Hair Regimen and Styles

Natural Hair Trends: Why they don’t matter

Lately, I’ve been noticing some pretty crazy natural hair trends on youtube and all over social media. Some of them may work, some of them don’t, others are just dangerous. I’m going to break down a couple of these trends, explain how they claim to work, and most importantly, talk about why they are not worth your time.

The Max Hydration Method:

Ah, yes, the max hydration hooplah. This intrigued me because those of us with curly and kinky hair textures are always looking for ways to moisturize our hair. The very basis of our hair care is centered around this idea. The MHM is a 5 step process that involves multiple rounds of conditioning, deep conditioning, bentonite clay application, and more conditioning. All of this work will lead up to the possibility of a wash and go for 4c textures, especially.

I’ve tried the MHM and it does work, but who on earth has time for that! The reason why it works is because you’re literally conditioning your hair every day. Of course your moisture content will improve if you do that. I’ve been wearing wash and go’s every day for the past few weeks and opted not to do the Max Hydration and my curls have been just as defined over time as the MHM. The key is to improve your hair’s moisture content in the long term, rather than finding a quick fix leave-in conditioner. So, don’t worry, you don’t have to give up a week of your life just to achieve a wash and go…that’s just disrespectful.

The inversion method:

This is probably the most foolish thing I’ve ever heard of. The inversion method involves a combination of scalp massages with oil and flipping your head upside down to promote blood circulation to your scalp in order to stimulate hair growth. People have claimed to grow one inch of hair in a week and have documented their week long “journeys”.

I have not tried this method because I’m a rational human being. Here’s why it’s not worth your time or your health. It’s simply dangerous to regularly be upside down for 5-10 minutes at a time for a week straight. You can become light-headed, faint, and alter your blood pressure. Not a good idea, especially in the name of hair care. Most people that struggle with hair growth are really struggling with length retention. You can’t rush nature. You can, however, be gentle with your hair, keep it moisturized, avoid breakage, and before you know it, you’ll notice more hair on your head. This trend is the perfect example of seeing something too good to be true and it actually being too good to be true.

This last one is a little less of a fad and more of a common practice that I think isn’t necessary: long term protective styling.

The basics of natural hair care is centered around retaining moisture. If you retain moisture, your hair won’t break and therefore, retain length. One way to retain moisture and avoid breakage is by simply not touching your hair at all! So, put in a protective style for 3 months and let the magic happen.

Here’s why I don’t like this: it’s BORING!!! What if I want to wear my hair out? what if I want to change my style after a week? Sure, if I wear my hair in protective styles for 4 years my hair will grow all the way down to my ass, but there must be another way to enjoy my loose and free? I’ll say it again, I’ve been wearing wash and go’s. It involves very little manipulation, I get to wear my hair out, I moisturize my hair in the best way possible (by soaking it in water and conditioner), I can easily switch to a different style, and it’s fast! Protective styling can be beautiful and creative, but they’re not the only thing necessary to retain length. The key to retaining length is one thing: moisture. If your hair is truly moisturized, you can retain length even if you regularly heat style. What causes breakage is dryness. Yes, it’s easier for some textures of hair to retain moisture than others, yes, all of these trends, styles, and challenges are meant to provide new ways to retain moisture. My point here is that natural hair care should be easy, not complicated. You don’t need to get caught up in all the trends, they might cause more harm than good. Just be gentle, patient, listen to your hair, and it will retain length. It’s pretty much that simple.

Here are a couple of resources I’ve used to help simply my hair routine:

Anthony Dickey from Hair Rules Salon in N.Y. has revolutionized the wash and wear and broke down a lot of common beliefs about black hair care.

A lot of naturals stand firmly against heat styling. I myself, love to rock my curls more than anything, but there were a lot of things I didn’t know about heat styling and why it can become so damaging. Anthony Dickey has demonstrated how moisture can transform the health of your hair and make it more flexible for heat styling.

 

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My new low manipulation regimen: part 2

Hey everyone!

In my previous article, I talked about my two strand twist routine and some of the techniques that I use when washing my hair to prep for that style. In this article, I’m going to walk you through my new wash and go routine. I’m so excited about this because I really thought that this style was impossible to do on 4c hair without it being a complete disaster. With this style, I can finally enjoy my natural curl pattern and not worry about it being presentable.

So, let’s get right to it!

After washing and conditioning my hair, I take some plastic clips, and pin my hair out of the way, leaving the small section that I’m going to work with. At this point, my hair is completely drenched in water. This process works best when my hair is wet. I like to work from the back of my hair to the front, because it’s easier to keep track of what I’m doing. Since I have some conditioner left over in my hair, I’ll just go ahead and apply some jojoba oil and thoroughly finger detangle. Then I’ll grab a small piece of hair and smooth in a soft hold gel. My hair will get weighed down (which is what I want) and clump together. I need the clumping to happen, because that’s the shape it will keep for the whole week. If my hair isn’t sticking together, I’ll give it a very light finger coil to activate the curl and help my hair to band together. Once that section is done, I move on to the next section. This process takes a while, so I usually have some music going, or watch tv while I’m doing it. You want to take your time and be very gentle. When I’m all finished, I let my hair air-dry.

At night, I separate my hair into about 8 sections and just wrap each section into a mini loose bun, and pin it down. A lot of the natural hair videos that I’ve seen have girls with much longer hair, and they sleep with their hair in a bun at night and it preserves the style really well. Since my hair isn’t long enough to do one big bun, I decided to do a bunch of little ones and it works just as well. Not only does my hair retain the curl pattern, but it stretches the curls without changing the style.

So there you have it! this is the other half of my monthly routine. Both of these styles are easy. The two strand twists takes less time than my wash and go, but both of them allow me to keep my hands out of my hair to a large degree. Even with the wash and go night routine, I am not actually messing with my individual curls and see no breakage at all during this time.

I hope this helped you guys! Don’t forget to ‘like’, comment, and subscribe to Naturals United!

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My New Low Manipulation Regimen: Part 1

For the past couple of months, I started doing more protective styles and low manipulation styles. My hair behaves a lot better, retains moisture, and is overall easier to manage. I made a lot of changes not only in the products that I use and my technique in handling my hair. In general, I don’t need to moisturize my hair as often, I have a lot less build up on my hair from the reduced product use, and I’ve been enjoying my natural curl pattern a lot more. The two styles I’ve been doing the most are two strand twists and wash and go’s! That’s right, wash and go’s. I was definitely one of those naturals who swore against wash and go’s, but there has recently been a new movement for wash and go’s with 4c naturals and I decided to give it one more try. After a few tweaks, I finally figured out a way to not only wear this style, but have it last for several days.

So, I’m gonna break down the first part of my monthly routine so you can kinda see how this all comes together. In general, I mostly style my hair based on what it needs and how it feels. When my hair is dirty, I’ll shampoo with my Kinky Curly cleanser. I completely drench my hair with water, do some light finger detangling, then lather. Once shampooing is done, I apply some conditioner. I don’t have strong preferences for conditioners. I just need something with a lot of slip and no silicones. Next, I section my hair into about 8 large twists with the conditioner in my hair, and lightly rinse with cold water. This way, I can have a little bit of conditioner left over, it helps retain a little bit more moisture as my hair drys, and the cold water seals it all in. I wrap my hair in an old t-shirt for 20 minutes or so, and begin to style. For my two strand twists, I usually do medium sections and apply a water based leave-in. At the moment, I’m using Kinky Curly Knot today. When all of my twists are done, I apply some jojoba oil on the ends to seal them and give them a little twirl to activate a curl.

Usually, I’ll wear this style for up to a week, take the twists out for a day and wear my hair loose, then wash and repeat the routine.

I know two strand twists can seem kinda boring, but if done right, it can be a cute style and there’s a lot you can do to play it up: you can add a scarf, do some pin curls, whatever makes you feel confident that day.

If you want to read about my wash and go routine, stay tuned for part 2 of my new low manipulation regimen.

don’t forget to ‘like‘, comment, and subscribe!

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A Little Inspiration, Hair Regimen and Styles

How to Combat shrinkage

20140427-014040.jpgA few nights ago, my friends and I were getting ready to go out and we all have naturally curly hair. They we’re blow drying their hair and I thought, ‘why not do a blow out myself?’ After all, it had been well over a year since I applied any sort of heat to my hair and it would be fun to see how big my fro could really be. Within the hour, my hair had shrunken back to its normal state when I do a heat-less twist out.

I was frustrated because I wanted to show off more length and I was loving the way my hair looked. A few days later, I tried doing a blow out again. I figured, last time, I really didn’t thoroughly blow dry my hair and this time I would do it right. I started on dry hair, detangled with a comb, used the tension method to stretch my hair, then I put my hair in braids for about an hour. Still within the hour, I had a TWA. To make things even worse, my ends started to become brittle and break off just days later.

My hair is so fragile that a blow dryer even at its lowest setting can cause issues. Combs can break my hair with a few run- throughs. After a little bit of thought, I realized that there’s not much I can do to fight all of my shrinkage without damaging my hair. I can stretch it out and it will probably hold it’s shape for a while, but still my hair only shows off 40-50% of it’s length. So how do you really combat shrinkage?

My answer is that you don’t. Instead, you embrace it. Do whatever you need to do to manage your hair. For some of us, twist outs or braid outs are helpful to manage our hair in a stretched out state. That being said, it’s ok if you can’t show off every inch of hair you grew. Instead focus on other things like how healthy it looks, how much volume you have, or how beautiful your curl pattern is. All of those things are also a great testament to how much effort you put into caring for your hair. It’s much less of a headache.

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A Little Inspiration, Hair Regimen and Styles, Products

I’m giving up on the waist length journey

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I’m getting to a point in my natural hair journey where I’ve learned a lot through trial and failure. I’ve never had long hair and I was beginning to become obsessed with growing my hair long. I’ve done protective styles, tried so many products, and have done treatments to grow my hair long. But you now what? I want to enjoy my hair. I want to wear my hair out! My hair has never been this long dispute the fact that I’ve cut it a few times in efforts to maintain it and keep it healthy. I know that protective styles help to retain length. I know that sealing my ends is important. I also know that organic products work well for me. That being said, some protective styles cause more harm than good, some products that are not organic work better for me than Shea Moisture ever did, and sealing my hair too often can cause a lot of build up. There are so many tricks in the book on how to grow long natural hair, but I don’t want to imprison my self over these regimens and follow the curve of natural hair care because even in this community we are all still really different and there is nothing (not even water to moisturize) that works inclusively for everyone.

So, I’m giving up on the waist length journey! This doesn’t mean I’m going to neglect taking good care of my hair, but this does mean that I’m going to redirect my focus. My focus is going to be on keeping my hair healthy, moisturized. I do enjoy wearing up-dos and twists and will do so when I feel like it, but I’m not going to keep myself on a strict regimen to grow another inch. My hair has always responded well to just a good routine with moisture regardless of how often I wear it up or in braids/twists. As long as I don’t see excessive amounts of breakage in the sink, then I know I’m doing something right.

Here are some staple products that I’ve been using that have been working really well for my hair recently:

Kinky Curly knot today leave-in conditioner

Moroccan oil styling cream

Moroccan oil intense hydration deep conditioner

Camille Rose Naturals avocado moisturizing cream

Black Jamaican Castor Oil

Here are a list of products I want to try or go back to using:

Henna I definitely want to try using henna for deep conditioning and transition away from the Moroccan Oil deep conditioner because it is on the pricier side.

Terressential’s mud wash Since I’m not using shea butter based products any more and I find myself with much less product build up, I would love to transition back to the mud wash. Usually when I wash my hair it’s to put moisture back into my hair, not necessarily because I have a greasy scalp. So, I think the mud wash will be good enough to maintain a clean and healthy.

I’m also going to put some Aloe Vera Juice in my spray bottle of water for longer lasting moisture in my hair.

I would love to simplify my hair regimen even more and just have a daily moisturizing routine with just my spray bottle. Apply the castor oil every 2-3 days and wash my hair with mud. If I need a deep conditioning, hopefully the henna will work.

Lastly, I’m working on drinking lots and lots of water. It makes it way easier for me to wake up in the mornings, my skin is better, I feel better throughout the day overall, and my hair doesn’t dry out as easily. I went out and got a good water bottle and my goal is to always have it filled up and close by so I can drink a little every chance I get to stay hydrated!

I’m going to finish out some of the products I have first before going to get new ones because they do work really well. I just want to move in the direction of a simpler routine that is cheaper.

So, where do you guys stand in your hair journey? Leave your comments below 🙂

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