Copyright MMXII, DE Taylor. All Rights Reserved.
Face it. We all have setbacks. You can be the most dilligent person on the planet and still find that you have breakage or are shedding like a beast. The fact that we all will have a setback or two at some point during our journey does not mean we should give up or throw in the towel. Setbacks should be looked at as an opportunity to examine your methods and determine where you can make adjustments or tweaks. Indeed, setbacks are a learning opportunity. There are times when you will find that you may have excessive shedding or breakage or visit a stylist who delivers more than a "trim." Or you might discover that wet detangling is causing you more harm than good or that heat usage means you can't get past shoulder-length. Products can also cause setbacks. You might find yourself in protein overload because you were co-washing with protein too often, or moisture overload because you avoided protein for far too long. The trick to dealing with these setbacks is in realizing that it can be a one-time occurrence if you take your lesson from it, redouble your efforts and move on stronger than ever. One great trick when a product doesn't work or that salon visit goes all wrong is to jot it down in a little notebook or calendar. These notes can serve as reminders about what not to do again. Throwing your hands up in defeat and giving up on consistent care is exactly the wrong thing to do. Once you have honed in on the problem, your efforts should go toward finding solutions - whether it be reading blogs or watching how-to videos. A setback means it's time to do your research! Find out what others who have your problem are doing to solve it and cautiously take steps in that direction, making sure to take note of progress and little failures. If you're growing out your hair, the name of the game is consistency over time. So the next time you face a setback simply pull up those bootstraps and soldier on.
Copyright MMXI, DE Taylor. All Rights Reserved.
One thing I have found from speaking to literally hundreds of ladies about hair care is that many of you simply do not have the time for elaborate regimens. The great news is that in hair care complicated methods are just not necessary to achieve results. The name of the game is consistency. Adopting a simple regimen that you stick with can yield the same results as those regis that treat hair care like a chemistry lab! Once you have stopped all damaging practices and found staple products that work for you, incorporating them into a simple weekly regimen is more than enough to begin seeing amazing results. Here is a simple weekly regimen that most anyone can follow:
★Pick your "hair spa" day. For instance, mine is Sunday. This is the day that you will do your major processes.
★Select your products. You will need an oil, shampoo, moisturizing conditioner, hair moisturizer (should contain water or use water sealed with oil), and moisturizing deep conditioner.
★On your "hair day" do an oil prepoo (saturate the hair in oil and leave that under a plastic cap for 1-2 hours). Shampoo that out then deep condition. This should be done once a week.
★During the week if you need extra moisture do a conditioner-only wash (cowash) midweek.
★Moisturize your hair and seal with oil daily or as needed (do what your hair is telling you).
★Once a month on your "hair day" do a protein treatment by mixing one beaten egg into your oil prepoo (leave in 1 hour under a plastic cap). Shampoo and deep condition as normal.
Copyright MMXI, DE Taylor. All Rights Reserved.
Building a regimen can be difficult. Trust me. I have gone through hundreds of products, had numerous setbacks and kept looking for holy grail products even when something was working beautifully. Can you say former product junkie? Regimen-building does not have to be difficult if you take this one bit of advice and put it at the top of your list: listen to your hair. It really is that simple. Listen to your hair. I know women who do things solely based on hair type. "I'm a 4a and she's a 4a so I'll do exactly what she's doing...." Others read a single review and are down at the Walgreen's purchasing that product the next day. A close friend hops on each and every bandwagon chugging through town. Baggying yesterday, Jamaican black castor oil today and thermal reconditioning tomorrow. If it's new and hyped she will try it. The problem with these hair care "pathologies" is that they tend to ignore what your own hair is telling you at the moment and can lead you down the road to setbacks. The best way to approach regimen building is to look at any and all suggestions regarding products, hair types, etc. as GUIDELINES - not rules that are carved in stone. The only rule that should ever be followed is: do what your hair is telling you to do. Dry as the Sahara? Up the moisture. Weak, mushy and stretchy? Time for strength through protein. Breakage? Step away from the heat tools and double up on deep conditioners. The rule of law in hair journeys is to simply ask "what is my hair telling me today?" Approach your regimen from that standpoint and then seek solutions for that particular situation. Some days your hair will tell you to just do NOTHING. Product junkyism and flitting about from process to process can stress your tresses and cause them to rebel in the worst way. Just because Amber got Japanese straightening doesn't mean it's right for you. Another good rule to live by is: stick with what works. If something is doing the job brilliantly don't keep looking for that mothership product - leave well enough alone!
Copyright MMX, DE Taylor. All Rights Reserved.
Ladies get ARMED! If you want to grow relaxed hair long you will need to have certain items on hand at all times. Don't leave your journey to chance! All of the little traps and pitfalls that cause you to throw up your hands and declare "my hair doesn't grow" can be avoided if you are prepared on a daily basis. Please remember that this is a guide - your arsenal is individual to you. Here is the arsenal of tools and products that have helped me reach BSL and beyond:
★HAIR DIARY - This is indispensible when you are first starting out. Jotting down what works or doesn't work, product seasonality (works in summer not in winter), tool and accessory issues, etc. helps you to pinpoint a winning regimen.
★MOISTURIZING CONDITIONER - Imperative for conditioning, co-washing, as a leave-in and emergency moisture. This should NOT contain hard proteins.
★LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER - I just use the aforementioned conditioner. Again, skip the hard proteins if you are using this daily.
★DEEP CONDITIONER - Essential for those deep nourishing treatments. MUST say deep conditioner to be formulated for that use.
★CONDITIONING CAPS/PLASTIC BAGS - Conditioning caps aid conditioner penetration and can even be used without conditioner for a moisturizing baggy treatment.
★ROSEWATER - This mixed with a tablespoon of condish or grapeseed oil can rescue the driest tresses and makes the ULTIMATE setting lotion.
★SULFATE FREE SHAMPOO - used once a week to clarify and make sure the strands are un-gunked and ready to receive moisture and nutrients.
★PROTEIN TREATMENT - Whether you are protein-sensitive like me or not you will occasionally find the need for strengthening. Protein handles this like no other but user beware - start light then build up if necessary.
★GRAPESEED OIL (Or other sealant of your choice) - To seal in moisture. Grapeseed oil is the most moisturizing, softening oil that absorbs easily into strands and glosses styles. Does not contain hard proteins like some oils.
★WATER - Drink up to a gallon per day. Moist hair starts on the inside. Also use as a spritz with a little condish as a showerless co-wash.
★MULTI-VITAMIN & BIOTIN - I don't care what you eat. In America you are not getting the proper levels of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Supplementation is key. Nourished hair starts on the inside.
★FLEXIRODS, ROLLERS, RAG ROLLERS & CURLFORMERS - Heat-free styling wonders!
★(Black) SILKY MICROFIBER SOCKS OR TIGHTS - This is the ONLY thing I use to make the ultimate hair ties, wet bunning wraps, headbands, do-rags and rag rollers that are 100% damage free.
★SILK PILLOWCASES/SCARVES - 100% pure. No synthetics, no exceptions. Your hair is snagging and rubbing all night. Make it stop!
★DETANGLING COMB - Whether you are a wet or dry detangler make sure you are using one of these wide-toothed, seamless wonders.
★SPRAY BOTTLE & OUCHLESS CLIPS & HOLDERS - You need a moisturizing spritz occasionally. Keep your own mix on hand in a spray bottle. For pin curls, updos, banana clip styles etc., make sure your implements are ouchless no-snag.
★BLOW DRYER WITH COLD SETTING - I do not use blow dryers but even I will admit that sometimes things need to be expedited. Drying hair on the cool setting forgoes heat damage.
★EXERCISE - Yes I said exercise. Sorry ladies but if you are not moving your body then not much will be moving internally either and that includes hair. A healthy strong body means good oxygen and blood flow which fuels every other function in the body so GET MOVING!
Copyright MMX, DE Taylor. All Rights Reserved.
If I had five dollars for every time I heard a woman say a regimen is not important I would be a rich! This statement, however, could not be further from the truth. If you took a survey of women with hair APL or longer you would invariably find that 90% of them follow a strict or semi-strict regimen.
Now you might ask what can a regimen do for me? The main purpose of a regimen is to streamline your hair schedule and narrow down the number of products that you are using. As we all know the rabid PRODUCT JUNKIE is always slapering away around a corner for many of us. You know that heifer within who will jump on any bandwagon. All you have to do is mention the first few syllables of a product’s name and she is down at the local Walgreens securing the haul-of-the-day. The establishment of a secure regimen combats this head on.
Another function of a regimen is to narrow down the list of products that actually WORK. We all have a list of products that reverted our hair into a rough matted mess, caused a boatload of breakage or did not produce the promised silky mane but a head full of straw. Once a product is tried and tested and proven to be a member of the holy grail of products, it can be introduced into the regimen permanently. Also a regimen is effective in establishing the order of application and how well different products from differing product lines might work together.
A good regimen, such as the one I follow, should assist in the retention of length, reduce or eliminate breakage, reduce shedding and help maintain the proper protein/moisture balance. The regimen should detail the exact products used and their schedule of use. The establishment of a regimen that effectively handles all of these issues is a matter of hit-or-miss, trial-and-error. Keep in mind that it may be necessary for a regimen to be tweaked seasonally. Products or processes that are effective in the winter may be totally unnecessary in the summer. Regimen-tweaking might also be necessary if a product or process loses its efficacy. We’ve all had that product that worked for three months then seemed to stop working, or noticed that our hair thrived when we eliminated co-washing or added deep conditioning. One good way of establishing an effective regimen is to frequent hair care forums and peruse the pages of women who have your hair type.
A regimen can take the guesswork out of hair care and be a real boon to today’s busy woman. Once a regimen is established, you can forget the hours spent wandering through hair care aisles or perusing websites looking for holy grail products. When you have found what works you can stick with it! A hair diary or journal can be a great tool in establishing a regimen. You can jot down which products work, which work together and which stop working altogether. Also you can establish a routine or schedule that tells you when to do what. Happy regimen building!