The Journey to Your Best Natural Hair Life- Stop Doing These 9 Things
by Tammy of TheHitchConcept
Not living your best natural hair life? One bad hair day turns into a week of bad hair days which leaves no good hair days. What am I doing wrong? What could I be doing differently? Natural hair is complex and there are so many factors that contribute to positive and negative outcomes. Most of us are familiar with the usual suspects; you need more moisture or you’re not trimming your hair often enough, just to name a few.
Here’s the 9 things you may be doing to block your hair blessings that you may not have thought of.
1. Using a rinse out conditioner as a leave-in conditioner.
All conditioners are not created equal. Conditioners have a role to play in your hairstory. Your hair is the star, the conditioner (rinse out) is the co-star, and the leave in conditioner is that of the supporting role. Each is important and they work well in concert, but their roles are very different. They each have their own script and deliver their lines accordingly. In other words, each is formulated very differently and each has a very specific purpose.
Conditioner is meant to close the cuticle after shampooing and provide softening and moisture. A leave in conditioner is meant to lock in moisture and provide added protection. They are not interchangeable. Will it be the end of the world if you do it once in a while, I would say no. However, I would caution against making this practice a part of your normal hair care routine. If you’re experiencing scalp/skin irritation or product build up, this could be the reason why.
2. Speaking of conditioners, there is such a thing as over conditioning.
When it comes to deep conditioning, if you are leaving it in over night or beyond the directions on the bottle, you are not providing “extra” conditioning to your hair. Deep conditioners are formulated to stop working once it reaches the maximum absorption point which has been pre-determined long before it is approved and distributed to the store shelf for consumers. What harm could it cause you ask? Over time, it will cause a change in the structural building blocks of your hair which will result in weakening the hair.
Side note – over conditioning can also occur if you are using a rinse out conditioner in addition to a deep conditioner. You only need one, unless directed to do so by the manufacturer. Think of it like following a recipe. If the directions include 1 cup of flour and you decide to add 2 cups, the entire recipe will simply not work. It’s an additional step that you simply don’t need.
3. Skipping deep conditioning treatments.
To continue the topic of conditioners, if you’re going to skip a step, don’t skip this one. After the battles your hair fights day after day, it needs and deserves the extra TLC just like you do after a long week at work. Intensive penetration, repair, and moisture retention are exactly what your hair needs to flourish and be prepared for the upcoming week. Deep conditioning is your way of rewarding your hair and the extra 20 minutes is worth it.
4. Not reading the ingredients.
You have a ton of products in your arsenal but don’t know which ones to use. This is a very common occurrence amongst naturalistas. A good place to start is reading the label to see what’s in it. If you don’t know what you are putting in your hair, how will you know what works and what doesn’t? If for example, the product contains a high concentration of isopropyl alcohol, your hair may experience dryness and frizz. The ingredient list is the single best tool at your disposal to determine if a product is a good choice or not.
5. Styles matter.
There are certain hairstyles, even those deemed “protective styles” that can add stress to your hair, causing wear and tear over time. My personal favorite, the bun, is a great example. Pulling your hair into a tight bun day after day, adds stress to the same spot and over time, you will experience breakage at the base of the bun. If the bun is your style of choice, loosening it up in a good solution to avoid stress.
6. Some things are better left untouched.
The playful finger twirl of the hair when you’re bored, the pulling and tugging when styling, twisting and re-twisting daily, all too much. Over manipulating your hair is going to lead to trouble, namely breakage. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your hair is to simply leave it alone. Opting for looks that last a few days at a time will do wonders for the health and look of your hair.
7. Not shampooing often enough.
I know there are some who have waged a war against shampoo and don’t deem it necessary. I, however, am not one of those people. I am a firm believer that hair and scalp needs to be cleansed and that adding other products to hair that has not been shampooed will only compound things. That being said, what is considered “often enough” varies from one curly head of hair to the next.
If you’re experiencing scalp inflammation, itchiness, dandruff and/or excess shedding, consider the possibility that it’s because you may need to up your cleansing frequency.
8. Abrasive shampooing.
Speaking of shampooing, proper shampooing is equally as important as the act itself. If you’re too rough during shampooing, you could be causing serious damage to the hair follicles. Cleansing your hair by using your finger nails as opposed to finger tips, can cause inflammation and damage to your scalp. Although it feels amazing, nothing good can come from it!
The constant friction not only causes damage and frizz, it opens your scalp up to infection. Gently massaging with finger tips and the palms of your hands, focusing on the roots will save your hair and keep you on the path to reaching healthy hair goals.
9. Hair tools need love too.
Germs and bacteria grow and breed on surfaces and your hair tools are no exception. Think of all the products and residue left behind each time they are used. How often they should be cleaned and sanitized is dependent upon how often you use them. To give you some perspective, a group of scientists, tested 30 hairbrushes and found that they contained more bacteria per square inch than a toilet seat. (Source: The Mirror). Now think of how often you clean your toilet and compare that to how often you clean your hair tools.
If any of these things sound familiar, you may have figured out the solution to living your best hair life!
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