Before I get any further in this piece, let me make one thing abundantly clear:
If your hair is heat damaged, nothing, I repeat, nothing I mention after this sentence is going to help restore your curl pattern. Damage is damage is damage. Trust me. I know from experience.
Moving right along…
If you follow me on Instagram (why do I feel like 87% of my articles start that way now? But I digress…), then you know I spent the better part of a week with straight-esque hair. I flat ironed my hair after a 4 month hiatus from heat, and I was semi-pleased with the results. On the plus side, my hair was thick as all get-out. On the down side, I experimented with a Redken product at the recommendation of someone from Ulta and I HATED it. Like, nothing redeeming about the product. Somewhere in the middle of the road, I’m toying with the notion that I’ll likely never see that super sleek and straight hair again…unless I find a hairdresser that can flat iron the crap out of my hair without damaging it (highly unlikely). All that aside, I am always happy to report successfully straightening my hair and being able to bounce back without a curl out of whack. Of course, I still have the same heat damage I’ve always had, but nothing new. How? Well, there are two steps:
Step 1: Prevent it in the first place. Click here to read about how I prevent heat damage when flat ironing.
Step 2: Rehabilitate those curls and coils.
We’re here to talk about step 2. Luckily, step 2 only consists of 4 really easy parts, which you probably do in some form or fashion already. But to rehab the hair, kick each one up a notch.
Ready? Let’s explore.
Part I: Water-Based Pre-poo.
There are a million reasons why the pre-poo is important to natural and transitioning hair. But in the process of reversion, it is an integral step. When hair is straightened, we tend to avoid water or water-based anything to prevent hair from reverting to its natural state. That’s all well and good, until we start talking moisture. There’s only so much serums (many of which are silicone-based anyway), oils, and butter whips can do. Our hair needs and craves true moisture from water. So to stave off breakage and prepare the hair to return to normal, a water-based pre-poo is in order. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated, your favorite conditioner will do just fine. Right now, my personal pre-poo preferences are Kurlee Belle Banana Nut & Avocado Deep Treatment and Soultanicals Knot Sauce. Both are super duper slippy, and contain amazing ingredients. Don’t worry, an in-depth review is coming soon. Whatever product you choose, make sure it is water (or aloe vera juice) based. As an added bonus, if you’re able to steam the hair then do so. Pack in as much moisture as you can! I personally whip out the Q‑Redew for pre-pooing, but you can find a list of alternative ways to get your steam on here.
Part II: Really Clean Your Hair
Post straightening stint is really not the time for a cowash. Let’s face it: you’ve got buildup. If you’re anything like me, you probably used 2–3 products to protect and straighten, added oils and serums throughout the week to maintain softness, and sweated to high heaven at the gym. With all that going on, a cowash is not going to cut it. At the very least, you need a diluted shampoo or shampoo bar. Something that will produce some sort of lather, and lift up everything you’ve put down. For this step, I personally enjoyed using Obia Natural Hair Care’s Coconut Shea Shampoo Bar or Soultanicals Honey I Shrunk the Frizz Strand Poo Bar. Gentle, effective cleansing without drying the hair. Of course, Soultanicals review coming soon!
Part III: Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep Condition
Of all the steps, I think this one is the most important. After enduring processes that have zapped the moisture out of your hair, deep conditioning is a must-do. Preferably, a deep conditioner known to moisturize, penetrate, and nourish the hair and scalp. On top of that, the longer you can let it sit on the better. Yes, most deep conditioners are going to do their repairative work within 30 minutes. But I personally believe that the longer your hair can sit in a wet/dampened environment slathered in conditioner after a straightening binge, the better off it will be (just not overnight). This particular time around, I have been boo-lovin’ on All Things O’ Natural Natty Cupuacu & Rhassoul Deep Conditioner (review coming soon…I promise). I sat with that tootsie-roll smelling, slip-havin’, moisturizing, deep conditioner in my hair for 2 hours. Then, I rinsed it out, turned around and slapped some more into my hair as a leave-in base for my wash n’ go. Which takes me to my next point…
Part IV: Give Your Hair A Chance to CHILL
After you’ve done all these steps and gotten your curls to bounce back with a vengeance, you might be tempted to go straight into another style, or even stretch them out a little. Don’t. You just spent so much time pouring back into your hair what it has missed out on. Give it some time to absorb the goodness of being back to normal. If you can, try and stick with a one-and-done style like a wash n’ go. Or a bun. Something that requires minimal effort and manipulation. My style of choice is a wash n’ go, featuring the aforementioned DC and Soultanicals Curl Blaze Hair Glaze (my new MUST HAVE). Sidebar: can you tell that EVERYTHING Soultanicals makes is amazing? Yeah.
See! Not that bad. What are some of your favorite ways to rehab your hair after a straightened or stretched stint?