A step by step process to setting up, and sticking to, a hair care regimen made especially for you.
Some of us have it lucky, great hair runs down our bloodline: our grandparents had rich, long, dark, lustrous hair, and now our children are blessed with it. That happens. But the reality, though, is that beautiful hair doesn’t happen by accident. Even people blessed with great locks still take some time care specially for their hair. Contrary to what you think, building a hair care regimen is not as expensive or as tasking. It just takes a little money, and a little time and dedication.
We are going to follow some steps to set up a basic hair regimen. You can customize it, with various additions, products and treatments, to suit your hair type and hair needs but this initial set up should get you started and give you ideas on how to go on.
To make it exciting, you may get a fancy carrier bag or a lovely tote to place all your hair products. The basic products you will need are:
- Neutralizing Shampoo
- Deep Conditioner
- Protein Treatment
- Styling Products
These are the items that make up a basic hair care regimen.
Look for a good-quality, moisturizing shampoo and use it at least once per week. Focus on cleansing the scalp first, rubbing in circular motions with the pads of your fingers (not the nails) and letting the motion of the water work the suds down the length of your hair. Avoid piling the hair on top of your head or diligently rubbing shampoo into your ends, which are the oldest and often the driest sections of your mane. After washing, rinse thoroughly.
2. Neutralising Shampoo
If you have just applied any chemical process (relaxing, perming or texturizing) to your hair, washing it with an ordinary shampoo will not work well. The aim of a neutralising shampoo is to restore your hair to its natural pH after the effects of chemicals like Sodium Hydroxide and Calcium Hydroxide. Even if you do not use any chemical treatments, using a neutralising shampoo at least once a month will remove any build up in the hair and refresh it. After re-touching, rinse well with a burst of warm water. Apply a conditioner, leave in for ten minutes. Wash twice with a neutralizing shampoo, rinsing thoroughly after each wash.
Follow up your shampooing with a moisturizing conditioner. This is when you focus the product on the hair, not the scalp. Use a wide-tooth comb to work the conditioner through your entire hair. Look for conditioners designed for dry and/or damaged hair, as these usually contain the emollient ingredients that black African hair needs. Look out for rich, creamy formulas that completely coat your hair.
4. Deep Conditioner
The golden question is how often should you deep condition your hair? The answer depends a great deal on how dry your hair is. If you take care to condition it regularly and always use a leave-in conditioner after shampooing, you probably won’t need deep treatments more than once or twice a month. If you apply a lot of heat to your hair, you may need to deep condition at least once per week. It’s always advisable to sit under hood dryer with a plastic cap or to use a heating cap while deep conditioning.
5. Protein Treatment
As with deep conditioners, how often you need a protein treatment depends a great deal on what you do to your hair. If your hair is 100% natural—that is no chemicals at all, including colour—your hair can be perfectly healthy without any major protein treatments. An occasional mild reconstructor will keep your hair strong, but it’s not required. On the other hand, if you colour, relax, texturize and/or heat style your locks, you’ll need more frequent and more intense treatments. These range from two-minute reconstructors you apply after a shampoo to spray versions that you add before styling; you may also need a serious treatment if you’re experiencing extreme breakage.
6. Styling Products
There are literally tons of styling products for our hair. Most offer differing results depending on the final style you want to achieve. Want perfect ringlets on your natural ‘do? Then look for water-based gels or curl creams. Are you flat ironing your mane? Then you’ll need a good heat protectant and oil-based moisturizer; a good smoothing serum may help as well. Relaxed hair will benefit from a daily moisturizer, especially when you focus on the ends, but you may also use mousse if you’re creating a curly look via a straw set, Bantu knot set or braids.
Now that we have come to the end of all the basic steps, the next major step is to put all the things you have learned into good use. However busy you are—as students, career women, stay-at-home mothers—you need to create time to take care of our hair. You can’t afford to skip deep conditioning at least once a month or to skip a protein treatment if your hair is colour treated or chemically processed. You will only invite split ends, and damaged and limp hair.
Try scheduling hair tasks into a day planner, your email or computer calendar, a wall calendar, your mobile phone or smart phone or whatever method best works for you. Track the dates of your last touch up, your next shampooing, and your next deep conditioning; fix the dates at a salon for your protein treatments. Mark them on your preferred reminder tool and book ahead for a space if you need to.
Customise the hair regimen to suit you. Follow this routine with products that work well with your hair texture and be amazed at the results.
Hair Tip: Use a silk or satin hair cover or pillowcase for night time; they protect your hair (and face) better than nylon or cotton hair nets.
About the Author
BlackBeauty is a writer, fun lover, hair and beauty buff, and an artist. She is a jack of all trades and master of all which can be seen in her awareness of a wide variety of topics. She is quite a luddite, but she can do email, and a bit of Facebook. You can send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and she will reply.