Repost from The Brandista Guide
When starting a healthy hair journey it can be quite overwhelming. Most people have to forget the improper lessons of the past and do something completely different. Patience, knowledge, and consistency is going to be the best option for turning your hair around. Therefore, if you’re starting a natural or healthy hair journey, the first place to start is with a regimen. There are seven steps to a proper hair care regimen. The products and the order of the regimen will vary from person to person but the seven steps below provide the foundation of what you need for a healthy hair journey.
Shampoo – Shampooing hair is usually the first step for many people in their regimen. You want to make sure your shampoo doesn’t have harsh ingredients such as sulfates (SLS), parabens, and mineral oil. I suggest washing your hair once a week to see if you need to wash more often or less. I know some naturals who wash their hair once a week, once a month, or not at all (although most will use some cleansers to remove build-up from their hair like Baking Soda, Apple Cider Vinegar, or cleansing conditioners).
Protein Treatment – Protein treatments are extremely important for those with damaged hair and for those trying to maintain the strength of your hair. Your hair is made of protein so adding protein back in your hair gives it strength. I would only do this once a month for most people, twice a month if your hair is extremely damaged. It is very important to do a protein treatment after you’ve compromised the strength of your hair in some way; such as using heat. You want to make sure you follow up every protein treatment with a moisturizing conditioner.
Conditioner – This is extremely important after shampooing your hair. Even if you use a sulfate-free shampoo your hair will still crave moisture. This is where the conditioner comes in. Many naturals condition multiple times a week, while skipping the shampoo process, commonly referred to as co-washing.
Tip: After conditioning, use a cotton t-shirt to dry your hair instead of a harsh towel. This will eliminate a lot of frizz and keep your hair feel soft and not stripped!
Deep Conditioner – This is an extremely important step in your regimen. I saw a significant difference in the length and strength of my own hair, once I started to deep condition consistently. You want to be sure you choose a deep conditioner with a good balance of protein and moisture. I suggest deep conditioning your hair at least once a week. Some people deep conditioner before shampooing or after conditioning their hair. If you’re using a store-brought product for deep conditioning I suggest following the directions on the bottle as to when you should add the deep conditioner and for how long. These products have been tested for efficiency so the directions on the bottle will give you the best results.
Leave-In Conditioner/Moisturizer – You want to make sure your hair stays moisturized, so after washing and using a rinse-out conditioner be sure to add in a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer to your hair. The key to leave-ins and moisturizers is the fact that water has to be the first ingredient for it to be considered a moisturizer. Also, be sure to check for harmful ingredients because you’re leaving this in your hair and you don’t want to use something that will create build-up or cause a negative reaction to your hair.
Sealer – Sealing is basically locking in the moisture to your hair. The only form of moisture that exists on this planet is water, and the process of sealing is adding butter or oils to your wet hair to keep the moisture in. The molecules in most butters/oils are too large to get into the cuticles of the hair shaft so it ends up trapping in the moisture. I personally find adding a little coconut oil and/or extra virgin olive oil to my leave in conditioner helps.
Styler – There are a ton of styling products on the market. For us curly girls, you can choose from hair butters, gels, mouse, and more. After your hair has moisture feel free to experiment with stylers to see which one fits the style of your hair the best. For those who wear their hair straight, be sure to find a great heat protectant before you apply your heat styling tool.
Optional: Finisher – This is an optional step but some people tend to add a serum or finishing styling product for added shine or to make their hair smell good.