Hair Lesson #3: KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetie! My New Regimen
Yes, people. I’ve learned to keep things simple. I started this blog with some somewhat complicated hair regimens, but this is a learning experience for me and it’s taken till now to find something that works for me, my health, my time, and my occasional laziness. Here’s what I do:
- Co-wash, clarify, and deep condition every 2-4 weeks: I still co-wash with VO5 because it’s cheap (N300-400 per bottle at Spar, Park n Shop, and Shoprite), ready available, and effective for co-washing. Any flavor will do. I then follow by clarifying with diluted apple cider vinegar, about a 1/4 cup in a full 1.5-liter bottle of distilled/drinking water. Then it’s the deep conditioner: I’ve modified my deep conditioner mix to comprise just honey, vegetable glycerin, and coconut oil, then I wear it for as long as I can, which can be anywhere from 2-8 hours. (Been in my hair about 4.5 hours now and dripping like a mother…licking it up cos it’s au naturale, people! No, I’m just hungry.) If you decide to do a honey deep conditioner, make sure you dry your hair as well as you can before putting in the honey mix because it will drip. I also wrap it up in a shower cap, a plastic shopping bag, and then a towel. The combo makes the dripping more manageable–it’ll always drip–and generate heat for a deeper conditioning.
Honey DC mix is in + 1st wrap up layer's coming on: shower cap
2nd wrap up layer: plastic shopping bag. Twist it tight!
Final wrap up layer: hand towel. Pretty turban, don't you think?
Neat moisture trick: When I take the shower cap off, I massage in some of my Forever Living Products Aloe-Jojoba Conditioner for a few minutes and my hair “plumps” up. It gets really soft like you wouldn’t believe
- Butter up + stretch it out: Next, I work in a little Motions CPR Triple Action Leave-In Conditioner, a very healthy amount of my hair butter mix (shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and glycerin) and oil mix (olive oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil) as I gently detangle (with a wide-toothed comb) and twist my hair. Some detangle in the shower or when co-washing but I prefer to manipulate it as little as possible and for me this means when I’m twisting. Plus, all the stuff I put in at this stage give the hair great slip, so I don’t shed as much as when I do it with conditioner in it.
- Protective style it AND KEEP OUT: I work mostly from home these days, so I can afford to simply tuck in my twists like a Calabar girl :-) and only free my hair when I have to go out for meetings or meet-ups. Even if you’re tempted to run your fingers through your luscious locks, try to resist it. While I was sick for weeks, my fingers ignored my hair and I noticed I retained much more length than when I was always all up in there. Since my big chop 4 months ago, I’ve grown about 2 inches more hair and I believe it’s because I left it alone. The shea butter was thick enough to stay in for weeks and weeks and tucking in my ends preserved them marvelously well.
June 2, 2011: Looking kinda jacked cos this was middle of twisting
Today: I see some growth!
Yep, definitely growth there :-)
5 inches, y'all! That's about 2.5 inches in 5 months. Yay!
- Don’t go too crazy–use what you can find: Lagos is a hard place for a screwy-haired girl. It’s a Brazilian weave town, so it’s always short on all those supplies we all read about on hair blogs. But one thing we do have here–and in Nigeria–that naturalistas abroad don’t have lots of is guaranteed natural products. What I mean is this: we’re so much closer to the shea butter growers than they are and we’ve got coconuts everywhere. You might have to jump through some hoops to get some other stuff, but these two are a great place to begin or just be. DK, who lives in America, was gushing about how great the shea butter I sent her is. “The one I bought online did nothing, but when I put yours in, my hair was so soft!” And she used it on its own–she hadn’t even mixed it up yet. Also, we’ve got lots of cheap conditioners for co-washing.
my current VO5 co-wash conditioners
Forever Living Products Aloe-Jojoba Conditioning Rinse
Honey DC Mix
Diluted apple cider vinegr (1/4 cup to 1.5 liters of distilled/drinking water)
- Moisture + humidity are your friends: Yes, you read right. You know our hair is always thirsty. I used to hate moisture and humidity, but ever since I big chopped to rediscover the real texture of my hair, and ever since I got me some vegetable glycerin, I can’t wait to (as a secondary school teacher used to say) open the window and let the atmosphere jump in. I love the coily texture of my hair, which the moisture in my spray bottle and in the air enhances. Also, I’ve found that when glycerin pulls moisture into my hair and makes it shrink a bit, it also gives it great curl definition. Random people now ask all the time if I have a texturizer in. Moisturize, people. MOISTURIZE.
- Just a couple supplements help lots: I always take a bunch of other meds, but I really only got serious about supplements this year. I keep it simple, though: Centrum Multivitamin (or whatever Wal-Mart or CVS’s equivalent generic is) and Biotin (3000mcg daily). I believe these have given my hair a boost, especially during my frequent sick days when I can’t do anything with my hair. And I’ve heard on youtube that Biotin is probably partly responsible for the new shine. While you do this, though, make sure you drink lots of water. Water is only good for you and your hair.
This is what I do and it’s worked for me. Might not be your cup o’ Joe, but it doesn’t hurt to find a way to Keep It Simple. Sweetie.