November 04, 2016

HAIR| MY RELAXED HAIR ESSENTIALS


"What do you use on your hair?"

This one question has followed me through shopping malls, hair salons, night outs, public toilets...you name it. If my hair is worn down I'm almost guaranteed to get frisked with that one question but I won't lie, it does feel good to get that little bit of recognition...kinda feels like a 'good job' pat on the back. In those instances I often just name the brand and keep it moving because honestly, to name each and every single product would take forever but since I have a blog, I thought I'd share a bit more on what I currently have in my hair care stash...

My hair care regimen follows five basic steps:

First base

1. Cleanse

African 4C hair (my curl type) is known to be naturally dry, and when you top that with low porosity and chemical straightening, you have yourself a dehydrated disaster waiting to happen, so when I buy any shampoos and conditioners, I always reach for those that increase moisture and replenish proteins and vitamins weakened by relaxing. My go-to shampoo has always been ORS Creamy Aloe Shampoo, but Garnier South Africa had recently launched their Ultimate Blends range of shampoos, conditioners and serums (& every blogger was talking about the range & Clicks was having a 3 for 2 sale) so I decided to try it out. I picked the variants that contain coconut oil & cocoa butter and avocado oil & shea butter because, well simply put those ingredients are the bomb! Coconut and avocado oil are two of the few oils that can actually penetrate the hair shaft due to their low molecular size and the lauric acid found in coconut oil helps prevent hair protein loss. Shea butter is praised for its moisturising abilities therefore when used on hair, it coats the shaft and helps protect the hair from damage caused by chemical treatments and excessive heat. The shampoos clean well (they contain sulfates so if you are not looking for a deep cleanse, better pick something else) and offer an average level of moisture and slip. My favourite of the two has been 'The Sleek Restorer'- my hair looks pretty tame and feels soft after using it.

2. Condition

Deep conditioning after cleansing is a must for my dry, low porosity hair so I am particular when it comes to the conditioners I use. ORS Replenishing Conditioner has been a die-hard since my Afro days and I love it still. It smells divine and contains hydrolyzed collagen, silk amino acids (stimulate protein production) and aloe vera extract which work together to give your hair elasticity, softness and moisture. My hair always feels smooth and moisturised after using this conditioner. 

The Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Anti-Breakage Leave-In Conditioner is one of those that I searched high and low for after reading raving reviews from international natural and relaxed hair bloggers. It boasts a myriad of exceptional ingredients such as water, olive oil, mango butter, argan oil, coconut oil, shea butter, aloe vera extract and plenty others. This lightweight conditioner is amazing when it comes to making your hair feel soft and moisturised , but I experienced quick build up of product when using it which led to me having to wash my hair more often, so I haven't been using it as frequently. One leave-in conditioner that I do love and have been reaching for recently is from Cantu Shea Butter. I will review it separately as I didn't have it when I planned this post.

At-home treatments are both essential and economic

3. Treat

Hair treatments are the serums of hair in my opinion. They are meant to work more effectively at targeting problems relating to your hair. As I  mentioned in my previous 'Hair Goals' post, my two main issues is dryness and breakage. Dryness is linked to dehydration (lack of water, not oil) while breakage results from weakened hair strands caused by chemical straighten, excessive manipulation (combing/brushing/styling) and simply not wearing a doek (head scarf) when you sleep! While I have made changes to improve the moisture in my hair (e.g. showering without a cap to allow steam to penetrate the hair, regular moisturing) and minimise manipulation, the relaxer remains to be my hair's frenemy. To try and compensate for the weakened hair protein bonds caused by relaxing, I use an all-time favourite protein treatment (ORS Hair Mayonnaise) every two weeks and balance that with a moisturising treatment (Garnier Nourishing Repairer Balm) every other week as well. The Garnier repairer balm applies like a lightweight hair mask, but unfortunately I can't say I see its effect, so I'll be shopping around for a new moisturising treatment once its finished.  

The other product that I use to strengthen my hair and encourage rapid growth is HR Placenta. My mother swears by it - she has a healthy, rich 'Moses-burning-bush' on her head and well I don't want to go wrong if 'mom's always right', lol. The light oil-serum mixture contains Biotin which is often used as a supplement for improved hair and nail growth. In terms of the placental enzymes that it contains, I still need to do further research on its source as it is not indicated on the packaging.

I love using oils to base my scalp

 4. Seal

To seal in the moisture acquired from deep conditioning and treatment, I love to use light natural oils such as organic virgin coconut oil. I have already mentioned some of the great benefits of applying coconut oil to relaxed hair however if you are interested in knowing more, check out this article HERE. When I'm not using pure coconut oil, I love applying a blend of oils contained in the African Pride Maximum Strengthening Growth Oil. The ingredients include soybean oil, olive oil, wheatgerm oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, silk amino acids and a multitude of other hair-friendly vitamins. This oil is slightly heavier than coconut oil so I  use it to base my scalp and moisturise my ends. I also mix in a bit of tea tree oil to minimise dandruff and keep my hair smelling and feeling refreshed.


When you want to slay

5. Style

My styling products include a selection of lotions and creams, gel, heat-protectant spray and foam wraps. On a day to day basis, I use a small amount of ORS Incredibly Rich Moisturising Hair Lotion to add a bit of lustre and moisture to my hair. The lotion is rich in coconut oil and olive oil and has a rather thick consistency hence I use it sparingly. The African Pride Anti-breakage Creme hasn't been used as much - I think I bought it out of curiosity as it contains the exact same ingredients as the Elasta QP Leave-In Conditioner and even has the same consistency. It is pretty much a less expensive and more accessible dupe of the Elasta QP conditioner. When I tie my hair up in a high or even low bun, I prefer to apply Schwarzkopf Conditioning Foam Wrap throughout the hair then set the edges with Eco Styler Gel. The foam wrap acts as a mousse that sets the hair in place without feeling overly stiff and crunchy. I find the gel to be too messy to use throughout the hair and often leaves residue if you don't wash it out daily. The heat protectant spray that I use when blow-drying my hair, is ORS Thermal Protect and Shine however I am not a fan. The spray contain no 'natural' ingredients and actually feels like an artificial dry oil, however it does add amazing lightweight sheen to the hair.




As you can see, even with relaxed hair my approach to hair care still follows the trends of natural-textured beauties.  I used the majority of these products when I still had my 'fro and haven't felt the need to change. While this post has been quite a long read (sorry!) I hope that it's been helpful to anyone who's on their own relaxed hair journey (you are not alone!) and seeking advise on products to use.




'Til next time,

V

3 comments:

  1. Where did you end up finding the Elasta QP? Your hair is gorgeous!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lebo! I bought it online from obulunji.com. The supplier stays in Honeydew, Johannesburg.

      Delete
  2. These essentials are really nice & helpful. Thanks for sharing.. If someone is suffering from hair loss then can go for Hair Weaving in Delhi also, Non Surgical Treatment

    ReplyDelete

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