This is a topic that I think would be beneficial to a lot of us regardless of whether we are natural or relaxed. The one thing our hair has in common is that we must maintain it if we want it to look nice. The the steps to maintain hair are simple, but I’d like to break them down for you.
- Shampoo– Before we begin to shampoo our hair we should gently finger comb through it to loosen up tangles and residue. When washing our hair, treat it as if it were fine silk—Delicately. Allow the water to completely saturate your hair before adding shampoo. Leave hair hanging down and gently massage in shampoo starting at the roots and working down to the ends. Never pile shampoo on top of your head. This is a good time to give your scalp a nice massage using your fingertips, refrain from using your nails as this may irritate your scalp. The massage will get your blood circulating as well as help lift product and residue from your scalp.
- Conditioning– Conditioner creates shine and preserves hair health by giving it smoothness and protecting against damage. For volume, condition only the middle and ends of your hair, where it’s most susceptible to damage. For shine, condition the entire strand. Do it every time you use shampoo and more often if you want. A good time to detangle your hair is after the conditioner has sat in your hair for the time you’d like and right before you rinse it out. Its okay if you want to section your hair and plat or twist it as you detangle, you can rinse without taking your plats/twists out, this way your hair is already detangled when you begin to dry it.When deep conditioning find a conditioner that says to leave it on for at least 10 minutes. Try to squeeze or ring as much water from your hair using your hands then section your hair into 4 sections and shingle the deep conditioner onto your hair, cover with a plastic cap. When possible sit under a hair dryer for 10-15 minutes then rinse with luke warm or cold water if you can stand it. If a hair dryer is not available for you, leave the plastic cap on for a while until the heat from your body naturally heats up (usually an hour or longer) or try the Hair Therapy Wrap, then rinse as stated.
- Drying– Don’t rub your hair with a towel or twist it tightly into a turban. Wet hair is delicate and breaks easily. Pat it gently and squeeze it with your towel or use a super absorbent towel. Sometimes I use a cotton t-shirt or paper towels and just blot the access water out (also called plopping). If you are using a blow dryer or hair dryer make sure to protect your hair with a leave in conditioner and a high smoke point oil such as sunflower oil or avocado oil, grape seed oil also has a high smoke point. If possible don’t blow dry your hair.
When adding products we should always layer them, moisturizer and conditioner then oils and butters. I normally add my products on wet or damp hair. Never put oil on first unless you don’t intend to add any other products in some cases you can mix oil into your moisturizer/conditioner and add it all at once. Oil seals in moisture and that is why you add it last to lock in all the good stuff and seal your cuticle shut.
When trying a new product for the first time, it’s a good idea not to mix it with other products, so that you can get a clear result. Try your new products at least 2 or 3 times before giving up on it(unless you have an allergic reaction or your hair feels brittle, dry or limp afterward), some products take a few applications before you start to see results. Read the instructions as well as the description of what the product actually does. Find out what your hair likes and doesn’t like, for example my hair does not need protein, anytime I used a conditioner or shampoo with extra protein my hair would feel very brittle and hard. I finally realized that it was the protein after doing a little research. When your hair already has enough of something naturally you don’t need to add more. Here is a little test you can do to determine what your hair may or may not need: