Here is my post dated January 1, 2009 in the "Fragile Hair " thread that I started. It contains some of the info from my earlier essay, but it also contains a few nuggets that I hadn't though of before.
** Disclaimer- you have probably heard all of this a THOUSAND times. Knowing is half the battle....
Hi ya'll!! So many things...so many things!! Well, I'll address these as I remember them....
These are the findings for MY hair, so if you don't agree..cool. Take what you can, though.
KNOTS- not NECCESSARILY due to having split ends. Think of nappy hair as a mass of telephone cords that are curled up from daily use. If you have a job where you have to be on the phone at all....this visual might work for you...anyway, imagine that you try to pull ONE cord out of the pile...well, the other cords are going to cling to that cord, making it very difficult to get it out of the pile. This is what happens to our hair when we pull on it for ANY reason, whether it be hand in fro, picking, twisting, braiding, etc. Now, there ARE ways to avoid the MAJORITY of tangles, but I tend to think that tangles are a characteristic of the type of hair that we have. Now, I know there will be people who say that they NEVER get tangles (come out, come out wherever you are) and that's cool, but after handling MINE and my DDs hair as well as reading the posts of others, I tend to think that this is part of the territory. These days, when I find a tangle or knot, I slide my fingers ACROSS the knot rather than containing to pull on it vertically, which TIGHTENS the knot. Sliding the fingers across the knot loosens the strands. It's pretty amazing! Another tip (which I got out of a fotki SOMEWHERE) is to lift the strands up OUT of the knot, which also works.
CONDITIONER- I don't NEED this stuff. After looking at COUNTLESS bottles, I just don't see (other than external applications of protein) WHAT the benefit is other than coating the strands and making them APPEAR shinier. A decent conditioner will make the hair feel soft after rinsing, but doesn't clean (not stripped) nappy hair feel soft when it's DAMP anyway? That is definitely the case for my hair. What got me was the fact that AFTER my hair dried, it felt NO DIFFERENT than it would after simply shampooing and applying moisturizer. Another point to make my case....the ingredient that are found in a conditioner are often found in leave in moisturizers. If these ingredients are so great for the hair, WHY rinse then off? Keep in mind that I'm not referring to protein. I HAVE however seen ceteryl and stearyl alcohol (which are the base alcohols for most conditioners) in leave-ins. A lot of people also use things like honey and olive oil to condition, and these can ALSO be left in. I'm not suggesting that people leave mashed avocado, mayonnaise, etc, in their hair, though, LOL!! :lol: FOR ME, conditioner was an unnecessary expense and a marketing ploy.
SLS IS EVIL- I used to argue that I could use regular shampoo with success. However, after finding a GREAT non-SLS shampoo , I no longer feel that way. It all started with a shampoo bar, but it didn't stop there because I have hard water, and shampoo bars leave a film on my hair under those circumstances. HOWEVER, my hair felt softer after using a shampoo bar and then applying moisturizer than it did after using regular shampoo and then applying moisturizer. So, my final diagnosis is that SLS is the debbil. Another reason that I feel this way is the fact that my DD's hair would always be brittle after shampooing with REGULAR shampoo, but NOT after using the natural alternatives. I HAVE to use shampoo, though. I cannot no-poo, use baking soda, herbal rinses, etc due to my scalp. It just is what it is.
OILS LUBRICATE, BUT DO NOT MOISTURIZE- In the beginning paces of my naptural journey, I noticed that most all-natural hair creams had shea butter as a base. This was fine as long as the shea was combined with water and other goodies. However, after using the product for a while, my hair would become BRITTLE. What happened? BUILDUP! It wasn't obvious to me at first, but I would use good old-fashioned shampoo and voila! The shea based product would work for me! Nowadays, I have come to realize that there are better ingredients for my hair than shea. Another interesting phenomenon regarding moisture was that if I combined glycerin and oils along with water, I had a REALLY great moisturizer. However, if I tried to only use glycerin or ONLY use OIL, it was a recipe for hair disaster. So, I now use a cream that has water, oils and glycerin and my SHRUNKEN hair feels great, which is saying a lot.
TWISTS BRAIDS AIN'T FOR EVERYONE- When I twist or braid my hair, little peices of hair drop off and fall onto my shirt. I do not like this, so I just don't braid or twist my hair. EVER. Now, as my hair get's longer (if it ever gets long enough to pull back) my style methos will change, but it won't involve taking small sections of my hair and twisting them around each other. If I had hair like my DD, it would be eaisier. The surface of her hair is smoother. It's hard to explain, but braiding and twisting is NOT for me.
I KNOW I don't have long hair, but I DO believe that with everything that I have learned I will reach my full growth potential. My hair was cut down to about 1/8 of an inch or so back in June and I am well on the way to 3 inches of hair. Now, that equates to about 3 inches in 6 months, which is average, but I had several trims before deciding to go full on with the growth progress. So, that's my .02.