DIY · Hair care · Natural hair

Haircare Basics 

​Hello beautiful people, it has been quite a while. How are y’all doing this beautiful day?

I’ve observed that a number of ladies are embracing their kinky curls but some are hesitant to do so because it seems like too much work. The truth is that all parts of our body need care and our hair is no different.

There is a ton of information on the internet that can be a bit overwhelming for a would-be naturalista to sift through. So, I decided to break haircare down to the basics. Here we go:

1. CLEANSE:

WHY? To get rid of the remnant of products on the hair and to get rid of all the debris and dust that has accumulated on the hair over time.
WHAT TO USE: A cleansing conditioner or a sulphate-free shampoo. Conditioners help prevent dryness, while shampoos clarify the hair better. It’s best to use conditioners that do not have silicone. Check the ingredient list, anything ending with -cone is a silicone. For shampoos, check to make sure there are no sulphates; it’s usually in the form of Sodium lauryl sulphate. That stuff dries out your hair.
WHEN TO CLEANSE: This depends on you, if you use a lot of different products, have a very active lifestyle or you are often exposed to dust and dirt, you can cleanse once or twice a week. I suggest that you use a conditioner to cleanse more frequently and save the shampoo for proper washing. I co-wash weekly and use shampoo every 3 weeks.
HOW TO CLEANSE: when using a conditioner, apply it all over your damp hair and wash using your fingertips with focus on your scalp. For shampoo, you need to prepoo first; prepoo is a fancy word for applying oils to your hair for a while before washing. This is to prevent the shampoo washing off all the natural oils produced in your scalp. After doing this, rinse off the prepoo and proceed to use the shampoo, again focus on your scalp. Follow this step with a moisturizing conditioner. Do not tug or pull at your hair, be gentle.

Tip: To ensure thoroughness, prevent tangles, make washing easier and optimize product use,  it is advisable to wash your hair in sections.
2. CONDITION:

WHY? To restore moisture and strength to hair.
WHAT TO USE: Depending on what your hair needs, you can use a protein conditioner or a moisturizing deep conditioner. Water should be listed as part of the ingredients. For protein conditioners, look for proteins and amino acids. For deep conditioners, look for water, honey, glycerin, fatty alcohols etc.

WHEN TO CONDITION: Deep conditioning should be done often, once a week if possible. Protein treatment can be spaced out a bit more, once a month or in two months.
HOW TO USE: Apply the deep conditioner to clean hair, coat all strands of your hair thoroughly and use a shower cap. Leave for an hour or more before washing off.

Tip: Heat makes the conditioner penetrate the hair better, so you can use a steamer or leave the conditioner in your hair for a longer period to allow your body heat do the work.
3. DETANGLE:

WHY? To get knots, tangles and shed hair out of your hair to prevent breakage.
WHAT TO USE: A wide tooth comb or your fingers. A detangler or a regular conditioner.
WHEN TO DETANGLE: This depends on your hair and if it tangles easily. Some detangle weekly, others biweekly, some even detangle daily so work out what is best for you. Detangle before and after shampooing.
HOW TO DETANGLE: I will start this off with a warning: NEVER DETANGLE DRY HAIR, this can lead to massive breakage. Some form of moisture in the hair is necessary before detangling. I feel it is better to detangle hair while it is damp. After applying a  suitable conditioner or detangler, divide the hair into sections and gently finger detangle first, afterwards use a comb. Start from the ends and work your way down to the root, doing it the other way round will just pull out your hair not to mention cause you a lot of pain.
4. MOISTURIZE

WHY: To keep hair healthy and prevent dryness
WHAT TO USE: Water, leave in conditioner, oil and a cream. Nothing can replace water in a leave in conditioner, it should be listed as the first ingredient. Oils like coconut, olive oil, jojoba oil etc. A cream/butter like Shea butter, cocoa butter etc.
WHEN TO MOISTURIZE: This should be done daily or every other day depending on the condition of your hair. If you are just starting your healthy hair journey, you might moisturize daily and later adjust if necessary. I moisturize my hair every other day, this works better for me. You can moisturize in the morning, at night or both times. I prefer to moisturize at night to get rid of any dryness and because I’m usually in a hurry in the morning.
HOW TO MOISTURIZE: There is a method called: LOC. L – liquid/leave in, O – oil, C – cream. This simply means you use a liquid or leave-in conditioner  first, apply oil and finish it up with a cream/butter to seal in the moisture.

Tip: Combine the liquid and oil into a spray bottle and simply spritz on hair, and follow up with a cream.
Bonus: Protective styles are your friend, they make hair maintenance less stressful. Protective styles include braids, crochet braids, weaves etc. It prevents you from constantly manipulating your hair and helps prevent breakage. However, remember to care for your hair while it’s in a protective style and allow your hair some downtime between protective styles.
This are the basic steps in maintaining natural hair: Cleanse, condition, detangle and moisturize. It seems like a lot but it isn’t. At least, when you get used to it.
From these steps, here’s a sample regimen:

Daily:

Moisturize (LOC)

Weekly:

Cleanse with a conditioner (co-wash)

Deep condition

Detangle
Monthly:

Cleanse with shampoo (Don’t forget to prepoo)

Deep condition (with protein treatment)
This isn’t a strict regimen, you can tweak and adjust to fit your hair needs and your schedule.

There will be a follow-up post, where I will share recommended products and how to DIY some of them.

Any questions, observations or additions will be appreciated. Please like, comment and share.

I leave you with my mantra of the week: Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly again.

Until next time, stay fabulous!

Disclaimer: Pictures are from Google.

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