So I’ve been wanting to document my ‘natural haircare journey’ for some time but never got round to it. But my stash of lotions and potions is ever growing and I thought it would be good to document how this changes so I can look back and see how I did things in the past…and possible help other who are looking for a little guidance. Nothing too intense to start with, just the products I use on a regular basis so here we go…
We all know that natural Afro hair is the driest hair types of them all and so it is prone to extreme dryness and breakage. The tight and unpatterned kinks and coils of 4C hair means that the natural oils produced by our sebacious glands on the scalp can’t travel all the way down the hair shaft. This is why we have to manually apply moisture and oil. It’s really hard to make Afro hair actually greasy because it soaks moisture up like a sponge, so there’s little room for mistakenly putting too much product on!
First essential is a wide tooth comb. This will solve nearly all your detangling needs with minimum breakage. I always try to finger detangle first before putting any foreign objects into my hair, since combs can’t adjust themselves to the tangled-ness of your hair but this thing is great, and the rounded edges to each comb tip ensure that it’s as gentle as it can be to your strands!
Creme of Nature Argon Oil leave-in conditioner, (self fortified with aloe vera juice, glycerin, tea tree oil and water)
I’ve been using this stuff for a couple of years now and I can say it’s really great. I use it as my regular source of liquid moisture for my hair and is especially useful if you want to saturate your hair when its already stretched (in braids/canerows etc).
I read that aloe vera juice is also a great source of moisture (lots of vitamin E) and tea tree oil stimulates hair follicles for growth so this combo mix *should* be formidable in quenching the thirst of your dry hair. Apply as often as you want, you can never have too much water. I prefer to do this at night, so when it has dried, by the morning, I can apply my leave in creme conditioner which is….
Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter leave in conditioner.
This smells divine and is a great source of heavier moisture when your hair is extra dry. I use a lot of this stuff on wash day when I have just blow-dried by hair (i neeeeed to try a hooded dryer as this is far less damaging to your hair than the direct blast of heat from a standard hair dryer) and it’s at one of its driest points.
I know it’s an oxymoron, but this product is both light, yet heavy duty: light in the fact that it’s hard to get a lot of product build up and your hair doesn’t feel too ‘loaded’ with product, but heavy in that you know it’s packed with great ingrediants to keep your hair in great condition.
My own concoction of oils for sealing
So I go by the LCO method (liquid, cream, oil)
I trawled the internet for the best and most effective oils that we should be using in our hair and basically melt them all down and mix them together to seal in the moisture I have put into my hair with the previous 2 products. Sealing is an essential step that you really shouldn’t miss when you’re nourishing your hair. It keeps moisture in and prevents it evaporating out of each strand, in turn, maintaining a good state of health and promoting healthy length retention.
My mix consists of a base of raw shea butter. This is solid at room temperature, so I have to either melt it in a pot of hot water over the hob or put it in the microwave to melt it down, so it can be mixed with the king of all ingredients….coconut oil. You can use this stuff for nearly every ailment, from dry skin to teeth whitening! But in this case, I mix it with my shea butter to form the base of my oil cream that stays at a creamy consistency at room temperature.
To this, I like to add olive oil, vitamin E oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, tea tree oil and the thickest liquid oil- castor oil (which also has many uses…a
natural alternative to conspitation anyone… 😉 )
Shea Moisture Moisture retention shampoo and deep treatment masque for dry, damaged hair.
I had read about the Shea Moisture range for so long on various natural haircare blogs and YouTube so I had to give them a try. (Although I wasn’t aware of how expensive they are…£7-9 each!) but I thought I would treat it as an investment for my overall hair health.
Like the packaging states, they’re sulfate free – something that has been relegated what seems like all naturals to the sin bin! To be honest, I’ve used different (and cheaper) shampoo alternatives that are also sulfate free and have seen basically the same results (the Cantu moisturising shampoo for kids is great and only about 3 quid).
The Masque *seems* to be doing me some good though, I do a deep condition every other weekend, leaving it on for at least an hour inside my conditioning heat shower cap and I can say that I have noticed my hair does feel more moisturised, softer and stronger and I’ve been able to prevent some breakage, in turn meaning that length has been retained and gained. Woop woop!
It can be daunting when you first decide that you’re going to stop relaxing your hair and learn to take care of it in it’s natural state – I know there’s a lot to take in and it can sometimes seem like our hair is difficult. But to be honest, once you find the products that are right for you and know how to use them best, it’s just a case of getting used to your own hair texture. When/if your hair was relaxed, it wasn’t really your texture. Learning black hair isn’t hard. It’s different and new. It’s like learning any new skill – difficult to begin with, but with practice some ease, knowledge and confidence. I’m just so glad that black hair is becoming more ‘accepted’ in the mainstream. It’s now so easy to even go into your local Boots and find *nearly* everything you need!
I’ll be back soon with another haircare post…maybe about all the styles I’ve tried whilst transitioning away from relaxed into natural hair and my trials and tribulations when learning how to canerow and braid my own hair…
Until next time…see ya! xox