Recently, a friend of mine came to me for hair advice. She expressed her frustration after having tried everything recommended for her hair at the beauty supply store. However nothing seemed to work.
She had massive hair loss, and her hair line was barely there. She explained that her hair felt dry and brittle most of the time. She sent me a picture of her hair; and it was a sight to be seen (putting it lightly). She claimed to be doing ‘protective styling’ by braiding and weaving so that she could rest her hair while transitioning.
She failed to realize that these ‘protective styles’ might not be protecting anything at all. Instead, they caused her pain and agony. Her scalp and hair were so damaged from the pulling of braids and weaves and she was not properly caring for her hair while she was wearing these styles. She had no choice but to grab the scissors and do the ‘big chop’.
I questioned her about her current hair care regimen, and as I had predicted, she didn’t really have one. She pretty much bought whatever the workers in the beauty store placed in her hand that claimed to be good for damaged hair.
First off we need to understand that product labeling is a marketing ploy to get your money! Instead look past the big label and look at the tiny ingredients list and understand the first 3-5 items – at least – and the order in which they appear.
Her products were mostly Dr. Miracles and Organic Root Stimulator shampoos and conditioners along with grease (instead of natural oils). YIKES! I had to help her build a hair care regimen and encourage her to stick to it.
It is very important to understand what goes into your hair, build a regimen, and STICK to it. You do not have to stick to the same products; however, the basic steps in your regimen should remain the same.
If you have had a bad hair experience and really want to improve the health of your hair and scalp, then do not make the same mistakes twice. Building a simple, easy to navigate hair care regimen will help you understand your hair better and give your hair the care and attention it needs so that you will never have to grab those scissors again and do a big chop.
Keep it simple and love your hair journey and you will be on your way to healthy hair in no time. Following are some simple guidelines to help you structure or restructure your hair care regimen if you ever need to start over again:
First, assess the hair products that you currently have.
► Shampoos should be sulfate free. This prevents your hair from becoming super brittle and dry after shampooing.
► Use moisturizers and conditioners where the first ingredient is WATER. Water is your best friend.
► Use moisturizers, conditioners, and styling products that do not contain Mineral Oil* and Petrolatum.
Pre-pooing is where you prepare your hair for the shampoo process by applying a treatment to your hair to prevent your natural hair from becoming too dry (stripped of the natural oils) after shampooing.
How to Pre-Poo: This is normally done using carrier oils like coconut oil*, olive oil*, avocado oil*, etc. You can also pre-poo with a homemade mixture like oil, conditioner, and honey which your hair will love, love, love.
► Put your hair into sections.
► Saturate your hair with your pre-poo ingredients.
► Finger detangle (This will be a breeze).
► Cover with cap for 15 minutes, rinse, and then move on to shampooing your hair.
Benefits of Pre-pooing:
► Adds moisture to your hair and scalp.
► Shortens detangling time.
► Less conditioner is needed (because your hair will feel soft after the pre-poo process, overdosing on the conditioner is not necessary)
Having a healthy scalp and hair is the foundation of healthy hair. Your scalp and hair need to be cleaned of dirt, debris, and any product buildup to allow your scalp to breath. You wash your face of all impurities right? Well your scalp is no different.
Keep it clean by shampooing with a sulfate-free shampoo. Sulfate free shampoos – as explained above – do not strip your hair of its natural oils while still leaving you with a clean head.
If your hair and scalp are not really dirty, but you still feel like doing a wash, then you can wash it with a conditioner. This is called Cowashing.
This method will put moisture back into your hair while lightly cleaning it. Some girls are 100% ‘Cowashers’ however I am a firm believer that shampoo gets the job done properly and removes product buildup.
Conditioning our natural hair is very important. We need our strands to be strong and healthy. This step in your wash routine is critical because this is where you will feed your hair with the needed nutrients.
Every time you shampoo you HAVE to follow up with a conditioner. It is important to use a rinse out conditioner that has great slip like Tresseme Naturals Conditioner, Herbal Essences Conditioners or Shea Moisture Conditioner*, just to name a few.
The slip from light conditioners like these help with detangling, and simply reduces the stress that can come with the process.
Trust me; your hair will thank you!
Ok, our natural hair needs Moisture, Moisture, Moisture and then some! After your hair is fully cleaned and conditioned, you need to be moisturized. I have tried different ways of moisturizing my hair, and to me, the LOC method is the most effective.
The LOC Method is simply the order in which you moisturize your hair so as to retain moisture and have soft hair. First you add a Liquid (L) based product, followed by an Oil (O) of your choice, and lastly you add a heavier Cream (C) to seal it all in.
6. Style and Go!
Style that hair and be fabulous. Experiment and play with your hair picking styles that will allow you to retain length. If you’ve had problems with braided styles in the past, steer clear of them and pick more natural styles. Low manipulation styling can also help you retain length.
Remember, without a consistent hair care regimen, your hair cannot grow healthy. Love your hair and treat it like you love it. Everybody’s hair is different so listen to your hair and give it what it needs.
Trial and error will be your companion until you find what your hair likes. Don’t be frustrated and do not fight your hair. Instead, enjoy your natural hair journey.
Have you ever had to start over? Comment below!