Day 4: The ABCs of Creating Your Regimen!

silver

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

WASHDAY!: Mud wash

Yep. I said Mud. I washed my hair with clay. Mud. Now isn’t that… Counter-intuitive? That’s the word you’re looking for. I knowww. But it was amazing. Let me tell you alllllllll about it! 😀

Last Sunday was Washday. True to my word, I took down my twists when I got home as soon as I’d rolled my luggage to a corner. I had a little help from my little cousins who were visiting, and eventually, my baby brother.

My hair is naturally very dry, so I do not care for Shampoo at all. It leaves my hair all dry and rough and tangled. I do not own a bottle of Shampoo. Since my Big Chop, I don’t think I’ve shampoo’d more than 5 times. What do I do instead? I clarify my hair with no-Poo methods like this one, or I simply wash my hair with Black soap. And when I do shampoo, I pre-poo by saturating my hair with oil first.

So Sunday, as a no-poo clarifying alternative to Shampoo, I did a mud wash. I was very pleased with the results and I’ll definitely be doing this again!

DSC06747

WHAT I USED

Bentonite Clay (About 4 spoons)

Aloe Vera Juice (AVJ)

Carrier Oils: Castor, Olive

A few drops of Tea-Tree Essential Oil

Honey

Plastic bowl, plastic disposable spoon

(please, feel free to use the oils you want to. I used what I had. Though, Castor & Olive are good oils for conditioning)

I got my Bentonite Clay and AVJ from Ahia Natural Nigerian (through Natmane in Abuja) but I’m pretty sure you could find Aloe Vera Juice at any decent health shop or pharmacy.

WHAT I DID

1. I really didn’t do much measuring. My hair is short and I figured 4 spoons of the clay would be okay. I added enough AVJ to mix the clay to the consistency I wanted. Let’s say I added two spoons of honey & one spoon of Castor and Olive oil each (I just poured straight from the bottles), and 3-4 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil.

DSC06748

2. I mixed all the ingredients in the plastic bowl, with the plastic spoon. They say you shouldn’t use metal utensils, I’m not really sure why. I’d love to find a small wooden spoon. My mother would not take kindly to me using her wooden spoons to mix my concoctions lol. I ended up using 2 plastic spoons. They were really flimsy disposable spoons so one broke half way. I didn’t have the patience to mix it to a perfectly smooth consistency but it didn’t matter in the end.

DSC06750

3. Satisfied with the mix, I spritzed my hair with water for it to be a little damp, and then got the gunk all over it.

DSC06757

4. I wore a plastic bag (again, life is too short to be washing shower caps) and wrapped my plastic-wearing head round with a warm towel. I’d put the towel in to microwave for about 30 seconds, and let my body heat do the rest.

DSC06758

5. 30 minutes after, I was ready to wash but decided to give it another 30 minutes just because I felt like it.

6. I washed my hair over the sink. I prefer this to washing in the shower because it’s just easier for me to gather my shed/broken strands from the sink drain than the shower. By wash, I mean I rinsed the clay out of my hair with clean water, just a little warm, that’s how I like it. All done!

RESULTS, RESULTS!

My hair felt great yo. So clean. It didn’t feel dry or stripped! Detangling was a breeze. Here’s what I lost in the process of finger-detangling x twisting.

DSC06800

Now, my hair was still all clumped together because I hadn’t combed it out. Look at the coil definition! Coils be poppin’! Haha. I attempted to capture it on camera, I hope you can see what I see!

DSC06779

DSC06782

Then, what I did next? I towel-dried my hair, yep, with an actual towel I designated for the purpose. Frizz is SO not my problem at this stage in my hair journey so, I’m just happy with gentle towel-drying with my towel. My hair towel is nowhere as thick as my body towel. It’s one of those ones that come in a tiny compact package that you have to put in water to release it for the first time.

Then I moisturised with a leave-in, sealed with olive oil, put my hair in chunky twists and left my hair alone. I’ve been indoors since then, so my hair is still in the twists.

Time saver tip (something I realised): it is easier and faster to moisturise the entire fro first and then section & twist after, than to moisturise & seal each section. If you do the first method, you can pay more attention to sealing the ends when you’re done.

Another great thing about this method, it is an absolute time saver for Washday when you’re very busy. Why? Because, your mud wash = Clarifier + Conditioner + Deep-Conditioner rolled into one! True story!

Maybe, just maybe, Washday can come earlier to this girl’s fro. Rather than every 4 weeks, I could do this every 2 weeks, alternate with my regular deep-conditioning routine on weekends. We’ll see!

So, my loves. Have you tried a Mud wash before? What were your results? Will you be trying one out soon?

Love,

AB

xx