.::Those Taking the Journey::.

11.5.11

My Hair Care Regimen

"When you go through all your life processing and abusing your hair so it will look like the hair of another race of people, then you are making a statement and the statement is clear."--Assata Shakur
A lot of people ask me what I do to care for my hair, and I've been promising to do a blog on it for a long time... So, I'm finally getting around to it, lol. So, let's get started.



My haircare products:
  • Suave naturals daily clarifying shampoo
  • Suave naturals conditioners (any scent I like)
  • Alberto VO5 conditioner (any scent I like)
  • Giovanni 50:50 balanced hydrating-calming conditioner
  • Jamaican Black castor oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Black Soap
  • Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar pomade
  • Carol's Daughter Mimosa hair honey
  • Carol's Daughter hair balm
  • Carol's Daughter loc butter
  • Denman D7 brush
  • wide-tooth comb
  • three prong hair clips, hair chopsticks, bobby pins
  • ACV (apple cider vinegar)
  • Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Conditioner
  • TreSemme Smooth and Silky Conditioner
  • Any conditioner that says for dry/damaged/permed/color-treated hair
Before we go into my haircare method, I'd like to share how I started my natural hair journey... 
I went natural about a year ago. Before that I would press and flat-iron my hair almost everyday. Because of my super-curly hair texture, I had to in order to keep the curls and waves at bay. It would take me a minimum of 2 hours--without stopping--to achieve that, and as soon as I stepped outside, the roots would start waving up and my ends would get rough. If I even looked at water my hair would become this half straight, half fluffy mess. I finally found this flat iron that helped put an end to that. For about six months I could flat-iron my hair and it would stay. It would even hold pretty well in humidity. 

One day I wanted to wear my hair curly--just to change it up--and my curls wouldn't quite curl right. In the shower I had noticed that when washing my hair, the straightness hadn't gone away completely. 

I was killing my hair, destroying my natural curl pattern. When I realized that, I stopped. I let my sister and mom pick through the things they wanted and tossed out the rest.
I started wearing my hair curly again, but I didn't know how to maintain it, so I mainly wore it up, or just in a fluffy type of style, because my curls had zero definition. I would wash my hair, let it dry, then brush out it out into a bush. This was the only style I could do that looked good and wasn't heat-styled. 
One of the only pics of my puffy hair style that I have.















I love this style and still do it occasionally (sorry for the blurriness!), but doing it daily was causing too much breakage. I needed something for my curls! I began researching natural hair and found a lot of great information, but a lot of it consisted of expensive hair regimens. Most natural hair products--though wonderful products--are a tad on the expensive side. They have to be. The ingredients are more expensive, the businesses are usually small, so the cost of making the products is higher. That means higher prices for the buyer. I'm not knocking that. I understand, but as a single mom, I needed something more affordable. So I kept looking, but I'd buy those products when I had extra money (and I still do, because I support Black-owned businesses). I finally found information on "co-washing," which means you stop using shampoo and only use conditioner. I started doing this and it was great for awhile, but the products I was using started building up. I started using ACV and Suave naturals daily clarifying shampoo. This eliminated the build up in my hair. 

Shortly after that, I found a new curly hair method, and that is the one I currently use and am going to tell you all about! Doing this method has stopped breakage, made my hair healthier, given my curls beautiful definition, and promoted growth. The products I listed are the only products that I ever use. Honestly, the only ones I need are the conditioner, shampoo, brush & comb. The others (like the pomades, balms, etc.) are just to switch it up now and then. They are not required.
What is required are your washing conditioners, ACV or Suave Naturals daily clarifying shampoo,  and your combing conditioners, your wide-tooth comb or your denman brush. 

The process, when reading it, seems like a lot, but my hair regimen went from 2+ hours a day to less than an hour per day, one or two days a week. You just have to get the process down for yourself :) If I could, I'd do it for you the first time, so you could have a good demonstration!
You need to find the conditioners you like best. Suave naturals, white rain, Alberto VO5 are all great, light washing conditioners. These replace your shampoos. Giovanni 50:50 (silicone free), Organix nourishing coconut milk, Herbal Essences totally twisted, TreSemme anti-Breakage Vitamin b-12 & gelatin, TreSemme Smooth and Silky Conditioner, these are great combing conditioners. These replace your hair products. You do not wash these out. 

Washing my hair: I wash my hair once or twice a week. The longest I go without washing is two weeks. Curly hair does not require washing everyday or even every other day (unless you have more of a caucasian hair type, then everyday, every other day, or every third day may be best for you)! Frequent washing strips hair of the moisture is so desperately needs, and shampooing (with harsh shampoos) strips out too much of the natural hair oils. It takes days to get those back... To wash my hair, I shampoo first. I do not scrub my hair and I don't use my nails on my scalp. This damages the scalp, so don't. I put shampoo at my ends and rub it in gently, then I put shampoo at the roots and rub my scalp firmly with my fingertips. I work the shampoo from scalp and roots to the rest of my hair. After rinsing out the shampoo, I take my rinsing conditioners and work them through my hair the same way. I let that sit while I do the rest of my shower. After that, I rinse it. If I need to, I do it again. If I want to wash my hair while I'm not showering I do the same method, except when it's time for the conditioner I put a heat cap on for about 10-15 minutes. Then I rinse it. I do a deep conditioning treatment once a month, by the way.

I do not comb or brush my hair in the shower unless I absolutely have to. Combing in the shower causes a lot of breakage. If you're going to do it, do so gently and with PLENTY of conditioner in your hair. I do not towel dry my hair. If you want to towel dry your hair, I recommend you buy a devatowel. I may gently squeeze bit of the water out, but towels rub hair, damage ends, cause frizziness, and hurts the definition of the curls. Once I'm done washing my hair, I put in my combing conditioner. I put in A LOT of it, too. You need to play around and see how much works for you. I usually use the Herbal Essence or Giovanni conditioner. My hair is semi-coarse, very fine strands, spiral curly, and thick. If your hair is like mine, these conditioners work well. Heavier conditioners, like the recommended TreSemme conditioners, weigh my curls down. Which is fine, but sometimes I want my curls to have more body. If you have a less coarse hair texture than mine, a lighter conditioner should work for you without weighing your hair down. These conditioners may be better for you: Nexxus Hydra Sleek Silken Smoothing Conditioner, Nature's Gate Organics Fruit Blend Fortifying Conditioner (Grapefruit & Wild Ginger), L'Occitane Verbena Daily Use Conditioner. If you have a very coarse hair texture, super thick hair, and kinkier curls, I would suggest TreSemme's conditioners. They were a bit heavier and weighed my medium-coarse hair down. Try it and see :) 

Now it's time to comb/brush: I section my hair in half and pin one side up and out of the way. I take a small section from the loose hair and pin the rest up. I comb/brush the tips and work my way up to my roots, gently combing/brushing the tangles out. This makes the hair easier to comb/brush with less struggle and damage done to the hair. I am not saying to back comb your hair. I am saying instead of combing the roots first, you comb the tips, then the middle, then the roots. It's much easier and gentler on the hair.  I do this process to both sides of my hair. After combing, brushing, I may add a little more water and conditioner. Now it's time to define my curls. You need to find which method is best for you. 

I have found three methods that work great on my hair:
  • Method 1: After combing my hair out, I "scrunch" my hair by running my hands through it and gently bunching sections of hair in my hands (cup your hair in the palms of your hands and scrunch in an upward motion).
I use this method when I'm in a hurry. This method usually produces good definition, but not as good as method two. This method is good for people with less coarse hair textures and looser curls. This method is also good for people who have really long hair, because it takes less time.
  • Method 2: After combing my hair out, I part my hair down the middle again and pin one section up and away from the rest of my hair. I take one curl and "pinch" it from the root to the tip. I place the curl between my index finger and thumb, and run my fingers down the length of the curl. I do this with each curl. This produces great curl definition. This is great for any curly hair type, I think. It takes a little longer than method one, but it's still pretty quick. I do it in about 30 minutes. It produces this:

VERY defined curls, body with no frizziness.
  • Method three: Method three takes a little more time than method 2, which means it takes the longest of the three methods. If you have short hair, this method won't take too long, and it will give you beautiful, perfectly defined curls.
This method takes me maybe roughly an hour to do. With method three, I take each curl, "pinch" it (as in method 2). After pinching a curl, I twist it around my finger. I'm not saying to wrap it around your finger. I start at the roots and twist my finger down the curl. This produces a lot of body and the best curl definition. The only problem I have with this method is that due to my hair length (longer than waist-length), this method makes my hair tangle more quickly, so I have to wash my hair sooner than usual. I don't have a picture for this. Sorry. I've been told that the curls look more like locs when I do this method. I leave the excess water in my hair, but there is a method if you're concerned about that. I haven't tried it, but here it is:  Gently scrunch your hair with a t-shirt, paper towels, or a micro-fiber towel to remove excess moisture, as a generic terrycloth towel will make your hair frizzy.

That's it! That's my hair regimen. I got it from Teri Laflesh's book "Curly Like Me." Another book I've heard good things about is "Curly Girl" by Lorraine Massey.

Be patient with your hair.  It takes 2-6 weeks for your hair to adjust to the no shampoo and it may even look worse at first. Hair is a long-term project and it may take a couple weeks for it to regain its health after being stripped of moisture for years by shampoo.


Peace, Love, and Natural Hair! 

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