You’ve now decided to go natural or on a healthy hair journey, but you’re stumped. Where do you go from here? The next step is to create a hair regimen. A regimen is basically a rough guideline of what you do for your hair, kind of like a hair timetable. Knowing exactly what you’re going to do is really essential to getting the most out of your hair and it’ll stop you from going back to bad habits. The main points to consider are:
- Deep Conditioning (Protein/Moisturising)
- Frequency of above steps
So lets start with the first point.
Cleansing simply refers to how often you wash your hair and what you wash it with. You may or may not have heard of something called co-washing, which is washing with only conditioner. People (including me) do this because shampoos can be damaging and drying if used too often, how often ‘too often’ is depends on your hair and your lifestyle. Some shampoos also may have damaging ingredients such as Sodium Laureth/Laurlyl Sulfate which have been proven to cause skin irritation in some people and parabens which have been linked to cancer. I’ll do a post later in the series which shows the worst offending ingredients you should avoid. In general most people alternate between co-washing and shampooing to retain maximum moisture.
Detangling is a highly debated topic, from our youth it’s been instilled in us that the only way to get knots out is to comb them, and if they’re still stubborn? Comb them harder! Now, common sense should tell you that if you pull at something that’s slightly elastic…it’s going to break! And break is what it does, that’s why some people only have about 1-2 years worth of growth on their head at any one time. To retain as much length as possibly you need to take time detangling your hair. Patience is key! Whether you prefer to load you hair up with oil, conditioner or nothing at all be fore you start. Or whether you prefer to use a comb, brush or just your fingers, you really need to take time to gently separate all the knots and your hair will love you for it!
Deep conditioners give your hair life! The essence is to restore what has been lost from your hair from daily styling and just normal activities. There are two type, protein and moisturizer. Protein conditioners give your hair strength and make sure it doesn’t just break off. However, mostly a lot of protein isn’t needed and so protein treatments are not needed very often. Moisturising treatments are needed more regularly depending on the properties of your hair and how well moisturised you keep it. There is such a thing as over-moisturised hair so you need to beware. These treatments tend to be kept on the hair for a while some people say overnight or 12 hours, whilst some use heat and reduce the time they spend, either way it’s up to you and your lifestyle.
Conditioner is what a lot of people use to detangle their hair, and usually this means that you need one that’s slipper or that has a lot of ‘slip’ which allows for easier detangle. Some may use one conditioner that’s cheap but slippery for detangling , they may then use a thicker more luxurious one for proper conditioning. A conditioner is supposed to restore moisture lost from the hair during the shampoo process, its easy to think that the more expensive ones are more moisturising but you just really need to look at the ingredients. Silicones imply a lot of slip,natural oils such as olive and coconut are good but only if they are in the first 5-10 of the ingredients otherwise there probably isn’t enough in the conditioner. Behentrimonium methosulphate and cetearyl alchohol are good moisturizers too.
If you want lovely, long, soft, touchable hair, you need to moisturise it. Dry, brittle hair leads to fragile hair that is prone to breakage and i’m sure you know that breakage is not your friend! Breakage is the reason people think their hair isn’t growing or that it grows slowly but that’s not true! Everyone’s hair grows about the same rate. The best moisturiser is water, and even though a lot of us run away from it, water is your friend!!! So in your moisturiser, look for water as the first ingredient, it really does help. But, water on it’s own is not good enough, as soon as it dries, your hair is still left feeling dry, which leads us on to the last point.
Sealing your hair basically refers to locking in the moisture using a butter or oil. People with lighter, finer hair would tend to use lighter oils such as coconut and olive oil whereas people with thicker and coarse hair would need to use thicker oils and butters such as castor oil and shea butter. The LOC method is a widely used method of keeping your hair moisturised. It has three steps consisting of L- liquid (water is usually best for this, but you could use a spray or spritz), O-oil this would be your choice of oil or butter and C- cream This would be a moisturiser to help keep your hair feeling soft. This method may not work for you but its a good place to start. Also, using this method means you can follow it straight after you have washed your hair.
The frequency of these steps will be discussed in the next post.