Read this before you buy anything else!!!


New Member
We often come here and start asking questions about products...Which are the best, which ones should I use etc..... The problem with this is that we miss out on the fundamentals. It is important to have a strong foundation of knowledge before you venture out to buy anything. Many of us including myself have gotten caught up in a cycle of buying products and still not seeing result. A year later all you have left to show for it is a graveyard of stuff you don't use anymore and no added inches of hair. DON'T BECOME A PJ FOR NO REASON!!!!! Before you buy anything else, there are a couple of things you need to know and understand.

This site has a ton of information and I know that it can be overwhelming. We, (Gymfreak and Artemis) have put together the Top Ten things you need to know before you spend any more cash. We have also included links to some of the most valuable and often overlooked information of this site. Whether you are a newbie or starting to be an old head like me, there is no substitute for basic hair care knowledge. Instead of worrying about what product to use (in terms of brand) or if one is better than the other, First know WHAT to use and WHEN to use it. You can't make educated product choices until you understand what you need first. Many times we use something, have a bad experience, say its crap, but really, the problem was that you shouldn't have used that kind of product to begin with.

This top ten will help guide you into developing a hair care regime that will send you on your way to the hair you always wanted.

Number 1

No one can stress this enough…. Learning about Protein/Moisture balance is one the first and most important things you need to understand inside and out. Think of your hair strands as a scale. Protein on one side, moisture on another; your goal is to keep the balance as steady as possible. Too much on either side will through off your balance and throw you into hair hell. :heated::jail:
Here are some links that break it down![/QUOTE][/QUOTE]
Number 2
The Difference Between Clarifying and Chelating…

First off, please keep in mind that each hair product has a purpose. Once we learn and understand the function behind each product we own, we can move forward in making better decisions in regards to our hair...

Now…Clarifying shampoo is meant to eliminate product buildup from the hair, and shouldn‘t be used every wash. If you use silicones or greases heavily on a regular basis, you can benefit from clarifying once a month or so. Regular shampooing should be sufficient in removing regular buildup on a regular basis. It's the method of your shampooing (in conjunction with using the right shampoo for your hair type) that gets the scalp and hair clean, not just the products.

Chelating products remove product buildup, chlorine, calcium, and medication deposits from the hair, so they are more thorough. A chelating product penetrates the strands all the way to the cortex and is also ideal for balancing the hair prior to chemical services so that the results will be even. So, really these products aren't meant for frequent use unless you have a specific need for them, like if you have hard water.

Here are threads that explains this in more detail (from LHC‘s Heidi):

So ideally, regular shampooing will get your scalp and hair clean if you do it correctly. No need to go out and buy all new stuff unless you have an extremely coating conditioning shampoo or a shampoo with a high pH, in which case, just swing by wal-mart and spend a few bucks on like Tresemme or something till you get your bearings.
Number 3


If you are constantly dealing with dryness, you might want to also look into checking your hair’s porosity. :antlers:
What is your porosity and why should I care?
Porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb materials like water into the hair. Think about it like a sponge. First of all imagine a brand new sponge. It will have tiny holes in it, and when you immerse it in water, it will soak up a large quantity, and be able to hold that liquid for a long period of time. This is because it has good porosity. Now imagine an old sponge. Its holes have become damaged and distorted. It might even be torn in some areas. When you immerse this sponge in the same amount of liquid, it will absorb far less and will certainly not be able to retain the moisture so readily. You should care about your porosity because Hair that has poor porosity will not be able to absorb or retain moisture as well as hair that has good porosity, making hair permanently dry. Poor porosity can and will cause breakage issues too.
How to test your porosity
One way- Test the porosity of your hair. In order to test accurately for porosity, use three different areas: front hairline, in front of ears, and near the crown. Grasp small strands of dry hair and comb smoothly. Hold the ends firmly with the thumb and index finger of one hand and slide the fingers of the other hand from the ends towards the scalp. If the fingers do not slide easily, or if the hair ruffles up as your fingers slide down the stand, the hair is porous.
The more ruffles formed, the more porous is the hair. The less ruffles formed, the less porous is the hair. If the fingers slide easily and no ruffles are formed, the cuticle layer lays close to the hair shaft. This type of hair is least porous, is most resistant and will require a longer processing time.

How do I fix it
In order to help correct porosity issues, you need to focus on keeping your hair cuticles as smooth and flat as possible. Clear rinses, protein treatments and watching the pH of your products will all help with your porosity.
For more detailed info check out these links[/QUOTE][/QUOTE]
Number 4
Before you start throwing out products, try simply changing the way you use them first. Many of us have thrown out stuff when we first started out, just to return to it later. Try the CWC method with your existing conditioners. Try increasing the time of your deep conditioning treatments. Try wet setting if you don't already. Change your styling tools like use a shower comb instead of a fine toothed comb. Sometimes we only needed to make small tweaks to our existing regime in the first place.

CWC means "Condition-Wash-Condition" by Martine (LHC):

Sistaslick Regimen Building for Newbies:
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Number 5

Protein seems to be one the most confusing things for alot of people. Here is some info that hopefully will help.

For starters, proteins come in different strengths. One easy way to help gauge the strength of a protein is too look at the smell, consistency and the color. In general, the darker, stinkier, and more liquid a protein conditioner is, the stronger :boxing:it is

Cosmetic chemists use lots of different kinda of proteins in conditioners. Here is some info about different ones

All proteins are strengthening proteins to some degree but here are more specific characteristics of these proteins:

Collagen Proteins -- known for increasing elasticity in the hair.

Silk Proteins -- known for softening the hair.

Wheat Proteins -- a moisturizing and strengthening protein. Known for increasing the hair's ability to maintain & receive moisture.

Keratin Protein -- responsible for keeping the hair strong and pliable. This is the strongest of the (hair product) proteins and is actually the one hair is made from. This one re-structures hair that has been damaged or broken down by chemicals. It helps to replace the amino acid cysteine which is the main one lost during chemical processing. This is the heavy duty protein. If you see the following as an ingredient:

*a) Keratin protein -- the will re-structure and strengthen the hair cuticle (the outer layer only & the most important layer)

*b) Hydrolyzed Keratin Protein of Keratin Amino Acids -- this means that the Keratin molecules have been broken down and are small enough to go beyond the cuticle and penetrate the hair shaft. It will strengthen all 3 layers of the hair. That is why the term "deep conditioning" technically only refers to this kind of treatment using penetrating proteins.

*c) Hydrolyzed Human Hair Keratin -- This is an exact match for the keratin your hair has (or has lost due to chemical processing). This is the highest quality and most potent keratin that can be used in hair products.

*Vegetable protein -- Vegetable protein absorbs more easily into the hair shaft (than animal protein) and does not create build-up, leaves the hair very shiny, radiant, luxuriant, and healthy.

*Animal protein -- Animal protein breaks down into fatty acids, which coats the hair and create residual build-up.

Silk Amino Acids/Protein -- Natural Silk is the strongest, natural fiber known to mankind. Discovered in Japan and has been used for centuries in all kinds of products that require durability. Silk has a tiny molecule that can penetrate the entire hair shaft deeper than all other proteins without adding any weight leaving the hair feeling clean and non-greasy.

The link for the info above is here

Just because a product has protein in the ingredients doesn't make it a protein conditioner. Read here

Silk proteins are extremely benefical for relaxed hair. Navs broke it down here.
Number 6 & 7
What’s your Hair type? Know it, Love it, Embrace it, and Find your Cousins!

Here’s a link to an all-inclusive way to find your hair type. Hopefully you’ll find it helpful:

No matter what your hair type, embrace what you have and work with it to keep it healthy and strong. No hair type is better than another; each type has its own strengths and weaknesses. The key to healthy hair is to learn what your hair can and cannot do, and embrace these facts. This allows you to be able to better tailor your regimen to fit your hair’s individual needs. It also makes it easier to stay consistent with your hair care.

Hair type and texture are everything and plays a part in what products and methods your hair loves and hates. While some products will work for most people across the board and are among the favorites here, when it comes to what is best for you and your hair, looking to people with your similar hair is invaluable.

For example, if you have fine hair, and you use a moisturizer that is better suited for someone with coarse hair, you may find that the product ends up being too much for your hair, resulting in breakage.

A strand of hair can generally have anywhere from 3 to 10 layers of cuticles on the shaft; fine hair on the lower end and coarse hair on the higher end…Fine hair has less cuticle layers than medium and coarse hair and many fine haired ladies tend not to use much, if any, product on their after styling. Coarse hair, however, can have as many as 10 (and sometimes up to 13) cuticle layers on the strand and has more room for the necessary moisture. Thusly, it takes a lot more product to weigh down coarse hair than fine or medium hair.

In addition to strand thickness, overall density of the hair is important to take into consideration when sorting through product recommendations. Thin hair may need more volumizing products while thicker hair may benefit from more smoothing products. So many factors come into play when searching for the right products for you, who better to help with this than your hair cousins?

Finding people who have similar hair types and concerns can help you figure which products you should try out, and which ones to just avoid. It helps narrow the search and it’ll also keep the hair care journey less overwhelming.

Find your hair twin and/or cousin:
I wish I'd read this before I started being a PJ. I think when you're new, everything is so new and exciting and you're hopeful that everything that worked for someone else will work for you. I'm just about over it though *whew* good thread.
My plan for 2008 is to tighten my regimen, and part of that is pinning down my staple products. Your list helps with that. I read all of it, and I am sure I will again, before my next BSS trip. THANK YOU TO BOTH OF YOU. :kiss:
Gym & Artemis,

You two ROCK! This is so informative; I do recall the other thread that you referenced Sistaslick.

Thanks again; will be subscribing to this one! :yep:
you all did the Da@* thing! Someone needs to pin this!!!
I wish I had this when I first joined...darn this post is the bomb. I also nominate it for a sticky. At the least I'm going to subscribe so I can have it as a reference from here on out. Thanks ladies you 're the best :kiss:
Gym & Artemis,

Very nice work on this thread. :up:

This should DEFINITELY be made a sticky!!! Excellent work ladies!! I have read the articles that you linked and it's a wealth of information!! Thanks so much!!! I had to share this with as many as I could, I hope ya'll don't mind. This was an awesome thread!!!:grin::grin::grin:
wow wow wow wow, this is a wealth of information. Wonderful, absolutely wonderful. I vote sticky for sure.
Wow! Very concise info that is so needed by all of us here! I appreciate the time and energy that you two fine, intelligent, and caring women have invested in educating us! :yep: