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I mentioned that I have natural hair in an earlier post. Some of you may be curious about how I care for my hair. If so, please continue reading.
There are three main parts to a hair care regimen for any type of hair: Cleanse, Condition and Style.
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Everyone will eventually clean their hair, I hope. Our hair and skin protect our bodies from our environment. It is important to cleanse our strands and scalps regularly to keep pathogens from entering our bodies. A hair cleanser can be a shampoo, conditioner, a cleansing conditioner, clay, or even plain water for some. Try different types of cleansers and record how your hair reacts to each one. Choose one that gives you the best results. Cleanse your hair daily to monthly. It will be different for each individual person. I cleanse my hair with a shampoo bar every 5-7 days.
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Conditioning the hair helps to counteract the stripping effects of the cleanser. Those that use conditioner to cleanse their hair may choose to skip this step. Conditioning can be further broken down into a rinse-out conditioner, a deep conditioner and a leave-in condition. This is the usual order, but can be adjusted based upon your hair’s individual needs.
A rinse-out condition is usually marketed to follow your shampoo. A shampoo and a conditioner of the same brand are formulated to work together. It is best to use the same brand because they are ph balanced. If you choose not to use shampoo, then you may not need a rinse-out conditioner. I use a shampoo bar which is not as stripping as shampoo. I skip this step and go straight to deep conditioning after cleansing my hair and scalp with a shampoo bar.
A deep conditioner is just what it says—a deeper conditioner. It tends to be thicker, more concentrated and more expensive, LOL. It can be protein-based for hair strengthening or protein-free for hair moisture. It is usually left on from 10 to 30 minutes based on the directions listed on the packaging. Different hair types may choose a deep conditioner with or without protein. Some people chose to do a protein deep conditioner and follow-up with a moisturizing deep conditioner. Some people choose not to deep condition at all. People with high porosity hair usually respond better to protein-rich deep conditioners and people with low porosity hair respond better to moisturizing, protein-free deep conditioners. Note: a post about hair porosity will follow shortly. Often the hair is covered with a plastic bag or processing cap while deep conditioning. Heat from a heating cap or overhead dryer can also be used to further penetrate the deep conditioner into the strands. Try deep conditioning at least a few times and determine if you will add this to your regimen. I deep condition my hair with heat after each cleansing and I NEVER skip.
Leave-in conditioners or leave-ins for short are conditioners that are formulated to be left in the hair. It is applied and not rinsed out. Why? It helps to keep the hair moisturized for a longer period of time. I ALWAYS apply a leave-in or my hair will become dry as hay in about 24 hours. Try adding this step to your regimen and assess your results.
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Styling is different for different people, but basically it is putting your hair into a state that you wish to maintain. It is how you would like to wear your hair. Stylers include gels, mousse, leave-in conditioners, moisturizers, oils, hair spray, etc. If you want to wear your hair in its naturally curly state, use gel or mousse to set the curls and make them last longer. Some people braid or twist their hair with a moisturizer, conditioner, gel or a combination of products. Some people use a silicone-based heat protectant to blow-dry and/or flat iron their hair. Your styler may change based upon the style you choose. It will almost always be the last step of your regimen. I usually style my hair in a wash-n-go using gel. A wash-n-go for me is not as quick as it sounds. After applying a leave-in, I apply a gel to small sections of soaking wet hair and let my hair air dry.
That’s it. Make your regimen as simple or complicated as you choose! There are multitudes of hair products on the market to keep you experimenting for days, months or even years. Have fun building, tweaking or changing your hair care regimen.