Natural hair is delicate but that doesn't mean we cannot find a healthy ground for it to thrive. What natural hair needs the most is a proper balance between moisture and protein. There is a co-dependent relationship between the moisture and protein contents in your strands and one cannot work without the other.
Our hair is made up of a very hard protein called Keratin and quite often that protein gets broken down by our manipulation, chemical processes like color or relaxing and the environment. Our hair also needs lots of moisture because that keeps our hair pliable and hydrated. Without that moisture, our hair becomes dry and brittle. When the hair is being moisturized, water molecules bind with the protein present in the strands. It is this way that they are able to absorb and perform their hydrating duties.
If your hair care includes just moisturizing, the balance will be disturbed and your hair will not be in its healthiest state. Lack of this balance is the cause of many hair issues we spend hundreds of dollars trying to fix. Your hair care routines should be focused on keeping an equal balance between the moisture and protein content of your hair.
(Moisture + Protein = Healthy Hair)
To determine if you have the right balance, here’s a quick and easy test you can do:
Wet you hair thoroughly (water is the best moisturizer by the way!) then pat dry. Pull some strands, stretching them out without applying force on your scalp. If your hair stretches slightly and bounces back to its original length without breaking, congratulations! You have balanced hair.
If your hair stretches too far and has a weak, spongy feel, that means it has too much moisture in it with no protein support. Improve your hair’s protein level by using a protein building deep conditioner.
When And How To Use Conditioner On Natural Hair
If your hair is hard and can’t be managed, it usually means there’s an overabundance of protein and too little moisture. If the hair hardly stretches and breaks off, you need to boost your moisture game. Hair like this is usually rough, tangled and brittle when dry. Start a moisturizing routine that includes a weekly moisturizing deep conditioner treatment.
One of the best ways to incorporate moisture into your strands (and keep them in) is the LCO or the LOC methods. Either method is highly effective at keeping natural strands moisturized by applying the liquid and then the cream and oil in either fashion. Water (or liquid) is always first but you can determine how to incorporate the last two according to your preferences after trying both.
I moisturize a few days a week but I know I must counter it with monthly or bi-monthly protein treatments to keep my hair strong. It may take a while to find your own perfect balance but checking your hair will help you find it. I love wetting my hair in the shower and then sealing in that moisture with my favorite leave-in conditioner and oil blend.
How To Go Natural: The First Most Important Steps
I wet my hair and then use SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Intensive Hydrating Conditioner + Jane Cater Solutions Healthy Hair Complex 4 replenish & Repair Oil mixed together as my Oil and cream. I I then apply my favorite gel, Kinky Curly Curling Custard and I allow my hair to air dry. When I am ready for a protein treatment, I either use Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor or Aurbrey Organics GPB Glycogen Protein Balancing Conditioner.
I never worry about shrinkage too much as having my coils defined with movement is more important to me. I work on keeping my hair in a happy moisture + protein balance which allows me to have perfect hair!