Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Hair Care (Tips and Tricks)

I'm going to share a bit of how I take care of my hair.  I have Natural curly hair that is dark brown with a bit of auburn in it (ends and highlights from sun/ swimming) type 3c/4a/4b.  I have put henna in my hair a few times for strength and to darken it if I swam too much (not this year!).  I hate having my hair straight and I hate tight braids.  I loathe any form of heat styling including blow drying, flat ironing and especially the hot comb.  The few times anyone has ever approached me with that medieval torture device nearly resulted in me going to jail, losing my mind or jumping through the roof at the sensation of my hair being Kentucky fried.

Before: relaxed hair.  My hair was fairly healthy because I only relaxed 3-4 times a year and I would press only the parts showing when my hair was down. Look at my ends though... gah!

I like easy maintenance that comes with natural curly hair (no more heat styling! wash and go!).  I like that if my style is jacked up I can just wet my hair and start over again.  I like that I can wash my hair as often as I like or need.  I have eczema on my scalp and I have learned what to use in moderation and what to avoid in general.
After: natural hair after my first henna treatment.  My ends were a bright coppery orange before due to swimming and sun.

Here is my typical routine:
-Wash sectioned hair with Dr. Bronner magic soap (I dilute .5 oz tea tree oil and .5 oz lavender in 7 oz of water in a squeeze bottle) once a week
-Immediately after washing each section apply Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner and some olive oil
-I leave my hair clipped in sections with the conditioner and oil while I shower, shave, exfoliate and moisturize (I add a shea oil mix to my skin while it is wet to keep in moisture) which takes about 5-10 minutes
-I detangle each section with the conditioner and oil in using my modified faux Denman brush (I removed every other row, but hopefully Santa will bring me a Denman D41 Freeflow) starting at the ends and moving up
-I rinse out each section and add a leave in conditioner like Giovanni Direct Leave in or Queen Helene Royal Curl Conditioner
-I wrap my head in a microfibre turban or an old T shirt to dry my hair while I dab my body dry
-If I'm going out I will add coconut oil and put my hair in a bun or a puff when mostly dry (if it is warm out I'll just leave it out)
-If I'm staying in I will use oil, gel or a curl pudding and twist my hair while damp, then I'll take out the twists the next day
- Once my hair has been out for 2-3 days I will wash my scalp with just conditioner and finger detangle the ends, then I will style as usual

I know it sounds a bit complicated but it is actually better for my hair and easier than the straightening and wasting the money at salons for relaxers.  The products I try to avoid include sulfates, silicones and mineral oil.  They show up in ingredients as sodium laureth sulfate or ammonium lauryl sulfate, dimethicone or amodimethicone and parrafinium liquidium.  I also try to avoid parabens because they mimic estrogens and can cause hormonal imbalance. I only use a shampoo with SLS once a month to clarify (clean any buildup) because it dries out my hair and irritates my scalp.  I try to avoid silicones because they don't allow hair to breathe and lock out moisture.  They cause further buildup and the only way they can be removed is with SLS (which dries out the hair and continues a vicious cycle).  The only one that is water soluble is Amodimethicone, but it still causes buildup.  I don't use mineral oil on my hair for the same reason. Washing your hair less is actually really good for it especially if you colour because your hair uses its own oils.  After a few weeks of it seeming greasy your hair will balance out.  In the meantime you can use a dry shampoo in between washes which has the added benefit of adding body to fine hair (trust me I have a flop fro lol).

If you have any scalp problems I recommend staying away from these products as well.  I had traction alopecia from braids a few years ago but I oil my scalp 2-3 times a week (after washing) with castor oil and a few drops of tea tree oil mixed in. I have seen tremendous growth and retention with this mixture.

I hope these tips help because they can be applied to any hair type and the baddies I try not to use are not good for anyone! If you have any questions please leave a comment or email me.


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