By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom
If your goal is to get your hair longer then you have to start really caring for the ends (any hair which is more than 3 inches away from the root — older than 6–8 months). Long hair is very old hair, usually at least 3 years for mid-back length and 5 years or more for waist/hip length hair. It is really important to start to take care of the ends and many of you can run off the top tips from conditioning, tucking in the ends, trimming etc. I think that the role of rinsing hair in maintaining really good ends is really not given a big enough spotlight. Rinsing can have a big impact in ensuring moisturising products actually have an effect, prevent breakage of ends and in preventing dryness. Here is how rinsing plays these roles:
1. Rinse your hair before you shampoo
Benefit to the ends : Better effectiveness of cleanser, better repair of ends
You can immediately start to get rid of dirt on your hair by first rinsing it. This is a really crucial step that also helps the shampoo or cleanser to work better. Simply sitting under the shower for 2–3 minutes (a real 2–3 minutes and not guesswork) is all that is needed. Cleansing your ends better means that your hair conditioner which follows will have a really nice and clean surface to attach to which means more targeted repair to the ends and therefore better moisture retention.
2. Always rinse off shampoo BEFORE using conditioner
Benefit to the ends : Prevent build up, dryness and ensure effectiveness of conditioner
Some naturals like the ‘buffering’ wash where a little conditioner is applied to hair before rinsing off shampoo. This method carries the risk of build up. Shampoo should be thoroughly rinsed off hair before conditioner is applied (again a real 2–3 minutes). This is because shampoo and conditioner have opposite charges which means that they attract each other. If you shampoo first and apply conditioner over that shampoo, the negative charge of the shampoo will be attracted to the positive charge of conditioner. Hair conditioner is in general heavier and larger and intended to deposit on hair, it can therefore end up trapping the shampoo which is bound to it and not allow it to be rinsed off. This would make hair feel and be drier than if you had taken the time to rinse off the shampoo. Additionally the hair conditioner cannot really work as well as it should in terms of smoothing the cuticle as some of its positive charge is interacting with the shampoo and not the hair.
3. Rinse off conditioner during the wash
Benefit to the ends : Prevent build up and possible breakage, moisturising/ leave ins work better
Some naturals like to leave some conditioner in hair and therefore choose not to wash it out completely during the main wash. Failing to rinse out conditioner can mean that there is excessive product which dries on the hair and scalp. In really bad cases this can cause breakage. It is perfectly fine to use a regular rinse out or deep conditioner as a leave in but when washing hair, that product should be fully rinsed out first and then a very small amount reapplied for the purpose of a leave-in.
Ladies, how do you keep your ends in good shape?