“…our hair grows to the sun, like plants stretching to the light, because it’s alive like our souls.” -Unknown
…so how do we take care of our precious crowns?
The thicker the strand of hair, the more moisture it requires. True moisture can be hard to find in cleverly marketed bottles found in a local grocery or beauty store. “Olive oil moisturizers” laden with silicones and alcohols that will not penetrate or will dehydrate the hair result in a false sense of moisture. Water-based products can also dehydrate follicles once the water has evaporated from the product.
Pre-treating hair with cold-pressed coconut oil before washing helps de-tangle and prevent breakage upon washing or co-washing. Rich in nutrients and vitamins, coconut oil also helps promote hair and scalp health.
Washing hair with a sulfate, phthalate, and alcohol-free shampoo helps to gently cleanse hair without depriving it of moisture. Focus on the scalp and let suds fall down to the ends. Applying shampoo to the ends of hair will strip them of moisture faster, resulting in dry, fuzzy locks. Just know that the more translucent the shampoo, the more clarifying it will be. If you don’t have a lot of product buildup, lean toward creamier suds such as Alaffia’s Shea and Virgin Coconut Enriching Shampoo.
Co-washing between washes with a gentle coconut or avocado-based conditioner will promote a clean healthy scalp and hair without stripping any natural oils. As I Am Naturally Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner is the best candidate for the job.
It is best to comb hair while a rich, creamy conditioner is penetrating the cuticles. Making sure that your conditioner is free of any petrolatums, alcohols, and “-cones” (including dimethicone, silcone, and others) will guarantee that each strand will receive and true sense of moisture rather than a false coating that will result in dry, frizzy curls. Shea Moisture has a few conditioners geared toward different hair care concerns that serve as treatments as well as conditioners.
Styling is always a fun and creative time! Depending on the length and preferred style of hair, your product needs may vary. Whether I wear my hair straight, curly, or reaching toward the sun, these four types of products never steered me wrong:
1. A creamy holding gel, free of “-cones” and alcohol, applied while hair is wet secures a longer lasting hold for any air dry, diffuser, or style. I prefer to make my own flax seed gel or I recommend using Kinky Curly’s Curling Custard or Shea Moisture’s Flax Seed Gel, all of which stand the test of time against the harshest of humidities.
2. After applying gel, a milky souffle is just what the hair needs to begin introducing moisture while breaking down any stiff clumps that may have formed during the gel application.
3. For extremely thick or dry hair, oil massaged into scalp and applied to ends stimulates hair growth and seals split ends. Jamaican Black Castor Oil or cold-pressed Castor Oil is most effective for promoting hair growth, preventing hair loss and breakage; due to its thicker texture, I recommend blending with another oil, such as jojoba or almond.
4. Shea butter or a rich combination of fatty butters help to seal ends and edges once styling is complete. Jane Carter’s Nourish and Shine combines many butters that help seal in moisture and provide a great sheen to straightened and natural hair, alike.
Understanding and knowing our hair enables us to embrace and care for it the best way we can. What works for one may not work for another. Finding your personal hair expert is great, but becoming your own hair expert is an even better way to customize and minimize your cabinet of hair products that work best for you.
Danni is an Aveda trained, licensed skin care specialist and freelance makeup artist for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics with a passion for holistic health as well as at home skin care remedies. She began her self-taught makeup career in the LGBT community, doing makeup for transgender performers and decided to go to school to learn about the most important foundation: skin. After graduating, Danni later became a makeup and product knowledge educator at the Aveda Institute, freelance artist for NARS Cosmetics, and now Bobbi Brown where she has had the privilege of working behind the scenes of NYFW shows. A self-proclaimed product junkie, Danni brings her skin care education, makeup expertise, passion for product knowledge, and “new!” to you, so that YOU don’t have to.