Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Regimen: How the Magic Happens

 Naked Hair/No Product

In my previous post, I gave you an overview of my hair story.  Over the years, at least for the last two, I've learned SO much about my hair.  I've learned what works, what doesn't work, styles I can achieve, styles I struggle with, and most importantly, products that respond well for my hair.  The biggest misconception about going natural is that all heads of hair are alike.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  Our hair is as unique as our fingerprints.  We may all have "afro-textured hair", but our hair properties differ tremendously.  In order to truly understand what your hair likes and dislikes is to understand its properties.

These properties include, texture (fine, medium course), porosity (low, normal, high), density (thin, normal, thick), protein and moisture balance, just to name a few.  In fact, in my humble opinion, the least important factor is curl pattern.  Curl pattern is so subjective that it is very hard to pinpoint the "label" your hair falls under.  Our hair comes in several different patterns and textures.  That's what makes our hair so beautiful and unique.  We also get caught up in finding a "hair twin" or someone with a pattern similar to yours.  In some cases, this is an effective strategy, but even that can be misleading as some products she may use may or may not agree with your hair.  Again, there is more to natural hair than curl pattern and products.  There is a science behind it and we must take the time to research it, apply it and master it.

As for me, according to my research, my hair properties are as follows:
  • Texture:  Medium -- A few fine strands with some course strands.  I fall in the directly middle.
  • Porosity:  High -- My hair dries fairly quickly.  I can spray a section of hair with water and within minutes it is damp to near dry.  My hair soaks up moisture easily so I'm constantly having to use moisturizing products to keep it balanced, especially during the colder months.
  • Density:  Normal/Thick -- Normal in a stretched state, such as a blowout; very thick in an shrunken state.  I have 80-90% shrinkage.
  • Curl Pattern:  3C/4A -- Mostly S & O shaped curls, very spirally and somewhat loose.  Much tighter pattern around my edges. Very loose near my crown.
Now....*DRUM ROLL*

My Hair Regimen

I wash my hair every other week or no more than every 10 days.  I never go more than two weeks.
  • Prepoo or prewash:  Spritz and moisten with water and Fermodyl 619* on dry hair; apply a mixture of EVOO and Avocado Oil to small sections from root to tip, paying close attention to the ends.  Finger detangle to remove shed hairs and follow with a wide tooth comb.  Don a plastic cap and let sit for 15-30 minutes.
  • Rinse out oil and apply shampoo of choice in sections:  Mizani True Textures Shampoo (Target); Kinky Curly Come Clean (Whole Foods or Target); Giovanni Triple Tea Treat (Whole Foods or Target).
  • Rinse out and apply conditioner of choice in sections:  Suave Almond Shea Butter conditioner (Walmart/Target); Aussie Moist conditioner (Walmart/Target); Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (Walmart/Target).  I like to mix EVOO, avocado oil and honey with my conditioner for added moisture and penetration of my strands.
  • Leave in for 10 minutes or as long as desired and rinse out with cold water.  Cold water rinses close the cuticles to lock in moisture.
  • Blot hair with cotton t-shirt (plopping) and let air dry until damp.
  • Leave In:  Apply water-based leave in conditioner of choice:  Qhemet Biologics Cocoa Detangling Ghee (online); Kinky Curly Knot Today (Whole Foods or Target);Taliah Waajid Bodifying Mist.
  • Oil:  Apply oil of choice to seal ends: EVOO, EVCO (coconut oil), castor oil, jojoba oil, or avocado oil.  I don't use all of these oils as a mixture, I usually seal with coconut and castor oil combo.
  • Styler:  Apply creme-based styler of choice:  Butters, heavy cremes or pomades -- Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque (Target/Walgreens); Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie (Target/Walgreens); Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive Heavy Creme (online); Koils by Nature Mango Shea Butter (online).
  • Style as usual:  Twistouts, buns, braidouts, roll/tucks, puffs, blowouts, etc.
SN:  I do not use every product listed in one sitting.  I use one product for each purpose and I tend to switch from week to week for variety.  I listed different options that serve similar purposes.

*Please note:  This regimen is strictly based on what my hair responds well to.  I am in no way endorsing these companies or their products for profit or sale.  My regimen is personalized to suit my hair's needs.

Protein Treatments: 4-6 weeks
Protein treatment of choice: Greek Yogurt Recipe by Naptural85 on Youtube.  This is an amazing recipe and fantastic natural detangler!  My hair loves it.  Check her out!  
Henna:  I've tried henna 2x and although the results were great, the process was too long.  I'd like to revisit henna, but I have to schedule it in advance.  My goal is to do a henna gloss every 6-8 weeks.

I was doing a GYR protein treatment every wash day (2x a month).  These treatments are effective if your hair is experiencing breakage, excessive shedding, feels weak and limp and needs strengthening.  If you are protein sensitive, meaning your hair has adverse reactions towards the protein, such as dry, brittle hair, refrain from using protein- based products and research other options. 

*Fermodyl 619 is a used to combat porosity.  It's a great detangler and makes hair more manageable. Can be found at Sally's for about $8.00 for a 3/pk.

Hair Lessons 
  • Lo Poo/Co-washing is just not for me.  I need to shampoo my hair to clarify my scalp and get rid of buildup.  It's very necessary.
  • My hair hates gels.  I was never a fan of gels even relaxed.  I will use gel occasionally for smoothing my edges, but even that's not that serious.  I'm so not a wash n go type of girl.
  • My hair loves oils.  My hair loves EVOO (Olive Oil), castor oil, coconut oil, avocado oil (new love), and jojoba oil.  I guess I should say most oils agree with my hair. 
  • My hair loves moisturizing products.  If water is in it, it's a winner!  My hair soaks up moisture in a good way.
  • My hair loves cones!!!   As much as cones are frowned upon in the natural hair community, my hair responds well to cones.  My hair is soft, shiny, manageable and those are all good signs in my book.
  • My hair is not protein sensitive, but tends to get protein overload.  I just learned about overload on protein. Although, it has its benefits, protein can also cause adverse reactions when overused, such as shedding or dryness.
  • My hair thrives when I wear it out or when I wear it in a protective style.  Some naturals swear by protective styling.  My hair retains length either way.  I'm wearing my hair in a PS lately due to my exercise regimen and to protect my ends from drying out.  I'm experimenting to see if my hair will retain more length with less manipulation.
  • In the summer months, I struggle with finding a balance of moisture due to the humid climate in which I live.  I had such a hard time keeping a style from becoming a huge frizz ball when dewpoints were 60 degrees or higher.  Humectants caused frizz, while anti-humectants caused dryness.  I'm still trying to figure out the balance of both.
  • I experience seasonal shedding.  During the late fall into winter, my hair tends to shed more than normal.  It used to worry me, but my hair goes through phases of shedding and only grows some more over time.  I monitor it closely, and I realize it's nothing more than norm for me.  How do I know?  My hair is not thinning, I have not lost density, and my hair is growing right along.
  • My hair loves heavy cremes and butters.  My hair needs emollients to seal in moisture.  Shea butter is always a winner or products containing shea butter work well for my hair.  Light weight products really don't do much for me.
  • K.I.S.S:  Keeping it short and simple!  The best regimen is a simple regimen.  I got past the PJ (product junkie) phase a long time ago and I don't have use for every "holy grail" known to man.  I don't own a steamer, a diffuser, and all that "extra".  I just need the bare essentials and my hair is perfectly happy.
There you have it!  My Winter 2012 Hair Regi!

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