can do is keep our self-care doable and simple."
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Originally Appeared on Allure