I’ve always been dealing with super dry hair. I tried all the leave-ins, oils, did the deep conditioning and even trims but nothing seemed to work. As a Communication Studies major, my brain sometimes looks at advertising differently. And yes, this includes the packaging and labeling on hair products. I thought to myself “why are there so many versions of conditioners?” Then it hit me…
Why couldn’t I use a deep conditioner… as a leave-in?
Deep conditioners have always given me the best moisture for my hair – better than any curl defining cream or leave-in conditioner. Using a deep conditioner as a leave-in has changed my hair’s health dramatically. The best part about it is that when I go to rinse or wash my hair, the deep conditioner essentially gets reactivated and my hair feels soft again. I wash, condition, rinse out the conditioner, and then apply the deep conditioner and put an oil on top and boom! Hair is super moisturized.
These companies make so much money with all their recommendations and suggestions. They will sell you a shampoo, conditioner, leave-in, detangler, deep conditioner, twist and define cream, and gel, and an oil when in reality, you don’t need all of that. At least I don’t anymore. Sure, I still dabble in experimenting with different shampoos or conditioners for the shower but my after-wash routine is always good. I will also be quick to bust out the Eco Styler when attempting an actual style but as far as moisture, deep conditioners work best!
Yes – I am talking about frizzy, limp, undefined curls. Every natural’s worst nightmare. First, let me knock out the two bad habits that may be the reason for the lack of definition.
Heat – When women go natural, they think their hair is stronger than ever and nothing can stop it. WRONG! Heat is a natural hair girl’s worst enemy. It’s so notorious for damage that Youtubers make “Watch My Hair Revert” videos to show users that their hair either did or did not get heat damage while going from straight to curly. Heat damage is caused in many different ways from blow-drying to just being out in the sun. Heat damage is irreversible. There is no special conditioner that will make your curls revert. Heat-damaged curls hang limper and straighter which can be an eye-sore in a head full of curly hair. The only way to get rid of it – cut the damaged part out.
Bleach – Whenever you dye your hair a lighter color, you are using bleach. Even if it’s an at-home box dye, there’s bleach in the product. Bleach will make your hair dryer as it strips the outer layers of the hair – essentially leaving less pockets that moisture can sink into. Bleach is permanent and cannot be fixed. If you put black hair dye over bleached hair, eventually the black will fade and the brown/blonde color will show through. The only way to get rid of it – cut the bleached part out.
Now that we have that out the way, let’s assume you have NO heat damage and your hair is not dyed to a lighter color. You essentially have virgin, natural hair. What else can you do?
Water – water is the best moisturizer for your hair. If your hair feels dry, do not use “moisturizers” or oils. Use water first THEN put those products in to seal in the water.
Gel/Thick Creams – If you want your hair defined, then you’ll need something with good hold. If you use light-weight products then your hair will dry frizzier and bigger (which may not be a bad thing to some). Find out what gels and creams work best for your hair type.
Deep Condition – Curls do not come out if they are not moisturized. Deep conditioners soften curls and holds water in for longer as it leaves an oily coating on the hair.
Work with smaller sections – depending on the length and thickness of your hair, it may not good to work with all of your hair at once. Part your hair in at least 4 sections and work with those sections individually. Apply water through a spray bottle and while your hair is wet, apply the gels or creams of your choice.
Detangle, detangle, detangle – I can’t stress this enough! Use a brush or wide tooth comb and really take time to get out all of the knots. There’s no point in trying to define something that is tangled. Make sure to detangle from the tip first then work your way up.
Trim – If you see some potential in your hair but it gets fuzzy towards the ends, it may be time for a trim. Trim at least twice a year and only less than a half inch at a time. Eliminating split-ends can make your hair look healthier.
Wash your hair – Eventually with all the product build up, your hair will actually get weighed down which can affect your curl pattern. Lift the grease and dirt away with a clarifying shampoo, deep condition, and start over.
NEWS FLASH: YOU MAY NOT HAVE CURLY HAIR
If you have been chasing curly hair ever since you have been natural with no results, your hair may not be curly. Not everyone’s hair has a curl. Some may be on the wavy side while others may have a zig-zag pattern. Some may have all of the above! Embrace what you have. However, it is possible to define whatever you have still following the tips above. Curls are not natural for everyone. “Natural hair” does not mean “curly hair”.