By Alexa Santory
Ahhh wash day--that special day that you’ve put off twice this week because you just don’t want to deal. We get it, sis! Having hair is a chore in and of itself, and caring for it only adds to the stress. But the secret is this: having a good, consistent hair routine will make the whole process (and the time between washes) way less tedious. If you’re a person of color with hair that falls anywhere on the kinky/curly spectrum, you know that our hair requires a different level of care and patience. Let’s talk hair routines and why they matter, plus some tips on how to update your routine for the springtime!
What’s a hair routine?
A hair routine is the process of caring for your hair by washing, conditioning, moisturizing, and styling on a regular basis to maintain its health. Basically it’s what you do to keep your hair looking and feeling right. Everyone’s hair is different though, and there’s no one size fits all routine for everyone. Heck, even those products that advertise as being for “all hair types” don’t work for all hair types! It’s important to know a few things before cultivating your own hair care routine. At the tippy top of the list are your hair type and your hair’s porosity. Your hair type determines the texture, and shape of your hair, ranging from type 1 (straight) to type 4 (kinky-curly). It also determines the types of products you use, the order in which you use them, and how often. It’s the cornerstone of hair care, tbh!
Oh and get this, your hair can fall into more than one sub category of curl! Sometimes, different parts of the hair show different curl patterns, but as a rule of thumb, stick with products that fit the most common curl pattern on your head. And in terms of porosity, knowing the porosity level of your hair is going to unlock a whole new world of possibilities when it’s time to moisturize and style your hair. Your hair’s porosity determines how well it absorbs and retains moisture. Your hair, like your skin, has pores and the openness of those pores is a key part of giving your hair the proper care.
Knowing your hair type and porosity levels are two major components of a solid hair care regimen, but above all else consistency is key. Staying on top of your hair care routine is what’s going to give you the best results in the shortest amount of time. Having a well rounded and consistent routine is the best way to increase strength and promote healthy growth. A good hair routine really starts at the very tops and bottoms of the hair: the scalp and the ends. Without a healthy scalp, you won’t have very healthy hair. And with dead, split ends, your hair will look and feel a lot less healthy. So clean your scalp often and well, and trim your ends every few months. Little changes like this are the start of something so much bigger!
Hair Routines and Women of Color
If you’re a POC, you know it’s pretty rare to have hair that falls into the type 1 or even type 2 categories. There’s a pretty good chance you fall somewhere on the type 3-4 spectrum, so you probably already know the maintenance required for curly hair. You’ve also probably wondered if your hair has a mind of its own. Honestly, having curly hair is a lot of work. Add to that the fact that people tend to take women of color less seriously when their hair isn’t maintained and you have a nice cocktail of social, societal, and personal pressures to look decent at all times! Ahhh!
Even in 2019, hair is still politicized, which is ridiculous to say the least, but at the same time, people of color don’t really have a choice but to take good care of their hair because of how different it is. And if we’re being completely honest, the sheer versatility of type 3 and 4 hair types makes having type 3 or 4 hair that much more fun! I like to think of it this way: if there are people who are willing to spend tons of money to get their hair to look the way ours does, which oftentimes only requires water, then we’re doing something right! Hair routines are a big part of being a person of color since our hair is part of our identity. You have to take care of your waves, kinks, and curls! Not for other people but for you! Hair types that fall in the 3-4 spectrum all require a healthy balance of hydration (the process of completely saturating the hair with water, aka the key to life), moisture (applying water based products to the hair to keep it soft, manageable, and alive), and protein (adding strength to the hair because our hair is mostly protein and weak hair is unhappy hair). Striking that balance will eventually lead to your healthiest, happiest hair starting from the root!
Spring Cleaning: Adjusting your hair routine for the season
Spring is a very wet season. We get lots of rain, it’s still not quite warm enough to go outside with wet hair, and we’re probably suffering from seasonal allergies...it’s a mess, tbh. And because of all this extra moisture in the air, our hair will be the first thing to act up. Curls and kinks typically don’t react well to humidity. I know this all too well, since I’ve been in the boat where I’ve taken my sweet time making my hair look perfect just to go outside and have 90% humidity levels kill my whole vibe. It’s annoying! The trick is to work with the weather rather than against it. Here are some tips for adjusting your hair routine for spring!
The extra moisture in the air is something worth embracing. Winter can take a really big toll on curly hair types and it may be an adjustment, but springtime is the best time to start a transition period. So put away the hot tools, trim your ends, and do a hair mask or two!
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