Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Importance of Trouble Shooting Your Regimen

Kinda miss my mini braids tho...
I kind of feel like this post needs to serve as my personal disclaimer should people ever start trying my tips based on my personal results and what I'm able to do with my hair.

I, by no means, want to become the product pusher or regimen pusher or any kind of pusher for that matter lol trying to push all these types of ingredients just because they either work (or don't work) for my hair.

This blog is essentially a documentary of troubleshooting my hair to find out what it likes and what it does not like. And while, most people will probably view this post in itself as unnecessary and that I don't really need to explain myself regarding the choices and things I do with my hair, personally, I just want to.

I want to tell you guys that the only rules you need to abide by in the natural hair community are the ones that are Helping Your Hair. I'm pretty sure a good majority of you know that by now, but still. I want no darts and needles flying at me.

The reason why I feel the need to do this now is because of my Sunday Grease posts as well as the product reviews I've been doing. I've done a pretty good starting series of them so far, and while I don't feel like people are just running out and buying these products based on my little research and thoughts, you just never know what may come of this down the line. Like I've said before, I do want to expand this blog that includes more interests for the readers and not just as a type of "online hair diary" as it has been for the past few years lol.

What I want to discuss here is the importance of troubleshooting your hair regimen and how to decipher what's working and what's NOT working.

I lost so much more hair back then when detangling with
And if you've been reading since.... 6 months ago lol, then you have watched me trouble shoot my entire regimen and figure out what my hair likes and what it doesn't like. And you understand how I managed to get my hair in a much healthier state with very few ingredients and little time spent on my hair.

But that's just it. This is the regimen that works for ME. This regimen was not created based solely on JourneytoWaistLength's video she did for her wash and go that I showed you all when I first posted that I was going to try a new regimen.

By this time, I had already tried a great deal of things with my hair and new some of what my hair liked and what it didn't like. The main thing I learned about my hair over the course of my hair journey was that it loves water. So, when deciding on recreating my new regimen, this was the basis that I needed my regimen to rely on. My hair can thrive on water and conditioner and oil alone, it's just that simple. So I wanted to revert back to complete basics, and add in a little at a time.

And over those 6 months, I have tweaked my regimen little by little and have ultimately come up with a wash day routine that is benefiting my hair and allowing me to retain the length that I grow. But in order to do this, I had to revert all the way back to trying like one or two products and adding in bit by bit from there.

When I was first starting this bentonite clay regimen
I started off using waterbentonite clay and castor oil and my trusty ORS Replenishing Conditioner to deep condition. Four products. Three ingredients and one store-brought product. That was it.

I used water to finger detangle my hair outside of the shower, I mixed my bentonite clay with water, deep conditioned with a deep conditioner that I had been using for well over 7 years, and I would moisturize by spritzing my hair with water and then seal it in with castor oil and twist or braid my hair up. And that was it.

Over that time, I tried different techniques and some stayed such as using ACV with my bentonite clay, finger detangling with conditioner in the shower and switching my deep conditioner. And other techniques didn't stay such as pre-pooing with castor oil (or pre-pooing in general), flaxseed gel, pineappling my wash and go's and even baggying my hair everynight (yeah, that didn't last).

I use products that are natural, I use products that aren't natural, and have even used a product that had mineral oil in it (GASP!!!!) and got optimum results.

I watched my hair's health change for the best using the most minimal of products which is how I KNOW that healthy hair and retaining growth has nothing to do with the products you use.

My hair currently
There is no need for you to EVER run out and spend hundreds of dollars on your hair to get it healthy regardless of what I say, popular hair Youtubers say, natural hair commercials or whoever or whatever. You need to know your hair first and foremost, and that is extremely cliche, but once you understand that, you will understand the hair growth process. Products are a great asset to your hair with achieving great styles, adding shine, definition, all the glisten and bling and everything you need in an 8 oz jar. But just remember that these products are only masking the true health of your hair and not really doing anything to it.

Healthy hair in essence starts from the inside out. Your diet, your lifestyle, heck even your blood levels! An increase in shedding may not only mean your hair dislikes a product, but could be a warning flag that you are experiencing a deficiency in your body. Hair in reality is DEAD. And essentially relies more on what is going on in your body rather than what you slather on top of it.


How do you trouble shoot a regimen?

Well, here are some of my tips to help you get started...

  • Admire. Don't Envy.
    • This will trip you up the most if you spend more time loving the hair that is not yours. Then you will not be listening to your hair, you will not be paying attention to how it responds to different styles, different techniques, different methods. But you will spend your time trying to do your hair the way you wish you could do it, and that is not going to help your hair health. In essence, that's going to DESTROY it. And another thing I want to note is that sometimes, not everybody loves their natural hair. And that's okay. But love your hair for what it is and what IT can do first. Simply admire everyone else, and keep it moving.
  • Start with the very basic of what you KNOW your hair loves.
    • Like I mentioned, I had to go back to using just water and castor oil because I had been using that throughout my entire hair journey, it seems, in conjunction with a whirlwind of many other products and techniques. So if your hair reacts well to grease, use it. Love sulfate shampoos? Use it. If it's a plain Jane character like mine and just loves being doused in water in the shower, do that too! And spend some time doing only these basics before you start implementing new techniques into your hair.
  • If you don't know what your hair loves, start with mother nature's basics and use water and oil to moisturize, and a cleanser and conditioner your hair responds positively to.
    • You really can't go wrong with starting out with just moisturizing your hair with water and oil, washing with a simple shampoo and conditioning with a simple conditioner. In time, your hair will definitely let you know whether it needs an extra hair cream cause the oils are too light or if it dries out too much for shampoo and maybe you need to try cleansing with clays instead. Perhaps your curls just aren't feeling the combs anymore and would prefer you test out finger detangling. Your hair WILL write the regimen for you, believe that. But you must be willing to listen to it.
  • Add one thing to your regimen at a time and test it over the course of at LEAST a week
    • Do not, and I repeat do NOT add a bunch of products and techniques to your regimen in a day. If your hair starts reacting negatively, it's going to be much harder to pinpoint where the issues are coming from and you might be reduced to starting back at square again which is wasted time (and possibly waster money and product as well).
  • Give your hair time to adjust to new products you are using.
    • Don't be afraid to scrutinize the way a product acts with your hair. If they don't play nice, they don't play nice. You wouldn't keep sending your kid to a sleepover with a child they can't stand would you? What works for me may not work for you. But I usually scrutinize products in between wash days. And everyday, I use just THAT product and really put it in the hot seat and not use it in conjunction with any other product (unless it's like a cleanser or something that you won't use everyday). If that product is really doing anything beneficial for your hair, it will reveal itself during that time period.
  • Pay attention to your HAIR!
    • Pay attention to those broken strands on the sink, counter, and bathroom floor, those strands are writing your story! They are the reason why your hair will take 42 years to reach waist length, TRUST ME! Pay attention to hair that stretches before it 'breaks' off, pay attention to hair that looks dehydrated. Pay attention to hair that feels odd to you, that reacts odd to you, if your hair is doing something you're not used and you're not feeling it, troubleshoot it.
  • If you feel like you've tried everything, maintain a simplistic regimen for your hair and start focusing on your inner health (this really should be priority anyway though...)
    • I have come across a few youtubers, and am experiencing myself, deficiencies that have been hair-related. I think that generally any kind of deficiency or imbalance within the body can result in unwanted results on the exterior including hair and skin. If you feel like you've exhausted every avenue you can think of regarding hair breakage, hair shedding, hair balding, dryness or anything, it could be something as simple as not being hydrated or enough or something more complicated like a deficiency or disease.

I truly believe anybody can attain healthy hair. I also believe there can be plateaus, as well as inherited genetics and many other things thrown in the pot that makes every head of hair completely unique.

In closing, just think of your hair as your own physical and visible DNA. No two DNA's are made a like, and the same goes for your hair. So you can't treat your DNA like I treat my DNA.

Our DNA ain't the same, you feel me?

But until next time,

♥ Keep calm 'n coily ♥

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