One of the first steps to taking care of your hair is creating a regimen or a routine for your hair. Your regimen can change depending on your hair type, and also the state of your hair (natural or relaxed).
A regimen should do the following:
2. Condition (Detangle)
1. Cleansing your hair
We need to cleanse our hair to get rid of product, environmental pollutants, dirt, dandruff, skin particles and oils that gradually build up in our hair. All this build up, if not removed can interfere with the health of your hair, so cleansing regularly is good.
When shampooing, concentrate on your scalp and roots because that is usually where the dirt is located. From personal experience I would advise not to scrunch the hair during shampooing because this can tangle the hair.
It is thought that it is best to avoid shampoos that contain Sodium Lauyl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate as these could potentially be too harsh for your hair and result in it becoming very dry. (Some people substitute a conditioner for a shampoo as it has a cleansing agent and doesn’t strip hair of moisture. )
2. Conditioning and detangling your hair
Conditioners are made up of:
Moisturizers (for the hair to retain moisture),
Reconstructors ( to strengthen hair),
Acidifiers ( maintain the hair pH),
Thermal protectors (to shield the hair against excessive heat)
Glossers (usually silicones for shine)
Oils (to soften the hair)
Lubricants (usually alcohols)
The role of conditioners is to coat the hair and replace the oils etc lost during shampooing. Most conditioners are very creamy/have a lot of slip (very slippery) so this is the best time to detangle your hair as you hair will be very slippery and you can use a comb to remove all the tangles. Also less hair will be lost.
3. Moisturizing your hair
After you hair has been washed and conditioned, the next step is moisturiser. Curly hair tends to lose a lot of moisture, so can easily become dry, so moisture is very important for our hair. A moisturiser that we don’t think about is water, but it’s one of the most important ingredients. Putting water in a spray bottle and spritzing my hair before I add my moisturiser works well for me. In any moisturiser you use (I prefer very creamy ones) maker sure water is the majority ingredient.
4. Sealing the moisture in
This step goes hand in hand with the previous step. After moisturising , you can put a sealant (example castor oil) on top just to make sure the moisture is sealed into your hair, this results in your hair being soft, shiny and healthy. My sister usually adds oil (amla) to water in a spray bottle and uses that to moisturize and seal
Our hair will always have issues, whether breakage, or excessive dryness and sometimes you need to treat your hair. Some conditioners are moisturising conditioners and will make your hair soft and some are protein conditioners that add strength to your hair. If you overload on moisture in your harm your hair can become a bit mushy, and if you overload on protein in your hair it can become quite straw like. So a balance of the two is necessary.
I see regimens as very flexible things why because your hair changes. What might have worked for me when I was relaxed, will not necessarily work for me when I’m natural. That’s why it’s important to focus on the roles of the products and what you need for your hair, not the products themselves. You can add or take away different steps. For example I used to prepoo my hair when I was relaxed. Prepoo is the stage before you shampoo, where you add oils to your hair for a period of time, and this protects the hair from the shampooing process.
Your regimen also depends on your life style, whether you exercise frequently, how you exercise, whether you are busy, the weather etc. So you choose whether your regimen is daily, weekly or monthly. I know some people who wash weekly with conditioner but monthly with shampoo. You listen to your hair and you go with what it says.
Things to remember:
Having a regimen is very important. You should stick with it. Its thought that it takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks for your hair to really get used to a product, so I say you should review your experience every 6 to 8 weeks. You should practice, so that you have a technique. Some things will work some things won’t. Make sure you know what works for you so that it makes your life easier. Know what ingredients you hair loves/doesn’t love and go for products that contain those ingredients /avoid them
It’s called a hair journey for a reason. There are many ups and down but we move forward, learning more about our hair in the process and seeing it grow and become healthy.