Hair can be complicated and some days your hair doesn’t seem to care about working with you which can be very frustrating. My natural hair was and still can be a mystery to me, but getting to know my hair’s needs (and following a regimen) is my best bet if I want to grow my hair to my dream length (waist length). For a lot of women, not knowing what products work for their hair and also using methods that don’t work well for their hair are some of the things that sabotage their progress. A hair regimen is a great guide for women who are ready to take their hair to new lengths.
What is a hair regimen?
A hair regimen is a set of practices and routine that you follow in order to achieve the best possible results for your hair. This routine is simply a guide that will take you to the length you desire, while keeping you on track (if followed faithfully) during your journey. The objective of a hair regimen is to maintain healthy hair and with health you will then start to see your hair flourish and grow beyond what you’ve imagined.
How do I create a regimen?
Creating a regimen begins with you getting to know your hair. Knowing what type of products works best for your hair will play an integral role in the process of choosing your products. You don’t want to be a product junkie (buying every product in sight) because you will only be wasting money on products that won’t even work for your hair. So lets get started!
A good simple regimen should include:
- Moisturizing Shampoo
- Clarifying Shampoo
- Deep conditioner
- Protein Treatment
- Leave-in Conditioner
Moisturizing shampoo vs. Clarifying Shampoo
A shampoo is designed to cleanse your hair, and this is a must have in your regimen. A good rule to follow is to aim to cleanse your hair once per week and also to deep condition every time you shampoo. Having a clean scalp will promote healthy hair growth and this will ensure that your pores remain clear for your strands to grow. A moisturizing shampoo is easier on the hair than a clarifying shampoo. What I mean by this is that a moisturizing shampoo will strip the hair less of the sebum (natural oils produced by the scalp) on the hair and will leave it more moisturized. A clarifying shampoo is a stronger cleanser ( have sulphates)that will remove all product build-up from your hair and will leave the hair feeling stripped. It is very important to do a moisturizing deep conditioning treatment after using a clarifying shampoo to replenish the moisture lost in the hair. Both play their roles in a hair regimen, but a clarifying should not be used often (once per month).
Conditioner vs. Deep Conditioner
Conditioning is very important in a hair regimen, especially if you use a shampoo with sulphates. What a sulphate shampoo does is remove the product build-up, but the sulphate in the shampoo will leave the hair feeling very stripped and dry. The role of the conditioner is to replenish the moisture that was taken out of the hair by the shampoo. A deep conditioner on the other hand is as the name suggests, it is a moisturizing penetrating product that deeply moisturizes the hair and gives it the ability to be styled with minimal breakage. A deep conditioner is usually left on about 15-30 minutes and is formulated to penetrate the hair shaft for added moisture. You can also help the deep conditioner penetrate the hair even more by adding heat either through a steamer or simply putting a plastic cap/bag over the hair and securing to trap the heat. You can also wrap a warm,wet towel around the hair to help trap the heat in.
Hair is made up of the protein called keratin, and this means that at some point in time you will need to use a protein treatment on your hair to combat the breakage created by daily manipulation. Protein treatments provide the hair with strength to withstand frequent styling, and they repair the cracks in the hair shaft to prevent breakage. It is recommended to do protein treatments every 4-6 weeks, but it all depends on the type of treatment you use. If you use a heavy protein treatment such as the Apogee two-step treatment then the recommended time to use this is every 6-8 weeks. However, if you use a light/medium treatment then I would recommend using it every 2-4 weeks. Your hair will let you know what it needs so examine it and treat it as needed. If your hair is breaking even though it is moisturized then most likely that will mean that you need to do a protein treatment, but you don’t want to wait until it is breaking to give it some T.L.C.
A leave-in conditioner is just a lighter, thinner version of the regular rinse out conditioner that you use after shampooing. The difference is that it is lighter and have smaller molecules which makes it easier for the product to penetrate the hair, and of course you do not rinse it out. A leave-in conditioner is usually used after the washing and treatment processes to give the hair that extra moisture that it needs, but it can also be used on dry hair during daily styling.
You will need a moisturizing product to maintain the moisture level in your hair. Keeping you hair moisturized is one of the most important things that you have to do you keep your hair from breaking off. Water is the ultimate moisturizer and I use it everyday on my hair, but there are products out there that are water-based that will moisturize the hair. You should always choose a product that lists water as the first ingredient because other ingredients do not truly moisturize the hair. You need to figure out your hair’s porosity, hair density and hair type to know which kind of product will work best for you.
You want to moisturize your hair but you also want to keep that moisture locked into the hair as long as possible. This is where sealing comes into play. A sealant is a product (usually an oil or butter) that prevents the lovely moisture that you’ve just applied to your hair from escaping. This will ensure that the moisture stays in the hair as long as possible, and you will reap the benefits of having soft easy to handle hair. Some oils that are most commonly used to seal the hair are: olive oil, grape seed oil, almond oil, avocado oil, castor oil and coconut oil. I put coconut oil last because this oil carries a lot of controversy with it. Some say that it doesn’t seal the hair because it penetrates the hair, while others say they use it as a sealant and it was effective. Some butters that are also commonly used to seal the hair are raw shea butter, mango butter, and avocado butter. Use what works best for your hair. Try different products, find what works best for your hair and stick with it.
Here is a very simple sample regimen that you can use as a base in creating your own individualized regimen.
- Wash, condition and deep condition the hair. After completing the cleansing and conditioning process, you should apply your leave-in conditioner and seal the hair to retain moisture. You can then proceed to style you hair in whichever style you choose.
- Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize and seal. This is very important as this makes the hair more manageable. I moisturize my hair by spritzing my hair with warm water from a spray bottle( I use warm water because I have low porosity hair), then I apply aloe vera gel and seal with my shea butter mixture to keep the moisture in my hair. Moisture makes the hair elastic so it can manage the daily manipulation.
- Sleep with a satin/silk hair scarf or bonnet every single night. You want to protect your hair from rubbing on the cotton sheets and pillow cases because this will rob the hair of its moisture and cause breakage. You can also try sleeping on a satin pillow case if you don’t like wrapping your hair up.
- Every month or so you want to give you hair a good cleanse to remove all the build-up from you hair. Using a clarifying shampoo on your hair once per month will remove all the excess build-up that was not removed by you weekly shampoo. This will provide a clean slate for your hair to start receiving all the moisture from your products.
- Protein treatment.
- If you are using a light protein treatment such as a diy egg protein treatment, aphogee two minute reconstructor, or the ORS hair mayonnaise then you can add that in every other wash day or every 4th wash day. However, you can add a heavy protein treatment in every 6-8 weeks.
I didn’t add any products in the regimen because every hair calls for different products, so I just gave an outline which you can experiment with while you find the products that work best for your hair.
Give your hair some T.L.C and it will love you for it. Click here for more regimen ideas. So ladies if this post has helped you in any way please share it using the links below with your friends and family so they too can grow long healthy hair.Until next time, Happy Healthy Hair Journey!!!