My Hair Regimen, Part 1: The Products

Hey everyone, I’m back! People often ask how long I've been natural, what products I use, and what my “go-to” techniques are. To be honest, for a while I really didn’t have a consistent regimen. I would buy this product here, try this technique there, or whatever product I had in my mystical product junkie drawer. After realizing that so many products  dried out my hair which would ultimately cause breakage, I made a choice to at the very least eliminate the harsh, chemically laden products that line most of the shelves in the “ethnic hair” aisles. I stopped buying the cheapest $1.99 shampoos, the brown bottled "ethnic" products, and after a while I even gave up on all the “misses’”, “aunties”, “daughters”, and “Janes”.

Photo Credit: http://www.letmeletyouknow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Product-junkie.jpg

Photo Credit: http://www.letmeletyouknow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Product-junkie.jpg

I also discovered that my body was very sensitive to a lot of things. After years of inflammation and bloating (and by years I mean my whole life) I finally understood that my body was constantly trying to fight the foreign, indigestible substances that I was putting into it! Cheese! Meat! Refined Sugars! Gluten! Caffeine! Alcohols! Sulfates! Silicons! Oh my! I discovered concepts such as body pH, inflammatory foods, allergies to antibiotics in non-organic meats, and GMO health hazards. Basically, I thought that the only way I would be able to FEEL good, was to EAT and BATHE in things that were good. Alas, I say all of that to preface, my not-so conventional, natural hair regimen…I’ll start with the products I use:

Pre-Poo: I’ve tried every single commercially available deep conditioning mask, and nothing works better than good ol’ Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I section my hair in four parts, spritz each section with water, and then apply a generous amount (about a tablespoon or two) of EVOO to each section, concentrating on my scalp and ends. I then put on a plastic cap and sit under a heat cap or towel for at least 20 minutes. This leaves my scalp conditioned, my hair shiny, and my ends protected.

Deep Conditioning Mask: If I’m feeling really good, or have just gone grocery shopping, I’ll blend a ripe avocado, three tablespoons of EVOO, three tablespoons of all natural organic raw honey into a blender and use that as a deep conditioning hair mask. (COOL TIP: You can freeze a bit of the mixture for later for a nice, refreshing, high protein snack!) After applying the mask, I cover my hair with a plastic cap and sit for 20-30 minutes (if I REALLY have time I’ll sit under a heat cap). I generally only do this if I've been especially cruel to my hair (swimming in chlorine, sunbathing in the hot sun for days on end, or simply being really, really lazy for a really, really long period of time).

The look on my face after I've applied my deep conditioning mask or pre-poo at 10:00 pm on a weeknight and realize #aintnobodygottimeforthat

The look on my face after I've applied my deep conditioning mask or pre-poo at 10:00 pm on a weeknight and realize #aintnobodygottimeforthat

Shampoo: Honestly, at this point the only shampoo I use is either Shea Moisture African Black Soap Shampoo, Tea Tree Oil Castile Soap (for deep clarifying clean, generally only once a month) or Johnson and Johnson Baby Head-to-Toe wash (for a quick refresher shampoo, generally once a week). Any time I shampoo, I make sure I do it in sections, working one section at a time, clipping the sections up as I go.  I then coat  each section with shampoo, work it through to the ends after gently massaging my scalp. Then, I apply about a dime size amount of conditioner to each section, before clipping them up again. Finally, I rinse my shampoo and conditioner out with cool water WITHOUT taking the clipped sections down. Keeping my ends together at this stage makes for a much easier process during styling, and/or detangling.

Conditioner: Herbal Essences Hello Hydration. (I know, I know, don’t judge me)

Rinse: I use all natural Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) as a rinse, but ONLY after a clarifying wash. The acidity of the ACV balances out the basicity of the shampoos, leaving my scalp clarified, pH balanced and my curls (wait, I’m kidding, I only have curls when my hair is soaking wet) popping. Using a small spray bottle fill with about 1/4 part All Natural or Raw Apple Cider Vinegar and 3/4 parts filtered water. After I’ve rinsed out all the shampoo and conditioner, I spray my hair and scalp fairly generously with the ACV/H2O mix, leave in for about 20-30 seconds, then rinse out with cool water.

Leave-In Conditioner/Styling Products: Hair To There Shea Butter Whip. No really, this isn’t even a shameless plug, I’ve literally been using my own product for about 7 years now. I use it as a sealant and daily conditioning/styling cream. It does an amazing job at sealing in the moisture/water in my hair without weighing it down or leaving product buildup (which is why I can get away with using baby wash as a shampoo). The great thing about this product is also that because the ingredients are all natural, they penetrate your hair AND seal the hair shaft making for great shine and elasticity. I generally introduce water in the form of steam or spritz to my hair to refresh once or twice a week, and re-apply Shea Butter Whip to my ends or edges as needed. A little goes a LONG way, and generally I find that the more I use the less I need!

For a really defined set or twist out, I make my own Flax-seed gel. (I love Naptural85's recipe on YouTube). Flax-seed gel mixed with my Hair To There Shea Butter Whip is one of the only things that will actually lay my edges down (with a scarf of course smh).

Confession #1: I have a jar of Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner that I’ve had in my bathroom drawer for MONTHS. I HATE to waste anything so every once in a while I’ll pull it out and add it to my regimen after conditioning but before styling. I like how the product makes my hair feel 1-2 days after wash day and I LOVE the scent. However, I find that it tends to leave my hair a tad bit dry after those first few days, which is often when I have to reintroduce water or steam (in the shower) to my hair and apply my Hair To There Shea Butter whip to seal.

Confession #2: If I blow dry my hair I apply a spritz of TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray to my hair before blowing it out on a warm setting.

This feels like a lot, but I wanted to be sure shared everything. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Coming soon: “My Hair Regimen, Part 2: Detangling and Styling”

--Lauryn