September 11, 2015

The 3 Step Program to Repairing Damaged Natural Hair


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The 3R™ Damaged Hair Restoration System

By Susan Walker, Founder & Creative Director of Earthtones Naturals 

If your hair has extensive damage then you’ll definitely want to implement some effective strategies to improve its health. Since there is no way to really permanently repair damaged areas, preventing further damage and addressing existing issues will enhance the look and condition of your hair. I’ve developed a simple 3-step program to successfully accomplish this.

1. Remove
This goes without saying. If what you’re doing right now is contributing negatively to the state of your hair then either stop or reduce the frequency with which you are doing it. If you’re wearing your hair in tight ponytails as your go-to style and your hairline is non-existent as a result then you’ll need to find another style. If you’re cleansing your hair with a shampoo that contains harsh sulfates then you’ll need to improve your choice of cleansers. Examine any physical manipulation or chemical processing that is part of your hair care regimen that is contributing to increased damage.

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Common causes of natural hair damage include:

  • Chemical processing 
  • Dyeing hair 
  • Flat ironing or using excessive heat 
  • Over manipulation 
  • Using sulfate rich shampoos 

2. Repair
Conditioning is going to be the cornerstone of your program. Conditioners play key roles in enhancing the look and feel of damaged hair. If your hair is dry and brittle then a deep conditioner is your best friend. Intense conditioners that are penetrating are able to enter the hair shaft and deposit proteins and moisturizing agents to assist with repairing damaged areas and hydrate the hair. They can also deposit oils onto the hair or within the hair. Coconut oil is a great oil to look for in a deep conditioner since it can penetrate into the hair shaft and prevent protein loss from the hair. These conditioners are usually left on the hair for 20-30 minutes and can be used with heat for deeper penetration. These should be used every 1-2 weeks for optimal results.

For severely damaged hair a reconstructor may be needed, especially if the hair is breaking and has lost elasticity. These types of conditioners contain proteins of different molecular weights to fill in cracks in damaged areas on and within the hair shaft. Protein is not your enemy! You do need it in appropriate amounts to provide support and strength to the hair. Monthly reconstructive treatments (if necessary) combined with weekly deep conditioning should effectively improve the condition of your hair.

3. Replenish
Moisture is a curly girl’s best friend and after deep conditioning and reconstructive treatments, an effective moisturizer is extremely important. Moisturizers hydrate dry brittle hair and correct moisture imbalances. If hair is dry and brittle then it’s desperately in need of hydration. It’s imperative that lost moisture is replenished in order to minimize damage due to dryness and prevent future occurrences. Water-based products will hydrate the hair and oils can be used to seal in the moisture and replace any lipids that have been removed from the hair from the overuse of sodium lauryl sulfate based shampoos or heat.

How to Moisturize and Replenish:

  • Try the LOC Method or the LCO Method 
  • Use water based leave-ins and moisturizers 
  • Seal your moisturizers with oil to protect from the elements 

Lastly, REJOICE! You’re on your way to improving your hair’s condition and having healthier
looking hair.

What are your damage-repairing strategies? How effective are they?

This article was originally published in August 2012 and has recently been updated for grammar and clarity. 

9 Weigh in!:

Gwenn4ya said...

Sometimes I get a little confused on when protein is too much so I just play it safe and try to listen to my hair. I will agree that a moisturizing deep condition on a regular basis can help with the condition of one's hair alot. I had a hard time finding the right deep conditioner that could penetrate the way it was suppose to. I use Shea Moisture Reconstructive Conditioner. I am still in the process of looking for something more moisturizing without breaking the bank! Sealing is also another thing that has helped to rescue my hair. I had to learn that I didn't need to plaster the oil or butters on my hair in order to achieve success. A little goes a long way unless I wanted to be a grease queen! LOL...

Brooke B. said...

When my hair started to break more than usual I reaccessed my whole regimen. I stop using harsh shampoos & started to use natural soap bars for a while. I noticed a little improvement but my hair was still dry so I switched my deep conditioner & I changed my leave in & the oil I was sealing with which was grapeseed oil. Now I do CG method & now use coconut oil to seal again after I apply my leave in. My hair hasn't felt & looked this healthy since I BC two years ago. My twist are plumper & my twist puts are more defined because now my hair stays moisturized.

Bernadette Kennedy said...

I do the 2minute protein treatments a few times a month, but believe all of these types of treatments are a temporary fix to the problem. Ultimately, damaged hair should be removed and the cause of breakage should be examined. I usually check my ends for damage and cut any that have splits or knots. This has helped me retain growth.

I have also stopped using the comb (not sure if this has helped control damage), but it's made MY life easier.

CurvyCurly said...

To 'repair': Wash with shampoos less often, deep condition after every wash, and treat yourself to a protein treatment once a month or so or 'listen' to what your hair needs or response well to during your 'special' treatment phase after damage has been done. IMO severely damaged hair should be trimmed/cut because you can only pamper it, not repair it anyway. AND by all means, reduce the amount of tension, heat and manipulation.

Naomi said...

I also do massages with a mix of oils that contain castor oil, I heard its good for thickening hair and repairing damage done especially from braids and other styles that are strenuous on the hair


Naii
blackcheribeauty.blogspot.com

Megan Montgomery said...

I stopped using sulfate shampoos and heat about 10 months ago. I did not deep conditioner before so I added one after my hair broke off and a leave in, this helped my hair stop breaking. I bought a deep conditioner with had a combo of moisture and protein, then I discovered the "egg" and Mayo, also coconut oil a life saver my hair grew back after I cut it. I am partically cg now but I do not cowash I shampoo that is the only thing I do that some cg's do not do. While my hair has gotten better I still suffer from heat damage so I remove (cut) 1/2-1 inch every 3-5 months.

Angela B. said...

To repair, I deep condition weekly, trim when needed, avoid heat, finger detangle and do protein treatments. The deep conditioning and finger detangling have done wonders for my hair.

Monique Brown said...

some friends have told me that for them there is a good product to restore the damaged hair , it's Pro Naturals Moroccan Argan Oil which also protects the hair and leaves the hair soft, shiny and healthy. :D

Derika said...

First off, I stopped relaxing my hair which was very damaging to my hair. Once I began transitioning, I stopped using shampoos with sulfates and I began limiting my heat use. I try to deep condition weekly and I prepoo with coconut oil. My hair feels like it is improving from these changes in my hair care.

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