4 Bad Hair Habits I Cut Out in 2017
My natural hair journey, much like those before me and those that will come after me, can best be described by one simple phrase: trial and error. I've been fully natural since 2011 and it took a long time to figure out what was actually working for my hair and what was doing more harm than good, even if it made my hair look cute. I finally feel like I have a routine and methodology down that has my hair flourishing.
I can't say that coconut oil definitely was messing up my hair... but I did notice my hair found some "act right" after I stopped using it. My hair stopped getting brittle and feeling dry in the shower and I noticed less breakage overall. I think the reason this worked is because most sulfate free shampoos aren't strong enough to cleanse the hair of coconut oil. This causes product build up which can prevent moisture from getting into the hair. Not to mention, you generally don't need oils and butters to lock in moisture if you're using the right products so cutting this out completely has changed my hair health for the better.
Many naturals swear by the LOC/LCO (liquid, oil/butter, creme) method for moisturizing their hair. The idea behind the LOC method is to layer water or leave-in on the hair first, followed by an oil or butter, and sealing it with a styling creme or lotion. I always thought this was excessive and left my hair feeling super greasy and heavy but the leave-ins that I was using at the time were not cutting it on their own. This is where finding the right products comes in. I switched up my routine to find a deep conditioner that was giving me all the hydrating I needed as a base, a leave in conditioner with a good consistency (check that out here) that didn't just evaporate out of my hair, and a styling creme that enhanced the moisturizing properties of the former products. The LOC/LCO method causes product buildup because the moisture or leave-in evaporates out of your hair, leaving the butter or creme that doesn't let moisture in and makes your hair dry in the end.
Detangling after shampooing
I used to spend hours in the shower trying to detangle my hair after shampooing. The shampoo would make my hair matte or knot up even more because it would remove all the slip from the oils that were in my hair prior. I also used to try to detangle before getting in the shower, but this also took hours. Finally, I tried detangling my hair under the running shower before shampooing and it made all the difference. You can add conditioner if you want for even more slip, but the running water makes it easier to get through the knots and tangles both by finger detangling and with a comb or brush. This reduced my weekly detangle time to anywhere between 20-30 minutes, depending on how long it's been since my last detangle and makes the rest of the wash process infinitely better.
Skipping wash day
Wash day can be draining and stressful. I often find myself waking up on a Saturday morning and complaining and procrastinating wash day until the sun goes down, at which point it's either too late for my evening activities or I'm tired and don't want to sleep with wet hair. This led to me going 2, sometimes 3 or 4 weeks without washing my hair. Usually I can stretch it that long bc my hair isn't dirty or smelly, however more often than not, my hair wasn't getting properly detangled and my hair was dry as hell. I've learned this year that the best way to keep your hair moisturized was to wash at least once a week. The running water from the shower, combined with the shaft raising abilities of shampoo and the shaft closing power of a good conditioner is often the best moisturizer, is usually more effective than spraying water and leave in on dry hair. For this reason, I haven't needed to do the LOC method to keep my hair moisturized between washes because my washes were more frequent .