I think I am about to touch on to some touchy topics and I am going to do it with good reason. The next few topics are the hardest and most intimidating parts of a journey because they involve the most research, education, money and thought out decisions.
Hair journey, long hair journey, healthy hair journey; whatever you call it, its all semantics.
It is not a must that because you do your own hair, you are labeled to be on a journey. I consider myself to be on a healthy hair journey because in the end, my goal is health hair regardless of its state. If you just want to care for your hair, or have goals, it can just be what it is. I didn’t learn about this stuff until after I stopped visiting the salon and decided to just care for my own hair since all the times since I was 17 that I have, it was the only times I have had healthy hair (meanwhile, I had no idea how). Its not a must you be on a journey, its just nice to have a name for the direction you wish to see your hair go.
This is the hardest part, IMO, of caring for your own hair. When I began, I was an avid follower of Tracey KISS and I wanted a KIS regimen so badly, but it wasn’t for me. I had to prepoo overnight, couldn’t use sulphates, had to DC heavily, smooth, cow ash, DC, protective style, M&S, use protein, clarify and so forth religiously. It was too the point that a whole day consumed my wash day. As time went on, things changed, were tweaked, and even enhanced. Today, I can admit my regimen is simple: wash, coffee/tea rinse, condition, roller set. But thats almost 2 years later!
The truth about a regimen is that it has to be flexible, it has to be understood it will change and it has to work for you. My regimen changes seasonally and for me, thats a must. If I haven’t mentioned it before, Im a nerd. My friends are nerds. I work with nerds. So sad, but true. My DF who is a natural chats with me about products and dew points. I get it. I live in NY where dew points change with the direction of the wind, so my regimen has to change and my products have to be able to handle dew points. When I visited my sister in ATL, I told her idk how she does it because I would need clarifier and protein to survive with that summer humidity. Meanwhile, summers in NY for me consist of increased moisture and consisted keratin (due to the blazing sun), but for the most part, we don’t have humid summers, so moisture is a must. When I went to Jamaica, the humidity rocks so well that after spraying my hair with some Keratin mist, there was still stretch the next day.
You have to do what works for you. Take suggestions from others because you will need it, and then find what you like. Its ok if you ditch what you like at first and come back to it later. I had to get my hair healthier before I could re-introduce it to heat, cones and poo again. It is what it is!
Products are a major debate. They determine the ultimate state of your hair as they are the diet of your hair. But what is best for your hair?
I love my Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner. I also like Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Smoothie. I prefer one over the other but it doesn’t matter; I keep both in my stash. I frequent many forums and blogs and they all have a wide array of products everyone is using, but I have noticed a common theme that Black women are moving more toward using ayurvedic and natural products (from black owned companies). Now, I am one to support my fellow Black small businesses and also recommend good products I may be impressed with, but I am more likely to push store bought products to newbies.
Everyone has a preference to the products they prefer, but you don’t only have to use handmade products, natural products, minimally processed products and products solely from Black owned businesses. Unbeknownst to many, just use what works for you, regardless to whether its ORS or SheScentIt. When it comes to shampoos, deep conditioners, protein treatments and heat protectants, I don’t trust them to just anyone for my own reasons. For example, I only trust salon brand retailers with shampoo and heat protectants. If a reputable retailer has not bought your products, like Ricky’s or Sephora where women in NY typically trust these retailers judgement (they tend to carry higher end and/or natural products and specialize in purchasing products specific to current needs, styling methods and hair types), Im not buying your heat protectant or protein treatment either. Its not to be mean, its just as time goes on, hair growth takes time but setbacks take seconds and a majority of the time, products will cause a setback even with good natured judgement and reasoning. Most independent companies cannot take the risks bigger companies can with certain ingredients, and I respect that, so it is the reason I buy certain products from certain companies.
Lets also be honest, products cost money! I just paid $20 for some DB PSC, meanwhile I snatched a sweater off a hanger no sooner a sales associate put it on the hanger, didn’t try it on, just bought it because it was $12.97 on final sale at Ann Taylor. “So Tasia, what your telling me is, you will spend more on hair products than your clothes?” This is the world some of us live in. I search for sales on clothes, but can rarely find hair products on sale. While my preference is a mixture of online and ground companies, I secretly envy those who can make it work with just ground products.
But somehow, there is slight pressure to buy more from black owned businesses or your not using good products…. Or at least supporting your own products….
My bone straight hair was healthiest when I used Nexxus Therappe, Humectress and Keraphix along with the leave-in spray (something-luxe) weekly-biweekly. I stopped using it because it was a tad pricey and was slightly drying after a while. All Im saying is, it worked very well. Shea Moisture on the other hand, never worked for me and I sooooo wanted it too. There is also speak of using one product line exclusively. It certainly makes life easier, but that doesn’t work for me and it is really not a must.
The moral of this chapter: who cares how much it cost or who makes it or where you buy it; you like it, you buy it and if your on a budget, work within that too! You’ll find something that work, I promise!
Salons get a bad rap and I don’t help. For someone like me who lives in NYC, salons are literally a dime a dozen. If I look at where I live, within a 10 minute walk, I can think of 9 salons off the top of my head. And they are all around the same price. The problem is that most of them style, but not many of them know hair, and do you really want to visit all 9 salons and not one of them will really know hair care? I’ve been to 3 of them, and can’t really name a reason why I’d go back because I probably wouldn’t. The girl I used to go to who is black was very good, but she’s not cheap and I think she could use better combs.
I have seen some women with nice, healthy hair, regardless of styling preference and I know there are good hairdressers out there. I went to my cousins salon once, and I just felt like she played in my hair. I hate too much combing and brushing (just goes to show that while I attempt to comb daily, I don’t do it excessively) but I feel like stylist do just that. My question is “Where are the good stylists?” Can someone hook a sister up, because as I creep to MBL, my arms are not happy.
If you go to the salon, and they are doing a good job, keep on trucking! It is truly a gift to have a beautician who knows their work and not just trying to get by with a bad comb and expensive scissors. I feel thats all I ever had, but do not be afraid to open your mouth about what you want or do not want. Also, do not be embarrassed to share your hair knowledge with them. They might be the “experts” but you have to live with your hair so it needs to be respected. Some women trust chemical services to their stylist and maintain in between. Thats cool. These people need jobs too. You can successfully grow long, healthy hair while visiting the salon, but you have to find a beautician, not stylist, who is open-minded about hair care, educated on how to care for hair and respectful to your hair practices. Respect is very important. Somehow, that was lost trying to get that all might American dollar
I don’t hate salons, I just wish I could find one that respected my hair wishes.
Self-Trimming vs. Salon Cuts
This definitely does make life easier. I stalked Feye’s Self Trimming Method and worked on perfecting it. It is a really good method. I bought these scissors and have not looked back since. Self-trimming is good, but is not for the weak or for those who are not comfortable with it. Since I cut my own hair, it is what it is. I get paranoid when other people cut my hair, so this was just a better solution for me. This is not the case for everyone, but it can work for those plagued by scissor-happy stylist.
I used to solely visit salons for trims, but once I started my journey, I knew I had to learn to do my own trims in order to be happy. At that point, I was forced to invest in good scissors and learn this process. You definitely do not have to. Search and destroy is something else that is not truly necessary. Maybe in the beginning but I found it tedious after a while.
Just like relaxing and colors, if you trust this with a professional, keep visiting the professional. The only setback to self trimming is sometimes finding yourself unevenly cutting your hair. Likely, but may not happen when you are careful.
If you trust a salon to and professional service, just keep going with what you know.
Did I answer all your questions? If not, let me know, but until then always remember,
One Day, It Will Happen