Where do I begin???

16 Feb

Since my blog went live a few days ago, the most common question I am being asked is – where do I start with all this hair care business?  Well, here is what I think…

Before deciding what products to use (in terms of brand) first know WHAT to use and WHEN to use it.  You can’t make educated product choices until you understand what you need first.  Many times we meet someone in the street and like their hair, we ask them what they use and immediately go and buy the product.  We are then surprised when it does nothing for our hair.  If you have fine hair, and you use a moisturiser that is better suited for someone with coarse hair, you may find that the product ends up being too much for your hair, resulting in breakage.

Learning about protein/moisture balance is one the first and most important things you need to understand about African hair (read my earlier article on this topic).  Your regimen, in order to be successful, should contain products that work together to address your two most important hair needs: moisture and protein.  Your regimen should be simple and easy to follow.  It should easily fit into your lifestyle.

So this is how I propose you go about it…

1.  Moisturising shampoo

Find a good moisturising shampoo.  This product should be used once or twice weekly depending on your schedule. The best moisturizing shampoos are sulfate free and do not leave the hair feeling stripped or tangled.  You may need to try a few shampoos before you come across one you like.  Some shampoos have small travel sizes that you can buy while trying to find one you like.  Take note of how your hair feels after shampooing.  Is it soft and detangled or does it feel hard or stripped.  I use Tresemme Naturals shampoo.  I also use Organic Root Stimulator Creamy Aloe shampoo about once a month.  I use it once a month because my hair finds it too harsh to use weekly.  The reason I use it is because it removes product buildup from my hair.  Some shampoos that receive great reviews on websites include Optimum Care Breatkthru shampoo and Mizani shampoos.  The Body Shop also stocks sulphate free shampoos.  Try out a few until you find the one you like.

Some people do not use shampoos because they are too harsh on their hair.  They opt for conditioner washes where they buy a cheap conditioner and use that to slean their hair.  You may want to try this if shampoos are too harsh for your hair.

2.  A moisturising and a protein- based deep conditioner

Purchase a good deep conditioner.  Deep conditioning should follow your moisturising shampoo at every wash.  Whether you use a protein or moisture based product should depend on what your hair needs at the time.  I deep condition twice a week using a hooded dryer.  I would recommend deep conditioning at least once a week with heat or even overnight.  Examples of moisturising deep conditioners include Mizani Moisturefuse.  Examples of protein deep conditioners include Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise, Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Pak (a light protein), Motions CPR, Dark and Lovely Cholesterol (light protein).  I use most of the ones I have mentioned.  I tend to rotate them around.  Note how your hair feels after deep conditioning.  Your hair should always feel soft.  If you are relaxed your growth should feel soft too.   Apply deep conditioner generously to the hair.  This is one area that I have gripe with hair salons.  They often skimp on the deep conditioner even though they charge so much for it.  I slather it on my hair.  I use it generously especially on my new growth and the ends of my hair.  I also pay particular attention to the hair on my hairline and the nape.  You can also add other things to your deep conditioners to make them more potent.  Currently I am adding honey and castor oil.  I will be adding these for the net three months until my next retouch.  I will then assess my hair and decide whether to keep using them or to add something else.  Other things you can add include eggs (for protein).  When you add eggs just wear a shower cap but do not sit under heat or else the eggs will cook.  Other additions include Olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, almond oil and jojobaoil.

3.  Moisturiser

Buy a good moisturiser.  This will be used after rinsing out the deep conditioner from your hair.  This will also be used in between washes.  I moisturise my hair every morning.  When you moisturise make sure you moisturise the entire hair shaft including the ends.  The ends are the oldest part of the hair and prone to breakage.  This is also one area where you are likely to go through many different brands before you find what you like.  Make sure you check the ingredient list to see what is in the product.  The best water-based moisturisers are products that do not contain mineral oil, petrolatum or lanolin.  In time you will learn what your hair likes and does not like.  Some moisturisers are protein based.  Know what you are using to prevent protein overload.

Examples of water based moisturisers include Organic Root Stimulator olive oil moisturiser, Organic Root Stimulator carrot oil, Luster’s S-Curl, most braid sprays.

4.  Natural Oils:

Get yourself some natural oils for sealing as well as for lightly oiling the scalp if you need to.  Natural oils are used for sealing in water based moisturisers and helping improve the shine and pliability of the hair.  Just apply a light coating of the oil to the ends of the hair.  Use sparingly or else your hair will end up a greasy and limp mess.  A little goes a long way.  Examples include coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, carrot oil, castor oil, vatika oil and amla oil.  Buy the actual oils and not products that claim to have them in their ingredients.  What you want is the oil itself not the other ingredients!  Your oil preference will probably depend on consistency, smell and also what benefit the oil has for the hair.  I will do an article on oils as a separate post.

5.  Other hair tools

Get yourself the right hair tools.  You will need a wide tooth comb, a satin scarf for using while you sleep to prevent snagging and breakage, hair rollers if you are going to roller set, plastic shower caps for deep conditioning, if you are going to flat iron make sure you also get a heat protectant product to protect the hair from heat.

Once you have the above you are all set.  Remember though that consistency is key.  It may take a few weeks for you to see if a product is working or not.  Once you find what works stick with it.  Your first product test should be whether you like how your hair feels after using a product.  After that observe how much breakage you are having. Is your hair looking healthy?  Is it retaining length?

Well there you have it.  I hope this helps you in building a regimen for yourself!



26 Responses to “Where do I begin???”

  1. Carla 16 February, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    It’s getting interesting…

  2. Melody 24 February, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Loving this!!

    • Tendayi 24 February, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

      Thanks Melody!! Its always nice to know someone is reading what you write!!

  3. Melody 24 February, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Around September 2009, my life changed and I have to admit i have been mourning the loss of my hair quietly for a long time. I have always had long beautiful hair since Iwas a little girl. I realised the full impact it had when suddenly after a weave gone wrong I didnt have my beautiful long tresses anymore. I have made a few half hearted attempts to restore its lustre but not really knowing where to begin.
    I am now following your blog and will try moisturing and washing more often than i have been. all my life its been almost effortless maintaining it but i need to do this!!
    so thanks Tendayi please keep it up. its very informative and clear

    • Tendayi 24 February, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

      I do remember your hair Melody! It was lovely!

      With a few tweeks you can get it back though. One of the most beneficial things I have found for my hair is deep conditioning. I immediately feel and see the difference. You should try it too. Start off with once a week if you can. Read my post on deep conditioning for more info.

  4. yolanda mathews 09 June, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    It takes me more than once around the be before I can get the hang of things I admit, but now I have not time to waste. My hair has always been at a shop, costing too much to mention and not being too impressed by results, not I am in a situation which causes me to take on this challenge of doing my hair myself. Where do I begin???? A HOPELELESS YET HOPEFUL LADY IN WAITING!!!!!!B YOLANDA

    • Tendayi 10 June, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

      Dont despair Yolanda? Just start off by getting the right products. Get a good shampoo, deep conditioner and moisturiser. That will be the basis of your regimen. Also get a natural oil like coconut, castor, olive, jojoba etc. Natural oils are very versatile. Try washing and conditioning once a week. Moisturise your hair every day.

  5. Tsitsi 20 June, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    Hey Tendai

    I wanted to ask, you mentioned tht a good moisturizer has no petroleum, mineral oil or lanolin but I haved discovered that organic root stimulator carrot oil on its ingredient lisit. So does it make it a bad moisturiser????

    • Tsitsi 20 June, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

      Ooops meant to say tht organic root stimulator carrot oil has lanolin on its ingredient lisit. so does it make it a bad moisturiser???

    • Tendayi 21 June, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

      Hi Tsitsi
      Thanks for reading the blog:)
      I actually use ORS Carrot Oil and my hair responds well to it. It is the 10th ingredient on the list so its not in major quantities. I shun moisturisers where these ‘bad’ ingredients are on the top of the list say top 5 or so. Our hair responds differently though, some hair cannot tolerate these ingredients but some can.

  6. Mwaba 01 September, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    hi, can i use natural oils for the scalp, ie a combination of rosemary oil, vitamin e and castor oil, or olive oil?my hair is very long, but too itchy.and is black dax a good moisturiser?

    • Tendayi 01 September, 2011 at 11:46 am #

      Hi Mwaba!
      Natural oils are great for the hair. There are so many to choose from and they can be mixed too. The combination you are suggesting sounds good beacuse peppermint and rosemary are good for itchy scalp.

      As for Black Dax, I am not familier with it so I can’t comment. What I can say though is that look at the ingredients, they will let you know if the moisturiser is actually moisturising! Read this post of more info on ingredients:

  7. Nomvelo 19 June, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Thanks so much for this informative blog,ihave always been a salon person and due to heat and over processing my hair has been thinning.i stumbled on this site 3 months ago and decided to take charge of my hair,i’ve not been able to faithfully follow a strict rouitne ,but im happy to say the change in my state of hair in positively noticeable.Keep up the good work….

    • Tendayi 19 June, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

      You’re welcome Nomvelo. Consistency is key. You will be sure to see great results soon.

  8. tendai 19 June, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    I cut my hair in feb n iv had just natural hair eversince, its still weird to me because iv had long hair fo as long as I can remember. Now I don’t even know how to take care of natural hair, I’m not planning on plaiting it as yet because its so painful for me and I just want to give my hair a break. So what do I do to it to take good care of it well

    • Tendayi 19 June, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

      The key for natural hair is to keep it soft and moisturised. Soft hair will be much easier to manage as it won’t be painful to handle. Soft, moisturised hair will also mean you will suffer mimimal breakage. To talke care of it well you need to make sure that it is adequately moisturised. Do this by washing and deep conditioning your hair weekly. Moisturise it daily. Take a look at these posts that will help you with how to choose shampoo, conditioners, moisturisers etc

      Hope this helps.

  9. Rufaro 12 May, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Hi, thank you so much for the info. 2months ago I decided to stop relaxing my hair and I’m currently transitioning. Only now have I started researching on how to maintain my hair during this process and blogs like this one are really helping. My problem is identifying the right products as I dont have access to the one’s you have in SA but im getting there. Will keep you updated on my journey but thank you for this.

    • Tendayi 14 May, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

      All the best Rufaro. Im sure you will have a successful transition. The great thing about Zim is its proximity to SA. You could ask someone travelling to SA to bring a few products back for you.

      • Rufaro 14 May, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

        Thanks, Im actualy in Dubai so the products here are very different to what im used to but your tips have been helpful so far. Thanks again

      • Tendayi 14 May, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

        welcome 🙂

  10. lucinda 13 June, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    Hi Tendayi ever since I’ve found your blog my hair has shown great improvement….but now I’m experiencing breakage.I’m 2wks post relaxer,last week I deep conditioned with the Hair mayo to add more protein.but still breakage persists!Even when I’m finger combing there’s hair breakage!I really need your advice on what to do please?

    • Tendayi 25 June, 2013 at 9:42 am #

      Do you have any idea why there is extra breakage? Was your hair overprocessed when you relaxed it? There is always a reason for hair suddenly breaking and if you can find it then you can address it directly. Has hair mayonnaise been working for you before? Maybe you can try a different protein conditioner. That said also remember to keep up the moisture. Dont slacken on this because that may also be why your hair is breaking.

      • lucinda 30 June, 2013 at 11:12 am #

        Hi yes my hair loves Hair Mayo!If I use Mizani moisturefuse and ORS replenishing conditioner as my moisturising conditioner will this be ok? I want to alternate between these 2 for moisture.And only use light protein once a month. Thanks so much:)

      • Tendayi 25 July, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

        Yes that is fine. I use Hair Mayo about once a month as well.


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