The proper natural hair regimen, designed for your hair in particular, is necessary to truly enjoy healthy, manageable hair. To develop one, it takes time and patience; it can also be expensive, which I call the trial and error phase.
There’s a few must have necessities that will help you develop a healthy hair regimen, no matter the hair type/texture. The following list is what I suggest with each consultation provided in the salon:
Non-drying, Moisturizing Shampoo
With every regimen, implementing the use of a non-drying, moisturizing shampoo is important. Not to be confused with a co-wash, a moisturizing shampoo should consist of one (1) OR no sulfates listed within the first four (4) ingredients of the product.
Also, moisturizing shampoos generally contain no lauryl sulfates, as they are very harsh on the hair. Laureth Sulfates are milder cleansing agents, so if it contains ANY sulfates, this may be more acceptable.
You want a shampoo that will gently cleanse, but also replenish moisture lost from styling, as well as restore proper pH levels. A shampoo that restores and maintains proper pH levels helps keep hair at its natural level, keeping the hair healthier and balanced.
Here’s a List of Moisturizing Shampoos for Natural Hair
Now this may seem to contradict all that was discussed in the paragraph above, but, contrary to popular belief, every regimen needs a clarifying agent – whether a shampoo, clay, vinegar rinse of sorts or combination of two.
Why? you asked… well, if you are constantly using moisturizers and oils and never clarifying the strands and scalp, it can lead to breakage, clogged pores, balding, dandruff, and an array of other scalp diseases.
I’ve seen many go to Dermatologists and return with no answers, because it is a merging condition that isn’t necessarily an issue other than product build up. It can become very problematic, leading one to believe they have a fungus, yeast and other infections of the scalp. But, if you simply clarify once a month (at least) you can avoid a manifestation of scalp issues. If you’re still experiencing hair loss, you may need one of these 5 things.
Here’s a List of Clarifying Shampoos for Natural Hair
Ouidad Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo
Kinky Curly Come Clean Natural Moisturizing Shampoo Sulfate Free
Eden BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Moisturizing Shampoo
Eden BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Clear Shampoo
Deep Conditioner – Moisture and Protein
Depending on the texture and porosity, you will need one of these more than the other. But, each are equally important to a regimen. Natural hair tends to be drier, typically, and will always need a moisturizing deep conditioner.
Soft, fine textured: leaning towards a protein conditioner may yield more benefits (if hair tends to feel “mushy” or snaps easily). 1) Alternating between a moisturizing deep conditioner and a protein treatment once a month, will help strengthen your hair. 2) IF AND ONLY IF…. hair still feels “mushy”, add protein conditioner to moisturizing conditioner on the day you would do a stand alone moisturizing deep conditioner, still alternating with stand-alone protein treatment.
Coarse, thick textured: leaning towards a moisturizing deep conditioning mask is a great recommendation.
Porous: utilize one that is marketed for smoothing. This will help lay the cuticle of the hair and retain moisture better.
Non-Porous: choose a moisturizing conditioner, but sitting under the dryer will maximize benefits of conditioner by raising cuticle and allowing product to penetrate.
Protein treatments are as needed to keep hair balanced. Though some textures need it more than others, it is still a major factor in developing a great hair care regimen.
Not to be confused with an oil, it is so important to have a moisturizer that best fits your hair type. Some moisturizers may be heavier than others, which can be a good thing or bad depending on hair type. But it is important to find one that supplies your hair with the proper level of moisture. Depending on texture and porosity, one may need to moisturize once a day or once every 3 days, but I don’t suggest going more than 3 days without moisturizing in some sort of way. If utilizing a protective style, moisturize before styling, and then again once a week until style is removed.
Every texture, though different, will require so sort of sealant in order to maximize moisture retention. Seal the hair after the application of your moisturizer.
Porous, Medium to coarse: if the hair is porous, I’d recommend a butter that contains shea butter.
Non-porous, Medium to coarse: I’d suggest a heavier sealant/oil such as castor oil or argan oil mixed with coconut oil. Also, once applied, try sitting under dryer to assist in the penetration of product.
Non-porous, fine: coconut, avocado, safflower, grapeseed, and/or olive oil.
Other Scheduled Maintenance
Trims. I recommend that everyone get a trim AT LEAST once every 6 months for those who utilize low manipulation styles. If you manipulate your hair often with twist outs or styles that requires a lot of manipulation, every 3-4 months is best to optimize length retention and rid hair of split ends caused by over manipulating.
Tangles, knots, split ends, dryness, are just a few signs that it’s time for a trim. But you can read more about that here.
More about how often you you trim your hair
**Side Note** Contrary to popular belief, it is my experience that if you have a great regimen that consists of high-quality shampoo, deep conditioner, and moisturizer, you can skip the Leave In Conditioner. Leave in conditioners were formulated to reinforce the hair with strength and moisture, and to assist most naturals with detangling, but I have found that if you detangle hair while a conditioner is on, follow a regimen that best suits your hair type, texture and porosity, you can typically skip the leave in and proceed to your moisturizer.
Now depending on hair type, porosity and texture, your regimen may require a few other necessities. But, based upon my experience, the items listed above are the key necessities to developing a great hair regimen to achieve and maintain healthy hair. If you feel you need more, please, by all means, visit a professional who may be able to consult with you and address other hair care matters.