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.
Common causes of natural hair damage include:
- Chemical processing
- Dyeing hair
- Flat ironing or using excessive heat
- Over manipulation
- Using sulfate rich shampoos
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.
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
This article was originally published in August 2012 and has recently been updated for grammar and clarity.