Whether you are relaxed, transitioning, have just done a big chop or are years into your curls, here are simple, tried and true daily care tips for every texture and length.
- Product: Co-wash; sud-free or conditioning shampoo.
- Method: Thoroughly dampen hair, gently massaging the scalp to soften any buildup and oils. Apply cleanser to scalp only and gently massage with pads of fingers and not nails. Avoid aggressive circular or jerking motions, especially near the edges. Rinse, allowing cleanser to travel down the remainder of the hair. Try to limit washes to one lather (if you use product properly, this is possible. See, styling below.)
- Frequency: Co-wash every 6-8 days. Shampoo once a month.
This one is easy. We aren’t purists, we realize that people want to do different things with their hair and we love that. But of course, the most important thing is to be sure that any method or style you use, protects the scalp and cause minimal damage. Hair grows back; a damaged scalp can be permanent.
- Apply styling products starting a half-inch from the scalp. This keeps this scalp clear and extends time between washes.
- Use less product. We all want our curls to pop or poof, and those of us with long hair are tempted to slather it on, but too liberal an application of any product, particularly those with oils in them, can actually make your hair drier and more brittle. It also weighs it down and can lead to limp, boring curls. To get definition and retain body, apply product to soaking hair and squeeze out excess, or dampen hair and apply diluted product. Stick to water-based products and start light, working to a moderate application if needed. Sometimes less is more.
- Stop oiling your scalp (we know, we know. Our grandmas told us too). But as great as it was to sit at our mothers and grandmothers and aunties feet and have our scalps oiled, the fact is, oil is not a moisturizer. Water is a moisturizer. Most products have some kind of lubricant in them, so what you apply to your hair will eventually make it to your scalp. Oiling your scalp just adds to buildup and means more frequent washes.
- Keep a spray bottle with equal parts aloe water, water and a squirt of your fav conditioner and mist daily to moisturize hair.
- Product: Co-wash. Skip the shampoo.
- Method: Thoroughly dampen hair and scalp. Apply a rich co-wash or conditioner all over the head and massage for no more than 1-2 mins using the pads of the fingers. Do not scrub.
- Frequency: Co-wash once every 5-7 days.
- Apply diluted product with fingertips, avoiding the scalp. If you have a very low cut, apply diluted product to damp head.
- Stick to water-based products. Oils will remove body and cause awkward flattening and clumping of looser textures and make kinkier textures stiff and block moisture.
- Mix equal parts aloe water and water and mist hair daily for shine and moisture.
- Special note for the TWA: That elastic “no pull” band you use to pull your hair into that lovely puff is no good. Elastics, even flat ones, pull the edges and cause stress to the follicle. Go for styles that leave your edges unhindered.
These simple steps will lead to less daily damage and increased overall health (you will also save on product, which is always a plus).