A lot of the time people ask me what products I use in my hair and this is something I’ve been asked for literally years now. For some reason people are always interested in the products I use, how I use them and just generally what I do to my hair. So finally, I am going to explain my haircare routine.
When it comes to hair I feel like I have tried literally everything out there – which is probably not true because there are so many products out there. However I change my products on a monthly (or sometimes even weekly!) basis, so my haircare routine is constantly evolving. Below I have tried to summarise everything I do to my hair, so I hope this answers some of the questions my friends and just generally people that I know have asked me over the years.
I sometimes straighten my hair on a daily basis, but generally I do it two to three times a week. My hair often gets really wavy or curly and sometimes I am in the mood to deal with that, but other times I am not. So I do use my straighteners fairly often! As you can imagine, this is extremely bad for your hair, but for some reason I have been lucky enough never to lose a significant amount of length or thickness and my hair has always remained relatively healthy – in the end. I do get split ends, but I always cut about an inch off my hair at the end of every month and I have found that this helps to restore my hair to a healthier state within the next couple of weeks. The straighteners I use are just a simple pair of Remington straighteners and although they go up to 230 degrees, I almost always straighten my hair on 150 (which is the lowest heat setting). The only time I ever turn the dial up is if I have just washed my hair and it’s very curly/frizzy and needs more heat to get the job done quicker.
2. Washing my hair
I try not to blow dry my hair but I have included my hairdryer in the picture because I am guilty of doing it sometimes. Whenever I wash my hair, I generally part it into two sections and do a french braid on both sides – securing the ends with thin elastic bands. Because I know that I’m going to have to straighten all of my hair out once it’s dry, I try to avoid blowdrying it too as this can end up causing excessive heat damage. This is particularly true for me as I don’t use any heat protection sprays. I have tried a few and they just never seem to work for me! They’re all very heavy and weigh my hair down a lot, which I really hate because I have very thick hair anyway and it often does feel very heavy on my head.
My current shampoo favourites are definitely from the Aussie range. I use both the Miracle Moist and the Take the Heat shampoos and I just can’t explain how amazing they both are. These shampoos are extremely moisturising and what I love about them, is that I never really need to put anything else in my hair to make it feel soft and nourished afterwards. The other shampoo range that I use is the Garnier Ultimate Blends range – the strength and sleek restorers are my favourite. These smell great and they do make your hair feel lovely. But with these I definitely feel like you need to condition afterwards (and I’ll explain what I use to do that later), whereas with the Aussie range, even though I only use their shampoos, they feel as if they are conditioning and shampooing all in one.
My favourite conditioner at the moment is the Garnier Ultimate Blends 1 minute treatment from their Sleek Restorer range. It includes coconut and cocoa butter in it and it smells amazing. You basically apply it all over your damp hair, leave it in for 1 minute (or sometimes I leave it in for 2-3) and then rinse it off. And it definitely does leave your hair feeling sleek and smooth! As of yet, I haven’t found a better conditioner than this.
I feel like everybody is always raving about Argan oil, but it just does not seem to respond well with my hair! My hair prefers coconut or jojoba oil (which is why the Garnier and Aussie brands work so well for me). As I’ve said the Garnier Sleek Restorer range is infused with coconut and cocoa butter; and the Aussie Take the Heat shampoo is infused with jojoba oil. Aside from using these shampoos/conditioners, I use the Garnier Sleek Perfector Oil. All you have to do with this is apply one pump into the palm of your hand, put it into your hair and then comb through to distribute evenly. I love this because it is very lightweight and makes my hair feel super soft (I highly recommend the whole Garnier Ultimate Blends: Sleek Restorer/Perfector range!)
6. ORS (Organic Root Stimulator)
I’ve been consistently using this brand of products since I was in secondary school and it’s really the only brand of products specially formulated for Afro-Caribbean hair that I use consistently. I use their Jojoba Oil Hairdress which I have been using non-stop for years. It is probably my main haircare product because I use it every single day. It has a greasy texture so really you only need to apply a small amount, however it leaves your hair feeling so soft and looking shiny all the time. There are some tubs of grease (I know that sounds gross) that are really thick and they make your hair feel very stiff. But I like this one because it’s quite lightweight and lucid if you put the right amount in (not too much!) and it just really does the job. I usually use it straight after washing my hair to soften and shine and to stop my natural hair from drying out. But I also use it every evening just to replenish my hair’s moisture.
I have different combs for different states that my hair is in. On a general day to day basis I just use a simple black comb – I’m not sure what you call it, but it’s just a regular comb with the handle – or I use a Tangle Teezer. These are amazing because they allow you to remove knots and tangles without losing copious amounts of hair and you can barely feel any pulling, whereas with a normal comb I do sometimes feel as if I am about to pull my scalp off. There are a whole range of different Tangle Teezers. I just have a normal pink one, but there is one for thicker, curlier hair that I want to get because the bristles are longer and stronger and it would probably make it easier to brush my hair out once I’ve washed it.
Moving on to talking about my hair when it’s washed, I generally use just a normal comb to comb out my wet hair before I put it into its french braids. However, once I’ve left it overnight to dry and I’m ready to straighten it, I would usually take a comb that has narrower teeth. This is because my hair gets very curly and tangled. If I use my normal comb to try and get rid of these, I find that it just isn’t precise enough to comb out all the tangles and curls and I always end up finding all these little knots in my hair after I’ve straightened it. When I’m straightening my natural hair I always use the straightener chasing the comb method, so I need a comb that has bristles close enough together to fully remove knots, tangles and curls as my straighteners chase them – otherwise I end up straightening over my curls and I cause lots of heat damaged knots.
8. Going to Bed – Silk Pillowcases!
I know that a lot of black girls will take extra care and precautions to tie their hair with some kind of scarf to protect it from chafing against their pillow while they sleep and to therefore prevent unnecessary breakage. I used to do this until I discovered the dream that is silk pillowcases. Seriously guys if you do not have a silk pillowcase then I really don’t know what you’re doing with your life. Silk pillowcases are anti-frizz and your hair will just glide along the pillowcase – therefore, causing absolutely no unnecessary friction and breakage. I also always put my hair into a little ballerina bun before bed because this makes sure that all my ends are nicely tucked away and it just keeps my hair nice and neat and tidy overnight. If I sleep with it down then I will just look like some kind of tangled mess in the morning and nobody wants that!
I do not relax my hair because, throughout secondary school when I did, it grew a lot slower and the ends became very thin and my hair was just generally a lot thinner than it is now. The volume of my hair has probably maximised by about 3 times since my secondary school days and that is because I found relaxing my hair to be very damaging and to cause a lot of breakage. It was just honestly not worth all the effort. The process is long and the relaxer smells disgusting. And honestly? I do not always want my hair being dead straight and I actually quite like having thick hair! Sometimes I need the natural volume of my hair to create different styles like messy buns or nice updos.
I have never worn any extensions or weaves. I admire the girls that do wear weaves and extensions because it makes their hair so interchangeable (e.g short one day, long the next). But I have always been the type of person who preferred to work with what I have and I love my hair to pieces, even though it is so difficult to manage sometimes. I always like to try and take the best care of my hair possible and to wear it as it is without adding anything false to it. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing this, it’s just a personal preference!
So that is the end of what turned out to be a very long post about my haircare, but I really hope that this answers any questions that people have about my hair. My main hair concern is my hair feeling dry and brittle because it can get dry very easily. Just from simple things like going out in the wind to it being a really hot day and the heat drying it out. So I always like to make sure that my products are sleek and nourishing. Anything with those words on it, I will buy.
I hope you enjoyed this post!