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Build Your Regimen

30 Oct

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A regimen is a routine done on a regular basis, that would allow to take care of your hair and ensure that the 5 crucial steps (Clean, Condition, Moisturise, Detangle, Style) are covered on a regular basis. You hair regimen should allow you to retain length.

Regimen: Cleansing

30 Oct

When considering how often you should shampoo your hair, take into account your lifestyle, for example how often you exercise, you go to the swimming pool, etc.

Take into account your hair needs, does your hair feels like it needs a wash?

  • If your hair is gunky from product, you will probably need a clarifying shampoo

Shampoo: Clarifying shampoo: Tends to leave the hair squeaky clean. Really strips the hair of its natural oils.

  • If your hair feels dry, you may need to use your 2 in 1 Shampoo

Shampoo: Conditioning and 2 in 1: Washing does strip the hair of its natural oils. 2 in 1 shampoos are products that fulfil the function of a shampoo followed by a conditioner. It should give reasonable wet hair properties which must include good wet combing ability. Good dry combing is also important but more so for a 2 in 1 shampoo where it is likely that no subsequent conditioner will be used.

In the Natural community it is frequent for most to shampoo on average once a week, or once every other week. Our hair being naturally dry and brittle, it does generally take time for our hair to reconstitute its natural oils and  find a balanced moisturised state. Find the frequency that suit your hair’s need.

Regimen: How to Shampoo Your Hair

30 Oct

Shampoo (Credit to Reniece – Reniece Hair TV)

The aim is to manage to handle your hair with care, and reduce breakage during the shampoo. This will be done by avoiding that your hair get tangled and is then snatched. That way, you while finish your shampoo with tangles-free hair.

Step 1 – Detangle and twist/or braid: With your fingers gently detangle your hair, then part your hair into smaller sections and twist/braid that section

Step 2 – Rinse your hair: Keep your hair in twists/braids then soak your hair

Step 3 – Shampoo and condition one section at the time: Once your hair is soaked, unravel one braid/twist at the time and apply the shampoo to the section in a squeezing downward motion. Once you have completed to shampoo a twist/braid, rinse thoroughly and apply your conditioner the same way, then re-form the twist/braid. Then move to the next twist/braid. When applying the conditioner you are welcome to detangle your hair with with a wide tooth comb or a brush (e.g. Demnam brush).

Step 4 –  Final Rinse: At that stage your hair is covered in conditioner. You can rinse the twists/braids without unravelling them.

Step 5 – Airdry or Blowdry: Once you are done. You can pat dry your hair and apply a leave-in. You can then choose to let your hair air dry whilst still in twist, or blow-dry (on cold setting).

Regimen: Conditioning

30 Oct

Why a specific conditioning section?

In between shampoo sessions, you may choose to condition your hair so it keep moisturised, supple and manageable. You can choose to deep condition once a week or apply an intensive conditioner once every so often. You can even choose to apply a leave-in conditioner on a daily basis to maintain your hair manageability and water content. Let’s discuss the different types of conditioners.

Conditioners

Conditioners make the hair more flexible by increasing the strands’ water content and making the outside of the hair more slippery thanks to molecules called ‘quats’ (quaternium) allowing easier combing process.

To achieve “good conditioning” effect, products have to leave an “oily” layer on the hair which acts as a lubricant. The main function of this layer on the hair is to enable a good ease of combing both in the wet and the dry state. One of the main functions of conditioning products is, to prevent physical damage being done to the hair.

Intensive rinse-off conditioners

Intensive rinse-off conditioners are usually intended for less frequent use on hair that has been damaged. They may be designed for a longer treatment period before rinsing off. A higher level of conditioning is usually delivered from these products and usually they are thicker as well as “creamier” than the basic conditioners. Because of their thickness the products may be packaged in tubes or jars. They generally contain more conditioning ingredients.

Conditioning Treatments

Conditioning treatments are the most caring or repairing type of conditioners. They usually are serums or hot oils and can be in the form of waxes.

You can choose to do one or several of those treatments a few times in a week or a month, according to your hair needs. Your best indicator will be how supple, moisturised or, dry and difficult to manage your hair is. Thanks to that feed back you will be able to adjust your conditioning regimen.

Leave-in conditioners

Leave-in conditioners are good at delivering material to the hair as nothing is washed away. They are a great option to keep natural hair moisturised for a longer period of time. Leave-in conditioners can be applied on a daily basis.

Regimen: Moisturising

30 Oct

 How to moisturise your hair?

We have discussed earlier the importance of handling your hair with care and keeping it moisturised to avoid breakage. We will discuss now HOW TO keep your hair moisturised day in day out.

L.O.C Method

The L.O.C method consists in a three steps process of layering moisture and sealing it in the hair strand. L.O.C stands for Liquid, Oil and Cream.

SteScreen Shot 2015-10-31 at 18.52.52p 1 – Liquid – consists in applying a water-based liquid to the hair. Water being the best source of moisture (unless it less left to evaporate and can leave the hair being even more brittle), it can be sprayed on its own to the hair. Some choose to apply at this stage a leave-in conditioner, which has the benefit of containing some ‘quaternium’ (conditioning ingredients) which can leave the hair feeling smoother and easier to comb.

Step 2 – Oil – consists in  applying an oil to the hair, to prevent evaporation of the water/or water-based product applied in step 1. The oil will be ‘sealing’ the water to the hair. Different type of oils can be used according to your preferences (e.g. Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Almond, Oil). (Jojoba: Although usually called jojoba oil, it is not an oil. It is, in fact, a liquid wax; can be used here thanks to its penetrating properties).

Step 3 – Cream – consists normally in applying a butter to the hair aiming to further prevent the evaporation of the water and providing some ‘emollient’ properties. So, you could use butters such as Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter.

Why does the L.O.C Method works? In summary, Water is reducing the ‘surface tension’ of your afro hair, which makes it easier to apply an oil afterwards; your hair will be a bit more slippery and malleable. Plus water does lift up your cuticles a little. That will allow the layer of oil to penetrate the hair shaft. You will need to apply less product (oil) to obtain the same result (compared to not applying water initially). The first layer of oil (step 2) provides some sealing and act as an emollient. The second layer (step 3 – applying a butter) will seal it further. The oil individual molecules are a bit smaller than the butter ones, so, they will penetrate further in the strand. While the butter individual molecules are bigger and therefore will tend to sit on the surface of the strand, coating it. The synergy of both (deep penetration in the strand and sitting on top) help to keep your hair supple and malleable while sealing the water in the strand.

Regimen: Detangling (Combing)

30 Oct

(Credit to AfroStory)

Never comb your hair when dry.

Step 1 – Damp your hair (can use a little spray bottle)

Step 2 – Put leave-in conditioner and some oils and butters (L.O.C)

Step 3 – Wet your comb

Step 4 – Start from the tips and go back up

Step 5 – Twist it and let it air dry

Regimen: Protective and or Low Manipulation Styles

30 Oct

 

Protective styles are styles which protect your hair from breakage by limiting  hair snatching and its friction against rough surfaces. For example a high bun, crochet braids can be classed as protective styles. Low manipulation styles are styles that does not require more grooming once they are in place. For example, Twist, braids, box braid, crochet braids.. A style can be protective and low manipulation at the time. For example, high bun, crochet braids, twists in a high pony tail or bun…Your options are endless !

Please always remember to moisturise (L.O.C method) your hair whilst in protective styles, otherwise, the hair may loose it tensile ability and break ! Remember moisture is a key element in length retention..

Below are some links to some protective and some low manipulation styles from Simplyounique ! Be inspired, browse freely to find your inspiration.

Regimen: Scalp Massage

30 Oct

Stimulating your scalp with massages, pinching, or brushing with a soft bristle brush can promote hair growth. This increases blood flow to the hair follicles, which brings needed nutrients to your hair.

Regimen: Review your results and adjust your routine

30 Oct

Once you have your hair routine for a little while, the main question you should ask yourself is : ‘How does your current hair routine work for you?’

If your hair feels overall more moisturised, supple and manageable you are holding the right end of the stick.

If on the contrary, despite some effort your hair is not responding well, know that you are not the only one experiencing this with afro hair. And aim to identify which step of the process is currently not working.

Most of us do not include in our regimen a time to review and assess our progress, but it is crucial to allow us to adjust our routine and get closer to our hair goals !

Examples of questions you could ask yourself to review your routine :

Is your hair still too dry despite everything? 

Are you wetting your hair with water without sealing it afterwards? Are you drying your hair with hot setting on your air dryer (instead of a cool setting)?Are you rushing through the conditioning time, without ensuring that your hair feels really moisturised afterwards?(A good Tip: you can melt some shea butter and blend it with your conditioner in a bowl, that way your hair is likely to retain the moisturise) Are you not consistent in your routine? etc…

Is your hair still breaking despite everything?

Middle Strand? Ends? Roots?

  • Middle strand breaking is usually due to too high tension on protective style, causing the strand to break. Or can be an indication that the hair is too fragile due to a lack of protein
  • Ends breaking? Lack of moisture and conditioning, (and/or protein)
  •  Roots breaking ? You are potentially experiencing shedding or are ripping your edges off. Can you see the little white bulb attached to hair strand? If yes, then it is shedding or edge ‘rape’. To identify which one it is check for iron deficiency (visit your doctor) and traction alopecia (by making sure your ‘does’ are not too tight).

Once you have completed your assessment, correct your routine ! Fine-tune it until you master it, using your hair feedback as a indicator of success (supple, moisturised hair that grow with reduced breakage) or points to improve (constant dryness and breakage…)

Pictures: Another tip, take regular pictures! Every months or so. Sometimes our progress is so gradual that we do not even realise that there has been progress. Pictures can be the best testimony of your progress. Try to take your pictures with similar lighting or t-shirt on so it is easy to compare and see progress. And remember to wear a colour that contrast with the colour of your hair so it it easy to see the demarcation of your hair ! 🙂

Calendar: Once you have planned your routine, put key dates (cleaning day, deep conditioning day…) in your calendar ! Yes, in your calendar ! Because a dream without a plan and a day in the calendar will always stay a dream ! So, book the time in so you know you will commit to it. Only consistent doing  will give you the results you seek.

Regimen: In Summary

30 Oct

(Credit to Ishe)

Ladies, have loads of fun while re-discovering the true nature of your hair. Remember to keep that hair supple, manageable and moisturised. Protect it with wicked styling as well. Your hair deserves it !

Plan your routine (make rendez-vous in your calendars), take plenty of pictures to assess your progress, take time to review how your routine is working and if it needs adjustments.

Plan your meals for optimum hair growth and give your body enough sleep so that you are rejuvenated !

You will potentially experience some frustrations along the way; you will have some hits and misses, which is part of trying something new ! Keep on doing, you will get there !