A healthy hair regimen can not be put together haphazardly. It has to be developed using techniques that have been proven to foster healthy hair time and again.
In this post, we will dissect and analyze the key elements of a healthy hair regimen. These elements make up a productive wash day and also include what should be done to care for the hair on a regular basis. Let’s start with the techniques to complete on wash day.
Detangling your hair creates manageability and facilitates the removal of shed hairs. There’s many ways to detangle your hair but depending on how delicate your hair is, you may opt to finger detangle or use a wide tooth comb.
Regardless to what method you use to detangle your hair, NEVER EVER do it on dry hair that’s void of products containing slip. When using a rinse out conditioner and/or oil, slip is added to your hair making it an optimal time to detangle.
If you wash weekly, detangling can be done while you are in the shower and have a load of conditioner in your hair. If you don’t wash your hair often, shed hairs will need to be removed before allowing water to hit your hair. Otherwise, you may be looking at some matted tresses before long.
The detangling part of your hair regimen can be multitasked to cut down on time during the next phase of your healthy hair regimen on wash day… The pre-poo.
The pre-poo is often an overlooked part of the hair regimen. Yet, without it you can be subjecting your hair to unnecessary damage – damage that could be avoided. The pre-poo is that part of your healthy hair regimen that you will incorporate on wash day and as early as the night before wash day.
Doing a scalp massage at the same time that you pre-poo will save you time on wash day. It stimulates blood flow in the scalp which in turn stimulates sebum (natural oils within the scalp) production and hair growth.
The scalp massage is a proactive way of promoting healthy hair and scalp. The pre-poo is a prophylactic measure that serves to protect your hair from hygral fatigue and protein loss which can often occur during the next phase of your healthy hair regimen which is cleansing your hair and scalp.
Cleansing your hair and scalp is the basis for healthy hair that grows. Excess oil, dirt and environmental debris is removed during this part of your healthy hair regimen. A shampoo is the most effective means for accomplishing cleansing. Shampoos are formulated specifically for that purpose and should be applied to your hair and scalp after you’ve allowed warm water to saturate the hair for 1-2 minutes. The warm water opens your hair’s cuticles so that your shampoo can do it’s work. Those cuticles will stay open for the conditioner to do it’s work as well.
Rather you choose a shampoo with or without sulfates is entirely up to you. Using a shampoo with sulfates will require you to be extra diligent with imparting moisture back to you hair. Usually washing with a sulfate based shampoo only requires one wash cycle.
Why didn’t I list co-washing as a means for cleansing? Simple. Co-washing your hair with a conditioner does not get it 100% clean. It coats the hair. It’s like putting lotion on your body in the shower. Eventually, you’ll need to clarify your hair to remove all of the product build up from constantly adding conditioners (which surface deposits) from your hair. You can opt to use a cleanser that’s specifically a co-wash product and that would be more effective than an ordinary rinse out conditioner. Yet, you may still need to use a shampoo or other clarifying substance to remove product build up after a while.
Deep Condition/Protein Treat
The deep conditioning process is the part of your healthy hair regimen that imparts your greatest amount of moisture. That’s because you are using a product that penetrates the hair cuticle to impart moisture that also leads to softer more pliable strands.
While deep conditioning should be done every wash day, using protein to strengthen your hair is not necessarily a requirement every wash day. If you chemically treat your hair, protein treatments are required more often. Otherwise, a good rule of thumb for strength and maintenance is to do protein treatments on a monthly basis.
You may also notice that lots of deep conditioners contain light proteins in them. When your hair is treated well, small doses of protein like what you find in some deep conditioners are sufficient. For breaking hair, stronger protein treatments like Aphoghee Two-Step are necessary.
Cool Water Rinse
After deep conditioning your hair, you’ll find that your hair is in it’s most pliable state. Moisture and manageability are imparted. From here you could rinse all product out of your hair and skip straight to styling but completing your final rinse with cool water helps to seal your hair’s cuticles so that the moisture you received from your conditionrt can be retained. An additional bonus is shine.
After cool water rinsing, applying aloe vera juice to your strands before your leave in conditioner is an option to use that will pH balance your hair.
Locking in Moisture
There is some debate about the ability to “seal” moisture into the hair. I’m not up for debating. All I know is what I’ve tried.
When I don’t use an oil or other sealant to lock moisture into my hair, it doesn’t stay moisturized very long. That’s because water evaporates. In my experience, placing a llight layer of oil over moist hair helps it to stay moisturized and softer longer.
That’s right. Just because you sealed in moisture on wash day, it doesn’t mean you won’t need to moisturize again until the next wash day. This is especially true if you wash infrequently. Some ladies can go days without moisturizing. Others need to add a mid-week to every other day moisturizing session to their regimen.
I like to moisturize my ends almost daily. Since they are older than the rest of the hair on the head, they need a little extra TLC. If you wear your hair out often, your ends are prone to drying out so moisturizing them daily can keep them healthy.
Just like protein treatments, trimming your hair is not something you should need to do often unless you are damaging it with chemicals and/or hair accessories on a regular basis. The only other reason you’d want to trim obsessively is you want to have blunt ends all the time.
Just bear in mind that blunt ends all the time = the same length of hair all the time. You won’t retain much length because you’ll be cutting most to all of the amount of hair you’ve grown to maintain that blunt look. Nothing’s wrong with that. Just be aware that cutting frequently when you don’t really have to will cause your hair’s length to remain pretty much the same. If you have lofty length goals in mind, trim only as needed.
A Word on Styling
No hair regimen is complete without styling the hair. It’s not like you will just wash and go….(no pun intended). Some effort is required to style your hair and how you choose to handle your delicate strands will determine if your styling is enhancing the beauty of your hair or harming it.
For a hair regimen to be deemed healthy, we’d be remiss in not practicing low manipulation and/or protective styling.
Low maniplation styling helps keep your hair healthy because you’re cutting down on handling it. Since hair is a fiber, it needs to be preserved. The less you handle your hair, the less you’ll wear it out so to speak.
Protective styling on the other hand, helps keep your hair healthy by “protecting” it from the elements around it. That is weather related elements and fabrics such as your bed sheets and your clothing. Even if you never protective style, cutting back on how much you handle your hair is essential to a healthy hair regimen.
There are other routines that can be added to a healthy hair regimen on a seasonal basis like steaming and hot oil treatments. These practices are often done during the colder months. Here are some links to articles written on the subjects: