Last year, I decided to start taking better care of my hair. Sure it looked ok, and was always fairly long but I could remember a time when my hair was GLORIOUS. I’ve been sporting relaxed hair since I was about ten or eleven; a decision that was actually made by my father because he was tired of hearing me cry every time it was combed or washed. My mother feared that this would impact negatively on the health of my hair since relaxed hair required maintenance and attention. However, my hair was well taken care of by my neighbour who was also a hairstylist. I visited her weekly and got regular treatments. My hair was healthy, bouncy and big. My Dad nicknamed it “fat hair”.
I think things started to take a turn when I went to university in Canada. The cold winter weather coupled with the fact that haircare was not very high on my priority list took a toll on my hair. Sure hundreds of strands fell out every time I blow dried my hair, sure I never deep conditioned it, sure I blow dried it way too often, sure I rarely moisturized it, but guess what? I still had plenty more hair, which was still always shoulder length or longer, so it didn’t bother me much.
But last year I started to miss my “fat hair” and I wanted it back. I wanted healthier, fuller, longer relaxed hair. I was tired of those trips to the hairdresser where she had to cut 3 inches off at a time because of split ends. So I did my research, tried a whole bunch of things and one year later I’ve settled into a routine and products that work for my lifestyle and my hair.
My Simple Hair Routine
Relax every 12 weeks
I get my hair relaxed every 12 weeks by my friend Michelle who has been relaxing my hair for many years now. She uses Profectiv Mega Growth Relaxer in Regular. Lengthening my relaxer frequency from the usual 8 weeks to 12 weeks allows my hair to rest and decreases the possibility of over-processing the already relaxed portion of my hair as there will be a larger more visible amount of new growth. I once stretched my relaxer for 20 weeks which resulted in a lot of shedding and was more difficult than beneficial. I find 12 weeks is the perfect frequency for me to enjoy the benefits of stretching without getting frustrated.
Moisturize and seal
When I started, I would moisturize and seal every day religiously, but recently I’ve discovered that my hair doesn’t need as much product or to be moisturized as frequently. Instead, I examine my hair in the morning to see how it feels. And now I use less product and moisturize and seal about every other day. I divide my hair into four sections and apply a small amount of Ettenio Creme de la Creme to each section, my front hairline and my nape. Then I give it a light comb through with my wide tooth comb to distribute the product.
I first learned about this product from Island Essence and Vivianna from Hair Therapy for Jamaica on Youtube. It contains natural ingredients, its locally made, its rich, creamy, a little goes a long way and most importantly it makes my hair feel moisturized and amazing. I’m on my fifth bottle and you couldn’t pay me to try a different moisturizer.
Next I apply a small amount of coconut oil to each of the four sections, my front hairline and my nape to seal in the moisture and give it a light comb through with my wide tooth comb. After that I proceed to style my hair for the day.
You can buy virgin coconut oil in beauty supply stores now, its all the rage in hair care. But they charge an arm and a leg for it. I prefer to go to the coconut industry board and get a large bottle of Miss Dawn’s Jamaican Cold Pressed Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Oil. It works just as good as the stuff in the beauty supply store.
Weekly Wash Day
Every week I wash and deep condition my hair. Yes, every, single week. Ok so there have been one or two times that I was on vacation or feeling super tired and I didn’t do it but those are rare. Sunday is my usual washday and I start by shampooing my hair.
I wash my hair with one of two shampoos. Once a month I use ORS Olive Oil Creamy Aloe Shampoo to clarify my hair and rid it of all impurities. This is a product I used even before I started my “hair journey”. I find it clarifies without leaving mr hair feeling like dry coconut trash as many clarifying shampoos tend to do. In the other weeks when I’m not clarifying, I use Creme of Nature with Argon Oil From Morrocco Sulfate-Free Moisture & Shine Shampoo which simply melts tangles out of my hair and leaves it feeling moisturized.
After shampooing, I give my hair a gentle squeeze to get rid of excess water and apply a deep conditioner and a plastic cap.
About 6 weeks after a relaxer, I find it necessary to part my hair in small sections and apply the deep conditioner directly to my new growth to aid in softening it. This does wonders for new growth management. But for the first 6 weeks, I don’t find this necessary and I just apply the deep conditioner in four sections. The product I use depends on how my hair feels. Most of the time my hair wants moisture moisture and more moisture so I use the Aunt Jackie’s In Control Moisturizing and Softening Conditioner. Its silicone free, so it doesn’t give you that feeling of “slip” but after I wash it out, my hair feels ultra soft.
On weeks when my hair feels like it needs moisture and some protein I use the Loreal Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm. It leaves my hair feeling moisturized but strengthened.
I either deep condition under a dryer for 20 minutes, leave it on for an hour or more without heat, or keep it on overnight (if my husband is away. See my last post).
After deep conditioning I rinse the conditioner out and dry my hair gently with one of my husband’s old T-shirts. T-shirts put less friction on your hair than bath towels. I wrap my hair in my Turbie Twist and leave it on for at least 30 minutes to absorb most of the moisture, longer if I have time. After I remove the turbie twist, I apply my Aphogee Keratin and Green Tea Restructurizer to give my hair a little dose of protein, comb it through in sections, moisturize and seal and put it in a bun.
Drying my hair in a bun takes longer but I find it gives me a sleek, soft, less frizzy result.
Protective Styles and Avoiding Heat
In addition to the things I’ve outlined above I try to comb my hair ways that do not leave my ends exposed like buns. I also avoid the use of heat wherever possible and reserve the use of heat tools for special occasions. This helps to prevent split ends.