Let me start by wishing you all blessed Easter Holidays!!
So I get a lot of messages asking which products I use or alternatively which products I recommend they use for their hair. Listen there are sooo many products out there, great products at that, so I always a tricky question to answer…also because I’m such a product junkie smh. I’m sure you guys have heard this a million times hey I’m gonna say it again – what works for my hair might not work for yours! So basically what I seek to achieve with this post is the get you guys to a point where you can learn a bit more about your hair so you can at the very least pin point the ingredients and products you should stay away from so you can just focus on the good stuff!
This will also save you money! Listen I get chest pains when I think of all the money I spent on products that were never going to work for my hair but because I didn’t know better :”) I’m here for you and your pocket sis! lol You deserve only the best for your hair so here goes :’) – below are three topics I think you should definitely go through and know about, to not only help you buy the right products but also to help you develop the perfect regimen for your hair!
1.Do you know your Hair Type?
I’m sure you’ve noticed there’s different kinds of natural hair, the main difference being in the pattern of your curl or coil. The natural hair pattern varies from being straight all the way to tightest of coils. The Hair Typing System basically categorizes hair types into 4 categories (type 1, 2, 3 & 4) and under each number there are sub-categories (A, B & C). Lol I’m speaking Greek aren’t I? haha! Lets refer to the pic below, I promise it will make more sense!
Can you identify your Hair Type from this chart? Let me complicate your life even more, just like me you can have more that one hair type. I have a mix of 4b & c type hair 🙂 Do I have a hair twin here? (let me know in the comments section!)
Its important to know your hair type because it helps you know which products will work best for your hair and what methods you’ll have to incorporate into your regimen. The tighter your coil the more love it’ll need to keep it moisturized. For example 4c hair, which is the most common hair type here in Botswana, is probably the most fragile hair type and is prone to breakage therefore it require extra moisture and more deep conditioning to keep it moisturized. Sealants like butters and the thicker oils are also great for type 4 hair as they helps seal in the moisture in the hair. Knowing your hair type also helps you identify other naturalistas with your hair type which you can exchange tips with or you can find an online twin who you can follow to see how they take care of their hair and what tips they use.
2. What about your Hair Porosity?
More Greek! lol Simply put hair porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. There’s three categories of hair porosity – Low, Medium (or normal) and High. The Hair Porosity Test is explained in the pic below. You basically pick a clean strand of your shed hair (I remember I overlooked the bit about using hair you have shed and I plucked out a strand of my hair :’) ) and drop it in a glass of water, then leave it in there for 3 – 5mins then observe. Your hair porosity is then determined by where your hair strand sits in the glass of water.
So you’ve done the test and have identified your hair porosity right? To help further expand on the explanations given in the above pic, I want to use the analogy of a room with a door. lol sounds dumb huh? it does the job though!
Low Porosity Hair: So picture a door which is almost shut, with a teeny weeny space left which only probably a coin could fit in. The hair cuticles of Low Porosity Hair lay flat and are tightly pressed against each other so there is little room for moisture to enter the hair. And once the moisture makes its way in it doesn’t easily come out. This type of hair is actually considered to be healthy but is prone to product build-up. This hair requires lighter, liquid based products that don’t weigh it down, e.g hair milks, and liquid -based leave-in conditioners. Medium Heat when deep conditioning is recommended to help lift and open the hair cuticles to help moisture and nutrients to enter. Avoid protein rich conditioners for this hair, and limit protein treatments.
Medium Porosity Hair: Back to my analogy, imagine a door opened half -way, an equal amount of moisture enters and also leaves the hair. There’s balance here so medium or normal porosity hair is rather low maintenance and easier to manage. It absorbs moisture well and at the same time prevents too much moisture from being lost. Deep conditioning treatments are recommended regularly as well as protein treatments, however, protein based products shouldn’t be used daily.
High Porosity Hair: So here the door is wide open! So basically moisture goes in and comes right out! This hair has gaps and holes in the cuticles. Your hair can have high porosity naturally or it can be the cumulative results of heat or chemical damage. Either way with this type of hair you have to strategically layer products and use heavy butters like shea butter to helps seal in moisture. If you are of the view that you have high porosity hair because of heat or chemical damage you might have to consider trimming the damaged ends off to give yourself a fresh start!
3. Can you pick out the Bad Ingredients in products?
I’m going to make this real simple and just list some of the most common ingredients to avoid in products!
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID – THE BAD
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Mineral Oil
- PEG – Polythylene Glycol
- Propylene Glycol
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- Ammonium Laurel Sulfate
- SD Alcohol 40
- Propanol Alcohol
You’ll notice most products now will write on the cover “No Sulfates, Parabens, Mineral Oil and Petroleum.” If you see this you’re off to a good start now turn over to the ingredients section to make sure they haven’t tried to throw you off and slip in other bad stuff! haha. Generally the above listed ingredients are harsh and will strip your hair of its nutrients causing dryness, frizz and ultimately breakage!
Side Note: There are actually some good alcohols used in hair products, namely - Cetyle Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol, Lauryl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol and Cetearyly alcohol. So don't dismiss a product the minute you see alcohol :') make sure you check which one it is!
Okay so theres a lot of information here, feel free to come back and go though it again! I hope after going through this post you have learnt more about your hair and its structure and I’ve shed some light on the kind of products you should be going for and similarly the ones you should avoid! As always if you have any questions or comments lets chat below!