Simple Natural Hair Care Regimen for Beginners
A good natural hair care regimen doesn’t have to be tedious or packed with many hair products.
When you are new to the natural hair scene nothing is as frustrating as trying to figure out a natural hair care regimen that works for you.
Transition period is a learning time full of trial and error. Sometimes you get it right other times you experience bad hair day. Don’t give up, it is part of the process. Depending on your hair qualities (thick/thin, fine/coarse, curly/kinky, long/short) your natural hair care regimen changes over time.
What is Natural Hair care regimen?
Having long and healthy hair for some happen naturally but for others you have to purposely work for it.
To achieve a desirable result you need a plan, a process and consciously follow it through.
Natural Hair care regimen is a set of basic hair care steps you follow regularly to keep or acquire healthy hair.
You will notice the word “keep” above, that is because irrespective of the good condition of your hair, you need a regimen to keep it feeling and looking healthy.
We all need a good hair care regimen what is different is the when and how you do your regimen. Choosing a regimen depends on the condition of your hair. Below are some of the basic natural hair care regimen.
Pre-pooing is the application of any oil of your choice or regular conditioner to your hair before shampooing. Most shampoos dry out your hair’s natural oil and moisture. Pre-pooing your hair before using shampoo is to make sure that your hair has enough moisture before shampooing to avoid dryness and tangling that could cause your hair to break easily.
Choosing how often you cleanse your hair totally depends on you. There is no right or wrong frequency. You can opt to cleanse every week or once a month it is all about what works for you. factors to consider will be your lifestyle (are you active) and your product use (heavy or light).
If you are a very active person you are more likely to cleanse your hair more often than someone who is less active. Also, if you are a heavy product user you will need to wash often to get rid of product build-up. The need to cleanse your scalp and hair is to get rid of toxins and open up the follicles.
A healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp.
When you shampoo your hair focus on the scalp that is where the dirt is at. The more textured your hair is, the more likely you experience product build up. For a loose wave, tight curl or fro hair texture hair, it is harder for oil to move from the scalp down to hair strands.
A clarifying shampoo is all you need for oil buildup, styling products, residual from normal shampoo and conditioner.
3. Deep conditioning
Deep conditioning is a good way to strengthen and keep moisture in your hair. Even if you do a co-wash, adding a deep conditioning session to your regimen will help fill gaps in your hair created by color or frequent heat use. Make sure you deep condition your hair at least once a month or twice a month if you wash your hair more often.
Deep conditioning does not only penetrate the hair shaft providing it with moisture. It does more than that. It has surfactants a small particles that temporarily repairs the hair shaft by filling gaps and damage sections of the hair strand.
How Does Surfactants Work?
Renee Price in her article “What is Deep Conditioning” writes, “Surfactants are small molecules that come in two types. They can be hydrophobic (water-repelling) or hydrophilic (water-loving), and they can carry a positive, negative, or neutral charge.
The type of surfactants that are typically found in deep conditioning products tend to carry a positive charge”.
“Human hair has a somewhat negative charge, so when you apply a deep conditioner to the hair that has positively charged surfactants, these positively charged molecules attract the negatively charged surface of the hair, sort of like a magnet” She continues.
She further explains, “surfactants are not absorbed beyond the hair’s cuticles into the hair shaft, but they are rather absorbed onto the hair strand, meaning they simply adhere to it. The by-product of this temporary bond is hair that looks healthier, easier to manage, and feels smoother”.
How to Choose the right Deep conditioner
To get your desired result from your deep conditioning session your deep conditioner has to have the right ingredients. Four ingredients are essential in a good deep conditioner.
Panthenol is derived from vitamin B-5 largely found in plants and foods like eggs, milk, vegetables, and cereals. It acts as a humectant and an emollient in a hair product. Humectants draws moisture to the hair while emollients make detangling hair easier. As the hair strand absorbs panthenol it causes it to rise due to increased moisture in the hair.
B. Hydrolyzed wheat Protein
A damaged hair in need of repair needs protein. Hydrolyzed wheat protein is from whole wheat. “Hydrolyzed” means it has been broken down to small parts that can easily absorbed into your hair.
As good as this sounds, you do not want to over do it with protein. Too much protein in your hair is bad. You should reduce the use of any hair product that has protein.
C. Cetearyl Alcohol
I know many people will raise eyebrows at the mention of alcohol in hair products. Not all alcohols in hair care products are bad for your hair. Fatty alcohol is from animal fats and oil and doesn’t have damaging affect on your hair.
Cetearyl alcohol gives deep conditioner thick and creamy texture making hair detangling easier.
D. Behentrimonium Methosulfate (BTMS)
BTMS works well for all hair types making even the kinkiest hair easy to detangle and deep condition. Surfactants like MTMS acts like a shampoo, it removes products build-up, and excessive oil from the hair.
Knowing what to look for in your deep conditioner will save you time and money
You have dry hair when your scalp is not producing enough oil to moisturize your hair or you are losing more moisture than you keep. Moisturizing your hair in between wash and deep conditioning sessions should be an important part of your hair care regimen.
While moisturizing is good for your hair, over moisturizing is equally bad. You don’t want your hair to be constantly wet. Perpetually wet hair breaks down protein in your hair making it prone to breakage. Always strike for a balance between protein and moisture.
Three ways to avoid over-moisturizing:
- Strengthen your hair and cut the effect of over-moisturizing by using products with hydrolyzed protein (hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed quinoa protein).
2. Don’t let your deep conditioning stay too long. Maximum of 15 or 20 minutes is enough to hold most conditioner in your hair.
3. Cut back on daily wash-n-go’s. Constantly washing your hair strips it of nutrients.
5. Protein Treatment
Human hair becomes weak overtime as a result of extreme hair care practices or exposure to environmental toxins. From time to time your hair will benefit a great deal from protein treatment. Protein helps strengthen hair strand making it less prone to breaking.
seal your hair strand with oil or shea butter to loc in moisture. Your sealing oil should be oils that do not penetrate the hair shaft. A good example is Jamaican Black Castor oil. The thickness of JBCO makes it a good sealant. It softens the hair while preventing toxins and other impurities that would not allow the hair to grow.
Grapeseed oil is another good sealant. It is light and able to with stand high amount of heat. Grapeseed oil seals finer/thinner strand ends without weighing it down.
7. Protective Styles
A good understanding of your hair helps you choose the right protective hair style. Hairstyles like braids can’t be easily moisturized daily or weekly. if your hair needs moisturizing weekly you need a style that gives you that flexibility.
Natural Hair Care Regimen Products
When it comes to natural hair care regimen you want to keep your products as simple as possible. Remember the beginning is a learning process you are still trying to figure out what works best for your hair. Every product in your regimen must be for a specific purpose don’t be a product junkie.
Two things to guide your product decision:
1. Your Budget
A product does not have to be expensive to work. If you are not sure of a product there is no need to buy it. There are hundreds of hair products in the stores each promising great results.
Don’t buy product on impulse and don’t buy because someone recommended it. Only buy the product you need.
2. Give a Product Time to Work
Before you regard a product as not fit for your hair, give it time. You might be like me I expect results almost immediately. Remember it does not work like that. It is good to have high expectations but there are other factors like biological process of hair growth cycle that is at play. Achieving quick results might not be easy especially if you are dealing with unhealthy hair follicles that will need time to heal.
Some Natural Hair care regimen myths
1. Once I start a regimen, I will see changes in no time: hair regimen does not change hair natural life cycle. It only boost the process and helps your hair stay healthy as long as you continue the steps. You might be able to notice changes in your hair after the first session of your regimen, but it takes time to see full changes.
2. Nothing works for me. Remember you need a healthy follicles for a healthy hair. Don’t hold back in experimenting with different products. Each product works differently you might just be amazed what you will discover.
How to Build your Natural Hair care regimen
1. Hair type
The first step in building a successful hair care regimen is knowing your hair type. Your hair type has a lot to do with what hair care works for you. for instance, a type 1 hair is naturally oily so would not need heavy moisturizing products unlike a type 4 that needs heavy moisture to prevent dryness.
2. Condition of your hair
Before you add any step to your regimen you must first figure the present condition of your hair. When I notice my hair feels dry I avoid any form of protein and go for more moisture to make it easier to comb and more relaxed. Most times you just need to listen to your hair. It will always give you cue to what it needs.
In conclusion, a productive natural hair care regimen is more than the products you use or how many times you use them but more about a natural hair maintenance regimen suitable for your hair. Like we said earlier choosing a regimen should be based on your hair need. If you feel your hair has enough moisture there is no point packing it with more moisture.
The purpose of a regimen should be to give your hair what it needs per time without over giving.
What is your natural hair care regimen and has it been productive? Let us know below.