Everyone is always asking me about my hair journey and why I started the journey to begin with. The bottom line: I wanted healthier hair. I didn’t want to be natural because I love the convenience of relaxed hair and I knew that I could have healthy, relaxed hair. In August of 2011, I visited this dominican salon for a blow-out – something that I would do a few times a year. Literally, about 2 weeks after that appointment, the hair in my nape area and temples began to break. Like, severe breakage. In the previous months, I had been rocking a pixi cut of sorts, so my hair was already at the awkward ‘growing out’ stage.
Once I noticed the breakage, I knew for sure that I wanted to give my hair a break from chemicals, flat ironing, etc. One of my girlfriends Leah was already on a hair journey, so she started me on a regimen – which included no direct heat, stretching out my relaxer for 12 weeks, cowashing (‘washing’ with conditioner) my hair 2 times a week, and moisturizing my hair daily. After 3 months, I noticed significant improvements – so I’ve tweaked her regimen to suit me and its been a part of my routine every since. So here it is:
Please be advised that my hair regimen was created in order to combat specific issues and hair goal gains that I personally assessed for myself. You may or may not have the same hair health issues or hair goals, so tweak regimen accordingly. This is also just my opinion based on the research that I’ve done. 🙂
* WASH & CONDITION hair once a week or as needed (wash, as in using an actual product labeled shampoo) Products I Use: Any Organix Shampoo Products, Cream of Nature Detangling Shampoo, Nexxus Y-Syrum Restorative Shampoo. I like using a shampoo that feels like I just conditioned my hair. I tend to use Moisturizing/Hydrating Shampoos because I have dry hair. Conditioner: Aussie 3 Minute Recon, Suave Professionals, Matrix Biolage Conditioner, Any Organix Conditioner Products.
* DEEP CONDITION before or during every wash/cowash. My DCs are usually just conditioners that I spike. I add oils, rosewater, essence, etc. Products I Use: I start with Suave Professionals Conditioner, then I’ll add a DC that actually says ‘Deep Conditioner’ (Palmers Protein Pak, ORS Replenishing Pak, or Milk Protein & Olive Oil DC) or ‘Conditioning Mask’ based on what I feel my hair needs, then I add a combination of or all of these oils: Olive, Avocado, Almond, Sapphire, Grape Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil. I usually DC on dry hair, put on a conditioner cap, and let it sit for hours, but you can DC after you wash. Oh, and I mix all of it in a bowl, then apply it to my hair like a relaxer.
* LEAVE IN CONDITIONER (Light Protein) After every wash/cowash make sure to use a leave in. It’s a balance of moisture and protein. I apply it to my damp hair, then airdry/blowdry/roller set. Products I Use: For months, I have used Cantu Shea Butter Leave In crème- and I love it, but I recently started using Elasta Qp H2 Silk Leave In Spray or Eden Body Works Coconut Shea.
* CO-WASH hair at least once a week ( as in deep condition and wash with conditioner ONLY, no shampoo). This is in addition to your normal wash day. Okay, the idea of cowashing is to add moisture and condition in between washes. You wouldn’t want to use a shampoo because shampoos strip your hair. Cowashing ‘cleans’ your hair without stripping it of nutrients. Products I Use: V05- you just need a cheap conditioner to cowash. You use the V05 in place of the shampoo, then you still condition with your regular conditioner.
*CLARIFY hair once a month to clean product ‘build up’. Products I Use: Organic Root Stimulator is Aloe Shampoo. Clarifiers strip your hair of nutrients, so make sure to follow up with moisture, oils, etc.
* LIMIT DIRECT HEAT (direct heat: flat iron, blow dryer, heating instruments. Any tool that directly places heat on my hair.) I sit under the hair dryer or air dry mostly. I also use Caruso Steam Rollers on my hair when I want curls.
* AIRDRYING – There are tons of styles that you can do when airdrying- braidouts & twistouts. Once you get to a comfortable length, you can airdry and wear ponytails or buns.
* ROLLER SET – I usually roller set my hair, and sit under the dryer- then wrap or style how I like
* TRIM ends every six months
* STRETCH your relaxers- for now extend your relaxer for 2-4 weeks later than normal. The point is to use less chemicals on your relaxed hair. Product I Use: I’ve used Affirm Fibergaurd for the last few relaxers because it doesn’t straighten your hair all of the way. I’m finding that since I’ve been on this journey, I don’t like my hair super straight- I like feeling texture.
* MOISTURIZE & SEAL every night (or every other day as needed depending on the dryness of my hair. The idea to apply a moisturizer, then ‘seal’ it with the oil. Products I Use: Elasta QP Mango Shea Butter Moisturizer, Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Moisturizer- right now, I’m using Mizani Rose H2O and I love it. I seal with random oils based on what I have or how it makes my hair feel- Ive used: Olive, Almond, Saphirre, Grape Seed Oil, Coconut Oil. I moisturize in four sections using about a nickle size and moisturize from ends to root. And do the same for the oil- You’re not trying to saturate the hair. After some time you will be able to use less applications of moisturizing and sealing because your hair will get trained to maintain its own natural oils.
* STRONG PROTEIN once a month. This strengthens your hair and prevents shedding. Products I Use: Penetraitt , Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing PAK. These leave your hair feeling ‘strong’ or ‘hard’, so follow up with a few passes of conditioner. I’ve not big on using Cholesterols, but I know they work wonders for some people.
* WATER Just increase your water intake. It helps A LOT. I’ve been doing a gallon a day for 5-6 days out of the week.
* SUPPLEMENTS: I rotate vitamins daily. The rotation: Prenatal vitamins, Biotin, Biosil, and Vitamin E (the oils contain a lot of E too)
* OTHER: Okay so, for me I started because I had major damage to my hair and I wanted it to be healthier. Now that its getting healthier, I want to be thicker. So I’ve incorporated putting castor oil on my edges for growth and I also started using Shea Moisture’s Thickening Mist.
Oh, and SATIN!! Most nights I sleep with a satin headtie. Cotton bandanas or ties suck the oils from your hair. 😦 I also sleep on a satin pillowcase.
* LOW MANIPULATION : Try to use large tooth combs when combing, styling, or detangling your hair. I also ‘finger comb’ a lot. Switching up hair styles is good because your hair won’t get stressed by wearing it one way all of the time.