August 3, 2009

The X Factor of Hair Care

Our hair is versatile and what may work for you may not work for the other person. If your hair is misbehaving and not delivery the styles you desire their may be a few main types of products/ingredients that are hindering your tresses from showing its full glory.

Water

This is a little bit complicated but should be considered. Water is great to our hair, it allows it to be easier to detangle, adds moisture and makes the hair more pliable when setting. BUT water may not be the best main ingredient when looking for a moisturizer. Water is a natural humectant and when high amounts are added to a moisturizer it can cause some peoples hair to shrink and "puff", be unable to retain a curl pattern or set. It also may add 'frizzies' to the hair and prevent it from maintaining its smoothness. This does not mean that a product has to not have any water to prevent these symptoms, it is more so about ratios or amounts of water when compared to other ingredients in the product, the more water the more likely to experience shrinkage, 'frizzies', etc.


People have success with water based everything, from moisturizers to leave-ins and daily spritzing, their hair thrives on water but this isn't true for all naturals whether it be a choice concerning lifestyle or neccesity.

Examples: Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream, Karen's Body Beautiful Hair Milk, Karen's Body Beautiful Hair Nectar, Carol's Daughter Hair Milk, Oyin Handmade Frank Juice Nourishing Herbal Leave-In, Ohm Body Sweet Hair Pudding


Oils


Their are many naturals that thrive when products with oils are used in abundance in their hair, I am one of them. Oils add sheen or shine to hair, locks in moisture, smooth and prevent 'frizzies' and maintain the health of the scalp and hair. They can be found in high amounts in products such as pomades, moisturizers, cleansers and conditioners. Their are naturals that will disagree and say that oils only 'sit' on their hair and scalp, add no benefits to the health of their hair and opt for more water based products.


Large
amounts of oil in conditioners and moisturizers give many naturals vibrant healthy hair.

Examples: Qhemet Biologics Amla & Oilve Heavy Cream, Qhemet Biologics Amla Oil Nourishing Pomade, Carol's Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey, Oyin Hand Made Burnt Sugar Pomade, Jane Carter Solution Nourish and Shine, Jane Carter Solution Hair Nourishing Cream, Karen's Body Beautiful Hair Butter, Ohm Body Avocado Hair Custard.


Silicones

Silicones are able to smooth, detangle, condition and define the natural curl pattern if it agrees with your hair. For many naturals though silicones coat the hair, make it look lackluster, brittle and dry after continuous use. Clarifying the hair and scalp on a regular basis is essential when using silicones daily. The key term when it comes to silicones is minimal use. Silicones create a barrier preventing needed moisture from penetrating the hair. When I first embraced my natural hair I used conditioners that had large amounts of silicones. I noticed that after 3 days of doing a co-wash my hair was lackluster, brittle and just unmanageable. Slowly I stopped using conditioners with silicones in it for co-washing and as a leave-in and my hair has never felt better. I do use deep treatments that have dimethicone in it which is a type of silicone but this is used every other week and I do my best to wash out all the conditioner before I proceed to styling.


Examples: Most retail brand conditioners such as Herbal Essences Conditioners, Pantene Conditioners, Tressemme Conditioners & most salon brand conditioners such as Kera Care, Mizani, Joico and Redken.


Petro-Chemicals/Waxes

Many naturals already know the dangers of using products that have petro-chemicals and/or waxes in them. Their are naturals that use products with these ingredients and their hair is thriving which is great but if you notice dryness/brittleness, a lackluster appearance, itching on the scalp, build up and plain unmanageable than you may want to try not using a product with these ingredients for a while and see if the health of your hair changes for the better.


Some naturals with locs use products heavy with waxes and what may begin to happen is a weakening of the roots. The hair at the roots begin to look flat and thin while the weight of the hair becomes more visible closer to the ends. Consistant thickness throughout the length of the hair is a strong sign of the health of one's hair.

Examples:
Old School Grease (Blue Magic, Dax, Ultra Sheen, etc.), Murray's Beeswax, Queen Helene Cholesterol and Sulfur 8 Scalp Conditioner


Butters


Whether it is shea butter, hemp seed butter, mango butter, olive oil butter and the list goes on, some naturals' hair hates it and others love it, I am one of them that loves it. My hair loves shea butter. It leaves my hair smooth, manageable and gives a great shine. Some naturals will disagree and say it weighs their hair down, prevents curl definition and causes them to be constantly washing their hair to revive it. These naturals normally will gravitate to light oils like coconut, extra virgin olive oil, sweet almond oil or avocado oil to maintain a sheen and lock in moisture. The point is if you like oils that doesn't mean you'll like butters, thankfully my hair likes both.
If you use butters and you notice some of the negatives listed above you may want to try not using them for a few days after a wash and see how you hair responds.


Sulfates


The 'enemy' to moisture drenched tresses, not for everyone. Sulfates can cause severely dry and brittle hair for many naturals but it is also about frequency and the product. I have a sulfate shampoo and use it rarely but when I have over the last 5 years it has never made my hair brittle and my hair is always squeaky clean. I can say it is comparable to Kiss My Face but with sulfates. It is about what your hair likes. I've used many other sulfate based shampoos and have had horrors with my hair. It was extremely dry, brittle, no curl definition and unmanageable for 3 to 4 days after a wash. My hair had to 'recover' before it felt normal again. If you use a sulfate shampoo and have these results you may want to rethink it. Its causing more damage to your hair than it is helping it. Sulfates that dry our hair makes it more susceptible to split ends and knotting. Sulfates are harsh detergents that can strip natural oils from our hair leaving it vulnerable.

Examples: most retail and salon brand shampoos (try brands like Eulecence, Qhemet Biologics, Kiss My Face, Avalon, Aubrey Organics, Curls, Carol's Daughter, Dr. Bronner Shikakai Soaps and African Black Soap as alternatives to sulfate shampoos)


Keep in mind that what works for another naturals hair may not work for your hair. As you have seen my hair loves products that have a lot of oil content, whether they are conditioners, moisturizers, pomades, and natural butters and oils, my hair loves it. You may have to adjust your routine and products to attain the results you want. It will take time but it is well worth it, have fun!

2 comments:

livin2luv said...

Great information. My hair loves butters and oils too. Products like Karen's hair milk will shrink my poor little fro to the extreme! I guess its all trial and error.

Chai said...

Great post!A lot of the info I had to learn through trial and error as well...it's all part of the natural process, but nonetheless a tad frustrating