Deep Conditioning and Moisture are critical in a Healthy Hair regimen. One of the major questions I get asked is “Preye how do you keep your hair soft/manageable”? For a start I would like to make it clear that my hair (well, my natural afro hair) has never been soft.I mean it is what Nigerians would describe as kpako (meaning hard/tough) hair. Overtime, I have embraced my hair as it is, stopped comparing it with others that have looser curls to mine and had to learn how to keep it as manageable as possible. Glory be to God for better hair handling techniques and overall hair knowledge. I have been delivered lol. So, instead of using the term soft I will be referring to it as manageable hair.
I deep condition every single time I plan to wash my hair. I leave my deep conditioner on my hair covered with a shower cap and plastic bag for about an hour before I wash. The good thing for me is that my deep conditioning routine serves as a pre-poo treatment as well, my time to detangle my hair (pretty much almost the only time a brush or comb touches my hair), also use the same method to revert my afro hair (get it to shrink back) after I have straightened it (so far, I have not straightened with a flat iron more than twice in a year) and most importantly to give my hair that much needed big dose of moisture infusion.
PRE-POO TREATMENT: I give my hair a pre-poo treatment before I wash my hair every time. It consists of either coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil (sometimes vegetable oil from the kitchen = any oil of your choice) and conditioner (I use Herbal Essence Hello Hydration). I do it in sections (sections of chunky twists because my hair tangles less and I loose next to no hair once I am in the shower washing – sectioning becomes essential as your hair grows long particularly) and seize the opportunity to detangle my hair thoroughly with either a denman brush or tangle teezer (I separate the hair strands in the section I am working on with my hands first add some of the mixture then use my brush gently from the tips working my way up to my scalp. Once done, I twist it back up) .
The only thing different when I straighten my hair and I want to revert it back to it’s kinky curly afro state is I add protein (e.g. mayo, yes mayo because it’s made from egg OR you can add egg yolk to your conditioner but that stinks). I have recently decided to just start adding the mayo to my regular deep conditioning routine because I swap between a moisture based leave-in conditioner (Herbal Essence Beautiful Ends Split Protection Cream) and protein based one (Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream) since I seemed to have found the right balance of moisture and protein for my hair which equals more length retention for me.
On this occasion (pic above – taken May 2012), I decided to try out a product that has the key things my hair loves, everything in one product, no need for extras (MOTIONS Critical Protection & Repair Treatment Conditioner) and my hair loved it (view product top right of pic). Major shrinkage for me = major loving from my hair (very springy, curly and happy hair lol). If your hair is chemically treated, do not fret. It should still work for you (just excluding your hair reverting/curling up). Leave for 30minutes minimum under shower cap or grocery shopping bag if your like me!
SHAMPOO TIME: In the first two years of my hair journey so far I would wash my hair with herbal essence shampoo (now I use Elasta QP Creme Conditioning Shampoo) in the twisted sections it has from my pre-poo treatment and use herbal essence conditioner afterwards for 2minutes and rinse out thoroughly. Clean hair, moisture each section with leave-in conditioner and seal scalp and hair strands with oil/butter, style as you want. Key to keeping it manageable if I am leaving my hair out is putting it into big plaits and tying a silk scarf before I sleep. I never use a comb in my hair till the next wash day, I pretty much take out my plaits (if needed add a little leave-in on each section then oil) in the morning and style as I want.
HAIRCARE WHILST STRAIGHTENED: I know you want to have an insight about how I maintained and care for my hair when straIghtened. I use my leave-in cream by herbal essence + a drop or two of jojoba oil (because the oil is light) to style my hair everyday while it was straight. Night time, I slept with 5 big bendy rollers. Aside from trimming the hair, I did a search and destroy (inspect ur hair strands and cut off any unhealthy, split or knotted parts of individual hair strands. For optimum health but to retain length as much as possible). Remember I only get to do the search & destroy once a year so it’s not a burden (P.S. Listen to your hair and give it a trim when it needs one).
GENERAL HAIRCARE WHEN LEFT OUT LOOSE: As mentioned earlier I swap between a moisture based leave-in conditioner (Herbal Essence Beautiful Ends Split Protection Cream) and protein based one (Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream) and use either an oil (usually coconut oil or castor oil and if I run out I go to the kitchen and get Extra Virgin Olive Oil) or unrefined african shea butter to seal in the moisture.
That is it my loves, I know it seems like work but your hair needs commitment, patience and pampering. It’s not been an easy one for me and I still have my challenges but it is worth it because I have grown to love my hair just as it is. To gain some knowledge and understanding as to the reasoning being this you could refer to my post titled ‘Lesson 1: Hair Biology for Beginners’. Wishing you all the best in your healthy hair journey.
[jetpack_subscription_form title=”Keep Up with MAHS!” subscribe_text=”Sign Up and receive email notification updates of All Things MAHS from free Giveaways to Promotions and Blog Posts!” subscribe_button=”Sign Me Up”]