As you’ll know by now, understanding your hair type is the first step in maintaining its health. But what comes next? Whether you’re an experienced natural or someone who’s recently abandoned keratin treatments, hair bleach, perms or any other damaging agents, you have two primary goals: find products that work and use them in a way that’s best for your hair.
What Your Hair Needs
As winter in the United Kingdom stretches on, moisturising your hair becomes more and more important. Hair products should address two critical needs: moisture and protein. How much moisture and protein your hair needs depends on its type and porosity level.
In previous blog posts, we have broken down hair types. If you missed it, check it out here. Porosity, your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture, is the other part of the equation. There are three levels on the porosity spectrum: low, normal and high.
Knowing your hair’s porosity level is just as important as knowing its type when choosing products that are best for you. But, while vital, that only makes the choice a more knowledgeable one. There are tens of thousands of products on the market. It can be overwhelming to decide where to start, and you might just give up before you even begin the hunt for new products.
We understand your frustration.
It’s even more frustrating when you spend hours watching Youtube videos in pursuit of an influencer whose hair looks the most like yours. You think you’ve found the one, so you buy all the products they use for their wash day routine, excited to get the same exact results. Only to have the worst hair day of your life!
You ask yourself, “where did I go wrong?” You followed their directions to the T, but did not get the same results.
Trial and Error
This is where we step in to tell you, unfortunately, it’s not that easy. As a viewer, we don’t see the YouTuber’s trial and error process. They’ve tried products that their hair hated and products that their hair loved.
What works for them may not work for you. Which is why you have to go through your own trial and error process.
The best way to set about this is to break down your hair care routine and test products across the various stages. Everyone’s wash day routine has a similar structure: shampoo, conditioner, leave-in, and the optional styling product. Some wash days can get more technical, involving deep conditioning, protein treatments, so on and so forth.
Moisturising Shampoo vs Clarifying
Moisturising shampoos are recommended for daily/weekly washes. Your best bet is looking for a moisturising shampoo that does not contain sulfates. Although sulfates allow dirt and dead skin cells to be removed easily from your skin and hair, they can also strip away natural oils. This can make hair dry and brittle. If your scalp is sensitive, sulfates can cause irritation like redness, dryness, and itching.
Shampoos have a tendency to strip hair follicles of natural moisture. If you do not have too much dirt or oil buildup but shampoo your hair multiple times a week, try reducing washes to once weekly.
If you have chemically processed hair, look for a moisturising shampoo that is made for chemically processed hair. Bleach and dyes make hair prone to drying out, therefore, having a shampoo that adds to the dryness is certainly not beneficial. If you’re transitioning from processed hair to natural hair, shampoos that aid in repairing hair follicles are perfect for you.
A clarifying shampoo is necessary when you experience weeks of dirt buildup. If you’ve gone more than two weeks without washing your hair, a clarifying shampoo should be used as it’s extra effective at removing buildup.
When you use a clarifying shampoo, it’s imperative to rejuvenate your hair throughout the rest of your wash routine to add back essential moisture that this shampoo may have removed.
There are three types of conditioners: rinse-out conditioner, deep conditioner, and leave-in conditioner. All three can be used in tangent with each other or by itself, depending on the wash day.
Rinse-out conditioner is your traditional conditioner that is used after your shampoo. It creates great slip. Slip refers to how lubricious the product makes your hair feel after applying so that you’re better able to detangle your hair.
Often times, we buy a shampoo and conditioner from the same brand within the same line of products. This isn’t always necessary. You may find a shampoo your hair likes from one brand, but a conditioner it prefers from another brand because it creates more slip.
It’s recommended to leave your rinse-out conditioner in for 5 minutes. If your hair is curly or coily, it is best to part your hair into sections before detangling.
Deep conditioners are used as an additional product to moisturise and repair hair follicles. They should be applied thoroughly and left in your hair anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight.
The harder it is for your hair to retain moisture, the more often you should deep condition your hair.
If your hair is prone to producing a lot of natural oils, you will not need to deep condition it as frequently.
Deep conditioner is usually recommended to be added to freshly washed hair, but some women prefer to apply it before they wash their hair. This is another place where trial and error is useful because you won’t know which method your hair prefers if you do not try both.
Leave-in conditioner is an important product for women with Type 3 and 4 hair. Many women with curly and coily hair textures use it as a pre-styling product.
For example, leave-in conditioner can be used as a key product in a wash-and-go or a protective style such as a two-strand twist.
Some rinse-out conditioners double as a leave-in conditioner, but many women prefer to use different products for each.
Protein treatments should only be incorporated into your wash routine on an as-needed basis. Protein is essential when it comes to hair, nails and skin. It is used to build tissue cells that help keep your hair healthy and growing. However, because protein naturally occurs in our hair (keratin), too much protein can cause more harm than good.
Understanding if your hair needs a protein treatment will depend on the state of your hair. If your hair is mostly healthy, you should only consider getting a protein treatment every few months. If you are unsure, the best way to know is to perform a hair strand test.
Protein can be added through hair supplement pills or you can easily incorporate it into your at-home wash day routine.
Products that can help with the lack of protein are hair masks, deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners or a shampoo and conditioner combo. You can buy them from the beauty store or create your own DIY mask.
There are tons of DIY recipes on the internet, especially on Youtube. The egg hair mask is one of the oldest hair care rituals. To do an egg mask, you simply take one egg, whip it up, and apply it to your hair and scalp.
Let it sit for half an hour and then wash it off with a mild shampoo. It is simple and cost-effective because eggs are rich in fat, protein and good for moisturising the scalp.
The primary purpose of hair serum is to make your locks look shinier, less tangled and healthier. This happens as the serum absorbs and reflects light. It makes your hair look glossier while adding a protective coat, thus protecting hair from dust, pollutants and ultra violet rays.
Which type of serum is right for you?
If your hair is frizz prone, serums are a great to use after styling to get smoothness. They can also help prevent breakage. There are specific serums suited for different kinds of hair. You can also make super effective serums at home.
If you have split ends, serums made with keratin are best as keratin prevents aggravating ends and helps stop strands from splitting in the first place.
If you live in a warmer climate, your hair needs extra protection from the sun. Serums made with lavender oil should be your go-to. Not only does lavender oil nourish and add sheen to your hair, it will also helps to protect hair against heat.
If you have curly hair, frizz can be harder to manage. To keep those curls bouncy and glossy, use serums packed with hydrating oils like jojoba, argan, sweet almond and marula.
If you have coily hair, you know how hard it can be to keep your coils hydrated. Serums infused with argan and Moroccan oils will give it a healthy shine and lock in moisture.
How to use serums
Serums are best applied on freshly washed hair at the end of your routine. While serums provide nourishment, if you apply one on a daily basis it may weigh down your hair and make it look oily.
When applying, do not use excessive amounts. For medium length hair use 1-2 drops of and for longer hair use 3-4 drops.
Distribute some to your scalp, but mainly focus on the ends of your hair.
Hair gels are popular amongst all hair types to create hold and definition, but not all hair gels are created equally. Many users experience flaking after application. This happens when a gel doesn’t combine well with ones natural hair. It can also be a reaction to your conditioner.
For best results use gel on freshly washed and wet, or damp, hair. Then apply the gel and style to your liking.
Gel can be used to enhance natural curl patterns or hold hair in place like hairspray might. They work best with wash-and-go’s and slicked back ponytails or buns.
Be patient and trust the process
Searching for the right products for your hair can be a strenuous and even expensive process. The internet is a great source for finding products compatible with your hair and within your budget.
Hair needs as much love and attention as the rest of the body. Try making your own DIY products where you can. Research alternative methods if something does not work for you. As we mentioned before, it is all about trial and error.
If your existing hair routine has been failing you as of late, don’t feel discouraged. It is completely normal to change up your hair products and even your routine, especially as the seasons change.
The better you understand your hair, the better results you will get when you use RevAir, the Reverse Air Dryer. Our support page has a lot of information to get you started.
If you still have questions, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today and a friendly, knowledgeable member of our team will be happy to speak with you. It’s important to us that we provide you with the tools and information you need to maintain healthy hair.