Monday, October 10, 2011

Are we doing too much to our hair?

I recently updated my hair care regimen for a few reasons. Firstly, I was experiencing a set back, a product I loved had a new formula which did not agree with my hair and I suffered breakage due to it. I was in the middle of a 6th month stretch and as I was wearing my hair in braid outs and bantu knot outs updos and never straight I didn't notice until I looked at photos of my hair and realised I had lost quite a few inches. The second and third reasons are connected. Reason No. 2 was that I was spending way too much money on products and no. 3 is that my regimen was getting too complicated. I was going through conditioners and oils at a rapid rate and to be honest, I still was not getting the results I wanted.

Today I read an article by Audrey Sivasothy, author of the hugely popular hair care book called "The Science of Black Hair." She recently created a blog, so I follow that as I love anything hair-related. Anyway she was saying that we are doing too much and that it is all unsustainable in the end.

I know in the beginning of my hair journey I would prepoo with oil, put a shower cap on, go under the dryer for 20 minutes, then I would let that cool, then shampoo my hair, do a black tea rinse (when the craze had just begun), then add my conditioner mix to my hair with all the oils I had heard were good for our hair and then some. At one point I was using olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, soybean oil and wheatgerm oil with at least 3-4 different conditioners. I would then apply my mix to my hair like I was applying a relaxer. I would then put on a shower cap deep condition for 45 minutes and then wash that out and finish by roller setting my hair. Wash days took up several hours of my day and a lot of my time. Whew! Can you imagine.

Audrey maintains that all you need to do is cleanse, condition, moisturise followed by sealing and utilise low manipulation in its most basic forms. There is nothing fancy to it. She even says that you don't even need to add all of these oils to your condition, that is optional. She states that a oil/conditioner pre-poo is also optional.

I would agree with her that simple is best. It gets too complicated when you do too much and then your hair will become a chore. I will admit it, there was a time I skipped my mid-week wash because I was tired after returning from a hard day at work and it would have taken too much effort to do all those steps before heading to bed. Plus some of my oils were unable to even penetrate the hair shaft, so they were really a waste.

These days I am trying to keep it simple. I no longer do elaborate mixes to my hair although I still will continue to add coconut oil to my deep conditioner. I no longer deep condition with regular conditioners as I read that regular ones have particles which are too large and cannot penetrate the hair. I will continue to oil my hair before my washes as coconut oil and olive can penetrate the hair strands and can nourish the hair. Other than that, complicated hair regimens and tons of half used products are a no for me.

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