I am writing this post to help many ladies out there who are planning on keeping their hair unrelaxed i.e what most of us call "natural", and don't know how to go about it.
During the course of my duty, I meet a lot of women everyday, young and old. And that decision to have the big chop is real. But it's not surprising to find that majority of them are clueless on what to do with or use on their hair, during the transition process, before or after having the big chop.
The Big Chop aka BC, by the way, is cutting off all the relaxed part, leaving only the unrelaxed portion. It can also be shaving off the entire head of hair completely and starting afresh.
Transitioning is letting the unrelaxed part grow out to any length of your choice before doing the BC. Most of the times, transitioning preceeds BC.
If you are planning to big chop, if you have already done it or you're currently transitioning and still don't know what products to use or the steps involved with taking care of your curly hair this post is just for you! Read on...
I will be guiding you through several steps, explaining what each step means and recommending products that will make each step a breeze. And what's so cool, they are products you can get here in Naija.
Step 1: Pre-poo
As the name implies, a pre-poo means "preparing for shampoo". This process is key because it gives the hair ample time to absorb needed moisture. When the hair is moisturized, it becomes soft and easier to manage.
Items needed for prepoo could consist of your favorite conditioner [see conditioners in Step 3], 2 to 3 oils of your choice and a humectant. Humectants are ingredients that draw moisture from the environment to your hair and examples are glycerin and honey.
To make a pre-poo mixture, pour some of your favorite conditioner in a bowl, add the necessary oils and then glycerin or honey. [You can use the two for added softness]. Some people even include aloevera. Nice.
Mix everything together nicely and apply to hair that has been lightly misted with water, section by section. Coat the hair with the mixture. Massage scalp gently and cover with a steam or shower cap. Leave on for 30 minutes or more before rinsing out.
Believe me, a pre-poo always makes a huge difference!
From left to right we have:
- 100% Vegetable Glycerin
- Jamaican Black Castor Oil
- 100% Jojoba Oil [pronounced as ho-ho-ba oil]
- 100% Tea Tree Oil [great for dry and itchy scalp]
- 100% Vitamin E oil [scalp and hair nourishment]
- 100% Virgin Olive Oil
- 100% Pure Coconut Oil [coconut oil can appear as solid at room temperature]
Other oils include:
- Grapeseed Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil [great for scalp stimulation]
- Peppermint Oil [great for scalp stimulation]
Step 2: Cleanse
Now that you have rinsed the pre-poo , it's time to cleanse. If your hair is long, shampoo in sections. If not, you can shampoo at once. Always use a sulfate-free shampoo to avoid stripping your hair of much needed oils.
Pour shampoo on wet palms, work into a lather and use on wet hair.
Work with fingers alone.
Never apply shampoo directly to your hair!
This step is necessary to remove dirt, debris, buildup from styling products etc.
It is not to be done everyday. Just once in a month.
A closer look...
1. UR Curly Soya Shampoo
2. ApHogee Curlific Textured Hair Wash
3. Taliah Waajid Clean & Natural Herbal Hair Wash
4. Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo
5. Keracare Natural Textures Cleansing Cream
Step 3: Condition/Cowash
This is my favorite step of them all because I love the feel of conditioners on my wet hair. Because I cleanse my hair once a week, I opt for conditioner washing well known as co-wash. I know some of you will be like: "How will a conditioner cleanse your hair?"
I use this as an alternative to shampoo cleansing and it cleanses my hair quite well without the squeaky clean feel.
The conditioners listed are the most awesome for conditioning, co-washing and detangling. I am seriously eyeing that Giovanni 2 Chic conditioner [second from left]. Amazing slip and great conditioning too.
- Tresemmé Split Remedy Split End Conditioner
- Giovanni 2 Chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra Sleek Conditioner
- Tresemmé Anti-Sponge Conditioner with aloe vera.
- Elasta QP Soy Oyl Ultra Hydration Moisture-rich Conditioner
- Garnier Fructis Daily Care Fortifying Conditioner
This is the step when you can introduce your brush and detangle your hair. Use loads and loads of conditioner when detangling. When the conditioner starts to foam, you are doing it right!
Step 4: Deep Condition
So, you have cleanse and conditioned your hair, but you want to "feed" your hair. This is the time. For me, deep conditioning is a time when I serve my hair with some "extra portion" than I normally would.
Because deep conditioners takes a longer time to penetrate the hair shaft, it would have to be left on for longer than an hour. Some leave it on for an hour, some 2 hours, some overnight. Try different times and find out what works for you. For me, overnight works best. The softness I get after leaving it overnight, can not be explained. It's such a wonderful feeling.
Here are deep conditioners for you.
1. Queen Helene Super Cholesterol. Read my review on it here.
2. Organics by Africa's Best Hair Mayonnaise
3. Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair Deep Conditioner
4. Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Deep Treatment Masque
WARNING: Rinse all deep conditioners out with cold water.
Cold water closes the cuticles. So, if you rinse with warm water, the cuticles will open and all the conditioner your hair spent hours absorbing will end up in the drain.
Time wasted. Deep conditioner wasted. Be wise.
Step 5: Moisturize
If you don't moisturize your hair whether relaxed or unrelaxed, it will not thrive as it should. See your hair as a flower that should be tended to and watered everyday. We all know what will happen if a flower is not watered.
Moisture is water!
Not hair cream, not oils, not pomades!
Just google it and see for yourself what all the fuss is about moisture.
When choosing moisturizing leave-ins, opt for water-based ones. That means the FIRST ingredient must be Water. If it is not water, don't bother.
Without much ado, let's get closer to the great leave-ins pictures above:
1. ApHogee Curlific Moisture Rich Leave-In
2. IC Fantasia Argan Oil Leave-In Curl Detangler [great buy]
3. Giovanni 2Chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra-Sleek leave-in Conditioning & Styling Elixir.
4. Cantu Shea Butter Leave -in Conditioning Cream
5. African Pride Shea Butter Miracle Leave-in Conditioner
6. Miss Jessie's Leave-in Condish
7. Taliah Waajid The Great Detangler
Step 6: Seal
Sealing is the process of locking in moisture by using oil-based products. A home-made oil and butter mixture, that is largely Shea and/or Cocoa Butter based, usually suffices. Mix the oils and butter to your consistency and use.
Step 7: Style
These are the products help your style last longer. If not, by the time you sleep and wake up, your hair would end up having a life of its own. They should be moisture based as well and alcohol free. [Alcohol dries out the hair]
Styling Lotions/MousseLet's dig in:
1. Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Boosting Mousse
2. Jane Carter Solution Natural Twist Out Foam
3. Taliah Waajid Crinkles & Curls Natural Hair Setting & Styling Lotion
4. Creme of Nature Argan Oil Foaming Wrap Lotion.
Styling Gels/CreamsThese are fantastic for beautiful and long lasting two-strand twists, twist outs, bantu knot and knot outs, braid outs, and flat twists.
1. Jane Carter Solutions Twist & Lock
2. Organic Root Stimulator Lock & Twist Gel
3. Keracare Natural Textures Twist & Define Cream
4. Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Moisturizing Twist & Lock Gel
And of course, what fun is natural hair without curl definers. These are the products that get your curls popping!
1. Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter Curl Defining Pudding
2. ApHogee Curlific Curl Definer
3. Miss Jessie's Quick Curls. [the best]
4. IC Fantasia Argan Oil Curl Styling Pudding
5. Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding. [second best]
Now that you have come to the end of this guide, you can confidently go all out for what your hair really needs. That product that you have been looking for to help retain moisture, softness and most important the style your took time to create is out there waiting to be discovered by you!
So I can confidently ask, shopping time anyone?
xoxo Lots of love,