I have only been natural for eight months and my regime that I had when I began is completely different than it is now. I have decided to simplify and make sure that I covered key practices to ensure I got the best growth out of my hair. With that said I think over all afro hair care is very simple, what is not simple is the diligence and patience that is needed to accompany that hair care. This is a realization I have come due to the length of my hair now which is still a TWA but with length that has the tendency to dry out and tangle if not cared for correctly. I have found that if at least these three principles are applied growth is a piece of cake. I would like to share my three simple rules I consider to be golden:
Rule # 1 – Co-washing
Afro textured hair loves water and lack of and loss of water is the main cause of hair breakage in afro textured hair. Our hair needs to have water on it and in it as much as possible. Moisture is needed to keep the hair flexible and healthy which is essential to combating breakage. I find that co-washing (using conditioner only to wash the hair) as opposed to using shampoo every time to wash the hair greatly increases the moisture level in my hair. This also aids detangling the hair which greatly reduces breakage and cuts down on the time it takes. Some shampoo’s can cause dryness and should only be used to remove hair product build up in the hair, but I will say that the correct shampoo can actually contribute to the moisture level and manageability of the hair.
Rule #2 – Moisturizing
Along with a good washing routine moisturizing must be done diligently and effectively, this is key. This means using a leave in conditioner after washing the hair even if shampoo was not used. Another means to do this is to not wash out all of your co-washing conditioner; this is very effective and quick way for adding moisture to the hair. Also as important is sealing in the moisture that was introduced to the hair; this is done by applying oil after moisturizing. A way to do this daily is by using just plain water in a spray bottle or a water based product and following with oil. For my hair castor is superior when it comes to sealing and softening my hair. With that said it is a heavy oil and those with fine hair my find it to much for their hair if they are wearing it in an “out” style. If the hair is fine it may be best to do this step at bed time so the hair can be put in to a braid or twists and the oil will have time to soak in overnight. This will eliminating the weighed down feeling but hair will still receive the benefits of this amazing oil. Also a little goes a long way, this I found out the hard way.
Rule #3 – Protective Styles
Last but not least to preserve and protect your hair ends, remember ends equal length. Length equals volume. A protective style is a style that prevents handling the hair (detangling and styling) for a relatively good length of time. I have found that my hair stays moisturized and detangled best when in a protective style as opposed to wearing it out more than a few times a week.
Everyone’s hair experiences are different and not everything works for everyone but I firmly believe that if these basic principles are applied to any regimen for any hair type results will be seen. I am still new to the process of my hair growth but I have really seen awesome results when I committed to these three areas. I hope these tips help another new natural that is still figuring things out, it has truly helped me.