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Most little girls have strong, healthy hair when their mothers are caring for it, and when the reigns are handed off to the daughter the hair tends to lose some of its luster and health. Sometimes it is because we do not care for it as well as our mother did and other times it is because we are trying to find our own way and test give new products and techniques. Learning how to care for your own hair can be challenging but it is not impossible, and often we may need to step back and reexamine what was working in the first place.

Brejenn.Alle from Curly Q&A inquired about caring for her hair now that she is doing it solo. She is having a few issues with getting it moisturized and healthy like her mother did.

Question

“How do I keep my 4C hair moisturized on a 15 year old girl's budget? I've been natural the whole 15 years of my life, but until recently my Mom has always done my hair for me. She used Bergamot Blue Magic hair grease and regular shampoo she styled every other day and my hair was always super moisturized, shiny, and all around healthy looking. I did some research, and figured out that petroleum wasn't good for your hair and neither are sulfate shampoos. So I ditched them both for natural things around the kitchen that are raved about online. Olive oil, coconut oil, Shea butter, and avocado oil are all things I use in my hair. I rinse with vinegar and egg and lots of other DIY "naturally healthy" cleansers. But my hair isn't half of what it used to be with Mama's traditional hair grease. I need major help because it's all dry and brittle and my ends are breaking off. (Which doesn't help when I’m trying to grow it long!) Any suggestions? What am I doing wrong? Is petroleum really bad for my hair? This is too much for my 15 year old brain girls. Help me out!”

Answer

Despite all the negativity surrounding mineral oil and petroleum oil, many curly girls are happy and have healthy hair using it. Mineral oil is more occlusive than some oils and is a great way to lock in moisture for your tresses. Hair grease is still being used today and if you are not heavy-handed and find it to work great on your hair then you really have no reason to stop using it. It sounds like your mother had an effective regimen going with your hair and if it was healthy back then going back may be idea. By all means do not feel you have to alter what worked just because some find those ingredients to be bad for their hair. We are all unique and have to find out what works for each of us to maintain healthy strands. Here are a few tips on getting your hair back to its healthy state.

Return back to what worked with tweaks

You can still incorporate some new things like alternating between the sulfate-shampoo and sulfate-free shampoo to give your hair a break from sulfates. Just tweak what your mother did to find works for you but do not feel you have to give up hair grease or sulfate-shampoo because others did.

Deep condition on wash day

Make sure to deep condition after every wash to keep your hair moisturized too. You can add some of those oils you mentioned to your deep conditioner and allow it to warm under a plastic cap or a thermal cap for 30 min. to really give your hair some TLC and help those brittle strands.

You may need a trim

Raggedy or dry ends are often a clue that it may be time for a trim. It never helps to keep those broken ends and often just sealing them is a temporary fix but when trying to retain length holding onto split ends is the biggest way to not retain it. A regular schedule on trims may not be necessary, so do not feel you have to keep one. Just seeing how your ends respond to moisturizing and sealing and you will be able to determine when a trim is necessary.

Read more: A Broke College Student's Guide to Healthier Hair