1) Know WHAT You're Putting in Your Hair.
Be honest, we can all think back to a time when we only picked up curly hair products because we heard from someone or somewhere that this was the product to use. Come to find out it was never worth the money and hype, and back to square one.
The reason this happens is not that your friend is trying to sabotage your best curl day, or your stylist is trying to break your bank. What we didn't understand at the time was not all curly hair products will work the same for everyone. So, why do we expect this out of hair products?
When you turn 16 and want to drive a car, does someone just give you the keys and say Godspeed? No, you need the right information to make sure the car of your dreams ends up looking and running the way it should! So, it's not that your hair doesn't respond to most curly hair products. The problem is you haven't yet learned the difference between ingredients.
Let's take a look at a popular haircare practice at the moment, The Curly Girl Method. This method is all about removing "harmful" ingredients that weaken the hair and make your hair goals nearly impossible. The method focuses predominantly on training yourself to look for healthy ingredients and avoid potentially harmful ones like:
- Sulfates - dry out the hair by removing all of your scalp's natural oil, this leaves the hair dry and vulnerable to split ends and breakage
- Silicones- silicones encase the hair in an invisible flexible barrier to keep moisture in the hair as long as possible, the bad side being most silicones are not water-soluble. This means they will not rinse out of hair with water and will stay stuck - preventing new moisture from penetrating and nourishing the hair
- Parabens- are water-soluble preservatives used to extend the shelf-life of a product, this ingredient causes controversy as it has estrogen-like properties which enable the ingredient to mimic the activity of the hormone. According to studies, parabens have been found present in tumor tissues of those with cancer. However, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel deemed parabens safe at certain concentrations. See Here
- Drying Alcohols - are exactly what they sound like, alcohols are added to products to help the product stability but the bad part is they slowly dry out the hair over time, leaving hair vulnerable to split ends and breakage
- Synthetic Waxes- similar to silicones, synthetic waxes encase the hair in an invisible flexible barrier preventing any new moisture from penetrating the hair. Over time, this will deplete the hair of all moisture making it more vulnerable to build-up, split ends, and breakage
- Mineral Oil/Petroleum - similar to silicones and synthetic waxes, mineral oil/petroleum prevents new moisture from penetrating
Now, you don't have to follow the entire method, but the concept of learning about ingredients' purposes and how to spot them on labels will be your energy and money saver. This will expedite the time it takes to repair your hair because you will know exactly what these types of ingredients do, and why you should avoid them. This also helps you fall into the trap of becoming a product junkie.
Remember, when buying curly hair products, the price tag and brand should not be your first concern. The ingredients should ALWAYS be your first concern because that is what you are paying for.
2)WHY Are You Putting This In Your Hair?
If you don't know the purpose of a product, you will abuse and misuse it!
Once you understand which ingredients you shouldn't be using and why it makes finding the ingredients you need much easier to find. It's not enough to spot these good ingredients, you need to know their function in the product, otherwise, you can be using all the wrong products in the wrong ways.
For example, if your hair is really dry, it means your hair is parched, it needs MOISTURE, butter, and oils (while incredibly beneficial when used correctly) are not the answer. Butters and oils like Shea Butter, Mango Butter, and Jojoba Oil are all used to SEAL existing moisture. If there is no moisture in the hair at the time when the sealing oil or butter is used, then you are just sealing in dry hair. Leaving your hair even more vulnerable to split ends and breakage.
If you are looking to clarify your hair, we wouldn't suggest apple cider vinegar rinses. Why? If the acv is not properly diluted you can actually damage your hair instead of clarifying it. Please don't pour undiluted (watered down) acv on your hair as it will burn it.
Instead, make clarifying easy, by using a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo like the Inahsi Naturals Soothing Mint Sulfate Free Clarifying Shampoo.
Sulfate-free clarifying Shampoos like this are formulated with anionic surfactants that remove any and all build-up from the hair and scalp each and every single time you use it. That's better than a hit-and-miss like the apple cider vinegar rinse. Not to mention our clarifying shampoo's cooling sensation of mint will invigorate the senses while stimulating the scalp.
Knowing what ingredients to avoid is great, but knowing HOW to use the RIGHT ingredients makes all the difference.
3)HOW Are You Putting This in Your Hair?
You can have all the right tools sitting in front of you before you start your journey, but if you don't know how to use them, trust me you're going to be making some disappointing detours along your way.
That is why reading the instruction label on your products before using them is vital. One of the most common mistakes comes when deep conditioning.
Deep conditioning is an iron-clad agreement you make with your hair at least once a week to repair, nourish, and maintain its health. The temptation can be to leave the product in longer than the label recommends. Over time, this can actually harm the hair by making it weaker, defeating the purpose of the treatment.
Another common mistake concerning product application comes in the styling stage. Different textures require different product application techniques.
For example; many prefer the raking technique to effectively distribute the product throughout each hair strand to prevent frizz, others like to use outside tools like brushes.
Some people prefer to style on damp hair for more volume, while others prefer soaking wet hair to ensure frizz-free results.
Looser curl patterns like waves and curls can benefit from scrunching product into the hair to encourage more curl definition, yet this is not ideal for tighter curl patterns such as coils because scrunching increases shrinkage.
Knowing the difference between techniques such as the ones mentioned above is the key to unlocking your hair's potential!
4)WHEN Are You Putting This in Your Hair?
The key to healthy hair is the order of your routine! You wouldn't expect a clean bill of health when you live on junk food alone, would you?
Any new change in your life requires time and effort. Once you get this in your head from the beginning trust me, you will save yourself from falling into a bunch of harmful or even expensive pitfalls.
So, let's clear any confusion now, and we'll repeat ourselves one more time because it's that important. The key to your haircare goals is the order of your routine. Healthy hair requires four basic steps to be met in this order:
Why? Well, let's break it down, shall we?
Cleansing - healthy hair growth and retention start with a healthy scalp. Your scalp's natural oil as well as products can and will build up over time causing dandruff and that weighed down hair feeling. The fix to this is cleansing the scalp according to your need. If you have lots of build-up, moisture will not penetrate the hair strands as effectively as it should, therefore, we would recommend clarifying your hair with our Soothing Mint Clarifying Shampoo.
If build-up is not much of an issue, but your hair is looking and feeling a bit more parched than normal, or if you have minimal build-up we recommend cleansing with something more gentle like our Soothing Mint Gentle Cleansing Shampoo. Consider cleansing like starting on a clean canvas.
Conditioning - even if you are using a gentle cleansing shampoo moisture is still being removed from the hair and scalp and needs to be replenished, especially naturally textured hair (waves, curls, coils, etc) because naturally textured hair requires more moisture than straight hair. That's why when clarifying your hair we recommend deep conditioning with our Mango Hemp Restorative Hair Masque.
Clarifying is the heavy-duty hitter when it comes to cleansing, it removes everything, if you left your hair like this you would be leaving it parched and vulnerable to breakage. So, it only makes sense you match that with the heavy-hitter of the conditioner world, the deep conditioner. Our Mango Hemp Restorative Hair Masque moisturizes the hair at the deepest levels and the gentle hydrolyzed protein will strengthen, nourish, and repair your hair. If you are just looking for lighter daily moisture after using a gentle cleansing shampoo, we recommend our Soothing Mint Moisturizing Conditioner.
Moisturizing - Yes, this is a separate step from just conditioning. Remember we said naturally textured hair requires more moisture than straight hair. Did you think rinsing off a conditioner, was it?! Before you style, you want to make sure your hair has all the moisture it needs, yes soaking wet hair is great because water hydrates the hair, but you need a leave-in conditioner like our Aloe Hibiscus Leave-In Conditioner & Detangler
Pamper My Curls All-In-One Leave-In Moisture Mist
Our light-weight oil free mist will moisturize, nourish, and refresh your curls without weighing them down. The ayurvedic herbal delight of marshmallow root will not only provide slip for pesky knots, but will make your curls soft, supple, and sleek.… read more
to lock that water in and add the necessary missing moisture to ensure frizz-free definition. The water and aloe vera in our leave-in conditioner will moisturize the hair, setting the perfect canvas for your final step; sealing/styling.
Styling/Sealing- Now we made it to your finale, sealing in all this new moisture. Finding the right styling product for your hair needs may take some time and experimentation. If build-up is an issue for you and you're looking for a lighter hold and lots of shine, we recommend our Pamper My Curls Curl Sculpting Glaze.
Pamper My Curls Curl Sculpting Glaze Strong Hold Gel
This protein free frizz fighting natural styling glaze will leave your curls defined, protected and oh so shiny. The sunflower seed oil which is rich in ceramides will help to repair the hair from wear and tear. The Pamper My Curls… read more
If you need a bit more help controlling frizz or preparing for a protective style, we recommend our Rock Your Curls Curl Enhancing Cream,
These products are perfect to seal the cuticle layer (outermost layer of the hair strand) of your hair strand to prevent moisture loss.
Now, we know that was a lot to process, take your time digesting all the information and checking out our product examples because trust us, this is a lot less frustrating than looking at a closet full of expensive products with nothing seeming to work.
Since we are here to help make your journey as simple and enjoyable as possible we couldn't leave out a few last tips!
- When it comes to clarifying start with 1-2x a month. Remember clarifying shampoos are the strongest shampoos removing everything, so you don't want to do this too often. But you don't want to forget to clarify either.
- When you clarify your hair, make sure to use the most intensive conditioner you can, a deep conditioner. Adding a little indirect heat like a microwavable cap helps the product penetrate deeper and faster.
- Naturally, textured hair needs moisture daily, which can come in any form such as steam, water from a spray bottle, or a product such as a mist, leave-in conditioner, cream, etc.
- Remember too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing. Too much moisture leads to hygral fatigue. Too little moisture leads to split ends and breakage. It's all a balancing act and learning how to "read" your hair.
- Protein/Moisture Balance is vital! ALL hair types need protein, you just need to find the right kind of protein. But again too much protein leads to protein overload, not enough leads to frizz and breakage.