Friday, February 3, 2012

Reader Email: Dry hair, Detangling and Hair Journey Struggles

I love the emails I receive from readers sharing their progress, asking questions, or from folks reaching out just to say hello. In one email in particular, the reader had several great questions. I thought to myself that maybe someone else could also get value from the responses so I've decided to share them with you today in the form of a blog post.

What are the symptoms of dry hair?
To me dry hair is simply hair that looks and feels brittle to the touch. Dry hair may also appear frizzy. Dry hair will generally not feel as soft and will not have much elasticity. Compare a tree branch on the ground with one still on the tree. The one on the ground has dried out and will snap easier if you tried breaking it in two. The branch on the tree will take a little more effort before you can break it. Hair that snaps too easily can signify a protein issue but it could also mean the hair is suffering from extreme dryness.

How should I change my regimen if it's dry or greasy?
When my hair is too dry, I amp up my deep conditioning to level 10. I take no short cuts. Instead of letting the conditioner stay in my hair for an hour, I may deep condition overnight. I also take my time applying the conditioner so every strand is coated. This has helped me tremendously. Every product I use on wash days, from my shampoo to conditioner, to leave-in is working is one magnificent team to create moisture for my hair.

Is there a way to wrap the hair incorrectly and if so, what is the right way to wrap my hair?
Honestly, I was never that efficient at wrapping my hair. The process created a little too much over-manipulation for my taste. Wrapping is one of those techniques that, when done right, creates beautiful results. If I were a person that wrapped my hair regularly, I would invest in quality brushes/combs that are extra gentle on the hair since the brushes/combs are the main component of proper wrapping. Prepare the hair for the wrapping process by making sure the hair is properly conditioned and moisturized. Never wrap hair that is feeling too dry or fragile and breaking. Another piece of advice I would give you is to switch up from wrapping to other techniques from time to time. Too much wrapping in one direction can lead to thinning. It's kinda like if someone walks on the same path in the grass, eventually, that area will no be as healthy as the other areas.

How do you know if you have 4B or 4C or both?
Chances are you might have more than 1 texture. So you can be 4B & 4C or you could have 4B and 4A hair (or all three). I don't expand much about texture because my philosophy is more about giving the hair what it needs based on what it's telling you (not necessarily the texture). Meaning I look for signs of dryness, breakage, shedding, dullness, etc and address those issues one by one. This is the reason why people of different textures are able to receive value from the blog.

How do you properly detangle the hair?
I start with proper tools. Then I make sure I have enough time so I'm not tempted to rush during the process. This weekend, I filed and painted my nails before detangling. The I began removing the tangles while standing in front of a mirror. I'm not sure why but doing this made me present during the process and I believe I was more careful overall and took more care not to loose as much hair. Start detangling from the bottom of the hair up. I also hold on to sections within sections while I'm detangling. Meaning, if I'm detangling the ends, I hold the section with one hand (exposing the ends), and detangle with the other hand, this allows me to minimize the tension along the length of the strand from the combing process.
(see pic below)

What kind of flat iron should I be getting?
I wrote a post on flat irons a while back. The good news is that flat irons are getting better in regards to quality and the protection offered to the hair from excessive damage. My tip would be to save up and invest in a quality iron, especially if you plan on using it at least monthly. Also, look for quality heat protectants. If you can find a quality heat protectant that can give you superior results, go for it. The little bit of extra money you spend on heat protectancts will help keep you from having to spend the money later on fighting the heat damage.

Do you know of very simple recipe for Deep Conditioning?
I like to mix my deep conditioners for greater results. You'll often find me mixing oils like olive oil or coconut oil into the mix. I've also added honey, and even powdered nutrients to make my deep conditioners even more effective. The sky is the limit. Check out this post on how to take your deep conditioner even deeper.

What was the hardest part of your hair journey? What keeps you motivated?
My journey has been a long, difficult one. I don't protective style much so retaining length has been an uphill battle. Plus I've suffered from extreme shedding caused by my seborrhic dermatitis, I could never find a moisturizer I liked so I battled dryness until Gleau came into my life. The worse part of my journey has been the setbacks cause by my own behaviors. For the last couple of years, I've been nursing damaged areas back to health slowly and surely. I've learned so much from that experience. I don't write these posts because I have perfect hair, I do it to learn on how I can improve my hair. I'm still battling even now but I see some progress and I've never been happier. I've come to learn that what I do today will create results for me tomorrow so I keep going even when I do see results right away, I keep going.

What keeps me motivated is the fact that my hair keeps growing no matter what. It's doing it's job. My job is now to help it remain healthy and adapt my behaviors accordingly. If I see even just a little bit of progess, I get excited. Progress isn't just about length for me, it's about less dryness or less breakage or less of anything that negatively impacts my hair. If I focus on tiny improvements on a consistent basis, I know it'll add up to greater progress in the long run.

  1. We love hair, have you ever tried coconut oil for dry hair?

  2. I am the same way when it comes to seeing progress in m hair growth, and it's healthines. Everytime I wash it and see it in the mirror of how long and healthy it looks, I get excited. Thanks for the blogs and such, I love your stuff and your hair!