Last week, I talked about us making a resolve to treat our hair right. If you missed that, you can see post HERE. So this week, I think it’s only right to mention a couple of basics that you need to know on our hair journey. An African proverb says ‘If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go with someone’. A journey is always easier when you have company. Hopefully sometime soon we’ll get to know our faithful students and feature their hair progress.
It’s me and you in this. ((((GROUP HUG))))
1. READ THE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS WHEN PURCHASING HAIR PRODUCTS
People who know me, know that I’m a beauty products junkie (hair, skin, nails and all the supporting multivitamins). But soon as I found out that I react to a lot of chemicals. I started to opt for the natural way out.
I said this to say, I hardly ever checked the constituents of these products. I practically knew nothing about that. And since I was always open to try out new products, I left my decision to buy a product strictly to my instincts. Apparently that isn’t good enough.
According to Hairfinity.com, many common shampoos contain harsh sulfates that can strip your hair, causing it to become dry and eventually leading to breakage.
Harsh sulfates include:
- Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
- Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
- TEA Laureth Sulfate
- TEA Lauryl Sulfate
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
These types of harsh shampoos should be used for clarifying only. A clarifying shampoo can be used once monthly, if at all. Clarifying shampoos can be used to remove excess build-up.
The following sulfates are gentle and will not damage your hair:
- Polyoxethylene Fatty Alcohols
- PEG 80
- Sorbitan Laurate
- Decyl Polyglucose
- Cocamidoprpyl Betaine
- Sodium Myreth Sulfate
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
So when next you go beauty products shopping, you know what not to buy.
2. HAIR EXTENSIONS AS A PROTECTIVE STYLE
Less manipulation (combing, straightening etc) + Protective Styling = Hair Length Retention
Wear protective styles. To minimize breakage and retain moisture, try wearing your hair in a protective style at least 3 days a week. Protective styles are those which do not expose the ends. Examples are braids, twists and weaves.
A sewn weave protects your natural hair since you won’t be straightening or exposing your natural hair to any outside elements. Glued-in weaves, however, tend to rip out your natural hair at removal and should be AVOIDED.
Avoid bonding glues, lace wig glues and all kinds of glues that have to stick extensions to your hair. As the glue comes off, so does your hair.
3. WEEKLY TREATMENTS
Use protein treatments to rebuild hair structure and strength. Your hair is about 88% protein. These proteins are of a hard fibrous type known as keratin. When hair is chemically straightened, these bonds are broken, causing the hair to lose strength. If this protein is not replaced, it will eventually cause the hair to break.
The most inexpensive protein treatment is the egg treatment. It is an effective protein treatment for black hair and usually stops breakage immediately. From personal experience, my hair always feels amazing after this. It feels stronger and has more body.
Because too much of anything is bad, overdoing this can dry up your scalp. You should alternate between this and a moisturizing treatment every other week. Moisture treatments help build hair’s resilience and prevent breakage. The moisturizing treatment replaces the moisture lost in the process of the protein treatment. The treatment should be applied to the hair and covered with a plastic cap for 60 minutes. If using another type of protein product, it should be applied and covered with a plastic cap for 10-15 minutes.
4. DAILY MOISTURIZING
Oils and other moisturizing products that contain petrolatum, lanolin, and mineral oil do not moisturize your hair effectively. Your hair may be dry even though you are using a variety of moisture products on it. A good place to start is the ingredient list. If the first or second product isn’t water then you might want to move on. I will say that products that list water and aloe vera within the first line of the ingredient list tend to be pretty moisturizing. . Water based moisturizers effectively penetrate and moisturize the hair.
Apply to your hair daily.
5. VITAMINS PLAY A MAJOR ROLE TOO
Hair grows at an average rate of about 1/2 inch per month. Your hair vitamin should contain nutrients such as Biotin and Folic Acid that make your hair grow faster. Because I might not be getting all the vitamins your body needs from food alone, I indulge in multivitamins tablets. You might want to seek medical advice before doing this in case of allergies and side effects they might have on you. …Just saying! Don’t know of any possible side effects though
6. ALWAYS USE A WIDE TOOTH COMB.
When you have to comb, avoid the tiny combs. As much as is allowable by your hair, detangling your hair with your fingers is another option.
7. SWITCH FROM COTTON TO SATIN SCARF/ PILLOWCASE
After taking time to moisturize your hair daily, the last thing you want is for your cotton pillowcase to steal off all the oil meant for your hair and leave it dry. Cotton scarves and pillowcases can absorb much needed moisture from the hair. Satin does not have this effect. It allows your hair to retain moisture, while protecting it from friction and damage. Tie you hair in a silk scarf EVERY night. Or if you are like me and never find your scarf on your head by morning (LOL), use a satin pillow case instead.
8. LIMIT HEAT STYLING, AND USE THERMAL PROTECTANTS.
Heat styling can damage your hair, especially if done too often. When you straighten your hair with heat, you are temporarily altering the protein bonds in your hair and weakening it. Buy a good thermal protectant(John Frieda, Dark & Lovely have good ones) which should be applied directly on each section of hair just before it is flat ironed.
9. PROPERLY NEUTRALIZE AFTER APPLYING CHEMICAL RELAXERS.
When you relax your hair, you need to make sure you properly neutralize. You will first wash all relaxer out with water. Wash with neutralizing shampoo at least three times. Then apply the neutralizing shampoo once more and let sit for 10 minutes. Then wash and proceed with conditioners and styling.
10. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Before you start, take a picture of the current state of your hair. And after each wash and conditioning take pictures to check for shine or any related difference. Also take bi-monthly to check for length and restored hairline. Be very conscious about your work in progress. Tracking your progress will inspire you to do more. And is also evidence that you’ve been a good student. You never know when we might need your hair journey pictures as evidence that putting in little efforts yield cool results.
There’s a lot more stuff you can do to make your hair happy. If you have a problem being consistent, just say to yourself that your hair deserves daily attention like everywhere else on your body. If you would use a body cream daily, then moisturizing your hair daily should be easy. I won’t be mentioning specific hair product brands because you have to try different brands and find the one your hair loves. But if your need ideas, you can send me an email and I’ll be glad to help.
I hope you’ll find some of this helpful. Love to read your comments below.