Reading the practical information and insightful anecdotes in The 5 Hair Archetypes prompted me to analyze my regimen for areas that needed improvement. What I found was that I wasn’t washing my hair often enough, my wash day routine was lacking, I need to focus more on strengthening and pH balance, and I wasn’t moisturizing as frequently as I should. I hadn’t expected to find so many flaws in my routine, given that it had worked so well–or so I thought–all this time. I immediately refined my regimen to conform to the tips provided in the book.
Formerly in my regimen, I cleansed my hair and scalp biweekly in an effort–guided by numerous veteran protective stylers–to reduce manipulation. I had even attempted waiting a maximum of three weeks, for a time. However, after the second week, my scalp would be oily and a bit itchy. Consistently by the third week, my scalp itched unbearably and was greasy. I’d always thought the itching and buildup were normal occurrences between washes, but T5HA states that the scalp must be cleansed of dirt and excess oils as often as needed to maintain a clean, healthy environment conducive to growth. I narrowed down a timeline of when I first encounter buildup to nearly a week after washing and decided to start washing weekly again. I have yet to experience anymore greasy buildup, scalp zits, or itching since making the switch.
Next, I needed to address the lack of wash day products pertinent to my hair’s needs. According to T5HA, all wash day routines should contain products that fall into four basic categories; shampoo, reconstructor (protein), deep conditioner, and leave-in. The purpose of these steps is to cleanse, fill in gaps in protein, and replenish moisture while smoothing cuticles. The book taught me that my hair type, with its combination strand thickness, kinky-curly pattern, and coarse texture, needs more protein because of the uneven cuticle coverage caused by the twists and curves of the strands, particularly the finer ones. I had never given much thought to strengthening my hair before so protein treatments were far and few in between. The book also stressed the importance of using acidic, conditioning products to smooth the cuticles after being raised by a cleanser. I used plenty conditioner, but only an instant conditioner as a deep treatment and moisturizer, which it isn’t meant to be. I was missing a pH balancing product to close my cuticles and return my hair to its acidic pH. The four basic categories are all essential parts of keeping hair healthy and strong, yet my wash day products consisted of only a cleanser and a conditioning deep treatment before moisturizing so I revamped my wash day routine to incorporate more appropriate products and cover each basic step. I used baking soda and green tea to cleanse, greek yogurt and aloe vera to reconstruct, Suave Naturals to condition, and water and aloe vera gel as a leave-in. I then applied gel, sealed with shea butter pomade, and steamed my hair as usual. Adding Greek yogurt and aloe vera gel as well as properly utilizing my conditioner has made my hair feel much stronger, eliminated frizz, and given it a silky, smooth softness and a discernible effulgence that was not present prior to their inclusion in my regimen. My hair is bouncy and springy, appears more resistant to breakage, and seems to retain moisture a little better.
I surmised the reason I was experiencing so many incomplete splits was not only a lack of protein treatments but also inadequately maintained moisture. Often, I would wait until my hair looked subdued and dry before re-moisturizing. This is entirely too late. When hair is dry it’s more susceptible to damage and, of course, the whole purpose of moisturizing to forestall breakage. The book recommends moisturizing once or twice daily so I adhered to moisturizing once a day, be it steam from the shower or a spritz of leave-in, followed by a liquid shea butter mixture. Thus far, I have done well retaining moisture and perceived an increasingly drastic drop in the amount of hair in my brush each week after detangling.
The difference in the look and feel of my hair is remarkable! There is a brilliance in the sheen of my hair that was not present prior to the changes in my regimen. Frizz is virtually nonexistent in this regimen. In fact, one of the first differences I noticed was the near absence of even minor frizz after washing and styling. My hair seems almost resistant to it even during manipulation into a style and/or fluffing. It’s softer and silky to the touch and much more manageable. It’s just a joy to work with! I once again look forward to having to wash my hair instead of regarding it as the chore it was beginning to seem. I hope you can see the before-and-after difference between the pictures below capturing two great hair days. I must mention that it took a ridiculous amount of oil to get my hair that shiny in the first pic and a minimal amount in the second. I strongly urge at least a perusal of the book even if you think you’ve gotten your hair care routine down to a science. It has made a world of a difference in the health of my hair. Peace & Love