By Domineque (pictured above) of LongHairDontCare2011
Let’s face it, just as our hues vary vastly, so does our hair and the outside factors influencing our hair. Here I have a simple, yet eye opening list that will help unscramble the puzzle that black hair can be. I decided to create this list as a first year cosmetology student and as someone who had a great deal to figure out about my own hair care. I went from ear length to hip length and despite how easy it may have seemed to those on the outside looking in, there were days that I just wanted a clue, a time or two! To learn how to individualize your own hair regimen whether you’ve just started your natural hair journey or have paid your dues in time but just aren’t seeing the results you desire, read on. I’ll tell you what you need to pay attention to to get your hair behaving predictably and to obtain the best growth.
Density is the amount of hair on the scalp per square inch. Use density to decide whether you’d like to use thicker butters or waxes or if you’d be better off with thinner products, oils and butters. Also, feel your hair to determine its texture. People confuse hair type with hair texture. Here we are focusing on the feel and size of the strands and not if the strands are straight, curly, wavy or kinky. Do your actual strands feel rough? Silky? Wiry? Woolly? Cottony? Once you know this you will learn how to better choose products for your hair. And all chemical treatments play a role in how your hair will feel and behave.
How elastic is your hair? Complete this test to find out:
· Begin by pulling a strand of hair from your head near your ear (if you’re against losing a strand, as a last resort you can try this on already shed hair.)
· Pull the strand with your nails and hold it taut for ten seconds
If the strand holds the spiral curl once released and doesn’t snap, then your hair is assumed to be in good condition. This is best tested on virgin hair (meaning no relaxers or permanent color) but anyone can try it. FYI dry hair stretches 20% of its length and wet hair 40-50% of its length.
Consider your climate. I grew up in NYC and recently moved to LA. Needless to say a regimen change was in order. NYC is more humid during the daytime. In LA, I noticed dew on the cars in the early morning or late at night but those are not my normal hours of operation, so my hair doesn’t receive the benefit of dew or moisture. Instead, the sun is constantly beating on my head when I’m out and about in the late morning and afternoon.
Here is an observation I made to decide when to switch up my hair regimen that you can follow too. If your skin is more tan than usual and you haven’t gone to the beach or a vacation, chances are you and your hair are receiving more sun and you may want to change your routine so it doesn’t get fried or dried out. In humid regions where the hair becomes overwhelmed with moisture, protein conditioners are more beneficial to balance the hair and in dry arid regions moisturizing conditioners are most important.
4. Scalp Flakiness
I know that most everyone’s scalp has flaked on them at once. Our skin cells are going through steps daily in preparation to shed, so if you see a flake here or there don’t fret! But if your scalp flakes off in thick crusty patches and you have psoriasis on your body, then it is possible that you have psoriasis on your scalp as well and you should see a dermatologist.
There is also what I call ‘Casper dandruff’ that isn’t immediately visible, but manifests if you brush or comb your hair. And dandruff that is thick, oily, and yellowish in color. If you’ve ruled out psoriasis as the cause of your flakes, try products with pyrithione zinc or selenium disulfide to relieve flaking. Natural options are manual flake lifting (scalp scratching) — using a fine tooth comb to gently lift flakes — and the use of essential oils on the scalp such as lemon, clary sage or lavender mixed with a carrier oil or distilled in water. (For every 1 oz. of carrier oil or distilled water, use 7 to 25 drops of essential oil.)
5. Hard or Soft Water
Do you know if the water in your country, state or region is hard or soft? This information matters. Soft water is treated water or rain water. Hard water contains dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium that deposit on the hair and scalp and can make the scalp dry and itchy and the hair dry and lifeless. It’s also hard to get a good lather with your shampoos and takes longer for a conditioner to take effect on the hair. If you use sulfate free shampoo, them you may not notice much about the lather because they tend to lather less or not at all. Water softening shower heads can be purchased online, as well as information on the water near you.
Lets talk about porosity for a minute. Porosity is the ability for the hair to absorb what’s placed on it, be it a chemical treatment such as, shampoo, creams, conditioners etc.. There are three porosity levels; resistant porosity, average and extreme. Hair that is resistant doesn’t absorb moisture easily which is considered a good thing if you are relaxed/wear your hair in a straight style. Average porosity is consider normal hair and extremely porous hair needs TLC and should never have chemical services performed on it because it would be very damaging. (Resistant porosity hair has cuticle scales that are tightly closed while extremely porous hair has cuticles that are widely open). It is possible to have more than one type of porosity level on one head, so it’s important to choose products to target the area of most concern. In general, the more damaged the hair, the more products it takes for the hair to achieve a healthy look.
Ladies, what factors do you consider when assessing and dealing with your hair?
And be sure to check out Domineque’s YouTube Channel: LongHairDontCare2011