What is your hair care regimen?
I wash and deep condition my hair every three to four days. I make my hair into four braided sections (thanks Chicoro!), washing and rinsing each section at a time, then loosely rebraiding when done. I comb a good moisturizing conditioner through each section, rebraid, then deep condition my hair for 30 to 45 minutes using just a plastic cap (no dryer). While under the shower, I rinse and detangle my hair in sections, using a wide-toothed Jilbere shower comb. I have hardly any tangles this way–my comb just slips through with no hair in the comb. Wash day is the only time I comb my hair and I use the force of the shower water to help with any detangling.
Every four weeks or so I pre-poo my dry hair, applying a protein reconstructor for about 30 minutes to strengthen my hair, covering with a plastic cap. I then shampoo and deep condition as usual.
My hair is partially relaxed or “texlaxed”, meaning I leave the relaxer on my hair for a brief period of time (10 minutes), a technique I discovered by accident and now do on purpose. The result is that I retain some of my natural texture and have stronger, thicker hair. I self-relax my hair this way every 13 weeks or longer. Stretching out the relaxer is much healthier for my hair and also contributes to thicker, stronger hair.
Last fall, I started giving myself regular little trims for the first time, not for split ends (I rarely get split ends) but to see if there is anything to the lunar trimming technique many of the ladies do to increase growth, thickness and other hair beauty results. I’m still learning about this and have no conclusions yet.
I also learned a few months ago from several ladies here at LHCF how to permanently, healthfully and safely color my hair (including some gray strands) using body art quality henna, which is this only kind of henna that is perfectly safe for relaxed hair. I learned how to mix henna, amla and indigo to get my natural shade of dark brown/auburn. I also learned much from www.hennaforhair.com and www.hennasooq.com .
- Nexus Phyto Organics Theratin Extreme Moisture shampoo
- Nexus Humectress Moisturizing conditioner or Nexus Phyto Organics Humectin Extreme Moisture conditioner
- Giovanni Direct Leave-in
- Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade (good for hair in humidity)
- Aveda Brilliant Emollient (serum)
- Verifen Constant Care for Ends
- Nexus Keraphix Protein Reconstructor
- Gentle Treatment No-lye Relaxer Regular Strength
Hair Accessories & Tools
- Jilbere shower comb
- Good Hair Days pins
- Magnetic rollers
- Long duckbill clips for rollers
- Silk and satin scarves and bonnets
- Plastic caps
- Silk and satin pillowcases
- Caruso Steam Roller system (infuses moisture into the hair)
- ION Soft Bonnet Dryer (used for emergencies on the cool setting only)
I continue to look for ways to simplify my regimen as much as possible while keeping my hair care fun. When I first discovered LHCF four years ago, I threw out all heating tools and learned how to airdry my hair for the first time, which keeps it moisturized with much more body. Forcing myself to style my hair without heat led me to quickly learn new ways to “straighten” and smooth out my hair.
I learned from one of the ladies here how to rollerset my hair using the easy method of making several ponytails after applying a leave-in conditioner and sealing the moisture with an oil. I secure the wet ponytails with safe Scunci Hair Hosiery bands (I spray the bands with olive oil first) then roll each ponytail up on medium or large magnetic rollers. I also learned to make sure my hair is dripping wet (spraying more water if necessary) before rolling up my hair and not adding other products–just a leave-in conditioner and water (thanks Macherieamour!). This gives me even more shine, smoothness and body after airdrying–much better than using heat.
From that point, I could style my hair in any style I wanted, including updos I looked good in, using my hands only–no combing. My favorites are the low braided bun in the back or side, the French Twist, a ponytail, and a braided updo. For the first six months of my hair care, rotating among these protective styles helped to restore the health and thickness of my hair. I continue to wear these styles, not just for protection but because they look good on me.
I love to wear my hair in a braidout, especially during the summer, making four braids on my airdried hair. I don’t use extra product on my hair before braiding except when moisturizing the ends. After just an hour, I would have very pretty, loose waves with lots of body. Then I would apply a little serum for shine or Aveda Anti-Humectant to reduce frizz when humid. Braidouts blend in well when newgrowth starts showing and it holds up a little better in humidity.
In the past year, I started wearing my rollersets as a style (rather than just for straightening), airdrying my hair in a rollerset overnight, using slightly smaller rollers for curls. I don’t comb my rollersets out, I just fluff it out a little with my hands and I’m good to go. I’ve accepted that my hair would appear shorter with curls and rollersets became yet another favorite style to wear. I maintain my rollersets by pincurling my hair at night, which works beautifully.
In recent months, I’ve been rollersetting in an even easier way (thanks Silver2! ) with less manipulation, which I modified for my use. After applying my leave-in and oils to seal in the moisture, I tie a satin scarf tightly on my wet hair, covering all of the top and sides of my hair. This leaves the length of my hair hanging down the back. Then I partially roll up sections of my wet hair with magnetic rollers (using six to eight purple or gray rollers). I airdry my hair overnight this way and the result is hair very smooth and close to the scalp with the length of the hair semi-straight (my hair is not relaxed straight so I have texture) with pretty curls at the ends. I just separate it a little with my hands (no combing) and I have a beautiful, bouncy, shiny rollerset. This method is perfect when stretching out the relaxer, keeping the newgrowth nice and smooth.
Do you take any supplements? If so, what are they?
Except for the MSM (which I started taking last year), the few supplements I take I started long before my hair care journey for my overall health. I take a tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily, usually in my food. My daily supplements include brewer’s yeast, vitamin C, zinc lozenges, iron, B-12, grapeseed extract and spirulina.
Currently, how long is your hair and what is your hair type?
I have never officially measured my hair in inches or worn it straight but my hair hits my waist when stretched. My hair type is mainly 4b (with patches of 4a at the crown).
What are the things that you feel have helped you the most in achieving and maintaining your hair length?
The keys that helped me the most have been:
- Keeping my hair moisturized, especially the ends, has helped me to retain my length.
- Eliminating heat which I’ve done since 2003 has made a huge difference for my hair–restoring thin, breaking, see-through hair to thick, healthy hair.
- Not combing my hair except on wash day when wet has made a big difference in reducing manipulation and stress on the hair.
- Sleeping in a silk or satin scarf (I also sleep on a silk pillowcase) keeps my hair moisturized at night and prevents my hair from any breakage.
- Eating a very healthy diet with lots of fresh vegetables, fruit and protein is good for my body and my hair. I avoid sugar, soft drinks, processed and starchy foods and enjoy a vegetarian diet (with some dairy and eggs).
- Drinking at least 1/2 my weight in ounces of water daily moisturizes my hair from the inside out.
- Daily exercise helps to keep more blood flowing to the scalp. My favorite exercise is walking 30 minutes or more each day.
- Maintaining a loving attitude towards my hair, being open to new ideas about hair care, helping others with their hair and making sure my hair journey is always fun has helped me the most.