Three Years and Still Trying New Things

If you live Atlanta, and even if you don’t, I am sure you are more than aware of the madness that has ensued as a result of the severe weather conditions. In the midst of all the traffic and bad weather, I was celebrating as well as praying. You see, yesterday was my three year naturalversary. So, because everything in Atlanta was shut down, I decided to celebrate by trying out a new product. Recently, before the storm, I made a trip to my local Walmart looking to buy a new shampoo and conditioner. During my search, I unexpectedly came across the Honey I’m Strong Rinse off Treatment by Herbal Essences. I am normally very skeptical about buying products that I didn’t research before hand, but because this one was on sell for $2.50, I took a chance and bought it. I am actually very glad I took the leap.

This product is made with honey and apricot extracts. Honey was used for a long time for health and beauty purposes. Using honey on natural hair helps bind the water to the hair cuticle, thus helping our curls contain more moisture. However, it is important to not use honey on your tresses by itself, because when the sugar in the honey dries on the hair, it can create stiffness and cruchiness. Instead, mix honey with an oil, like olive oil, and then use it.

What initially drew me to the Honey I’m Strong Rinse off Treatment was the mention of honey. I used this product like a pre-poo. Before shampooing I coated my hair with Honey I’m Strong, left it on for about  3 mins, rinsed it, and then shampooed. I have to say, this product made my hair feel extremely moisturized before and after shampooing, conditioning, and deep conditioning. My curls were insanely soft and a lot more manageable.

If you come across this product in your local Walmart, I would definitely recommend trying it; even if it’s not on sale! Needless to say, this was a great way to celebrate my three year naturalversary!

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Product Game (Week 1): And the Winner is…

4 Naturals Afro Stretch Cream is the product that DID work for me. This product really made my hair feel extremely moisturized even though it didn’t “stretch” my curls like I expected. However, it did define my curls and gave my hair great shine.

Unfortunately, Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie really did not work for me. I’ve heard so many great things about this product so I was surprised when it didn’t work for my hair. But, I had to realize that it was made for thick hair which was not really my curl type. At this point in time, my hair may be a little thicker than it was when I used this product. So, I may decide to give it a go again. Nonetheless, the important thing to remember is not all products work with every hair type. A product may work one day, and may not the next. That is how often natural hair texture changes. 

There you have it! Did you guess right? No? Don’t worry, there is always next week!

Stay tuned for week 2 of The Product Game, all right here on The Natural Hair Diary!

The SECRET Behind Shedding

One of the many things that tend to freak a natural out is shedding. Many women, not just naturals, believe that shedding means their hair is breaking. Well, let me ease some of that worry. Shedding does not, I repeat does NOT, mean your hair is breaking. When hair sheds, it is ridding itself of hair that is done growing, or dead hair, which may stunt the growth process.  When shed hair stops growing and falls from the scalp, it brings with it a tiny white bulb that can be easily recognized on the tip of the hair. This tiny white bulb is the easiest way to distinguish shedding hair from breaking hair. Hair that has reached the end of its growth cycle and is shedding is typically longer than a piece of hair that has broken off. Hair that breaks off does just that, breaks in small pieces. A piece of hair that has shed is long because it has had time to grow fully.

When the hair sheds, it may take some time for a new piece of hair to grow and replace it. However, the main thing to realize and understand is that hair that has ben shed will grow back, and grow back healthy. Because we feel as though our shed hair is unhealthy or shedding too much, we may try and find certain remedies or treatments that can reduce the amount hair that sheds or stop the shedding completely. But, no matter what remedies or treatments are used, it is important to remember that shedding is a natural process and is something that cannot be stopped or prevented. Our hair will continue to shed, and it may shed more during one period than it may during another.

Since I’ve been natural, I have gone through that period where my hair sheds more than I “think” it should. However, from doing research I realized that natural things such as having a menstrual cycle can cause my hair to have an increase the amount it sheds. I can admit that during this period, I found myself doing protein treatments and other remedies that could aid in decreasing the amount of hair that was being shed. After some time of doing these remedies and seeing no changes I realized that it was normal. I learned how to tell the difference between a hair that had been shed and a hair that had broken off, and in doing so, I became much more comfortable with the natural shedding of my curls. Just like at times we may need to let go of certain things or people in our lives to continue to mature, our hair needs to let go of certain tresses that can no longer provide our curls with substance so that they can continue to grow.

Get Yourself a Daily Routine!

After getting your wash routine down, it is imperative that us curly girls create a daily routine. The daily stress to your hair that includes, styling, and other ailments such as the hot sun or the cold wind can essentially strip the hair of moisture or cause breakage. That is why naturals need a daily moisturizing routine to shield the hair from this kind of damage. One the first things I learned when I became natural was the best way to lock in moisture on a daily basis. To lock in moisture, use the acronym LOC: Liquid, Oil, Cream. Liquid is essential to keeping natural hair moisturized. For naturals, water is our best friend. Similar to the way our bodies need water to stay hydrated, natural hair needs water to stay moisturized. Like water, oil is also an essential part of the curly hair daily acronym. When I use oil on my hair, I do not use a lot because it will clog the pores within our hair which causes build-up. I usually use virgin olive oil to “grease” my scalp and raw shea butter to hydrate my hair strands. The raw shea butter I use acts as my cream. However, you can use any product that has a creamy base. Using this acronym as a daily routine will not only add moisture to your hair, but it will retain the moisture and promote healthy hair growth.

Let’s Play a Game. The Product Game.

There are a lot of products out there made for natural hair, but not all of them actually work. Every two weeks I am going to present a natural hair product that didn’t work for me and one that did. In doing this, I figure I can help my fellow naturalista’s by guiding them to a product that may work for their hair even if it did, or didn’t, work for mine. Now, here’s the catch; you won’t know what product did or didn’t work until I reveal it the week after. So, keep your eyes peeled; great products are on the way! All right here on The Natural Hair Diary.

So, You Found the Right Products. Now What?

After you find the right products, at least for the time being, the next step is deciding on the right daily and wash routine.  When I became natural, it took some time for me to find the right wash and daily routine that kept my hair moisturized, soft, and healthy. A wash routine usually includes shampooing, conditioning, and then styling. This was the wash routine I used while relaxed. However, since being natural I realized I couldn’t keep that same routine because my hair was in a different state. Meaning, unlike my relaxed hair, my natural hair needed much more TLC and moisture in order to grow and remain healthy.  So, I had to slightly change my wash routine. Now, washing my hair is an all-day project.

The first step to developing a wash routine is to decide how often you need to wash your hair. For me, my hair tends to get dirty fairly quickly because I work out several times a week. So, instead of washing my hair every two weeks like I did when it was relaxed, I now wash it every week. Some may believe that washing your hair every week strips it of all its moisture. However, that is not necessarily true. As naturals, we use a lot of products to keep our curls moisturized and healthy. When we use those products everyday, they tend to cause what I call “product build-up,” which is basically dirt and oil in the hair. Because we have this product build-up, the hair must be washed often enough to rid it of the dirt and oil that prevents it from being able to breathe.

Deciding how often to wash your hair is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to developing your wash routine. What is most important is what is included within the routine. For instance, my natural hair wash routine includes shampooing, conditioning, and deep conditioning. This routine is the typical one for several naturals. However, every once in a while I include pre-pooing in my wash routine. This pre-pooing part of my wash routine, gets the hair ready for the shampooing, conditioning, and deep conditioning treatments to follow. It essentially moisturizes the hair follicle so that it can endure the rest of the wash treatments that come after it. Pre-pooing does not need to be a necessary part of your wash routine; however, it is a good thing to do every now and again. The most important part of a naturals wash routine, for me, has to be deep conditioning. Just like pre-pooing prepares the hair for the manipulation during shampooing and conditioning, deep conditioning prepares the hair for the daily manipulation.

As curly girls, it is imperative that we develop a wash routine and stick to it! Our hair needs love, and a wash routine that is well thought out, and repeated, will keep our curls healthy! Now that you have the scoop on my wash routine, stay tuned for my daily routine tips and secrets all right here, on The Natural Hair Diary!