Monday, December 27, 2010

2011 Healthy Hair Care Challenge: Framework For Your Healthy Hair Regimen


To get the best results from this challenge, you have to first devise an effective plan of action. An effective hair regimen will ensure you prevent setbacks, and also see to it that you reach your goals on time. When choosing a regimen, it is best to take into consideration your schedule, and the amount of time you wish to commit on maintaining your hair on a weekly basis. Being honest with yourself about the amount of time you wish to spend on your hair can help prevent burnout, and resentment [trust, I have experienced this many times throughout the past few years]. It doesn't matter if you have a complicated regimen, or one that is very simple. The key to getting the most out of your healthy hair regimen is consistency. 

This framework is geared to those who will be wearing their hair in it's natural state in either twist outs, braid outs, or afro's. We will discuss product recommendations,  as we move through various regimens this week. For now, I want to get everyone acquainted with the fundamentals of a healthy regimen. These elements should be included in everyone's regimen no matter if you are choosing to go the Ayurvedic, Natural or Traditional route.   

Your regimen should include the following:

Detangling prior to wetting hair: This is essential in reducing the amount of hair lost, and more importantly increasing the amount of length retained. Detangling prior to wetting the hair is easier on the hair shaft [as hair is in it's most fragile state when wet], which means no more splits, knots and breakage from detangling. Always detangle with a seamless wide-tooth comb. If you're on a budget, you can pick up the Jilbere shower comb which is a favorite of mine. They retail for under $2 at Sally's

Pre-Shampoo conditioning treatment: Sulfates in shampoos, and synthetic ingredients found in many hair care products can really take a toll on highly textured hair, leaving it brittle, dry, and lifeless. Pre-conditioning involves conditioning the hair prior to shampooing it. What this does is re-hydrate thirsty hair, helping it to retain more moisture after shampooing, and throughout the styling process. 

Shampoo hair in sections: It may take an additional 5-10 minutes, but you will definitely appreciate the benefits. Shampooing hair in sections ensures you get your scalp clean, and keeps your hair neat which prevents knots, matting and excessive tangles. 

Deep Condition: Deep conditioning the hair weekly prevents breakage from dryness, corrects issues with elasticity, nourishes the hair follicles and promotes hair growth. Keeping highly textured hair moisturized is key for maintaining, thick, healthy hair. - You can choose to deep condition with heat [using one of those inexpensive soft bonnet dryers], or by using your own body heat generated from your scalp [just cover your head with a plastic cap].

Moisturize your hair: Replenishing moisture levels throughout the week makes for happy, healthy, soft, touchable, manageable hair throughout the entire week. Often, when hair is stiff, brittle, or excessively dry before weeks end, it is due to the lack of moisture. - Keeping hair moisturized also helps prevent breakage from dryness and keeps your strands lubricated which helps keep the tips of your strands from forming knots/tangles. 

Seal in the moisture: Beat moisture loss by sealing in the moisture after hydrating your hair. To lock the moisture in your hair, add a dime size amount of oil to your hands, rub hands together to distribute oil, then apply to the entire length of the hair paying special attention to the tips/ends. 

Sleep in a stain bonnet or on a satin pillowcase: Cotton is not your friend. In fact cotton can cause split ends, breakage, and chronic dryness. Avoid setbacks by sleeping in a satin bonnet, or on a satin pillowcase. Your hair will thank you!

Every month consider the following:
Scalp Treatments: Scalp treatments are effective in removing bacteria and exfoliating dead skin cells [accumulation of dead skin cells and bacteria can lead to hair loss/thinning]!
Every six to eight weeks consider the following:
Protein Treatments: Protein treatments work to keep your hair healthy and strong by preventing or correcting breakage, filling in gaps along the hair shaft [which helps your hair retain more moisture] and correcting issues with elasticity.

For those that plan on wearing their hair "out" in it's natural state [like twist outs or braid outs], I recommend shampooing and deep conditioning once weekly. Use this sample regimen as a starting point when making your own:
  • Sunday: Detangle hair + Condition hair with a pre-shampoo treatment + Shampoo Hair + Deep Condition + Lightly detangle + Style

  • Monday:

  • Tuesday: Moisturize hair as needed + Seal in the moisture + Re-twist/Re-braid hair as needed

  • Wedensday:

  • Thursday: Moisturize hair as needed + Seal in the moisture + Re-twist/Re-braid hair as needed

  • Friday:

  • Saturday: Moisturize hair as needed + Seal in the moisture + Re-twist/Re-braid hair as needed
The regimen listed is the framework for length retention, thickness, and body. As I discuss various regimens, I will go into depth on scalp treatments, pre shampoo treatments, protein treatments, oils to seal in moisture, etc.

EDIT: Many of you are inquiring about protective styling options/regimens. A sample regimen will be posted this week with product recommendations, styling options, etc. The regimen I posted today is specifically for the people that choose to wear their hair out the duration of the challenge. - Many people ask my thoughts on "protective styling" versus wearing your hair out. I have done both, and from personal experience have retained the same amount of length doing it either way. The key to retaining length for me has been moisturizing, careful detangling, and alleviating stress placed on my follicles. 

Questions are always encouraged! You can leave a comment in the comment area [I will check comments nightly], and also ask questions during the two check-ins I will have monthly.

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