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How to Create a Healthy Hair Regimen

2016-01-06 15:36:53

How to Create a Healthy Hair Regimen

Five steps to creating a healthy hair regimen for your curls.

PICTURED: NATURALLYCURLY READER ROCHELLE HYMAN

 

For those new to the natural scene as well as old time curlies who just haven't gotten the hang of it, there's nothing more overwhelming (and time consuming) than figuring out a healthy hair regimen! Returning or transitioning to natural hair is usually a time of education and experimentation. To avoid wasting products, money and energy, here is a starting point for creating and maintaining a healthy hair regimen.

The object of a hair regimen (in our case) is to maintain healthy, curly hair. The regimen will change depending on the qualities of your own hair (thick/thin, fine/course, curly/kinky, long/short just to name a few!) but we all need to achieve certain things with hair maintenance and hygiene.

1. Cleanse

Shampoo is meant to lift the hair cuticle, break up oil and dirt, and suspend it so it can be rinsed away. The goal is to remove environmental debris, product buildup, and production of sebum — the oil our skin naturally secretes.

Our straight-haired counterparts probably can't go one day without cleansing the hair because it is very easy for oil to travel down a straight strand. But in our case, oil has a harder time traveling down a loose wave, a tight curl, or a fro that sticks up & out! This is why the more textured your hair is, the dryer it feels. Our scalps are creating oil normally — it just cannot reach our hair!

So when we use shampoo, the focus should be on our scalps, since that's where the dirt's at. Apply the product to your roots and scalp, scrub with the fingertips, and the lather will make its way down your hair. Don't toussle or scrunch the hair when shampooing. That could result in tangles!

When you slather shampoo all over your HAIR instead of the scalp, you can expect a rough, "squeaky clean" feeling. Use shampoos that don't contain sodium laurel (or laureth) sulfate. These ingredients are much too harsh for hair that isn't that dirty, and have been known to cause irritation.

Favorite cleansers:

2. Condition/Detangle

Conditioning and detangling are an essential part of a healthy hair regimen since one task helps the other out. Conditioning the hair closes the cuticle, making it smooth, slippery and easier to comb through. Conditioner is supposed to coat the hair.

Remember: conditioner can also be used to gently cleanse the hair! Often times, conditioners have enough cleaning agents to remove dirt, especially if there's little build up in the hair. If you exercise every day, for example, use a conditioner to wash your hair.

Note that if you use conditioners containing silicones, eventually you will have to use a clarifying shampoo to remove the buildup from your hair. If you don't, the hair will be dull and lose body.

Favorite conditioners & detanglers

3. Moisturize

As described in the first step, naturally curly hair has a tendency to be dry. Fitting a moisturizer into your healthy hair regimen is as simple as a morning spritz or mid-day pick me up! First and foremost, nothing will replace water. Not all curlies have to completely soak their hair every morning — thick curls or a 'fro will take forever to air dry! You can simply put the water in a spray bottle and dampen the hair.

When searching for a moisturizing product, water must be pretty high up in the ingredients list. Many moisturizers also contain vitamins and oils that can be soaked into the hair and scalp.

Favorite moisturizers

4. Seal

Sealing ensures that the moisture you put into your hair stays there. Moisture is lost when the cuticle is raised and water leaves the hair. By laying a sealant on top of the hair, moisture is locked in, keeping your hair soft and shiny all day! There are a variety of oils to choose from.

Many popular ingredients in natural hair products are great for adding moisture to your hair. You can even add your favorite oil to the spray bottle of water and knock out steps 3 and 4 at the same time!

Favorite sealants

  • Coconut oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Shea butter

5. Deep Treat/Repair

Nobody's hair is perfect! We all get breakage, lack moisture, and need help! Treat your hair to something nice! Whether it's henna to strengthen, or avocado to moisturize, curly hair will benefit from extended exposure to certain ingredients.

Natural hair that has not been processed (color, relaxer, etc) usually doesn't lack protein, but the curlier the hair, the more moisture it needs. So to start off, try one of these tasty deep conditioning treatments.This step of your healthy regimen should always be done to clean hair, so all the nutrients and benefits of the treatment are received.

Favorite deep treatments

How Often Should You Do Your Hair Regimen?

Only you know your hair and habits best. The weather, your exercise routine, your styling options, will all effect how frequently you do a certain step in your regimen. If you go to the gym every day, steps 2, 3, & 4 will happen daily. If you live in a cold environment, step 4 is vital to keeping moisture in your hair during the cold, dry months.

What you need to achieve in your regimen will probably change depending on the season. Give yourself at least one month to test it out. Stick with the same products to see true results!

Example Hair Regimen

Daily

  • Moisturize w/ aloe vera + water
  • Seal w/ coconut oil

Weekly

  • Add condition (detangling optional) with favorite conditioner

Monthly

  • Add Cleanse & Deep Treatment/Repair
  • Use shampoo
  • Strengthen your hair with a henna treatment followed by a moisture mask of your choosing

Have you found a hair regimen that works for you yet?


The photo above was submitted by our NaturallyCurly reader Rochelle Hyman, if you'd like to submit your own curly selfies (and the steps you used to achieve your look) post your photos here!
This article was originally published August 2010 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.
0 Comments
Great article, it is very important to have a good hair care regime that creates a nourishing environment that your hair can thrive in. Thanks for the tips : )
I have 3B hair and something i found out is that whether or not i use the sealant it doesnt really make much of a difference...so heres my regimen: Cleanse Detangle Moisturize Style Deep condition I shampoo once or twice a week and deep condition 3x a month :)
Really excellent article! Thank you so much for distilling the whole process down. **Cait - I'm a wavy myself, and I would try your products separately just to see what happens! My leave in conditioner (Lustrasilk Olive Oil) has the sealants in it already, which I find works best for me at my dew point. **Swishtut - I'm no expert, but I once addressed this issue on the forums: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curltalk/general-discussion-about-curly-hair/79614-moisture-vs-moisturizers-post1015742.html#poststop This Curl Chemist article is also helpful: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curl-products/curlchemist-helps-us-understand-oils-and-butters?page=5 The reason I avoid silicones is not because of their "sealing" nature. I avoid silicone because it takes relatively harsh surfactants to remove it. Those surfactants raise the hair cuticle and can cause frizz, which is something I'm trying to avoid. Here's a good article on silicones, which also discusses how they are similar to oils in their purpose for hair: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curl-products/the-real-scoop-on-silicones Hope that helps! Keep asking the hard questions!
Thank you for the article! I have a question though - normally I mix my serum/sealant (which has no silicone, so not drying) with my leave-in conditioner (I'm using A'kin leave in conditioner at the moment which I LOVE) before finger-combing it through my hair. Sometimes I add some almond oil, but I have fine wavy/frizzy hair so not too much or poor hair goes limp and bleagh... Should I wait until the leave-in conditioner has settled in before I add the serum? Also, I have been using LUSH The Strokes as my intensive conditioning treatment, but it does have parabens in it which I'm a bit worried about - your thoughts?
I have always found 'sealants' questionable. First, how do you know that the oil is actually sealing in moisture. Is there any scientific evidence that this is occuring. and if this true and the oil actually does seal, isn't it also sealing out moisture. Isn't this why everyone is so afraid of 'cones' because they seal out moisture. Cone's coat your hair and make the cuticle lay down creating a smooth surface. The hair is managable and shiny. but over time because of the sealing nature of cones the hair because dry, bittle and damaged. So how is sealing hair with oil, if in fact, it seals a healthy thing to do for your hair?
Hmm, i think it depends on your hair and product preference. For example, sometimes i style my hair using shea butter. that is NOT a moisturizer. So i need a leave in underneath. other times, i use a gel, which again may not have enough moisture so i use a leave in underneath. Or if i do use a moisturizer, it might be extremely thick and hard to smooth onto my hair (like the shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie) a leave in helps it go on easy and soak into my hair. My leave in of choice is Kinky Curly Knot Today. But sometimes, i find a product like Oyin Handmade's Hair Dew that acts as a leave in and is thick enough to be a styling product as well. One product, double duty! I would never use both the knot today and the hair dew.
Thanks for answering back Evelyn. Another question, eh!! Is the leave-in/detangler necessary if you're going to also apply a moisturizer, and if so can anyone recommend a good detangler that has very few ingredients and is natural?
yes @mamaherrera i agree with you: the styler goes on before the sealant :) glad to hear the article helped you out! and yes i've found out slowly that simply and natural is better!
My question is this? When do you put the style product in? Before or after sealing? I would think before sealing because the sealing/oil wont' allow other products to get in!! alos, I love hte sample regimen, it made it easy for me to udnerstand and just knowing you can get away with aloe vera gel and coconut oil, both natural 100% is exciting for me!
@reggiestr... LOL! Like you I needed this since 2007 when I bc'd and then started from scratch with no idea what to do...I went to a hairstylist for twists until it grew long enough to twist myself (thanks to Miss Jessie's Rapid Recovery Treatment which made it grow like weeds)... however as a pj, I've had to cut down on the purchases... which is not true, I just try to find less expensive buys like the Suave Tropical Coconut poo & condish (hate it) my current regimen has been to Condish, cowash, leave-in, EVOO and any styling gel I have around... mostly Ecostyler, twist for 3-4days, wear out 1-3days and start it all over again. Shampoo and deep condition @ every 2weeks.... still refining til I find what works for my 4a/4b coily hair.
HI All! I am settling into my regimen, and I need to know if I'm doing things in the right order: I detangle (when necessary)/cleanse/condition/deep condition/moisturize/seal/style. My old hairstylist (doesn't necessarily specialize in natural hair or organic/natural products) told me that I should be deep conditioning first, rinsing, and then using a conditioner. Any thoughts?
Hi, I am from India and my regimen is basically the same except that the products are different (domestic). Instead of shampoo we in India use 'Shikakai'. After my wash i either let my hair dry naturally (and this by flipping my hair upside down and lying on the bed that way for half an hour to 45 mins - this makes sure that i don't get a flat top). OR I use a diffuser. And then I use an Aloe Vera hair cream. For deep conditioning once (or sometimes twice) a week, I use homemade coconut oil heated with powdered curry leaves or sometimes 'Bhringraj' oil from the state of Kerala (from where Ayurveda originates)
My regimen is... Detangle Cleanse Moisturize Seal Style
My regimen so far while transitioning has been Cleanse, Deep Treat, Detangle, Moisturize and style by twisting & rod curling using KCCC with some setting lotion on the still straight ends. The results were nice when I 1st untwisted but I got a lot of flaky stuff in my hair where the KCCC was used by the 2nd day. I think I am now going to try the KC Knot Today as a leave in after detangling and then sealing with coconut oil and rewetting my hair more as I twist with a combo of aloe vera juice and water. Any thoughts?
Deep Treat Cleanse (poo bar or gio) Detangle Thin Conditioner Dry (microfiber towel) Leave in Moisturize Seal - Oil & Thick butter Braid or Twist to keep from getting knots Cover (with scarf)
My regimen is: Cleanse Detangle Deep treat/repair Moisturize Seal Stretch(via braiding) Style(Pinned Updo) I do this weekly.
where has this article been for the past 2 years! i could have saved alot time and money had i read something like this before. and i just discover coconut oil a month ago and you're right. coconut oil is one of the best things kinky type 4 hair can use. thanks for the article!
nice! i'm still working on my moisturizing/sealing step. and i think coconut oil is the ticket! good stuff, that coconut oil
Actually, I follow these steps: Cleanse Deep treat/repair Detangle Moisturize Seal I deep treat with an intensive moisturizing conditioner three times a month, and repair with a protein reconstructor once per month.