Skip to main content

Breaking the Hair Plateau

Avatar • Jan 2, 2012

By Fran of HeyFranHey

Before I share my hair’s “workout routine”, let me state the disclaimer that everyone’s hair is different and will not always respond to suggested products or regimens in the same way. With that being said, let’s jump right into it!

Let’s face it, most of us are product junkies. Then there are those who have found their staple items and have remained loyal and strong willed despite the countless new brands popping up everywhere. But even those lucky, unwavering few have to switch it up at some point, as our hair tends to plateau when using the same products for too long. I’m somewhere in the middle of the two. I definitely have my staple items but will rarely pass up the opportunity to try a new product line.

When I realized I was spending more money on products than I was spending on groceries, it was time for an intervention. I was in my bathroom staring at the mini Walgreens underneath my sink, trying to rationalize the madness, when it dawned on me; why not treat my hair the way I treat my body? Let me explain. Anyone who works out knows that the best way to lose weight and build muscle tone is by constantly switching up their routine: creating muscle confusion. Challenging your heart and confusing your muscles promotes body strengthening, better circulation and a much faster overall response. If you go to the gym and run on the treadmill for the same amount of time, every day, the moment will come when your body will no longer respond to the movement. Your body gets bored! But if you run on the treadmill today, lift weights the next and swim on the following day? Your body will be closer to your target in no time. As with everything in life, challenge equals growth. Now let’s walk back to the hair. I figured it would be interesting to test the same “confusion” theory on my hair. I mean, considering my trillion and one products under the sink, why not?

I usually co-wash and deep condition my hair once a week. I decided to use the Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner by Shea Moisture and their Deep Treatment Masque on week one. I then switched it up and used the White Camellia by Aubrey Organics with the Bee Mine Deep Conditioner on week two. The Yucca & Baobab by Shea Moisture with their Deep Treatment Masque on week three. And finished off week four by using the BeautiCurls Argan & Olive Oil by Curl Junkie with the Bee Mine Deep Conditioner, once again. I prefer using products that are all natural or as close to all natural as possible. I’m a huge health buff so I make it a priority to drop a few extra dollars towards chemical free, nutrient heavy products. I like being able to know exactly what is going into my body and I always seem to end up with way better results! Health is never the wrong choice. After trying this “workout routine” for my hair for about 2–3 months, I noticed my hair was fuller, stronger and growing faster than ever. I’m talking about the hair you had when you were 10; before your beauty madness of frying and dyeing took over. I started to wonder if I had uncovered a cool new method or if I was totally tooting my own horn. I asked a few of my closest friends to try it. All of them ranging from 2C to 4C. Within weeks they were all hitting me back saying they experienced similar growth and strengthening patterns. Bingo! It wasn’t just me! Now, I know some of you are thinking, “those are way too many products”. Use what you already have (I can’t possibly be the only one with an in home walgreens shelf?). I’m by no means enabling your junkieness. But I am trying to bring to light the correlation between our bodies and our hair.

If you eat cleaner, unprocessed foods and challenge your body with different types of workout routines, you’ll be in the best shape of your life. If you use cleaner, chemical free beauty products and challenge your hair by switching up the nutrients it receives with each wash and regimen, your hair will be in the best shape of it’s life. Look at the ingredients I mentioned: Yucca, Baobab, Argan Oil, Olive Oil, Shea Butter. My hair was hit with all of those different nutrients on a monthly basis. Throw in finger combing to minimize breakage and a satin pillowcase to retain moisture and your hair will be acting brand new. What do you think? I think it’s worth a try. If you do, let me know your results!

Ladies, have you tried switching up your products? How did it work out?

For more of Fran, check out her tumblr site HeyFranHey.

Avatar

About Fran

I'm a natural hair, nutrition and fitness blogger from New York City. Battling a kidney related illness that doctors couldn't seem to fix, I became obsessed with alternative medicine. After months of researching and finally curing myself, it became quite evident that healthy resources in our urban communities were lacking. I began my health & wellness tumblr in Dec of 2010 as somewhat of a journal, hoping to shed some light on my journey to health as well as our disconnection with healthy living. It's been my goal to create a safe haven where our wellness concerns could be shared and hopefully cured, as naturally as possible.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
39 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kandyce
Kandyce
8 years ago

This is an awesome idea and makes perfect sense! Thanks!

Lyric Marley
Lyric Marley
8 years ago

I totally Agree !

simo
simo
8 years ago

I tried a modified version of this method after you mentioned it on your Tumblr page. I didn’t really do it for hair heath, I did it because I was getting bored of using the same products over and over again. It does work! You just have to products that you know you hair likes. I know my hair likes shea butter so I made sure to use stuff with shea butter.

Erika
8 years ago

Glad SOMEBODY started this convo. Love you AND your message, girl!

Lynnette
Lynnette
8 years ago

I think the idea is intersting but my question is how will u ever know what really work in making your hair grow healthy and long by changing your system so often?

EG
EG
8 years ago
Reply to  Lynnette

Add to that, how will you know which products your hair does not like? If you changed two/three things at once, I’d think you’d be at a lost to identify the culprit.
I like the idea of change and experimentation, but Im very cautious and only change one thing at a time, and I stick with that change for about 3 months.

EG
EG
8 years ago
Reply to  Fran

But what about when you haven’t purchased more than one brand? For ex., I have a favorite deep conditioner (Cathy Howse’s UBH conditioner) and I really like how it works on my hair, so I haven’t purchased a conditioner from another brand. I do however have several shampoos because I was trying to find one that works for me. Do you think i’d see this same change that you mentioned in your post from just changing shampoos?

Sistacurl
Sistacurl
8 years ago

Excellent. A perfect excuse to use up all the products on my “Walgreens” shelf! I’m gonna try it.

helloELO
helloELO
8 years ago

I am no longer guilty of my productjunkism anymore XD Thanks for sharing this!

Ce Ce
Ce Ce
8 years ago

I do switch up but I use different products within the same company. I will use Shea Moistures shampoos all in rotation. I always clarify w/ black soap but on alternate weeks do SM moisture retention or yucca & baobab shampoo. When I condition I use TRESEmee conditioners & rotate between the vibrantly smooth naturals, moisture rich, or silky & smooth conditioners. I deep condition with SM Anti Breakage Mask in the winter months & SM Purification Mask in the spring & summer months.

Rou
Rou
8 years ago

I already rotate my products, so that is nothing new to me! But, I must admit that I don’t always use products that don’t have the bad stuff in it. When I’m done with the products that contain the “bad” ingredients, I will give this experiment a shot. For now, I will continue on as usual. I refuse to throw any of the “bad” stuff in the garbage, because it is working for me at the present time. I’ve noticed that since I’ve incorporated castor oil in my hair regimen, my hair has been behaving better. I think all my… Read more »

mangomadness
mangomadness
8 years ago

Hair is dead so the comparison to the muscles of the body (which are alive) can be sound. If anything, this method might prevent folks from being bored with hair care products and/or the monotony of consistent results.

Squirrelly
Squirrelly
8 years ago
Reply to  mangomadness

Do you mean can’t “be sound”? I think that the comparison being made has more to do with the metaphor of how the routine is changed as in working out to provide variety. This way, you prevent reaching the hair plateau b/c of the body’s inarguable natural response to forming “immunities” to products as is the case with diseases and medicines. Some products treat both the dead (part you can see) and alive (follicle/part you can’t see) part of the hair.

It’s always smart to try something for yourself before making up your mind.

mangomadness
mangomadness
8 years ago
Reply to  Squirrelly

By “can’t be sound”, I mean the comparison is flawed. Hair can not “bulid immunity” in the same manner the body can. There’s no product one applys topically which changes the nature of hair as it grows in. Switching products cannot make hair “fuller, stronger and growing faster than ever” as stated in the article. Hair dosen’t get fuller because of product usage–it remain the same thickness/density as it comes in from the follicle but may **appear** otherwise. Products don’t make hair stronger though they may prevent breakage. Products also don’t cause growth–we all know that. I must admit switcing… Read more »

bee
bee
8 years ago
Reply to  mangomadness

@mangomadness — the scalp is very much alive and like the rest of your skin responds to nutrients applied topically. and although hair is ‘dead’ its dynamic properties (softness, moisture level) are affected by topical application of products (also these dynamic properties may inhibit breakage, think moisture/less breakage). hair may be dead but the countless posts about protein treatments let us know hair can absorb and be affected by topical applications and the environment even if the effect is temporary. so essentially the ‘hair is dead’ argument really doesn’t dispute what the author is suggesting.

hyspin
hyspin
8 years ago
Reply to  mangomadness

Agreed. Hair is dead. Muscle comparison is not sound. It will help with new growth but nothing for the existing strand. If anything this may help people who are bored or at least find something that works better without going into product junkie mode. Sometimes switching may help you find something that works better or find out what to avoid.

Princess
Princess
8 years ago
Reply to  Fran

Thanks for your matured response to everyone Fran! that speaks volumes about you, honestly:-)

CuteKinks
8 years ago

I always switch up my products. I like to keep my hair on its toes lol.

Tati
Tati
8 years ago

I loved this article; it was well written & i totally agree it makes perfect sense to challenge your hair and switch up the routine. I’m going to give this a try, I have dreads, I’ll let you know how it works for me. Thanks!

Safera
Safera
8 years ago

This just might work for me, because my current shampoo and conditioner (Aubrey’s Organics) doesn’t quite have the same effect as when I first started using them.

Princess
Princess
8 years ago

When i read this I was like, “Um, has she been under my sink??” It’s literally like a mini walgreens as my best friend pointed out not long ago. Lol I will be trying this!!!! Makes sense.

Chocolate Mom
8 years ago

I, too, am a product junkie, but I do my best to try products that have argan oil, shea butter, or olive oil in them. My new recent hair delight is the Ecostyler Gel with Olive Oil — LOVE IT!! I find my curls last longer without that crunchy or flaky feel and look!

Your hair looks wonderfully healthy…and so do you!

ChiCurly1908
ChiCurly1908
8 years ago

Quick question.…do you ever use shampoo and what’s your daily styling?!?! And what products do you use then…thanks much 🙂

Mary
Mary
8 years ago

I’ve always heard that it’s best to switch up your hair products form time to time. I’m not sure I believe it’s because your hair can actually get used to products though. I think it’s because all products cause some build up either inside or outside the hair strand. I’m currently on “hair detox” water, oil and a pantene leave in just to see what happens and if it will keep my fine hair more moisturized and less prone to break.

Asea
Asea
8 years ago

Great article! As a recovering product junkie, I had great success with this method last year. I was so anxious to try new lines and find the “perfect” product that I was just doing the most without evaluating the results and giving my hair what it didn’t even need (ie, over conditioning just because I wanna try a new conidioner). I now have my HG products and keep them in steady rotation. And “breaking the plateau” truly describes the current stage I’m in on my 3 year natural hair journey. It hasn’t been easy retaining the length and moisture of… Read more »

Zenith
Zenith
8 years ago

Not sure if the theory works or not, but I often do this when I want to get rid of the products in my cabinet… reducing product build-up, if you will. I won’t allow myself to buy anything new, unless I get rid of at least one entire category of product (i.e all the shampoos, or all the leave-ins). To be totally honest, the best thing I’ve done for my hair and skin is completely change my diet. LOTS of dense greens/veggies , fruits and water daily and exercising like a mad dog, daily has done things that no product… Read more »

jenna marie christian
8 years ago

excellent advice for body and hair health. i will definitely give it a try to improve my hair health and fitness. thank you!

Kendra
Kendra
8 years ago

I’m not surprised that this works. I did this with my relaxed hair. I never used the same products two weeks in a row…and I wasn’t and still am not a product junkie. All I did was make sure I had two sets of shampoo/conditioner at one time, alternated them each week, and when they ran out I bought different products.

I also read this trick in a magazine article that talked about the effect it has when you switch products. I know that Chilli from TLC swears by this method too.

Lisa
Lisa
8 years ago

I tend to have 2 opened products of every category at any one point in time; anymore than that and my OCD nature kicks in. I alternate those two and once they are done alternate another set. I have a ton of products sitting here that I have not tried, but the goal is to narrow it down to 2 or 3 staples in each category. I am hoping rotating through my staples would prevent me from hitting any plateaus. I am getting tired of trying and accumulating new products.

Auset Abena
8 years ago

Thanks Fran for this article. I follow your Tumblr, love your hair and your commitment to health. You are one of my she-ro’s. That said, I might give this regimen a try, including eliminating shampoo’s out of my regimen and instead doing apple cider vinegar rinses, including using some essential oils (tea tree is my favorite). If I had to think of four conditioners to rotate (and I have tried plenty), they would be: Yes to Cucumbers, Oyin Honey Hemp, Giovanni Smooth as Silk or 50:50 (the Pure Organic version), and

Sandra
Sandra
8 years ago

Hi Fran quick question on utilizing the Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner by Shea Moisture and their Deep Treatment Masque on week one. first, am I doing Deep Treatment Masque and then wash with the Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner? Or co washing with the conditioner and then last day just the deep treatment? Thank you Fran Hope 2 hear from ya soon:)

NancyM
NancyM
8 years ago

If nothing else, this method will definitely help use up all of the products on my shelf!

its just hair
its just hair
8 years ago

Over consume and support the capitalists! Forget DIY! That’s the way to natural hair. Great article.

39
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Shopping Cart