A bunch of folks are inboxing me about my thoughts on which products are best for natural hair (for those of African descent) so I thought I would write a blog post.
Here’s my story. My hair fell out due to anesthesia from a C-section and post partum hormone imbalance. I stopped relaxing my hair and wore a short cut because I had no idea what else to do with it. One day, I decided to take a chance and let it grow out. I developed an expensive habit, though. I became a product junkie. My addiction was so deep that I would spend all of my extra money on products. At one point, my niece would be waiting for a monthly bag of products because she knew I would give her those I tried and didn’t like. During this process, I developed another habit. I became a You Tube hair video junkie. I tried every style under the sun so I also learned what my hair would and would not do.
After getting tired of flaky products that never lived up to their promises and a bunch of styles gone wrong, I decided to go on a natural hair detox. My goal was to use no store bought products and minimal styling. At first, my hair was a hot mess because I didn’t know what I was doing. As I developed my own regimen, I liked what I saw and I’ve finally found my groove. Now, I only use two store bought products occassionally – Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel when I’ve used all of the leaves from my aloe vera plant and Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave in Conditioner when I feel my hair needs a little something different. Everything else is food and I like it that way.
I’d like to share 10 tips to help you if you decide to try a Natural Hair Detox.
1. Know that hair is not dead protein. Forget everything you’ve been taught about your hair in high school health class. It’s not dead. It’s an extension of our nervous system and should be treated as such. Metaphysically, each strand of hair is an antennae that conducts subtle energy from the cosmos to you and vice versa.
2. Limit your use of store bought products. If you are using store-bought products, they should be free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, propylene glycol, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), formaldehyde, toulene, benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate, ethoxycinnmate, and any other synthetic chemical.
3. Limit your use of hair dye. Henna, black walnut hulls, chamomile tea, and indigo (well, there’s a great deal of controversy with indigo dye) are great for hair coloring. I no longer color my hair. And you know how much I love hair color. The last time I colored it, I got sick and couldn’t figure out why. Then I learned about how the color seeps into skin and may cause cancer and other illnesses.
4. Water is the moisture your hair craves. We’ve been taught that oils and butters are what we need to moisturize our hair. We’ve also been told to limit hair washing. Simply not true. In the summer or when I’m working out daily, I either wash or wet my hair every single day. You’ve all seen my hair so you know it’s beautiful. The cleaner my hair is, the better my styles are. Most of us can’t get the water we need because our hair is coated with residue from all of the store-bought products. It’s a good idea to wash your hair at least weekly if not more often with a natural shampoo that’s clarifying yet doesn’t strip your hair of its natural oils. For me, it’s liquid black soap. My hair loves it and it loves my hair back.
5. Detangle your hair. I detangle my hair with my fingers however you can invest in a detangling brush. I also have a secret. Our new house came with a water softening system that cuts the job in half. Also, our shower filter is amazing. I no longer use conditioner to detangle my hair. Just good old water and my fingers. This is also the reason I flat twist or two strand twist my hair. To prevent tangles. Tangles = breakage. While I love my beautiful afro, I find that my hair breaks off more in this style. If you feel you need a conditioner, there are some great natural options like marshmallow root infusion.
6. Moisture needs to be sealed. While water is the moisture your hair craves, it must be sealed in. You can seal in that water moisture with natural stuff like a tiny bit of jojoba oil, macadamia nut oil, extra virgin olive oil, or black castor oil. My hair strands are fine and they prefer aloe vera gel as the sealant. I used to use coconut oil and ended up having some really bad experiences in cold weather. Then I learned that coconut oil is a moisturizer, not a sealant. Also, coconut oil gets hard at a certain temperature. Let’s just say I live in Ohio and in the winter when I used coconut oil, my hair was as hard as a rock whenever I was outside longer than 10 minutes. Not cool!
7. Deep conditioning is a good idea. Heat helps nutrients penetrate the hair shaft. Bananas, avocados, irish moss make a great deep conditioner. I love to deep condition with a blend of avocado, irish moss, and rosemary essential oil. I wash my hair with my liquid black soap, mix it the ingredients, put the blend on my hair, put on a plastic cap, and sit under the thermal cap for 3o minutes. Then I rinse, detangle, and style as usual. I used to do this once per week. Now, I do it whenever I feel led to do so.
8. Use food as your hair gel. There are a million YouTube videos about using flaxseed, marshmallow root, and agar agar gel. I’ve tried them all and love them all. At the same time, I rarely use them because I don’t do styles that require gel too often. Maybe one day, I’ll start getting more creative with my hair styles.
9. Protect your hair at night. Whether you wear a satin or silk scarf or your simply sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase, be sure to protect your hair at night. I find that sleeping on any other type of material causes my hair to break and look dull.
10. Feed your hair internally.
Eat lots of fruit and veggies and drink lots of purified alkaline water. Muddy water
, irish moss shakes, and G Juice
will bless your tresses with nutrient love, too.
As I’ve been on this natural hair journey, I have learned so much and as a result, my hair has flourished and has even transformed as a result of limiting exposure to toxic chemicals and heavy metals. I don’t promote any of the fast hair growth supplements on the market either. I encourage you to experiment by trying some of the suggestions I shared above and let me know how it works for you.
Love and bliss!