Natural Hair Care
It has been two weeks since I did the big chop, and still no regrets. I am loving my decision to go natural, so much so I find myself touching my hair/curls a little more than normal (LOL)
While most of the feedback has been very positive (thank you for the support). There has been some; let’s call them naysayers. To the “naysayers”, I understand your confusion. I understand that you are not familiar with someone who is comfortable with what the good LORD has made, that she flaunts her natural self with confidence and unrelenting strength. I truly understand YOUR dilemma, but I digress.
I have made some changes to my hair regimen. I stopped using some of my favorite products, because my hair is kind of a snob. She only likes rich, creamy, and moisturizing products. Lately, some of the products I have found work best for my natural hair are:
· Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioner – this is an absolute favorite. The conditioner leaves my hair very happy, it doesn’t leave a feeling that my hair is coated with a sticky film that I have noticed with some other leave-ins. The conditioner keeps my hair moisturize through-out the day.
· Beautiful Textures Moisturize Hair Butter – This product is amazing. It feels good, not too heavy, my hair soaks it up. Nice light smell, and very moisturizing. I cannot wait to try other products from this line.
· Shea Moistures Curl Milk – one word; WOW. Talk about defining your curls. My curls are beautiful, shiny and it does not feel coated. I also haven’t noticed any frizz, and I don’t use any gel.
· Organix Macadamia Oil Conditioner – Love, Love, Love. I use the conditioner as a co-wash each morning for my wash and go. After using it my hair feels soft and moisturized. I don’t even need a comb to detangle I can just use my fingers to comb through my hair. The product also does not alter my hair color.
· B.A.S.K Silk & Honey Latte Detangling Hair Milk – Excellent product, one of my favorite products. The smell alone (nectarine vanilla scent-WOW) is beautiful, but the way it defines my curls is absolutely great. It gives me a looser curl than the Shea Moisture’s Curl Milk, which sometimes I am looking for; it also gives a nice sheen. Just purchase two more bottles in different scents.
· Organix Macadamia Oil Dry Styling Oil – I use it to seal in the moisture and it gives an amazing shine.
Side Note: I do not use all products at the same time, but have used them as a mixture of two or three products together. The outcome has been amazing.
During my transitioning to natural hair, I would think about doing the big chop, but never actually did the deed. It took me 11 months to finally get up enough courage, (Yes COURAGE!) to cut my hair, but I did it and I do not have any regrets.
In my opinion, it takes a lot of courage to cut off something you have grown accustom too, something that has been a safety net for as long as I can remember. Not to mention, eliminating the ability when having a bad hair day the option of putting my hair in a ponytail and calling it a day.
While considering whether I should do the big chop. I came up with many reasons why I should not get my hair cut. For me, the main reason (and the most important in my humble opinion) was I just did not believe that I would look attractive with short hair. In my defense, I have only seen myself with medium to long straight hair. Moreover, like Tyra Banks says; I have a fivehead (not forehead).
I could not picture myself with short hair. Although, I would see other women with short haircuts and thought they looked so put together and very attractive. I just did not believe that I could pull it off.
Well, today is a new day!!!
I not only cut my hair, but I am feeling attractive, confident, and empowered. Whoa…that’s a lot for a little haircut, but there it is.
I would like to thank a few ladies for giving me the information (via website and/or YouTube) I needed to make my decision.
No matter if you have natural or relaxed hair, caring for your hair can be a job. Now that I have decided to go natural, I am now becoming more mindful of what products I need to use on my hair to achieve a healthy head of hair. I am now worrying about things like, is this product sulfate free, does it have parabens. I am still not sure what parabens are, but everyone says it is bad for you overall well-being. How often should I use the product, how often should I wash my hair? Heat…no heat.
Man, I don’t remember hair care being this involved. So enough complaining, here is what I have learned thus far from researching and the old faithful; trial and error.
Natural hair care
Natural Hair care can be quite involved. However, anything worth having is worth working hard to achieve
Why Sulfate free?
There is an ingredient is just about every shampoo called the "SURFACTANT". The surfactants in shampoos are surface active ingredients, meaning they can interact with a surface. The chemical nature of a surfactant allows it to surround and trap oily materials from surfaces. One portion of the molecule is oil compatible soluble while the other is water soluble.
According to experts, the surfactant is the detergent - or the "cleaning portion" of the formula. The surfactant is the portion of the formula that can have the harshness of the formula because it is the detergent. Detergents CAN be harsh, but they can also be 'gentle'. For the past 20 years almost every shampoo has used the surfactant: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate SLS or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate ALS, why? They are super - super cheap AND they make lots and lots of foam and bubbles.
Since African-American hair needs more moisture than other hair types, using a shampoo with sulfates in it, you could be literally drying your hair out. And you know what your do will look like when it is dry and brittle. Okay, don’t want that, Sulfate free I can get onboard with.
What is a Paraben and why should I avoid it?According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in cosmetic products. Chemically, parabens are esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. The most common parabens used in cosmetic products are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Typically, more than one paraben is used in a product, and they are often used in combination with other types of preservatives to provide preservation against a broad range of microorganisms. The use of mixtures of parabens allows the use of lower levels while increasing preservative activity.
If asked, some will tell you that parabes are harmful to you. In addition, a study published in 2004 (Darbre, in the Journal of Applied Toxicology) detected parabens in breast tumors. Others will say that parabens in cosmetic products at levels up to 25% are safe, and that typically parabens are used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3%.
However, to further discuss parabens, would take this blog beyond its intended purpose. I suggest if you are worried about things of that nature do your research. For me, Parabens….No!!
This will be the trial and error part of your journey. Finding the products that work on your hair. For me this is the fun part, because this will involve buying new or more products, and for a product junkie. This is not a problem.
Now you will run into a lot of information regarding how often you should wash and condition your hair. I personally wash my hair as often or not as often as I would like. I tend to wash my hair about every 2 to 3 days. The only kicker is I do not use shampoo every time I wash my hair; I sometimes use conditioner to wash my hair. You see my secret to knowing when to wash my hair is when my face starts to break out or if my skin is looking a bit on the oily side. This is my tell when I have too much product in my hair and need to wash it out. As of late, I have been using the Loreal EverCreme Sulfate-free Intense Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner. I absolutely love how soft my hair feels after using, I have also notice less fallout. So these are the steps I take:
1. Wash hair with sulfate free shampoo
2. Condition/Deep Condition
a. When I condition my hair I am usually in the shower. I slather on enough conditioner to coat my hair (which is usually 2 hand-full). I use a wide tooth comb to detangle while in the shower. I then put a plastic cap on my head, and then finish my shower. Before leaving the shower, rinse the conditioner out.
b. When I deep condition, I follow the above but I do not rinse the conditioner out before finishing my shower. I usually leave the conditioner in for about 30 -45 minutes(with the plastic cap on). I also sometimes use a heat cap.
3. Add Moisture
a. To add moisture to my hair, I usually add the Cantu Shea Leave-in conditioner to my hair, use a wide-tooth comb to comb product through my hair.
4. Seal in the Moisture
a. To seal in the moisture, I use Cream of Nature Argan oil, or One ‘n Only Argan oil treatment (usually get it from Sally’s Beauty Supply). I rub about a dime size in my hand, and then spread through my hair, concentrating on my relaxed ends.
Then I either do a two strand twists, braids or bantu-knots. No matter the style, I usually let my hair air dry.