Natural Hair Love

Photography LoweKey Studio

What's the most common question I'm asked? Aside from "Who are your Top 5 Hip-Hop artist?" The most frequently asked question would be "What do you use on your hair?"

I think the shortest and most direct answer would be to say that I use the Afro Love line of hair products. But, I would be doing the person a disservice if I didn't mention everything else that is truly a part of my full haircare.

 

1. Healthy Looks Beautiful on all of Us!

I think the most CRUCIAL part of beautiful, curly hair is cutting all of the dead ends. I know this is scary to most... But much like a plant, frail pieces really affects the look and overall health of the whole. If you're in the Greater Philadelphia area, I recommend getting your hair cut by:

Tori at Rittenhouse Spa & Club in Philadelphia, PA

Ruthy at Verde Salon in Collingswood, NJ

I also understand that some would rather transition into fully curly hair (wait until your new-growth is at a length in which you're comfortable cutting.) In this process, it was fun for me to explore different protective styles like braids and faux locs. If you're in the Greater Philadelphia area, I recommend getting your protective styles by:

Keke at CaMaye's Hair Studio in Pennsauken, NJ

Photography LoweKey Studio

2. Figure Out Your Natural Hair Texture!

After a fabulous cut, whether Diva or Rezo, you are able to appreciate your natural texture a lot better. It's important to understand if it's naturally straight, wavy, curly, and/or kinky so that you can have a better idea of what products to use. Your type can be classified using the 1, 2, 3, 4 charts. I found this video to be helpful in understanding my hair type.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjwmz74Tbbk&w=560&h=315]

Pero, tu supi'te? I have a few different textures throughout my head. The top of my head is a 3b, the bottom is a 3c, and the middle is somewhere between a 4a/4b. So, to save my sanity (and money) I resume that I have curly/kinky hair. I mean, I'm not going to use different hair products for different parts of my head, lol. Could you imagine the hassle? Nope, we're definitely aiming for practical here.

The other thing that affects the absorption of product, is the porosity level of your hair. To figure out your porosity level, take a strand of clean hair with no product (no conditioners or oils added) and place it in a cup of water. According to this test, I have medium porosity.

After this extensive breakdown, I hope you can see how we all have different hair types. To get back to the topic, I'll discuss what works best for my hair type: curly/kinky texture with medium porosity.

3. Find the Right PRODUCT!

This is the part that gets a little tricky because there's really not once size fits all. Sure, aim for the healthier combination of ingredients. That's to say products that do NOT contain parabens, sulfates, alcohol or silicone.

"What Are Sulfates, Silicones, and Parabens?

In haircare products, sulfates are widely used in shampoos to give that bubbly lather, which is why most curly cleansers don’t have that same lather that normal shampoos do. Sulfates tend to strip the hair of its natural oils and since curly hair dries out faster than straight hair, it’s just better to stay away from them altogether. They can leave curls dehydrated, which can lead to breakage...

Silicones are synthetic ingredients made up of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. They are widely used in hair products to give that feeling of a moisturized slip but in reality, it’s just coating the strands and acting as a filler. Using silicones on a regular basis can also cause major build-up thus weighing down the strands.

Lastly, parabens are a type of preservative that basically help deter bacteria and mold. While parabens allow products to last super long, they can also enter your body through your scalp. Not to mention that parabens can cause curly hair to dry out and frizz." 

You want to hear a funny, not-so-funny joke? At this point, hair companies know that us naturalistas are avoiding these ingredients so there's a PLETHORA of products in the market the seem pretty good. The key is to not get caught up in the marketing on the front of the product. Forget about the pretty colors and whatever plant graphic they're showing you. Flip over the container and take a good look at those ingredients. I know, those are some wild ingredients and it's damn near impossible to memorize what they are and how they'll affect our curls. Luckily, we have dope curly predecessors that have done the research for us! So, the next time you're out shopping for hair products, go with time and this amazing guide that gives us a breakdown of each ingredient: Ingredients Dictionary.

"In the ingredient descriptions: "Good" means that I like to see this in a product's list of ingredients. "Okay" means this product appears safe for a curly person like me to use. "Caution" means that this ingredient may not be good in some hair care products, or for some people. "Avoid" means this ingredient may hurt your hair. If you see this ingredient in a hair product, it's best to put it down and walk away. " - Tori LaFlesh

Okay, okay! I know that the question is: what do I use. I just really want you guys to be able to find what's right for you, regardless of your texture.

My go-to hair products:

  1. Shampoo
  2. Conditioner
  3. Hair Mask
  4. Leave - In
  5. Curling Puree
  6. Oil

4. Handle with Care!

So, you know the saying, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it." Well, when it comes to hair it's not just what you put in your hair, it's how you put it in. Pause... I know that if you're reading through this entire post, you're probably thinking "Woah, this is a lot." It's really not a lot once you get into a routine.

 

Step by step instructions on how I use the Afro Love line to wash and style my hair.

1. Start with the Afro Love Conditioner - NOT the shampoo - to get out all of the knots. Detangle with fingers first to get the big knots out, then go in with a wide-toothed comb. Always start from the ends and slowly work your way up to your scalp. Then thoroughly rinse out the conditioner.

2. Wash hair with Afro Love Nourishing Shampoo, focusing on cleaning the scalp. Thoroughly rinse out the shampoo.

3. Apply Afro Love Hair Soufflé (hair mask) focusing on the ends. Put a plastic shower cap on and get under a hooded dryer for 5-10 minutes. If you don't a have a hair dryer, leave in for about 35 minutes to an hour. Rinse with cool water.

4. Part hair into 5-6 sections. Spray section with water, apply Afro Love Leave - In from the ends to the root. Use denman brush to distribute product from the ends to the root (as if you were detangling your hair.) Apply Afro Love Curling Puree (curling cream) to this section with your fingers. Repeat step four to all of the sections.

5. Sit under hooded dryer for 45 minutes to an hour. This time will completely depend on your hair type, porosity, density, and length.

6. Apply the oil that your hair loves. My hair loves extra virgin olive oil :)

Think about it like this, you're replacing the weekly/biweekly process of:

Driving to a hair salon, waiting for your "appointment," getting your hair washed, getting a treatment, sitting under the dryer for about 10 minutes, waiting for your stylist some more, getting your hair rinsed, getting a roller set, sitting under the dryer for 45 minutes to an hour, getting checked, "You need 15 more minutes. Still wet!" she says, ding, waiting for your stylist to finish that other client, getting your rollers removed, getting your hair blow-dried, OUCH! Cover your ears, getting your hair flat ironed... By this time, 4-5 hours have lapsed (on a good day.) I'm not even talking about the day you were due for that creamy crack. That's a whole other sequence of events. Okay! Oh yea, you still have to drive back home and hope that the humidity doesn't nullify your efforts.

5. Again, Healthy Looks Beautiful on all of Us!

Last, but CERTAINLY not least, what you put into your body is more important than what you put onto your hair. Remember that your hair, skin, and nails directly reflect your overall health. You are what you eat... What you consume; food, water, drugs, will impact how you look. So, eat your fruits and vegetables, drink more water, and reduce the toxins you put into your body. Input = Output. Forevelll!

Hair Dryer
This is especially vital for cold winter days
when "air-drying" is borderline planned pneumonia.


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