Healthy hair requires your time, love and investment (not necessarily monetary). Everyone's hair grows, the average is 6 inches/year BUT it doesn't just happen - and it's usually as a result of judicious care. Here is our recommendation just in case you don't know where to begin.
Don't worry; a hair regimen doesn't need to be complicated or expensive, but you should make time to perform a basic set of steps on a regular basis to keep your mane as healthy as possible.
A hair care routine should consist of the following:
Daily styling aids
Black Cotton recommends you soak your hair completely in water then douse it in conditioner, this will allow your hair to easily detangle then using either your fingers or a really wide tooth comb undo your style sectioning it in big twists as you go along.
If you have time apply your favorite oil before you shampoo.
Taking out your style /
We do recommend using a co-wash. Co-Washing uses conditioner as opposed to regular shampoo to wash the hair. This is gentler as it doesn't strip your hair completely of all its natural oils but removes enough dirt from your hair.
If you don't have a co-wash then look for a good-quality, moisturizing no sulfate shampoo and use it at least once per week. Focus on cleansing the scalp first, rubbing in circular motions with the pads of your fingers (not the nails) and letting the motion of the water work the suds down the length of your hair. Diligently rub shampoo into your ends, which are the oldest and often the driest sections of your mane. Rinse thoroughly.
Good shampoos to try:
Jason Natural Apricot Shampoo
Kinky Curly Come Clean
Alaffia Shea & Virgin Coconut Enriching formula
Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo from SheaMoisture.
Follow up with a moisturizing conditioner. This is when you focus the product on the hair, not the scalp. Use a wide-tooth comb to work the conditioner through; you'll get better coverage this way. Look for conditioners designed for dry and/or damaged hair, as these usually contain the emollient ingredients that black hair needs. Instead of following a shampoo with a conditioner every time you need to clean your hair, you can co-wash instead, which is ideal for women who exercise frequently. You want rich, creamy formulas that completely coat your hair. Rinse out the conditioner with cold water. This closes the hair shaft, sealing in the goodness of the conditioner. If you want more moisture you can rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar (1/2 cup vinegar mixed with 2 cups water). No need to wash this out. Wait a few minutes and gently blot dry with towel, or preferably microfiber towel.
Good conditioners to try:
Carols Daughter Hair Smoothie
Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque by SheaMoisture
How often should you deep condition your hair? The answer depends a great deal on how dry your hair is. If you take care to condition it regularly and always use a leave-in conditioner after shampooing, you probably won't need deep treatments more than once or twice a month. If you apply a lot of heat to your hair, you may need to deep condition at least once a week. Find a product or products that work for your tresses;
Try these deep conditioning treatments:
ORS Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner
NuNAAT Karite Special Intensive Mask
Milk Protein & Olive Oil Really Deep Conditioning Treatment
Kenra Nourishing Masque
As with deep conditioners, how often you need a protein treatment depends a great deal on what you do to your hair. Protein treatments strengthen by reinforcing the hair shaft, especially the ends which are weaker and prone to breakage while adding shine. If your tresses are 100% natural, that is, no chemicals at all, including colour, your hair can be perfectly healthy without any major protein treatments; an occasional once in eight weeks mild reconstructor will keep your hair strong, but it's not required. On the other hand, if you colour and/or heat style your locks, you'll need more frequent and more intense treatments. These range from two-minute reconstructors you apply after a shampoo to spray versions that you add before styling; you may also need a serious treatment if you're experiencing extreme breakage.
Try protein treatments like:
Kenra Platinum Recovery Mask
ApHogee Keratin Two-Minute Reconstructor
Mizani Kerafuse Intense Strengthening Treatment
Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor for Damaged Hair Joico K-Pak
It is best to moisturize and seal before styling. There are literally tons of styling products for our hair. Most offer differing results depending on the final style you want to achieve. Want perfect ringlets on your natural 'do? Then look for water-based gels or curl creams. Are you flat ironing your mane? Then you'll need a good silicon-based heat protectant; a good smoothing serum may help as well. Prep hair for straightening by doing protein and deep conditioner beforehand. Rather than heat you can consider using the African threading method or twist method to stretch out the hair for 'puff' styles.
Natural hair in dry heat conditions will benefit from a daily moisturizer, especially when you focus on the ends, but you may also use mousse if you're creating a curly look via a straw set, Bantu knot set or braids. Apply to clean strands before using a flat iron. (oil will cook the hair).
Try products like:
Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Hair Repair Cream by Cantu,
Knot Today Conditioner by Kinky-Curly,
Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner,
Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie by SheaMoisture
Daily Styling Aids
Natural hair is what we do and the best way to retain and grow your mane is to choose protective styles that don't require daily manipulation. Kinky twists, braids, finger combs, cornrows and many more. The key is not to pull on the hair and most importantly don't leave your style in for too long.
Maintain every day - key to lasting success - Spritz with water+glyercin mix every 1-2 days. Glycerin is critical. It is a humectant, attracting moisture to the hair all day long. No regimen is complete without nightly protection in the form of a silk or satin hair cover or pillowcase!
Sticking to It
Now, all of this knowledge does you no good if you don’t make time to follow it! Each of us needs to determine a schedule that fits into our lifestyles, whether you're a student, corporate executive, busy mom or homemaker. Try scheduling hair tasks into a day planner, online/computer calendar, desk/wall calendar or whatever method best works for you. A sample regimen may look like this:
Sunday: Shampoo, condition, deep condition
Monday: Daily moisturizer
Tuesday: Daily moisturizer
Wednesday: Daily moisturizer
Thursday: Co-wash, moisturize
Twice this month: Two-minute protein treatment
Create your own hair regimen. Your goal may be longer hair, stronger hair or simply healthy hair. Follow a routine with products that work with your texture and good hair days will result.
Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair is a process where you grow out your processed hair in favor of your natural texture before cutting off the processed or damaged ends off (known as the big chop).
As your transition phase progresses, the different texture in your roots and relaxed hair will likely stand out like a sore thumb. Turn the attention away from your hairline by dazzling it up with a thick headband or headwrap that will conceal the new growth.
With bobby pins, you can create updos to tuck away your straight hair and let everyone focus on your natural texture. If there's ever a visible relaxed piece of hair, pin it up and out of sight.
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