"The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra" -Jimmy Johnson

24 July 2013

Maintaining Your Natural Hair

In the most recent years, many woman have taken the brave step to embrace their natural hair and leave behind the creamy crack that many are addicted too. I too was part of the many but after a lot of research I knew there was a better path I could take for my hair. Like with any big change there is apprehension and fear that come along. Going natural specifically, the fear of having to cut the hair you work so hard to grow and trying to debate with yourself if you will look good with the change. Even for those who do not cut their hair, there is fear that they will not be able to manage their hair during and after the change. All that is normal and to be expected. 

There was a lot of information out there when I went natural three years ago and much more now. My suggestion to anyone who is considering going natural is to RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH! Find your inspiration and learn off others experiences and mistakes. Wearing your hair in it's natural state is definitely not easy but it is not impossible. Try different things out and formulate a regimen that works for you.

So with that said I decided to share what my concrete regimen has been for the past three years and the tools I use. Those of you who watch me on YouTube may already know what I do but there are a few things I have changed. I live by 3 Key steps! They play a huge part in my rapid hair growth and my ability to maintain not just my natural hair, but maintain healthy natural hair. If your interested, keep reading below! (See items in bold for steps, items in italics are my ramblings about product benefits)

 Remember what works for someone else may not work you.

Maintaining Natural Hair

Step #1: DE TANGLE!!! 
As your natural hair begins to grow out, you will soon notice the difference of textures from natural to relaxed. Because the two textures are so different & somewhat fighting with each other, your hair will begin to tangle quickly & more often. The kinky curly strand become intertwined and if the proper care is not giving knotting can occur, which in turn brings frustration & breakage. Therefore you must properly detangle your hair. 
Here is what I do:
  1. Section my hair into four and clip away
  2. Using a spray bottle I mix water & conditioner. I use Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Conditioner. I love hello hydration because it coats my hair so well and brings immediate softness. Find a good detangling solution or conditioner that will soften your hair. (Hello Hydration sells for $2.50 at Walmart)
  3. Starting with one section I finger detangle my hair with the aim of getting any medium to large knots or tangles out. Once done I apply a VERY generous amount of the conditioner and water mix throughout out the entire section of hair. Soak it! I then repeat the steps for all the other sections. 
  4. Returning back to the 1st section, from end to root, I start off using a wide tooth comb to ensure any of the medium knots I miss are gone. You can do smaller sections within the one section if you please. Depending on how long its been since I last detangled I will do that. Then I follow with the "Tangle Teezer". It looks like a dog brush but the bristles are plastic and sturdy but they do not cause unnecessary tension to your strands. I love this tool! It gets all my knots and tangles out and I have very minimal shedding when I use it. Two or three runs and your good!! Check out my YouTube review here. I definitely recommend every natural own one! It can be purchased at Sally's Beauty Supply for $9.99. When I am done detangling the section I two strand twist the section & clip away. Now it's time to shampoo...

Step #2: Shampoo & Condition
As you go through your natural journey you will hear a lot of naturals talk about the dangers of shampooing your hair too often. I agree there are some dangers however if you use a good shampoo you really should have no problem. The main issue with shampoo is the ingredient laurel sulfate. This component is what causes the shampoo to lather and bubble up. It also strips the hair of its natural oils. I could go on and on about good shampoos and bad shampoos but I will save that for another post. 
  1. I start off by using JASON'S Biotin & Chamomile Sulfate Free Shampoo and massage the product into each section very well. As I shampoo each section I do not re twist, but instead I just clip away. This is to ensure my hair does not re-tangle. I love this product because it is sulfate free!! This removes the worries of having to pre-poo (will explain another time) to try to seal as much of my natural oils as possible. Also the product contains biotin which a B vitamin that helps make your hair stronger and promotes growth in not just your hair but your nails. With this product I am able to wash my hair every 2 weeks. YouTube review here (2:17). You can purchase this product from any health food store or amazon anywhere between $8 - $10.
  2. Next I rinse the shampoo out very well. You want to make sure you rinse with warm water to ensure all of the product is out.
  3. Immediately after shampooing my hair, I apply deep conditioner. I do this so that I can add moisture back into my hair and try to restore my hair from any damage it sustained between washes. There are many natural homemade recipes for deep conditioner but I use Creme of Natural Argon Oil Intensive Conditioning Treatment. I make sure I coat my entire head with the product and I use my denman brush to stroke through my strands for extra assurance and then I two strand twist the sections. I apply a shower cap and either sit under the drier for 15 - 30 minutes or I do some other things for about an hour. This allows the conditioner to settle in and do its job. Deep conditioning your hair is so important to maintaining healthy hair. When I first went natural I only did it once a month, but now I do it every two weeks because I put my hair through a lot more now. You can purchase this deep conditioner pack from Walmart for $1.99.
  4. After my conditioner has been sitting for that allotted time period, I rinse out thoroughly with cold water. Cold water helps retain and seal moisture. 
  5. I then re-apply Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner throughout my sections and massage it throughout my hair. I rinse out about 2 minutes after and once again re-twist each section. Now my hair is thoroughly washed and conditioned and my hair smells so good, its shiny, and its soft!
Let's move to our final step...moisturizing and styling!

Step #3 - Moisturize!
To maintain healthy hair it needs moisture and protein. Most moisturizers contain proteins that are essential for your hair because moisture and protein work together. If your hair is not moisturized then most likely it is very dry and brittle which leads to shedding and breakage. When you moisturize your hair you are stimulating length retention and increasing softness and shine. Your hair is more mold-able therefore easier for you to achieve a style of your desire.Depending on what type of moisturizer you use, you may need to seal in the moisture. If so, try using coconut oil. I love that stuff!

I apply my moisturizing product (Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie) in each section and using a wide tooth comb I just comb through my strands to make sure I get the product in very well. That's it! Then I just style my hair as desired. Now I know that the product I use it for curl enhancement but honestly it does nothing to enhance my curls in a wet state. I will say that when I use it for a twist out it definitely defines my twist out to perfection. You can check out my YouTube review (very old) on this product here. Here is a better picture quality one.You can purchase this product from Walmart or Target for $11.00. You will get your monies worth because a little goes a long way! Depending on what style I am wearing, I will use the Shea Moisture Hold & Shine Moisture Mist to refresh my style and add light moisture to it.

So there you have it! My 3 Key Steps to Maintaining my Natural Hair! It may seem like a lot but its really not! Once you do it 2 or 3 times and make it a routine it will become second nature. As I stated earlier, this is what has worked for me. I am writing this blog away from home so I don't have access to my pictures, but I will come back and put live pictures soon. I just had to get this post up because it was so overdue. :)

I would love to hear about your natural hair care regimen. Leave your comments below!

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