I hope you are doing well!! In today's post I'm responding to one of my most frequently asked questions: "I really love your hair and I want to go natural too, where should I start?"
That's a fantastic question!! Long, natural hair all starts with the desire to care for and nurture your hair. As I've mentioned severally on the blog, one of the most important steps to take when you begin your natural hair journey is to build a hair regimen. Now I know this may sound daunting. Don't you worry, I've been in your shoes before. :-)
Before we go any further, let's define what I mean by "a healthy, natural hair regimen".
A healthy, natural hair regimen is simply a set of hair techniques you follow frequently in order to nurture the health of your hair. It may also include a set of products you use in the order and frequency in which you use them on your hair.
There's lots of information on how best to build a hair regimen. Regimens are created based on the needs of each head of hair. If your hair is exceptionally dry, you may emphasize the conditioning aspects of your hair regimen. If you're an athlete and sweat heavily every day, you may want to emphasize the cleansing aspects of your hair regimen. Remember, a hair regimen is built in response to your hair's needs so it may not always remain the same over time.
Nonetheless, no matter what your hair's needs are, these 5 points should always form your wash-day checklist:
You may apply an oil along the length of your hair in order to prevent your hair from "excessive cleansing" during the washing process. This step is often referred to as pre-shampooing. Shampoos can often strip our hair of natural oils, so pre-pooing adds an extra layer of protection. To pre-poo your hair, heat up an oil such as olive or coconut oil as this helps aid absorption into the strands. Apply it to the length of your dry hair. Leave it on for at least 30 mins and then proceed to cleanse your hair.
There are different levels to which hair can be cleansed. Clarifying products are the most astringent while soaps such as Dr. Bronners and diluted apple cider vinegar may be more gentle. Either way, over the course of your wash day ensure you use some type of cleanser to rid your hair of weekly build-up.
Conditioning your hair is one of the most important steps. There are several types of conditioners - wash off conditioners, deep conditioners and leave-in conditioners. Depending on your time/hair's needs you may choose to use one of the three. Conditioning your hair adds extra moisture and slip to your strands and prevents breakage in the long run.
In order to prevent moisture loss, apply sealants. Just like cleansers and conditioners, there are sealants of various types. You may use a light oil, heavy oil/butter or even a butter. Either way, you want to use a product that is able to coat your strands with emollients in order to slow down moisture loss. After all, the purpose of a regimen is to keep our hair moisturised. Step 1, 2 & 3 above would be pointless if our hair dried out right after, right? :-)
After all is said and done, you want to ensure the health of your strands up until the next wash day. This means you need to protect your hair. This may be through wearing your hair in twists, buns or other low manipulation styles. You want to use styles that don't need too much manipulation. (For more info on why I hardly ever comb my hair, click here.) Ensure the oldest parts of your hair are tucked in and away.
Remember, a regimen is a personally-tailored process. It may take several months to get it right, so keep trying. What works for one individual may or may not work for you so feel free to tweak yours according to your hair's needs, keeping within the guidelines of the checklist above.
Also remember, product choices may differ from country to country but if you stick to this essential list you should notice a major improvement in the length and health of your hair.
Sending you LOTS of love & sunshine!