Develop YOUR Hair Regimen
Most women who achieve long, healthy black hair have a weekly hair regimen. A hair regimen is a hair care system that you can use to support your established hair goals. For example, if you want long hair fast; then you would wear protective hairstyling 90% of the time.
A hair care regimen will help keep you on track to reaching your hair goals. Once you start completing simple hair nurturing task on a daily basis you will move toward the hair that you always wanted.
Do you have hair goals?
Are you overwhelmed by all the different how-to methods available for caring for black natural hair? People are eager to offer you a hair product and/or hair advice for improving the condition of your hair. They usually have an endless list of what did or didn't work for them.
But if you are going to get anywhere with your hair regimen, you have to figure out what works for YOU. The first step in developing a hair regimen is understanding your hair goals.
Who are your hair inspirations?
With the internet today, you have the capacity to back-track and review old photos and videos of women who have followed healthy hair regimens and reached their hair goals. There are countless hair care regimens that you could borrow and follow as your own.
When inspired by so many people, it is tempting to want to switch up your hair regimen weekly just to test out some of the wonderful results you may admire on other women.
But give each regimen enough time to reveal it's affect on your hair. It is not a good idea to bounce around between different hair products and hair techniques, especially in the beginning of developing a hair care regimen.
The second step in developing a successful hair regimen is to make note of what is or isn't working best on your hair.
The internet is a great resource for black hair care information, but hair books are better.
No matter where my weekly sentiments may lead me, I am fundamentally loyal to the scientific truths regarding hair care and the wisdom that I have found within the hair care books I have studied.
Two books that influence most of my hair care methods are: Cathy Howse's, Ultra Black Hair Growth II, and Chicoro's, Grow It!
The hair regimens of both Cathy Howse and Chicoro are similar in their simplicity and focus on preserving the hair strand. The use of either hair care regimen will have a dynamic impact on the strength, length, and overall health of the hair.
The cornerstones for success with any hair care system are: patience, diligence, relevance.
Be Patient: Take the time to discover what works for YOU
Be Diligent: Apply what works for YOU regularly and systematically
Be Relevant: Use grooming techniques that support YOUR hair goals
Both Chicoro from GROW IT! and Cathy Howse of Ultra Black Hair Growth II have mastered their hair by implementing SIX (6) basic steps.
The following chart presents a summary of concepts that I have pulled from both books to simplify the ideas of each healthy hair advocate.
See if you can spot the similarities among the two systems. Try to pin-point essential methods that both women emphasize.
6-STEPS To Healthy, Long Black Hair
Dry Hair Care System 6-STEPS
- Frequent cleaning: Recommends three times a week; never go more than seven days
- Daily moisturizing!
- A conditioner that contains protein: to strengthen, oil to lubricate, and a scalp stimulant
- Good blood circulation: good nutrition; vitamins; drink water;
- Careful use of appliances: maximum usage once a week (blow dryer); apply moisturizer to hair first;
- No hairbrushes!
GROW IT! 6-STEPS:
- DETANGLE your hair: Prior to washing (when it is dry) and after washing. Starting with your fingers
- Cleanse hair frequently: Once a week is a good starting point. Dirty hair, hair burdened with product, is more prone to breaking than clean hair.
- Condition your hair intelligently Just because a bottle says “conditioner” doesn’t mean that it is what you need at this point. The needs of your hair should dictate your selection and use of conditioner.
- Moisturize your hair. This always involves some water-based or liquid product. Moisturizing can be as simple as just using water or as complex as making your own product.
- Protect your hair. This allows you to shield your priceless hair from anything that might damage it. It is possible to wear your hair completely loosened and still protect it.
- Grow your hair. Goal Point Method of trimming. Having full even hair.
Good hair care techniques never go out of style.
Cathy Howse published her book Ultra Black Hair Growth II in 2000; and Chicoro published her book Grow IT! in 2009. There is a nine year gap between the releases of the two books; however, the fundamanetals of both models are almost identical.
For black women who struggle with hair that chronically breaks and never seems to grow, many of the above concepts may be new information.
By understanding each system, you will create a framework for a successful hair care journey. Use the information within both hair care systems as a base for whichever hair regimen you develop.
Cathy Howse and Chicoro provide default hair care systems.
When all else fails I refer back the books that taught me the basics about black hair care. As long as my hair regimen is aligned with the fundamentals of the the above books, I know that my hair will thrive.
There are certain traits that every black hair regimen should have. I call these models minimum-must hair care systems. The activities outlined by both Chicoro and Cathy Howse are the minimum activities you MUST do to see improvement within your hair.
So, if you do not know where to start with your hair regimen, try a default system based off of one or both of the above models. You CAN'T go wrong.
If there is no pain; then there will be no gain!
Following a new hair routine is like stretching an idle muscle for the first time. It will hurt at first, but overtime you will gain tolerance and your technique will improve.
Exercising can be painful because you are forcing muscles to become uncomfortable in order to accomplish a new level of strength.
If you keep working that muscle within the brain that exercises patience and endurance for completing your weekly hair regimen; then you will align yourself for success with your hair goals.
You will have to develop tolerance for whichever hair care system you choose to implement. Remember, this is new to you; and it will take time to get it right.
Reaching your hair goals is about being disciplined. You have to reject neglectful behaviors that distract you from caring for your hair.
Try not to give up when your hair journey becomes challenging and uncertain.
Make your new hair regimen a way of life.
I have found that the more you practice a system; the more automatic it will become within your eveyday life. By completing the same steps every week, you will eventually see improvement within the condition of your hair.
Your hair will thrive within a system that is predictable. Your hair, like anything else need consistency. For example, you may not use the same shampoo every week, but the act of cleansing your hair should be a steady aspect of your hair care regimen.
Figure out your hair's theshold.
What can your hair take?
How much can your HAIR take?
How much of a routine can YOU take?
It takes 21 days to build a hair regimen.
Have you ever heard of the science behind developing or breaking a habit. Well, it goes a little something like this:
If you commit to doing something (or not doing something) for 21 days; then your brain will start to create a pattern for the habit.
For example, if one of your hair goals is softer hair; then you could commit 21 days to moisturizing your hair night and day on a set schedule and start to see a shift in your grooming habits over 21 days.
You might mist your hair with water when you first enter your home from work; and then once again right before you lay down to go to bed.
If you commit to doing a habit that is improving your hair for 21 consecutive days, then you will start to do it naturally. The new behaviors will become encrypted within your brain and you won't have to think about it.
Hair Routine Tip #1
Immediately after cleansing my hair, I always moisturize with an ACIDIC leave-in conditioner and place my hair within chunky twists.
There is always room for creativity with your hair regimen.
But the fundamental steps provided by both Howse and Chicoro of regular cleansing, intelligent moisture, and little to no tension on your hair should not be sacrificed.
My hair care regimen is centered on the six (6) steps that are outlined by both women. Both hair care models are great starting point for your journey into longer, healthier hair.
If you are someone who has never stuck to a schedule and you hate using list; then developing a hair regimen will be especially challenging for you.
You should develop a plan for success with your hair and find a way to stick with it. If your first plan does not seem to be working; then change it until you have a system that works well.
Keep analyzing each system until you find one that creates results.
In 3--6---9----12 months where will your hair be?
It is smart to measure your hair successes and challenges on a weekly basis. From there, summarize the weeks into months. Then go back and review your progress over one, two, three months. Analyze your results.
You will notice that recording your hair care results will help you to leverage your hair care techniques and build a system that works.
If I could create my own hair model to summarize the two above it would look like this:
Cleanse (+) Moisture (+) Protection (=) Long, Healthy hair
It's like 1.2.3 ... Simple, right?
We create complexity within our hair routines when we fail to acquire a basic understanding of how and when to apply certain hair products and grooming techniques.
In most cases, we run to expensive hair products with the most elaborate description label instead of practicing techniques that preserve the hair.
If you reveiw the above hair care models, then you will notice that neither model places emphasis on a specific hair product. Make a huge post-it note stating that no hair product can, nor will, recover your hair without adequate grooming techniques.
Hair Routine Tip #2
After my hair is washed and set into chunky twists, I sit under the head-dryer for about 10-15 minutes. Finally, I place my hair within a protective hairstyle.