The road to luscious locs is like a weight loss journey. You want the results, but can you resist temptation? Chemical processing, heat styling and all the fun things you can do to your hair can sometimes bring permanent damage. From the shampoo you cleanse with, to the product you style with, you want to be very specific about the things you put in your hair.
Cleanse. To free your hair of dirt and debris you want to make sure your shampoo is sulfate free. Sulfates are responsible for creating the big suds in your cleansing products. For many, the more foam your product creates, the cleaner you feel, but sulfates can dry the hair and leave a film, making it harder for your other products to penetrate. Vitamins and oils in your shampoo help to hydrate and provide nutrients for softer, healthier hair. For thinning hair, too many oils can weigh the hair down making it hard to style so stick with a shampoo that is vitamin enriched.
Treat. After shampooing, you want to make sure your scalp is free of dry skin so your hair has room for growth. Using a scalp elixir once a week will help to exfoliate the skin by unplugging the follicle and leaving the hair flake free. Tea tree oil is a great scalp treatment; it will exfoliate and soothe itchy, overworked areas on the scalp.
Hydrate. Conditioner is a must have for damaged hair. Your conditioner should be packed with vitamins, proteins and keratin to repair damaged areas and provide nutrients. For finer hair, a leave in conditioner would be ideal. It is a lot more lightweight but contains all the nutrients your hair needs. For drier/courser hair you can mix an essential oil such as jojoba in with your conditioning product for deeper moisture penetration. For optimal hydration, use a hair mask once a week. Hair masks are heavier and contain more conditioning properties, treat it as your moisture boost for the week!
Protect. Environmental issues can still affect the hair. The sun can dry the hair causing brittle, more damages locs. Apply a hair sunscreen and be sure to apply a heat protectant before using any styling tool. It would also be ideal to stay away from any chemicals that can alter the hair’s structure such as dyes, relaxers and perms.
Style. Beware when choosing a styling product. You want to make sure any hot tools you use for styling are made with ceramic and ions. A ceramic coated styling tool will help smooth the hair while protecting your follicle from the intense heat. Ions work with the ions naturally found in the hair to seal in moisture and reduce static. Make sure your tool has an adjustable heat setting so you know what temperature you are applying to the hair at all times. If you are looking for a blow dryer, make sure it also has a speed setting so you don’t overheat the finer areas of your hair. Remember to protect your hair with a heat protectant before styling!