Building the Perfect Natural Hair Regimen
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Many people beginning their natural hair journey (and honestly, even some long time naturals) can find the process of building a natural hair routine and finding the right products to be almost impossible. With tons of products on the market, the alphabet soup of hair types, and long ingredient no-no lists, how does one even begin?
I spoke to an expert from TresseNoire Beauty, included some research from The Science of Black Hair, and added my own input to put together what I consider to be the most important keys to building a regimen to help you achieve your hair goals!
Choosing Shampoo & Leave-in Conditioners
Michele, a hair stylist veteran from TresseNoire Beauty, offered up some great advice on choosing products for your natural hair routine. You want to keep your strands hydrated at all times, she says, so it’s important to grab for moisturizing shampoos like Eden Bodywork’s Jojoba Monoi Moisturizing Shampoo. You can follow this with your regular rinse-out conditioner, and then move onto your moisturizer. The types of moisturizers vary(light leave-in, hair lotion, hair cream, etc) so make sure you choose the one that works best for your hair texture. Lighter moisturizers, such as Mielle Organics White Peony Leave-in, will work better on looser textures. Heavier products packed with more hydrating ingredients, such as hair creams or butters like the TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer, will work better for kinkier hair that tends to dry out easily. It’s best to apply any styling products(foams, gels, mousse) after you put on your moisturizer.
Choosing the Right Conditioner
"While water-based moisturizers boost your daily moisture, they cannot touch the conditioning power of today’ s moisturizing deep conditioners. While hair product mistakes in other areas of your hair regimen are often excusable, shoddy moisturizing deep conditioning efforts will always show. Moisturizing deep conditioners are no doubt the backbone of any healthy hair regimen. Many moisturizing deep conditioners also contain some protein. Wheat and silk proteins are the most common gentle proteins in moisturizing deep conditioners. They tend to be extremely gentle and actually enhance the hair’ s elasticity by helping moisture bind within the cuticle. So, if you see this kind of protein in your moisturizing deep conditioner don’ t fret! You’re still okay moisture wise!"
What to look for: Fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and myristyl alcohol. Humectants, emollients, and conditioning agents like propylene glycol, sodium lactate, sodium PCA, hydantoin, glycerin, polyquarternium, glyceryl stearate, centrimonium chloride, and other natural waxes and oils.
What to avoid: You should basically try to stay away from moisturizing deep conditioners that contain petrolatum, mineral oil, heavy proteins, and other heavy oils.
- The Science of Black Hair (blackhairscience.com)
The Importance of Wash Day
Even though maintaining a hair routine may be time-consuming, make sure you don’t rush through this care process. Especially on wash days. “Try to make wash day a day when you have the time to devote to haircare. Do it on your day off,” Michele recommended. Wash days set up the foundation of moisture for the week(or however long you go in-between washes), so it’s best to dedicate time to carefully hydrating your strands rather than depriving your hair of much-needed moisture.
Protective Styling & Low Manipulation Styles
If you've found yourself stuck at one length for the longest, you might want to give protective styling a shot. Protective styles are styles where your ends are completely unexposed to the elements or friction (wigs, sew-ins, buns, tuck and roll styles) so that you can better retain length. Your hair can also benefit from low manipulation styles like braids, twists, or updos where the ends are still exposed but you're giving your hair a break from styling. Wash & Go's and twistouts are fun and beautiful but your hair will flourish more if you let is rest from time to time
Achieving curl definition
Finally, we get to the part where we want to show off the curls we've been working so hard to take care of. You can either rock your natural curls in a wash & go style or achieve a different texture with twistouts or braidouts. Wash & gos are best achieved by applying your gel or creme styler, like Form Beauty Sculpt gel or Define Creme to soaking wet hair and either shingle (individually separate with your fingers to get max definition) or shake your head vigorously to separate the curls. Twistouts work best on towel dried, damp hair with leave-in conditioner and styler applied and even sized twists going in the same direction. You can choose to flat twist your hair (similar to cornrows where you pick up hair as you twist along the scalp) or do individal twists. Allow to dry and undo the twists for curly definition