Detangling at any point in your hair journey can cause breakage, & splits, but you must take extreme care while transitioning as the line of demarcation is extremely fragile. You can make your own “detangling serum” in a snap out of herbs that can easily be found in your local health food store, or online at places like www.mountainroseherbs.com
Here’s my favorite mix:
- 1 tablespoon Marshmallow Root
- 1 tablespoon Irish Moss
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Add herbs to boiling water, and stir frequently until the consistency is that of a light gel. Once the mixture has reached the desired consistency, strain mixture through cheesecloth, or a fine sieve. Add olive oil to serum, pour into a spray bottle, and use it immediately.
If you don’t want to make your own you can use this: Sea Moss & Marshmallow Root Herbal Leave-in Hair Milk, Brina Organics
How do you use this? Section clean, damp hair into four quadrants, adding the serum to each quadrant. Detangle each section thoroughly, and either braid/twist to keep each section neat, then rinse.
Why this works? Irish Moss is rich in trace minerals which is very beneficial for your hair. Also, Marshmallow Root, & Irish Moss both release a mucilaginous substance that has an abundance of minerals and proteins, and the mucilage that is released offers an incredible amount of “slip”.
Protein is one of the key components when it comes to reducing breakage during your transition. Hair that lacks protein is exceptionally weak and susceptible to breakage; especially around the line of demarcation. Your hair is comprised of mostly what is known as Keratin.
Each time you chemically process your hair [relaxers, color treatments, etc], it weakens the keratin protein structure, so regular protein treatments are recommended to temporarily strengthen the hair. How often you do protein treatments is determined by assessing the condition of your hair, an assessment is necessary as too much protein can cause breakage as well.
NOTE: Thermal straightening, improper blow-drying techniques, and excessive use of heat can also contribute to a weakened protein structure.
How to assess if your hair is in need of a protein treatment? If your hair is “mushy”, or “limp” when wet or if your hair “stretches” a lot when combed, chances are you need a protein treatment.
What type of protein treatment should I use? For those that are skeptical of hardcore protein treatments like Aphogee, there are always other options. One option is Henna treatments. Although Henna is not a protein it works like protein to strengthen the hair. Henna has what is called tannin molecules. These molecules bind with keratin (what hair is composed of). These tannin molecules are like winding threads bound together to make a stronger string (Sankhla Udhyog). Thus, the tanning molecules bind to the keratin and make the hair fibers much stronger. The result is hair that is softer, stronger, fewer tangles, and reduced split-ends. To get the desire results, use two parts moisture, to one-part protein. The end should be silky, soft, healthy, manageable hair. You can find Henna at most beauty supply stores and online.
I have already talked about the effects of chemical treatments in relation to the porosity of your hair. This time I want to touch on other products that can also temporarily “fill the gaps” along the hair shaft to ensure moisture retention.
Cellophane: Cellophane can temporarily deposit proteins that bind to the hair shaft; what this does is fills the gaps along the shaft to ensure that moisture loss is kept to a minimum. Not only can cellophane’s help temporarily correct porosity issues, but they also help impart an incredible amount of shine as well.
Jazzings, Adore, & Sebastian Colorshine’s are all cellophane’s that I have used with great results. You can find Jazzing at most Sally’s Beauty Supply stores, and you can find Adore & Sebastian at most Professional Beauty Supply Stores.
Henna Treatments can also work to temporarily correct porosity in the same way that cellophane’s work. If you have a relaxer it is highly recommended that you use Body Art Quality Henna, as Henna that isn’t BAQ is purported to have chemicals in it that can cause an adverse reaction when applied to relaxed hair. One of the most reputable vendors I can recommend for BAQ Henna is www.hennaforhair.com
Once you have corrected issues with porosity, it’s time to feed your follicles with products to keep it soft, and moisturized. I tend to like products with added herbs, and essential oils, here are a few of my favorites:
Amla & Olive Heavy Cream – Qhemet Biologics: This is probably one of the BEST moisturizing products I have used to date, and highly popular amongst transitioners and naturals respectively. It contains a few of my favorite ingredients like Amla, Aloe, Olive Oil, and Brahmi!
Leave-In Conditioner + Water Combo: Take your favorite light leave-in, dilute with a little distilled water, and add it to a spray bottle. For a more softness, opt for rose water or spring water in lieu of distilled. Rosewater can be found in most Indian Grocery stores in the cooking aisle.
Seal In The Moisture!
You can use any oil to seal in the moisture from your daily moisturizing treatments. To seal in the moisture apply a light layer of oil to your hair. Oil molecules are a lot larger than the tiny spaces along your hair shaft, so they cannot be absorbed; instead, oil acts as a barrier to lock the moisture molecules in. Beware that a build-up of oils can also lock moisture out, so it is imperative that you remove product build-up regularly. Any easy non-abrasive way would be to use Apple Cider Vinegar as a final rinse, this is used by many as a gentle clarifier.
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