In other for us to have a softer more manageable fro, it is essential that the hair is fully moisturised. Without moisture hair is unable to survive. Healthy hair does not usually feel hard, dry or coarse and neither does it hurt or break off easily when combing. If your hair feels this way then it’s lacking moisture. Moisture plays a key part in ensuring that natural hair is well maintained and healthy.
Caring for natural hair: The basics!
Building a regime
In other for us to have a softer more manageable fro, it is essential that the hair is fully moisturised. Without moisture hair is unable to survive. Healthy hair does not usually feel hard, dry or coarse and neither does it hurt or break off easily when combing. If your hair feels this way then it’s lacking moisture. Moisture plays a key part in ensuring that natural hair is well maintained and healthy. th
I cannot emphasize the importance of this fact anymore enough to anyone who is willing to embark on a healthy hair journey.
Selecting a moisturizing shampoo
One of the first steps to maintaining a well moisturized hair is to select the appropriate moisturising shampoo. There are various shop bought and salon preferred brands that one may buy. My advice when purchasing a shampoo is too always check for their ingredients. The ingredients will help you determine whether the shampoo formula you are dealing with is a moisturizing shampoo formula or not. The idea generally is to select a shampoo that balances its cleaning ability with its ability to soften and moisturise the hair.
Although many brands may label their products as ‘moisturising’ this may not always be the case especially if in it ingredients list it states that it contains sulphates.
“Sulfates, What’s that?”
Sulfates are surfactants or detergents that are used in shampoos to help clean the hair. Examples of sulfates include: ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and sodium laureth sulfate. The more sulfates a moisturizing shampoo contains, the more dirt and build up it is able to remove from your hair. However, multiple sulfates in a moisturizing shampoo formula usually reduces its ability to effectively moisturize the hair. My advice is to steer clear from shampoos that contain multiple sulphates, especially Ammonium lauryl or Ammonium laureth sulphate. This is because these detergents are the harshest of cleansers if them all. It is also very drying and stripping and will not assist with maintaining moisture balance. If possible avoid any moisturizing shampoo formula that contains these detergents.
Counteracting the effects of harsh Sulfates
If you decide to opt for shampoos with lower sulfates, or one which has no more than one of the 3 types of sulfates, there are ways that you can counteract the stripping and harshness it may cause on the hair. The most effective method that I personally use is to pre-condition my hair the night before wash day. Pre conditioning the hair is simply adding conditioner or oils such as extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil or a combination of both in the hair for a few minutes or a good few hours prior to washing the hair.
You could also dilute your shampoo by adding water, oil or conditioner prior to washing the hair. Or simply deep condition the hair with heat after for at least 30 minutes.
These kinds of shampoos should be used once a month to help strip the hair of everyday product build up. When you use a clarifying shampoo the hair should feel squeaky clean! This is a great way of start of the hair afresh each month. There are a number of affordable clarifying shampoos here in the UK and most can be bought in your local Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Boots, Superdrug or even the local Afro Caribbean hair shops.
Examples of fabulous clarifying shampoos include –
I strongly believe that deep conditioning is a vital necessity to taking care of and securing strong natural hair. From my experience and observing other people who have embarked on a natural hair journey, it is vital that deep conditioning should be done at least once every two weeks. A good moisturising deep conditioner is one that does not contain any form of petrolatum or mineral oil. conditioners with this ingredient will hinder hair growth because it clogs up the hair scalp and attracts dirt.
There are two types of conditioners :
- Water based conditioners
- Moisturizing deep conditioners
Water based leave in conditioners are usually applied to damp hair or can be used as a daily moisturiser. They do not need to be rinsed out and also be used as a styling product. There a various affordable leave in conditioners sold all over the UK, however my favourite is the S-Curl activator moisturiser and the Cantu shear butter leave in conditioning repair cream.
Although leaving in conditioner can be used an effective method of conditioning hair after it has been shampooed, nothing beats deep conditioning with a moisturising conditioner!
Moisturizing Deep Conditioner
The best types of conditioners are ones that are silicone free. conditioners that contain silicone, leaves a coating on the hair that will build up and become difficult to remove from the hair. It is also known to lock moisture out of the hair which thereby defeats the purpose of trying to retain moisture in the hair as discussed above. It also leads to hair loss and extremely dry and itchy scalp.
Names of silicones
– Dimethicone = not water soluble, helps detangle frizzy hair and create shine
– Cyclomethicone = not water soluble, hardest to remove from hair, creates shine may be also called Cyclopentasiloxane
– Amodimethicone = not water soluble, help detangling the hair
– Dimethiconol = not water soluble
– Phenyl Trimethicone = not water soluble, silicone-oil, helps dry hair look healthy
– Simethicone = not water soluble
– Cyclopentasiloxane = not water soluble, silicone-oil that will help the hair feel soft
– Trimethylsiloxyilicates = not water soluble, hard to remove
– Dimethicone copolyol = water soluble
– Lauryl methicone copolyol = water soluble
– Polysiloxane = water soluble