We run hair stories and interviews for a number of reasons; it feels great to share if you are the individual who is sharing, and it is just plain interesting to see what another person is doing with her hair, not to mention getting inspired and learning a thing or two.
Well we have a confession. Someone taught us something and we thought it was just brilliant and worth reiterating! Remember Yahya?
She was the girl sporting hip length relaxed hair and had a ton of knowledge about how her hair worked, and a not so typical approach to caring for it.
There was a portion of her interview that created all kinds of flashing light bulbs in our heads but it was kind of genius. Read it again.
You have mentioned before about applying protein in layers after starting Japanese straightening, what does that mean?
I treat my hair like a hierarchy. My new growth is the protein rich, under that is middle, then lower class, and my ends are in poverty. To turn this natural hierarchy into an equality, I have to give more proteins to the ends and less to my new growth. I believe this also helps my line of demarcation. One can do this layering in many different ways but I do it simply by doing protein co-washes. Between real washes I might co-wash the bottom half of my hair, rinse that out, and do another co-wash on my ends. Sometimes I do this layering by applying protein leave-ins more on my ends and less as I go up
Brilliant right!? Well guess what? She is right, our hair is like a class system with the richest or healthiest portions at the very top while the poorest protein deficient portions are at the ends. Whether your hair is relaxed or natural it is pretty much the same thing.
On relaxed hair or natural hair, your new growth will represent the strongest portion of your strand and the quality of the strand diminishes as you get close to the end, which isn’t a bad thing; it just is what it is.
As we have said before protein is the building block of the hair strand and using it effectively during your regimen is what will be the key to length retention and overall hair health. We wanted to explore Yahya’s protein shot idea in further detail and maybe suggest ways you can also incorporate it in your own regimen.
Typically our regimens will include a strict schedule of moisturizing our strands whether it is through deep conditioning* weekly or co washing mid week, and then a full blown protein treatment once every month or every two months.
Doing just that is absolutely fine, and as we always say, if it aint broke, then don’t try to fix it. However, if you want to figure out an easier or different way of doing things, we are open to suggesting a few.
Weekly Protein Shots For Your Ends
Most of us on healthy hair journeys have a weekly regimen of adding moisture to our hair, so that we do not experience any dryness and ultimately any breakage. Our suggestion is that you add protein to that mix using a water based leave in conditioner*.
There are leave in conditioners that are heavy on the protein that you can actually spray on your ends every other night or so to keep them strong and breakage free. A great product that can be used for just that is the It’s a 10 Leave In Conditioner with Keratin or Redken Extreme Anti Snap Leave In. Though they are a bit on the pricey side for leave in conditioners, these products have great reviews and have been known to be very effective.
Layer Your Deep Conditioners
For relaxed women who stretch for weeks at a time, managing your new growth along with the relaxed ends can be very difficult.
A great solution would be to do a moisture based treatment geared towards detangling on your new growth above your line of demarcation, and then a protein based treatment on the second half of your hair below the line of demarcation.
I can see where you might think, “ehh that’s too much work,” and in that case this might not be a great idea for you; however, if you do not mind doing a little something extra for your hair then give that suggestion a shot and see how your hair does with it.
Even a natural who styles her hair often including flat ironing can benefit from this layering technique. Think about it, those ends that keep being pulled and prodded into shape in your perm rods* for a braid and curl will need more attention than the hair closer to the roots.
Natural Hair Suffering From Heat Damage Or Color Damage
Before we even get into our suggestion, your number one point for managing any damaged hair is to remove it completely with a good trim. There are no miracle cures for heat damage or color damage but if the damage is not that bad you can try to help yourself if you think there is a chance your curls might come back.
Instead of doing a full blown protein treatment on your whole head focus on those areas that need protein using a hard protein treatment. This way you have a more focused approach on the damaged areas.
Alter Your Co-washes
Most of us have 2 or 3 conditioners waiting for us in the shower just to add a little spice to midweek wash day. Instead of focusing on which one smells the best or the consistency of the product, why not tailor your conditioner to your hair’s needs.
If they do not already contain what you need or need a little bolstering, add the ingredients that enhance moisture where needed and protein where needed. In this case the layering technique can come in very handy.
Start off your co-wash with something that is moisture based because that is pretty much the point of the mid week wash. Once you have done that, end your process with protein conditioner applied just to the ends or bottom half of your hair, leaving it on for a couple minutes before rinsing it.
Let us know if you agree that layering protein might be something worth trying, we certainly think so!