How to Really Listen to Your Hair to Get the Best Results
By Alexa Santory
We’ve talked about why hair routines are important, and why knowing porosity and hair type will take your routine to the next level. Before you go on your YouTube beauty guru spiral, it’s important to keep in mind that no two heads of hair are exactly alike. My hair and your hair and your favorite guru’s hair are all gonna do their own thing and react to products in their own ways. Plus, all the crazy hair trends can throw things completely out of whack! Let’s talk about why it’s important to build your hair routine based on what your hair likes!
Can't Always Listen to your Gurus…
Our beauty gurus are truly a blessing. Really, we don’t know where we’d be without them when it comes to imparting very real and practical beauty knowledge to the masses. On the subject of hair routines however, proceed with caution! No two hair types are made equal and what works for them may not work for you. One thing to keep in mind when following the advice of a YouTube guru is that they’re doing this to spread knowledge, yes, but they’re also doing it for views and likes. And oftentimes getting paid for it too, which can make some tutorials and videos seem a bit insincere. Our advice is to take everything they teach with a grain of salt. Take the knowledge they’ve given you and go ahead and do your own research. Find what works best for you because there is a particular combination of products and methods that will work. Trial and error, ya’ll. Developing a solid hair care routine takes time and a lot of patience and maybe a bit more money than you’d hoped to spend, so take your time, learn your hair and listen to it a bit more because it will tell you (and show you!) what it needs.
How do I know what my hair likes?
The cool thing about hair is that you will almost immediately know that it doesn’t like something. How? The proof is in the feeling! Does it feel stringy after using a particular product? Greasy? Are there little white flakes popping up when you use a gel? Can you just barely run your fingers through it? If you said yes to any of these, chances are you need to switch it up because it just ain’t workin! And that’s okay! It takes time! But the best place to start — as it always is — is with the basics: hydration, moisture, and protein. These three things are gonna be the backbone of your perfect hair routine.
Hydration is the process of adding water to your hair. You do this by fully saturating it every time you wash it. Water is essential to life and it’s essential to keeping the hair not just clean, but strong and healthy. Dehydrated hair is often very brittle and prone to breakage. Next wash day, take the time to wet your hair completely, without adding any shampoos or conditioners for a bit. Make sure the water is warm enough to keep the hair cuticle open a decent amount, but not too much that water escapes. Keeping hydration levels up will make moisture retention that much easier.
Moisture is more of a temporary but necessary fix between wash/hydration days. You can’t have one without the other, tbh. They work in tandem to keep the hair soft and manageable, plus moisture will last longer the more hydrated the hair is. Moisturizing the hair is applying water to it in much smaller parts, so it doesn’t get deep into the layers of the hair but it does impart some benefits like softness, shine, and even being able to detangle! A good hydration/moisture balance will keep your hair soft and manageable and much less prone to breakage. This step comes post-shower when you’re applying your leave-in conditioners, creams, and oils of choice.
Protein is what our hair is made of. Keratin, aka the protein that makes up the hair strand, can deplete with time, manipulation, heat/chemical damage, and overall carelessness. Getting protein back into the hair, however, is pretty easy. How do you know if your hair needs protein? Well, it’ll usually look and feel pretty soggy and flat. An overdose of hydration/moisture needs to be balanced out with something strengthening and that’s exactly what protein is! Protein treatments like henna or cassia will give you some intense results. These powerful natural proteins help increase the hair’s natural strength and health over time. Plus they’re great for the scalp, and they make your hair hella shiny. What’s not to love!? Be careful though! An overload of protein can result in breakage and brittle hair, so find that perfect balance and you’ll be okay. Can’t have too much of a good thing, ya know?
Add in shampoos and conditioners and you’ve got yourself a solid hair care foundation! Individualized products are gonna be a bit more of a task to culminate. It really depends on you and what your hair reacts well to! Knowing what your hair does and doesn’t like will be a process but here are a few more tips to get you through!
Protect your hair overnight. Night time protection is a big part of a good hair routine. We spend a lot of our time sleeping and leaving the hair out overnight can be a lot more damaging than we realize! Try and always protect the hair at bedtime by keeping it in a low manipulation style like braids or a low bun, plus rock a satin bonnet to keep everything in check. The routine doesn’t stop when the hair dries, ya’ll!
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