Now that we have talked about hair porosity and you figured out which porosity level your hair is: low, normal or high porosity; it is time to talk about your hair care routine. It is extremely important that you listen to your hair as you implement these tips into your routine. Remember all hair is different and reacts differently depending on density, porosity and curl type. Other environmental factors like humidity level and water quality in your area will influence your results as well.
Curly hair craves moisture. If you notice that your hair is damaged, frizzy and tangles a lot that is sign that you are not deep conditioning as much as you should. If you are reading this, you are either thinking about going all natural, you are in the process of transitioning, or you are struggling to get those curls to look and feel healthy.
If you are going to be following these hair care routines I suggest you start out by clarifying your hair. If you do clarify on a regular basis please continue to do what works for you, but for those of you who are starting from zero it is important to clarify your hair and scalp to really get all the product build up out of the hair and allow all the new products to do their job. If your hair is packed with oils and old products deep conditioning will not do anything for your hair because the moisture can’t penetrate the cuticle.
How often should you clarify your hair?
It all depends on what type of products you use. Heavier products, creams, thicker oils will build up quicker. Once you clarify the first time you will know when it’s time to clarify again. Your hair will feel heavy and dry. Some people need to clarify every 2 weeks while others can get away with 4-5 weeks, your hair holds the answers.
You can buy a clarifying shampoo or you can do an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse (my personal favorite). If you are going to be using ACV make sure you buy the unfiltered kind. In a spray bottle add 2oz of ACV and 4oz of filtered water.
-Shake this mixture and start by spraying the scalp.
-Massage the scalp until fully covered and then move on to the rest of the hair
- Put a hair cap on and let it sit for 5 minutes
In the Natural hair community you will hear the word PRE-POO a lot. This simply means applying any type of moisturizer like oils or conditioner treatment to the hair prior to shampooing. You can take this step to finger detangle your hair as the moisturizer will help soften the hair stands making it easier to remove knots. Leave the oil or conditioner on for 15-30 minutes then proceed to shampoo your hair.
How to properly Shampoo your hair:
This might sound a little over the top but believe it or not how you shampoo affects your hair tremendously. Shampoo strips the hair from all the natural oils your scalp produces so depending on your type of hair and porosity level you might benefit from less shampooing and more CO- washing (replacing your shampoo with conditioner to cleanse the scalp).
- Divide your hair into two sections and shampoo one section at a time.
-Pour the shampoo into your hands and then apply to your scalp.
-Massage your scalp with your fingertips, never use your nails as it could hurt your scalp.
- Hold the ends of your hair down while you massage the scalp so it doesn’t tangle.
- Massage in a back and forth motion as opposed to circular motion to keep your hair from getting tangled.
- Work the lather down to the middle of the hair and slightly onto the ends.
- Rinse the shampoo off with warm water while running your fingers through the hair.
**Warm water will help your cuticles open for better moisture absorption when you apply the deep conditioner**
Hot water is not recommended as it will dry your hair out. If the water stings the top part of your hand then it is too hot.
This step is the KEY to healthy natural hair! Deep conditioning your hair is so important that you should be doing it once a week. When you deep condition you are adding nutrients that are essential for your hair, making it feel softer and look healthier. It will help with frizz and restore hair damaged by chemical treatments and heat.
-Apply deep conditioner throughout the hair running your fingers through to prevent it from getting tangled. Apply a generous amount!!!
-Leave the deep conditioner on for 20-30 minutes (hair cap for maximum penetration).
-Rinse the deep conditioner out.
A deep conditioning treatment or mask’s job is not to detangle your hair. The time to detangle your hair is when you apply the conditioner. Detangle your hair either with your fingers or with a wide tooth comb (do not use a hair brush). When rinsing your conditioner out, use cold water to close the cuticles and help lock in all the moisture you applied to your hair.
MICROFIBER TOWEL OR COTTON T-SHIRT
A regular bath towel can absorb too much moisture and the material can rough up the cuticles resulting in frizz. We already know your curls need, crave, live for moisture so do not dry your hair with a regular towel. Instead use a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt because these materials help retain moisture.
A leave-in conditioner adds shine to your hair, helps detangle and also lock in moisture. Choosing the right Leave-in conditioner is crucial because whatever this product contains will be left on your hair and you will even be adding more if you need to refresh your curls.
In this step I suggest you divide your hair into two sections or even four if you have high density hair.
Now for the confusing part! You might have heard about the L.O.C and L.C.O method.
These initials simply refer to the order in which you should be applying your products when it is time to style your hair. The order in which you apply these products is extremely important because if not properly used it can result in extreme build up, damaged, dry hair. Since everyone’s hair is different I suggest you experiment with both methods and find the one that fits your needs keeping in mind the following:
SUGGESTED FOR LOW POROSITY
Liquid. The hair will slowly absorb the water it needs and keep it in.
Cream. The hair will absorb the water content of the cream you apply, adding a double layer of moisture.
Oil. The oil will seal the liquid and cream preventing the moisture from escaping.
SUGGESTED FOR HIGH POROSITY
Liquid. A high amount of water will penetrate.
Oil. The oil will act as a sealant locking in the water immediately to prevent evaporation.
Cream. The cream will add weight to the oil to ensure the cuticle keeps the moisture in.
- Damp hair is best when applying products to low porosity hair since the cuticle is tight too much water can make the product slide straight through the hair strand.
- Use a light weight sealing oil like Jojoba oil.
- Use a leave in conditioner that has water (aqua) as the first ingredient.
- Use a heavy leave-in for added moisture, water based products evaporate quickly on high porosity hair.
- Use rich butters and creams.
- Use a heavy oil to seal in moisture like avocado or olive oil.
I am a firm believer of the healing and restorative properties of Flaxseed gel. It is packed with Omega 3, natural proteins and vitamins that make your hair feel so smooth and hydrated while also adding definition and hold. I exclusively used this gel for months instead of a cream when I started my transition and I can say it made all the difference to achieve the curls I have today.
I highly recommend this for girls dealing with scalp conditions like psoriasis or dandruff (I have psoriasis and add a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil to help with the flakiness of my scalp)
This DIY is the easiest ever as you only need water and Flaxseeds!!!! Make sure you are buying the regular whole flaxseeds, not roasted, seasoned or ground.
2 CUPS OF WATER
4 TABLESPOONS OF WHOLE FLAXSEEDS
Start by adding the 2 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of flaxseed to a pot. Mix and let it boil on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. You will need to stir occasionally as it tends to raise to the top very quickly when it boils. Once you see a mucus like layer forming on top of the pot with a thick consistency it is ready. Set aside and let it cool off for 25-30 minutes.
Line a measuring cup or a big cup with a pantyhose and pour the gel into it. You will be using the pantyhose as a strainer to get the gel out without any seeds. Squeeze the pantyhose until you get all the liquid out.
You can find very cost effective pantyhose at your local dollar store (pack of 2 for $1)
Pour the gel into a squeeze bottle and that’s it!!!! You have made CURLY HAIR FOOD MY FRIEND! I use this after applying leave in conditioner and finish with a light oil and the result is always the same: Super well defined curls.
This gel never fails, it mixes great with other products as well.