The mestiza muse

Steps To Beginning Your Healthy Hair Journey

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Verna Meachum

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Establish a regular haircare routine. This will include shampoo/condition, deep conditioning, protein treatment & clarifying. Routine is really the best way to tame dry hair & out of control frizz. How often you do any of these will need to be determined by your hair’s need.

Cleanse: Depends on a few things. First, what kind of products you use and how often, second, how fast sebum is produced on your scalp and third your lifestyle. A big part of building your own haircare regimen is to go through some trial & error by experiencing what doesn’t work & why. Start with a weekly schedule and watch your hair adjust. Your hair will tell you if what you’re doing is working or not.

Moisture: your goal should be to prevent your hair from drying out in the first place. Lightly moisturize in the morning (I like to use a water & conditioner mix) and/or at night before bed. I used to do this everyday at least once a day during the beginning of my transition. If it still becomes dry and brittle throughout the day change what you’re using to moisturize your hair. Or, do a protein treatment. You’ll be real surprised how well your hair retains moisture once your cuticles are patched up.

Once you’ve established a regular routine, when you begin to understand your hair more which happens through failures and experiences, you can then add more complex and targeted steps and products to your regimen. Don’t get so heartbroken over a setback, rather learn from it. You never know who’s going to need your lesson in the future.

Find products that work for YOUR hair. Understandably you’ll want to find the right products on the first try. But this process is based mostly off of trial and error. Someone with similar hair like yours may get great results but when you try it–it’s a complete disaster. How do you what works for you? In order to really know what works for you, you need to know what it looks like when something doesn’t work for you.

When you try a new product, give your hair some time to adjust before you completely rule it out, unless it’s a complete fail. If your hair is not behaving properly and you suspect it’s due to a product you used, save it for a later time because you’d be surprised to see that it’ll work for your hair later on down the line. This has happened to me a few times. If not, then you can replace a product one at a time until you find the culprit.

Even if you are in a good place with your products continue to observe your hair because sometimes your hair can start to react negatively to products that once worked really well for you. Example, maybe after you conditioned your hair there is no noticeable change so you decide to boost its effect by adding some natural ingredients to it. When you reach this point, you have an idea of what’s working and what’s not working.

If you can’t figure out what it is, but you know your hair is not where it should be as far as health, look and feel, just remember that rather than replacing everything all at once, make a change or customize one product at a time. It’ll be easier to identify what’s causing the setback. This is called a journey for a reason. You have to discover what DOESN’T work for you so you can discover what DOES. If you don’t think any of the products are to blame, then it could very well be product build up.

Do your homework. There is an overwhelming amount of much info. online and searching through it can be tedious and not only that some can be even conflicting. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to learn everything at once because it can cause you to do too much to your hair like over manipulating it or becoming a product junkie or over-moisturizing your hair which will quickly lead to hygral fatigue (this actually happened to me twice). I had no idea such a thing existed. And this over approach can slow down your process.

Practice patience with your hair. Your hair is going to grow and do what it’s meant to do as long as you’re making a good effort with taking care of it and educating yourself. The challenging part will be making sure what grows stays on your head.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle. This is important, but often not taken into consideration. Our skin, hair and nails revive from all the nutrients from the foods we eat. Healthy hair starts from within. Stay active.

Learn your hair type. After about 3 to 6 months of using trial and error with hair products, I think this is the best time to start testing the porosity of your hair and not so much in the beginning if you’re transitioning from damaged hair. It’s best to add protein treatments and more advanced treatments once you completely know what your hair type is.

If after repeated treatments it looks like the damage from your hair is irreversible, you should cut or trim it to prevent breakage and split ends. You can either cut out all of the damage or gradually trim it.

A lot of us are advised not to compare our hair with anyone else’s hair. Finding someone with similar hair can be helpful to use when learning new things. Try to find someone who’s ahead. It can be really motivating & make your goals seem more attainable. Don’t use comparisons to put yourself down.

Must haves: I recommend getting a satin or silk pillowcase or a satin/silk scarf or bonnet to sleep on to protect your hair from breakage or friction. This will also keep your hair from losing moisture. Use an old t-shirt or microfiber when washing your hair. Try to stay away from these ingredients in products: drying alcohols, harsh sulfates, silicones or mineral oils for now. They are not that bad, but until you learn how to use them and wash them out, you should stay away from them until your hair heals.

Find a transition/protective style to blend the different textures your hair may have. There are many videos on YouTube you can look up. Finger coils and twists worked for me. Also, don’t use high heat from the blow dryer if you choose to diffuse or try. Use low to medium heat. One important part of your regimen is determining how often you handle your hair, try to keep manipulation as low as possible which will help it be tangle free. You can start with a protective styles like twist outs, braids outs, perm rods, low buns, etc.

Conclusion. Don’t approach your journey with unrealistic expectations. All this will do will is cause anxiety and desperation and will probably make you want to quit altogether. A clear and objective mindset is very important for any new task you take on in life. Understand you will have setbacks, everyone has set backs. Seek guidance from those who have similar hair as yours and who are ahead in their hair journey. The more you set yourself around positivity and factual knowledge the closer you will be in reaching your hair goals.

Damaged hair isn’t the end of the world. With great hair care and consistency, you can gradually rebuild the strength of your hair.

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