Finally, this long, cold, dry winter is coming to an end. And my hair is thirsty, and hungry! It's time to start thinking about what products are moving to the front of my hair cabinet, so here's how I get ready. Glycerin and protein, coming right up!



Alyson

A rare glimpse inside @reallifecurlygirl's cabinet of favorite hair products reveals glycerin-and protein-heavy products at the forefront, as spring approaches.

Glycerin

I spent all winter avoiding glycerin in favor of glycerin-free products, as glycerin works against our hair in dry weather -which is generally when dew points are below 35 degrees. I like to think of glycerin as the great equalizer; when it's dry outside, glycerin-heavy products pull moisture from our hair and 'give it' to the air. Our hair becomes very dry. In summer, it's the opposite; when it's super humid outside, glycerin-heavy products pull moisture from the air to 'give it' to our hair. This causes the hair cuticle to swell. In both cases, the end result is--you guessed it!--FRIZZ.

Dew points tell us how much moisture the air, at that particular moment, will be capable of holding. In spring, dew points are typically in the ideal range of 35-55 degrees, although that "ideal" range can vary from person to person. For me, my low/medium-porosity hair works well with glycerin in a range of 25-65 degrees. In this range, there's the right amount of moisture in the air for my hair to absorb it and benefit from it--without bingeing on it!--when I use glycerin-heavy products to draw moisture into my hair. This results in soft, bouncy, hydrated waves, and maximum curl enhancement.

So yes, all those high-glycerin products are moving to the very front of my hair product cabinet! Low-glycerin products: You're on the bench. See you in the heat of summer!

Some of my very favorite glycerin-containing products include:

Protein

For me, springtime means being outdoors, enjoying the warm sunshine on my skin and hair. Heat naturally weakens the protein bonds in our hair, so it's up to us to build them back up for maximum hair health. There are two ways to do this: Start using 1-2 protein-heavy styling products each washday; or regular, monthly-ish protein treatments. Just be sure to limit your protein use, as it can build up if overused.

Most styling products and some conditioners already contain at least small proteins (keratin, collagen, silk amino acids, for example), and many gels contain larger proteins to lend additional hold (such as hydrolyzed wheat, corn, quinoa, soy, and others) and frizz protection. So look for those on your ingredients labels to make sure you're not 'over-feeding' your hair.

Some of my favorite products containing protein include:

In the heat of summer, I like to add regular protein treatments into my routine. Using these products on your wash day may be enough for you, so this step might not be necessary. But if your hair is lacking bounce, protein might be exactly what your hair needs. I already deep condition every weekend, but starting in spring and through summer I substitute one of those deep conditioning sessions with a combo protein/deep conditioning treatment (my long-time fave is Curl Junkie Repair Me, which takes a front-row seat in my hair cabinet in spring and summer) after my regular clarifying session, which I do once every 3-4 weeks with a sulfate shampoo like Suave Daily Clarifying. This product gives me a clean slate and makes it much easier for the protein to do what I need it to; Repair and strengthen my hair--giving my locks SO much life, bounce and curl enhancement back.

DIY Treatments

If you want to hop on the CG-friendly protein train, and you know your hair needs a bigger boost, there are a few other options I've tried as well.

DIY Protein Filler

For consistent daily protein, you can buy a super inexpensive bottle of neutral protein filler from your local beauty supply store. Mix a small puddle of it in your hand with your regular conditioner and apply. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then rinse and style as usual. Boom! Easy, fast protein treatment you can use a few times a week.

DIY Gelatin Protein Treatment

For an even more intense and cheap protein treatment, pick up an unflavored packet of Knox gelatin at the grocery store, mix with water and saturate you freshly shampooed hair with it, let it dry (warning: your hair will become super hard, and this is totally normal), and then rinse out. Be sure to follow up with a good long 20-30 minute deep condition sesh to soften your hair, and you'll be good to go. Unless your hair is very coarse (meaning your hair is already rich in protein, so you may not need to add any), these treatments will restore your bounce and curl pattern.

DIY Rice Water Rinse

The last protein treatment you may want to consider is a rice water rinse. As I write this, it's the latest trend taking over the wavy-curly natural hair world. Well, on Instagram at least. Incredibly inexpensive and easy to do, it's a protein treatment that's gentle enough that most could get away with using it at every wash day. To make it, simply choose your method: Ferment the rice in water over a day or two, OR soak it in water for 30-45 minutes, OR boil it for a short time. Strain the rice out, and pour the room-temp water over your freshly washed hair. Allow it to penetrate your hair for 10 minutes or so, then rinse, condition, and style as usual. To be honest, I haven't tried it yet, but the results I'm seeing have me so intrigued I'm literally dreaming about it. For full details on this treatment and why it works, look up @themestizamuse on Instagram, who's completed her own 3-month experiment on the subject. Two wavies with the most gorgeous results I've seen after using it are @_nicurly and @powerdomi, and there are so many others.



Who else is excited about spring? What ingredients is your hair craving? And what products are you super excited to rotate back into your routine??

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