As someone previously stated, there are no rules, just guidelines. This is exactly true, they are guidelines, but somewhere along the line, they became things we are supposed to follow and that’s where alot of confusion began.
This post will focus on methods and techniques. Lets Go!
Air drying versus heat treating:
When I started my journey, air drying was heavily promoted. It still is. Granted, it is healthier and for a while, it was for me. Eventually, air drying became too much. When my hair was bone straight, air drying was a breeze. Now that I look like I was just electrocuted air dried, this style is a luxury.
Rollersetting involves indirect heat, and while its better for you, the way I see it, its still some heat. Flat ironing and blow drying in direct heat.
Whichever helps you with retention, go for it. Each method has its benefits and shortcomings depending on the person. I like to have air dried hair but it is too much maintenance and increases breakage for me so roller set it is. Some people prefer to flat iron, and while that too much heat for me, retention is possible! Some people don’t want to be bothered with heat, its no fuss, and who can blame them.
It’s not a crime to use heat, just use it wisely and make protein your best friend, even with indirect heat.
This subject is a peeve of mine. In the beginning of my journey I actually stopped combing my hair. I only combed on washed days, and the other days was finger detangling. Why? Because I was so obsessed with breakage and keeping my hair. It worked GREAT at first, but no one tells you that with finger detangling you better have a fresh manicure every day, no broken skin on your fingers and an hour to spare to gently detangle (so you don’t rip through your poor head). For me, this wasn’t an exaggeration. I like finger combing, still do when I can, but my hands are subject to washing at least 8x a day due to work, so even with Nailtiques as a nail bodyguard, I still get cracks and side/end nail splits along with broken nails 😦
The finger combing was not for me, so I went back to combing. Later I invested in seamless combs slowly and I was on top of the world when the breakage reduced dramatically. I comb before I wash, rinsing DC, during roller setting, to wrap my hair and almost daily. I get my shed hairs out almost daily. It doesn’t bother me honestly.
I’m not saying don’t comb your hair, or comb it more, but there are some people who need to comb daily for whatever reason. I’m one of them. I like consistent shedding. Combing is frowned upon and I don’t get why. I mean, I understand why its frowned upon, but like anything, the wrong technique will fail you. Fingers in the hair syndrome can be hurtful if done too much. The only hairs that can get saved are those that are still in the growing phase. Those that are shed are not growing and will fall eventually. I used to feel guilty for combing my hair on a daily basis, but one thing I will admit, I deal with less knots, tangling and less shedding on wash day.
I wish I could not comb, my arms already look like Angela Bassett’s so I need no more reason to work them out lol, but for those of you who wish to comb daily or often, and not abuse it with 100 strokes a day (I barely do 20 between styling in the morning and pulling my hair up at night), know that I’m doing it with you. I usually comb 4 days a week, if that makes anyone feel better lol. The only times I don’t comb daily is when I PS with twist outs. Just finger detangle. But that’s not often.
Its not a rule you don’t comb, just suggested you comb less. TRUST ME, I comb WAYYYYYY less than before my journey. I went from combing almost hourly to 2x a day -> 4 days a week and when I do twist outs, 1-2x a week.
I make it no secret I don’t prepoo. Sometimes I feel like the only one. I don’t do it because it weighs my hair down, even after washing. I attribute it to the “curse” of thick hair. It offers no benefit for me. I usually have to leave it on for at least 3 hours and penetrating oils (which are favorable for prepoo) penetrate too much for me. Ceramide oils leave my hair hard after washing. Prepoo only works for me if I do it when I clarify.
Even dry conditioning leaves my hair dry or stripped.
I’m fine without this method. I used to be able to do this, but as my hair got healthier, it was just easier to give it up. No oil gave me a common ground; either hardening or too heavy. I do recommend it to people, because it is a good practice and depending on the type of shampoo used, it is usually needed. My shampoo is gentle, so this step is optional.
Cowashing is another hair care method that I do recommend to people, but I don’t do for myself. Why not? For me, it just doesn’t help and with LP hair, it causes my hair to stay wet longer. I also roller set which forces me to do less with my hair during the week.
There are also many pros and cons to cowashing with pros including moisture and partial cleansing while cons can include some conditioners that have surfactants that can strip and thin the hair and product buildup.
I’m fine with washing 1-3x a week if necessary. If you have a mild shampoo and a really good DC, you have nothing to worry about. Cowashing is actually a method that I do like and resort to when absolutely necessary, but I don’t force myself to do it or else I’ll be dealing with a setback. You don’t have to do it, but it is pretty beneficial. Cowashing really does work for most people and the way I see it, cowashing attributes to more growth because of the scalp massaging.
Keep it growing!
Moisture and Sealing
Once again, in the beginning of my journey, I read you have to do it daily and even baggy. Now, 2 years ago, my hair needed it daily, sometimes 2x daily. I needed to save my ends because I was not going to cut my barely APL hair to NL/SL to get rid of thin ends, so I protected them as much as possible until I got rid of them over the course of my first year. I didn’t want them to break (as they weren’t split, just thin) just keep them until I grew it out. Vain, I know, but thats why we have goals. Regardless to the fact that I still cut my ends, M&S helped with me not having to cut earlier then I needed to.
M&S is great. Im not going to lie. In the spring and summer, I like to use creams and oils, while in the fall and winter, I like to use creams or butters and heavier oils. Now, however, I do not need to M&S daily. When you use a good DC (and you’ll know it) it will leave your hair moisturized longer so that you don’t have to keep M&S daily. Also, when your hair is healthier (you’ll know) you won’t need to M&S daily as well. 2x a week is good for me, so if you feel that you don’t “need” to, then don’t. When you have to M&S less, you know its getting better.
Welcome to the wonderful world of grow your hair faster. Increased shedding will occur at your own risk.
Even I have joined the growth aid bandwagon. I tried MN, Megatek, Sulfur oil mix and Castor Oil on my scalp. I quit them all within 2 months of trying each. With the exception of CO, all these growth aids caused my hair to grow a lot and shed even more because of increasing growth rates which in turn increase shed rates. Its all fun and games until someone gets hurts and that would be my feelings when my hair is falling on the ground.
Growth aids are great, but there is this youtube video with these 4 natural girls that tell you the best product you can use a growth aid is patience. I know that sounds boring, and you’ll probably hate me, but its the truth!
Protective Styling (PS) is all great in the beginning because you finally experience hair growth, but with all the PS are you really enjoying your hair. The truth is, when you PS often, it is ok to enjoy your hair. I like to wear a ponytail once a week (if I really feel like it) because I wear buns all the time. I have no ambition to wear my hair out, but you might! Some people make it seem as if black women should never wear their hair out because “its so dry” and “so prone to rubbing and breakage”. Honestly, when you are taking good care of your hair and implementing a good regimen, its ok to enjoy your hair with the right care. Wear it out, let it hang loose, show off your good work. Its not going to hurt anyone and besides, it gets boring and tedious after a while.
Only one more part to this! I promise. Just a few more topics I wish to touch on.
One Day, It Will Happen