For any woman, with any hairstyle, who needs a simple guide to help jumpstart their daily regimen... As a woman of color, it can be hard to keep up with your hair every day. This does not mean that a daily hair routine is something to brush off. I read a quote somewhere that says "invest in your hair because it is your crown and it never comes off" (unless you decide to go bald)! Mornings are busy for us all; we have work, school, kids, pets, boyfriends or girlfriends, you name it! Taking a little extra time for yourself in the morning is a form of self-care. Taking time for yourself can lead to a healthier lifestyle and taking time for yourself in the morning leads to better days. No matter your hairstyle, I've come up with fast, easy steps on how to take care of your crown daily to ensure healthy hair that will speak for itself!
Knowing About Your HairFirst and foremost, know your hair type! Kinky hair is type 4, while curly hair is type 3. The curl pattern will determine if it is a, b, or c. It is even possible to have different kinds of hair types on one head. Whatever the majority is, it will help you at least get a feel for what type of products or methods you need to take care of your hair best. Your hair porosity is important to know because if your hair is the plant, then your scalp is the garden! You must nourish and moisturize it to prevent dryness and breakage.
Use The Right ProductsA widespread mistake when it comes to moisturizing hair is using the wrong products. Not knowing the porosity of your hair can cause this mistake. If you have a high porosity then your hair easily absorbs and loses moisture. If you have a low porosity then your hair has difficulty absorbing moisture. You want to use lighter products to avoid buildup of low porosity and heavier oils for high porosity to retain the moisture. Just knowing your hair type and porosity can lead you to better products for your hair, and that already puts you at an advantage for the best hair care you can give yourself.
Products You'll NeedYou have all the necessary starter information, so what's next? For naturals, my best advice is to go with the LOC (leave-in conditioner, oil, cream) method. It is the most straightforward way to give your hair the moisture it needs while ensuring retention. Your leave-in conditioner should be water-based because this is the first step and will give your hair the wake-up call that it needs for the day. Depending on your hair type and what your hair can handle, you can just let the "L" stand for liquid. If you chose to do this make sure you start with damp hair by wetting it with lukewarm water. Your oil that you will use will be dependent on your hair's porosity. Low porosity? Use something like grape-seed or argan oil. For high porosity use products along the lines of castor oil or shea butter. Using a cream is vital because this is what seals in the moisture. A thick, creamy moisturizer can also help define curls as well as help you start styling your hair into your desired look. Some styles might require you to do the LOC method overnight. Regardless, fix it up in the morning and add a little hydration if necessary.
Braids, Twists, or Single StylesProtective styling is a great low maintenance style; however, that should not equate to neglecting your real hair underneath. If you know what your hair needs to thrive, it should be easy to take a few minutes in the mornings to ensure it stays healthy. Due to your hair being in a protective style, you can do this every few days. If it is too much for your hair or not necessary then you can do this once or twice a week. Pay attention to how your hair behaves so that you can correctly determine how often would be best for you. Of course, your hair is covered, but the roots are even more exposed than usual! If anything, at the bare minimum, just spray your roots with water daily. They are thirsty and need water to survive. If you'd like to take it a step further, consider purchasing braid spray to keep the hair moisturized and itch-free. Depending on your hair's porosity, use the oil you'd usually use to nourish the scalp. You shuld do this as often as you can. Styling butter is an excellent product that will not only provide your hair with the vitamins and minerals it needs, but it can help control frizzing (as well as covering the hair at night).
Wearing This Style for Awhile?For those who will wear this style for a few months, consider tidying up the singles and redoing edges to keep the hair looking and smelling fresh. Going too long without any cleaning treatment can lead to buildup which only damages your real hair. Remember the goal of protective styling is to protect your natural hair, not to take a break from it! Using a dry shampoo or regular shampoo with a cloth can go a long way when it comes to "washing" the hair. When it comes to redoing the edges, not only will it keep your hair looking newer than it is, but keeping up with them will prevent them from weakening or getting pulled.
For LocsDreadlocks share similar maintenance with singles, but of course this time it's all natural. Once again, the most important thing to keep in mind is hydration and moisture. Our bodies are composed mostly of water and our hair is made up of 10 to 13 percent water so this is very important.
Key To SurvivalAt least with your locs, there are things you can do daily, weekly, and monthly. Breaking up your hair routine over periods of time will help make it less overwhelming. One thing is sure, every day you need to moisturize. Using a spray bottle to hydrate your roots is a great start. Follow up with the oil of your choice and massage it generously into your scalp. Weekly or bi-weekly get into the habit of shampooing and conditioning with all natural products. Deep conditioning can be done every other wash. You can also incorporate deep conditioning through a hot oil treatment which will help strengthen your hair. About once a month or so, re-twist the hair to keep the locs tight and looking fresh. Frequent re-twisting can break the hair, so do not be worried about locs looking new all the time. If you would like professional help with dreadlocks a loctician can help you. You can also do it yourself with dread cream or even just water if your hair doesn't need much adjustment.
Weaves & WigsJust as a new wig or weave is taken care of so you're looking your best, your natural hair underneath needs to feel it's best as well. If the weave is on point, but the natural hair underneath is crying for help, are you really on fleek? I'm not here to tell you how to have the best wig of the century, but how to care for your real hair that is just as important. Before getting a new weave or wig, make sure your natural hair is clean using a clarifying shampoo and deep conditioner to keep it extra moisturized. With a weave, wash your hair just as if it is your own. Make sure to comb frequently and gently while you wash so that it does not tangle easy.
Wigs Are FlexibleThe good thing about a wig is that you can take it off to wash your own hair. If your hair is braided underneath your wig you can use an applicator to get in between your hair and to the root. As often as you can, use an applicator to oil your scalp. Adding oil will help add hydration and moisture. Please don't be like me back in 2014, the girl who was so embarrassed by her natural hair that she wore weaves and wigs for months, back to back. This style should never exceed six to eight weeks. Your scalp needs to breathe and it needs to be thoroughly cleaned and hydrated. Your hair is also growing underneath, so it needs to be taken care of and redone so that the new growth isn't already stressed. We are royalty with beautiful crowns to uphold, and what we do with it says a lot about us. No matter how dead your hair looks you can bring it back to life with proper care. Taking care of your hair should never feel like a struggle or impossible to do because it's all easier than it seems. Hydration and moisture are key so incorporate that into your daily hair routine to have hair looking and feeling it's best! What are some things that you incorporate into your hair routine and what are the results? Let us know in the comments section.
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