Day 4: The ABCs of Creating Your Regimen!

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Hello lovelies, AB and Tolu here!

You are reading the 4th post in the ‘Going Back To Natural’ series. If you missed anything, you could catch up here. 🙂

One very important thing we’ve learnt on our hair journeys and we are pretty sure you’ll soon agree with is: It’s not about what you’re using, but what you are doing. Products are great and fun but the hair you want- that soft, manageable, ball of kinky candy floss is not in a bottle. It’s in the way you care for it, the healthy hair habits you adopt.

A healthy body is really the foundation for healthy hair, but as far as healthy hair habits go today, we’ll be looking at things directly related to your hair care, i.e. the good old regimen that natural girls are always talking about, and how to make one work for you.

If you still remember, Your Hair = Protein + Water + trace elements. Protein gives your hair its strength and structure, Water gives it elasticity. Healthy hair is all about maintaining a Moisture-Protein balance.

There are some basics that every natural’s regimen must accommodate. However, different strokes go for different folks. So it’s up to you to figure out how frequently these things will feature in your regimen.

  1. Moisturise & Seal
  2. Clarify
  3. Condition
  4. Deep Condition

MOISTURISE & SEAL

Your hair needs moisture.

Moisture = water*. Moisturise = to put water in.

If your hair isn’t well moisturised, it is dry and inelastic. As a result, it is brittle (that is, highly prone to breakage) and hard to comb. You need to moisturise your hair as often as necessary.

You can moisturize your hair with: Plain water or some people prefer to use natural Aloe Vera. You could also use a water-based moisturising cream or leave-in conditioner, or an aloe vera based leave-in. (more about products tomorrow)

It’s also important for your hair and skin that you drink lots of water!

AB: When I started my hair journey, I needed to use a leave-in conditioner every day. Now, I don’t. I use a leave-in every 3 days, and spraying my hair with water is fine for every other day.

As you must know, water evaporates when left exposed. This is where sealing comes in.

Sealing is the process of coating the hair to create some kind of barrier, to prevent moisture loss by evaporation. You can seal your hair with an oil e.g. Olive oil, coconut oil or a butter (shea butter, cocoa butter, avocado butter etc)

If you do more sealing than your hair requires, your hair will be greasy and you won’t like that. Also, the barrier created may be too thick, and this would make re-moisturising a little difficult.

How you moisturize & seal may depend on something very important, your hair porosity. Remember when I said hair is layered? Hair has three layers- the cuticle, the cortex and the medulla. The cuticle is the outermost layer of hair. To work, most products need to get into your cortex, and they can only do this by getting past the cuticle.

Some people’s cuticles are very tight and difficult to get through.

Some people’s cuticles are very easy to get through, so easy they’re like a sponge, soaking in the moisture. However, because they are so sponge-y, they also lose moisture really quickly.

Some people’s cuticles have a sense of balance. They absorb moisture well and do really good at retaining it too.

From the three different scenarios I have described, are you beginning to see how we can’t all use the same products? And how your regimen has to be unique to you?

For more about porosity (how to find your porosity, and suggestions as to how to moisturize & seal for your porosity), when you’re ready, you could go read this post I wrote here.

Try not to over-do it though, there is such a thing as over-moisturising! Remember people, the mantra is balance, balance, balance! *lotus position*

CLARIFY

When you use products on your hair, little bits are deposited on your scalp and along hair shaft. You need to clarify to remove all the build-up from your product usage. There are quite a few ways to clarify, the most common being shampooing. This is necessary because build-up clogs up the pores of your hair so that moisture is not easily possible.

Clarifying shouldn’t be done too often as most clarifiers strip the hair of its natural oils and may also leave your hair and scalp really dry.

CONDITION

This, you are no stranger to. After every wash with shampoo, you use a conditioner (I hope!)

Because clarifying is such a thorough process, our hair tends to feel very dry afterwards. This is because it has usually been stripped of its natural oils and moisture. Instant or rinse-out conditioners help fix this by trying to replenish our hair. They are designed to provide a quick fix, to moisturise hair and smoothen the cuticles. However, once they are rinsed off, their yummy ingredients really are washed away, so you still need to moisturise & seal.

So, you may condition after a shampoo, OR you may skip the shampoo and simply condition. This is what is meant by the term Co-washing (yep, Conditioner Washing. Ohhhh)

The reasoning behind co-washing is simply this: Clarifying products like shampoos are great at cleaning. But your hair may not need that kind of intense rub-down on the regular.

I say “may” because again, this depends on you and your situation. Your hair may appreciate co-washing more than the usual shampoo + condition, but then again, it may not. So you try and you see if it works.

If your hair isn’t really dirty, conditioner may be enough for you on most days. But please be sure to clarify when your hair needs it, or say, as a preventive measure, once a month! Product build-up is not pretty!

DEEP CONDITION

Deep conditioning is a very critical part of a hair regimen. Deep conditioning helps to strengthen and improve the elasticity of your hair preventing breakage. It also leaves your hair softer and shinier.

Because Hair = Protein + Water, deep conditioning may be classified under two umbrellas: Protein Deep-conditioning and Moisturising Deep-conditioning.

Your hair may need a protein DC or a moisturising DC or both, depending on your porosity, and what your hair needs at the time. Remember, protein strengthens and moisture improves elasticity.

You can deep-condition with a commercial hair product, or make your own deep-conditioner in your kitchen, or bathroom. For more about Deep-conditioning and for some quick homemade DC recipes, you can read this post, here.

If you’re using a deep conditioner that you bought, please follow the instructions!!

To reap the maximum benefits of your efforts to deep condition, please DC on clean, product-free hair, after a wash. You can DC after a co-wash. And if you just clarified your hair with a shampoo, for instance, you don’t need to use a conditioner before you deep condition. You can just go straight to your DC.

We trust that you’ll soon find your rhythm and make up the perfect regimen, but just in case you still want a starting point, let’s see how this works for you:

  1. Daily- Moisturise & Seal
  2. Co-wash once or twice a week
  3. Clarify once a month or every two weeks
  4. Deep condition once a week
  5. BE CONSISTENT!

Simple enough, I hope? If you have any questions, please sound off in the comments! And we’ll be discussing products in the next post!

Love,

AB and Tolu!

xx

Towards Healthier Hair: Baby Steps!

Hey everyone!!!

How are you? How have you been?! I hope you are well!

I wrote my last exam on Friday so right now, I’m on a much-needed break from learning the Law and it feels so good I tell you! SO GOOD to be back to my life, to be back to you guys a free woman. It may take a little readjustment to resume blogging as usual.

Hopefully, I’ll soon be back in full swing, but till then- here’s a little 500-word piece I wrote for Complete Fashion magazine. It was published on their blog during the time I was away.

Good hair is healthy hair and as I keep trying to say on the blog, it is well within your reach. You just have to make a little effort and when I say little, sometimes “little” really does mean little. You don’t always need drastic changes to see results. In the article, I just pointed out a few simple changes you could make that would definitely contribute to your hair’s health and happiness- kinky-curly-coily or relaxed.

Please check it out here, and share if you like. 😀

I’ll be back soon!

Love,

AB

X


P.S. If you’d like to be our featured kinky hair inspiration on the blog sometime, please email thekinkandi@gmail.com

The 3 Length Retention Challenge!

If you’re a hair growing girl of African origin, length retention is probably one of the things on your hair agenda. Especially if you’re a kinky curly. Every kink, every curl, every bend in the hair strand is a possible breaking point. Are you interested in experiencing less breakage and improving your length retention?

Yes? Join me on the 3 Length Retention Challenge hosted by two ladies who have been natural hair inspirations on the blog- Tega and Joke.

I’m going to outline the gist of the Challenge for you real quick.

How long is it?

3 months. August – October

What is the aim of the challenge?

To retain length with a focus on 3 areas– Exercise, Nutrition and Hair.

Why these other 2? Isn’t this about hair?

We cannot say this enough: a healthy body is foundation for healthy hair.

3LRC_requirements1

Okay. What do I have to do?

As a Participant in the challenge, you are required to:

  1. Drink at least 2 litres of water daily.
  2. Consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  3. Exercise 3 times a week, for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Write and stick to a hair regimen.
  5. Moisturise hair at least 2 times a week.
  6. Wear hair in a protective low manipulation style for at least 2 weeks and not more than 4 weeks at a time.

Participants are also encouraged to:

  1. Take a daily multivitamin.
  2. Send in a before and after picture of their hair length.

Accountability is important in these challenges. It’s inspiring to see how others are doing, and get the clarification and encouragement that you need.

Also, there will be a monthly giveaway and a grand prize at the end of the 3 Length Retention Challenge. *shakes shekere* #iKnowYouLoveFreeStuff!

So What Now?

Register for the challenge here.

For more information, please visit and keep up with: Social Hermit and Roots Don’t Lie.

Follow @3LRChallenge on Twitter and Instagram. Share your tips and your progress, with the hashtag #3LRChallenge.

In other news, my hair is in a really happy place! 😀 I’m still staying true to my commitment to the Castor Oil Challenge, and so far, so good! I’m seeing results and this has encouraged me to continue! Let me not say any more, I don’t want my hype to be premature. I’ll share my progress with you in pictures as soon as the Castor Oil challenge comes to a close at the end of August!

I’m going to be away for a bit guys. The life-blog scale has to tip heavily in favour of life right now. I’ll be back in September.

If you aren’t already, do follow the blog: follow on Bloglovin’ OR click to subscribe to get posts by email (there’s a widget for this on the right side if you’re viewing this page on a computer, or a widget at the bottom if you’re viewing the mobile version)  ^_^

Bye till September!

Love,

AB

xx

Adopt Good Habits: DEEP-CONDITIONING

Hey guys!

How is your week going? It’s the middle of the week already and I’m not sure how I feel about this.

In this post, we’ll be looking at a very important hair habit- deep conditioning!

DEEP CONDITIONING: THE WHAT AND THE WHY.

Conditioning is a necessary hair habit. I don’t think it’s possible to get by with no conditioning. I run through bottles of conditioner like crazy and I haven’t owned a bottle of shampoo since last year. Conditioners help us strengthen, moisturise and detangle our hair.

To be of any effect, the ingredients in conditioner attach themselves to the hair shaft. Our rinse-out or instant conditioners mainly lubricate and provide a quick fix. Leave-in conditioners are designed to be left in, and provide conditioning to the hair for a longer period. Deep conditioning goes the extra mile, the DC goes in, penetrates better and deeper than other forms of conditioner. Your hair does not need to be penetrated this deeply all the time- which is why this is not something to be done on the daily.

It is a really beneficial habit to adopt- natural or relaxed. I’d done a bit of this in the past (I tried two homemade DCs here) but it wasn’t really a part of my regimen, it wasn’t a habit. For my super-dry hair, I hope making Deep conditioning a habit will overtime help solve my moisture issues.

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR DC

Good hair is healthy hair and healthy hair simply means striking the right moisture-protein balance. Our hair is more than 70% protein, so we need protein for strength and structure. Moisture keeps our hair flexible. If your hair isn’t getting enough moisture, it will be inelastic and this inelasticity means that your hair is very prone to breakage under the slightest pressure. For more on the basic features of hair, you can read the ‘Hair Basics’ series we did earlier in the year. 🙂

There is such a thing as over-moisturising- and I’ve learnt that except my hair is breaking off or in really bad shape, I don’t need protein treatments on the regular. Once in a while (as a protective/preventive measure) but I don’t need a lot.

So, in choosing your regular DC, ask yourself: what does your hair crave or need? Protein? Moisture? Both? What works for me may not work for you. What’s working for me right now may not be what I need in a few months, so yeah, just listen to your hair.

DEEP CONDITIONING: The HOW.

There are several different ways to deep-condition. So many Deep Conditioners you could buy, and so many you can whip up yourself in the kitchen. For the month of May, Deep Conditioning was top of the hair agenda. In this post, I’ll be sharing the three simple DCs I tried out.

  1.  Coconut Milk DC
  2.  Honey DC
  3.  Hot Oil Treatment

Before I go on to the DCs in more detail, I’d like to say at this point that in my application of each, the steps were the same:

First, I put DC into hair

Second, cover with shower cap or plastic bags (Seriously, life is too short to be rinsing shower caps)

Third, wrap head with warm towel. You can microwave your towel for a minute or two (your mom may not be keen on this though) and leave on for 30 minutes- an hour.

And finally, I co-washed after.

One more constant: I pre-pooed before each DC

Some people say you should spritz water on your hair before DC but I didn’t. You might want to try that though. 🙂

To my Coconut milk and Honey DCs, I added two spoons of Olive oil. Not necessary, I just felt like adding them. For shine, and because Olive oil conditions also.

COCONUT MILK DC

What you need: Coconut milk 

Coconuts!

Coconuts!

Coconut milk is rich in protein. I read that doing a Coconut milk DC would make my hair soft, but it did no such thing for me. I actually planned to try this hair softener for the whole of May but after the first trial, I knew it wasn’t what I needed.  My hair was dry. You know when your hair is wet after a wash and you know it’s only soft to the touch because it’s wet.

You could buy coconut milk or make your own, it’s easy. I did a post about this here.

HONEY DC

What you need: enough honey to go round your hair.

Pooh-Hunny-Pot-winnie-the-pooh-1993701-1024-768

I think honey is too sweet. The smell makes my belly churn at times- maybe it’s from the too-sweet honey and garlic infused tea I was forced to drink as a child because of my horrible colds (which are still with me now) but I was really not looking forward to trying this one. But I am SO glad I did.

My hair is super dry, and super thirsty- I am yet to give it all the moisture it needs- so it’s really no surprise that my hair loved this DC. Honey is a humectant- meaning, it’s a substance that draws moisture from the atmosphere into the hair shaft.

I co-washed the honey out of my hair with surprising ease (I expected it to be gooey and sticky) and left to air dry. When my hair was damp, I moisturised and sealed. I did this DC at about 6pm and by 11, I felt my hair and was SO amazed at how soft it felt. Usually, after a co-wash, I need two days of moisturising with lotion to get my hair feeling good again.

I tried this DC twice and I don’t think it’s too soon to say my hair loves it.

HOT OIL TREATMENT

Put your oil(s) in an applicator bottle, then immerse bottle in a bowl of hot water (not boiling) to heat up.

You don’t want to burn yourself, so test the oil on your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot.

If it’s too hot for your wrist, it’s too hot for your head. Leave it to cool a little.

Not too hot? Okay, get that oil all over your hair.

DSC06103

In my applicator bottle is a blend of Olive oil, Sweet Almond oil, cold-pressed Castor Oil and a few drops of Tea Tree oil. I just decided to mix all the oils I had. Different oils are great for different purposes, you can read a little about this here.

WHEN TO DEEP CONDITION?

Weekly? Every two weeks? Once a month?

I think the answer to this question depends on our big aunty upstairs. What is she craving? Listen to your hair. Our featured hairspiration Naturalista, Oyinkan sometimes DCs twice a week when her hair is looking dull. I pledge to do a moisturising DC every week (when my hair is out) and mix some protein in every 4-6 weeks.

So, tell me ladies. Do you Deep Condition? How often? What’s your favourite DC- is it packaged or homemade?

Till next time,

Love,

AB

x

LAST WEEKEND: OPERATION GET MY HAIR BACK!!!

Hey guys!

Ekene here. Shenehneh’s gone. I took my weave out last Friday because I could not take it anymore. Weaves are my least favourite hair thing to do because I feel separated from my scalp, like I can’t do much and it itches like hell.

After three weeks away from the sun and hair food, my hair was so dry and brittle. It was stretched out, not tangled but I did not comb. Combing natural hair when it’s dry is not a good idea. Don’t do it! In this state, it is so prone to breakage- and I was definitely not going to try that because the hair looked as dry as it felt. I was especially troubled by the fact that I had broken hair in my hand and I had not even combed! I felt like I had to get my hair back asap!

THE PLAN: Conditioning, Protein, Conditioning. Oh, did I already say Conditioning?

Healthy hair is all about having that moisture-protein balance. 90% of each strand on your hair is protein. In addition to keeping your hair moisturised, you have to make sure it’s getting enough protein. When your hair is weak, breaking a lot, that’s a sign that you need protein. But not too much though- too much could also leave your hair looking dull or very hard O_o, so I’ve heard. I’v got silk amino acids in my daily moisturiser so I won’t be doing any extra special treatment like I did in this post with the egg and mayo until I’m having wahala again.

Generally, your hair needs protein but your hair’s extra special needs should be considered before choosing a particular protein treatment just so you don’t spend money on a product you don’t really need. If your hair is really damaged, breaking more than usual, you might need a product like ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor. Keratin they say, is strengthening. I’m trying to make the lengths of my posts more manageable, and today’s post isn’t really about protein so here’s a link to this post on Curly Nikki about choosing the right protein treatment for your hair.

I feel like my posts are too wordy sometimes and I really want to be very very clear, so I’m going to be numbering my points as I tell you what I did.

FRIDAY: DEEP CONDITIONING BAGGIE METHOD

1. I settled down and divided my hair into sections. It’s good to deal with your hair in sections.

This way you can trust that you’re not wasting your time. You won’t be overlooking any part of your hair, you’d be focused in your application of product.

2.  Section by section, I put coconut oil on my scalp and hair and then quite a lot of Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Moisturising Conditioner. Probably more than I needed but I was just so frantic!

I did this because my hair was in serious need of some deep conditioning and I was going to wash the next day, so I also wanted to pre-poo. So this was like a combo. Next time, I might put the conditioner first and then the coconut oil after, to seal. Now that I think about it, it seems like the better way to do this.

      3. Having conditioner in my hair, I combed gently and lost even more hair. 😦

4. Then I covered my hair with a shower cap for the rest of the night and went to bed like that.

This is all there is to the Baggie method. Moisturise, put in your conditioner/oils/whatever- then put a plastic bag over your head- to keep your product locked in to work on your head overnight, assisted by your body heat. It could be a polythene bag, shower cap, my friend says she uses cling film- sha a bag that’s made from plastic that’s big enough to cover your head.

SATURDAY: PROTEIN AND LEAVE-IN

I woke up with a big circle on my pillow case. The shower cap wasn’t slacked or anything, it just happened that some of the stuff had found its way down the back of my neck. So don’t be surprised about this when you decide to do the baggie.

My hair was not as dry as it was the night before, but it was still not how I wanted it to be.

  1. I co-washed to get Friday’s baggie mix out of my hair.
  2. I mixed a simple protein treatment in a bowl- an egg, some mayo and a little olive oil- put it on my hair and sat under a hooded dryer for about forty minutes (first time in a long time!)
egg and mayo

Easy peasy, quick and cheap too!

        3. Washed out the egg and mayo with shampoo (still using my Aloe + Coconut Clay Bar).

        4. Conditioned and combed out

I felt better at this point, but I still wasn’t there yet.

So I pulled out my Cantu Shea butter Leave-In Conditioner and Repair Cream from the corner I’d left it in since I got the Creamy hair lotion. It can be used for daily styling as well as a leave-in. I’d love to try a silicone free leave-in sha.

  1. I worked a generous amount of it into my damp hair
  2. Covered it with a shower cap
  3. Yuuuup. Baggie again.

The instructions on the cream said to do it overnight. I wore the shower cap from 1pm till I couldn’t take it anymore, at about 7pm (true true, your body heat works when your scalp is covered with plastic. The heat cannot escape), this is the same as 6 hours of sleep at night, no? Yes.

Was everything okay now? Yes. Not 100 but yes my hair felt like mine again. I did no more but cover it with my satin bonnet when I was ready to sleep and on Sunday, I went about my normal simple routine as usual.

I felt like a champion! Got my hair back! It has been so good to have my fro back. Fairy knots are back too. Sigh. Is it even possible to not have any? I’m still trying to figure these guys out.

Be good guys.

The next post won’t be too far behind.

xx