By Fran of HeyFranHey.com
It’s easy to become a creature of habit with beauty regimens. Most of us read tons of blogs and watch countless hours of Youtube videos, yet rarely try the products or techniques suggested. It’s almost like we fall into the daily trance of being a part of the natural hair community but are actually pretty resistant to change. And this is understandably so, considering how much information is out there.
Taking into account that no two heads are alike and the usual disclaimer of “what works for some will not work for others”, it can often be a guessing game deciding which technique is worth trying. Of course there are exceptions. Some naturals, particularly the newer ones, jump on every bandwagon in search of this flawless regimen. Then you have the veteran naturals who know every oil, every mixture and the Trichologist break down of the hair follicle, who will tell you, “No thanks. I know what works for me.” and yet their hair hasn’t grown in years!?
At the end of the day, we have to come to terms with the fact there’s no natural hair rulebook. Yes, there are scientific facts supporting a lot of our methods. But even those don’t always hold true for all of us. I’ve come to understand that the winning formula is to be a sprinkle of the wide-eyed newly natural combined with a dash of the “set in my ways” veteran. Here are a few of our usual methods that I’ve willingly and recently modified with much success:
Most of us shampoo and condition (or just co-wash) our hair and then deep condition afterwards. We either plop on the DC under a cap while still in the shower or we sit under our steamers, hooded dryers or heat caps. Either way, we’ve been accustomed to the idea that our hair should be squeaky clean before a deep treatment. Not just me, right? A few weeks ago, while doing my usual treatment, a friend of mine asked, “When you put on a face mask, do you steam first and then apply the mask or do you apply the mask and then steam?” I looked at her like she was crazy and responded, “The steam opens your pores so you can then apply the mask and have its nutrients penetrate. Who puts on a mask and THEN steams?” and she cleverly retorted, “the same person who is now steaming their hair after washing it.” Wow.
Why did I wash my hair to then re-open the cuticle with steam, to then close it again with more products and a cold rinse? Why not simply steam first with the deep conditioner and now lifted cuticle, then effectively cleanse and close? Not only is it logical but also one less time your cuticle needs to be opened! I tried it and it made a world of a difference! Our goal with natural hair is to be as low manipulation as possible, right? My hair was shinier and had a lot more fullness and bounce to it. Almost as if the strands had finally been properly cleansed and were less weighed down. What was the lesson? Stop doing as you’re told and actually think about what you’re doing to your hair.