By Chinwe of Hair and Health
As we reach new lengths, sometimes our hair care regimen must change. Our strands — which may not only be longer now, but may also have changed slightly in coil/curl pattern — may require different handling methods and products. A change in our regimen may also be necessary when the ingredients of a staple product have been altered or our income has been adjusted. Whatever the reason for a change, it can be scary going from a familiar routine to a new one. Let these quick tips be a guide for you:
1. See what others with similar length, type, texture, AND density are doing.
It is not enough to just look at naturals with a similar hair type to yours. Look for those with your length (or a length to which you aspire), texture (i.e., fine, medium, or coarse strands — a measure of circumference), and density (that is, the number of strands on your head). Use women with two to all four of these characteristics as a starting point for adjusting your routine.
2. Find products with ingredients your hair loves.
This step is especially applicable if your staple product has new ingredients, is discontinued, or is now out of your budget. Begin your search for a replacement by looking for similar ingredients to your original staple product. Look for generics — for example, “Hair One” in place of “Wen”. Another option is to consider mixing your own product so that you do not have to rely on commercial ones, which may change at any time.
3. Understand the good and bad of what it is you want to incorporate into your regimen.
Do you want to incorporate heat usage? Do want to use conditioners containing silicones? Then make certain you research the good and the bad of such practices. Without understanding all aspects of what it is you want to incorporate into your regimen, such adjustments can adversely surprise you … and your hair.
4. Start with one adjustment at a time.
Making multiple changes to your regimen at once can make it difficult to identify the culprit if setbacks happen. This step especially applies to naturals who are new in their hair care journey.
5. Try your new product more than once and in various ways.
Products that fail to work the first time or via one method may work the second or third time or via another method. I have had this experience with such products as coconut oil, shea butter, and certain conditioners. While coconut oil fails to moisturize or seal my hair after a fresh wash, it is actually moisturizing when I use it as a pre-poo or mixed with shea butter as a sealant. While shea butter alone does nothing for my hair, it works very well when mixed with oils and even aloe vera gel.
Ladies, have you ever made a major change to your hair care regimen? Share your experience!