(Hair) Lessons Learned 2013



A couple of weeks ago, Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty did this post about what she discovered about her natural hair in 2013. I had been thinking about doing something similar and her post was the incentive I needed to write down my (hair) lessons learned.

As she said, these are things I learned about MY hair and may not apply to others. But, they are things that I found helped improve my hair and will hopefully allow it to get better in 2014.

So, here is what I learned in 2013.

  1. Inadequate consumption of water and dehydration is not only bad for the body/skin, but it can cause excessive hair breakage and shedding too. I had a bout of bad breakage last winter all over my head and I believe it was very much related to my unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, excess caffeine, and insufficient water consumption. My hair is recovering and regrowing, but the breakage was bad, creating a fuzzy halo of “flyaway” hair over my entire head. So, I try to make certain I get at least 48 ounces of water a day to ensure that I’m hydrated from the inside out. (Note: I’ll be doing a post on this topic soon!)
  2. My hair does better with wet detangling only. I lose a lot less hair and am able to detangle just fine without thoroughly finger detangling during a dry pre-poo. When I pre-poo now, I just smooth and smush the oil/conditioner down my hair with some minimal separation to make sure I coat each section.
  3. Using a comb and/or shampoo brush after finger detangling results in a less stressful detangling sessions the following wash day. It also makes for smoother, more defined braid/twist-out sets. So, I reincorporated these tools into my regimen.
  4. My hair LOVES goat milk in styling products and deep conditioner!!! My hair has been rejuvenated by it, especially my ends, which were starting to feel pretty rough. My stubborn crown has softened and become more supple and stronger!! My shedding and breakage have been drastically reduced. And finally, the straighter “tail” of my nape that used to hang now holds a curl when I set it on perm rods!! The goat milk DC has replaced Aubrey GPB as my light protein conditioner of choice (note: I also use Joico K-Pak conditioner on wash day, which also provides light protein).
  5. Cosmetic grade aloe vera gel works great for setting my hair in twist/braid outs and for smoothing/setting my edges.  It provides flexible hold and softness without product build-up. (I think this gel began to work well for me because my hair started behaving so well once I incorporated goat milk products into my regimen).
  6. The braid n’ twist n’ curl is my new go to style because the braids keep my roots smooth, but the twists gives me the fullness I desire. As the braid at the roots result in three sections once the set is released, I don’t need to separate my hair any futher to get fullness, which also means less manipulation and frizz. Also, the BnTnC dries more quickly than a braid out.

And that’s what I learned about my natural hair in 2013. Here’s to better hair in 2014! Onward and upward my friends!!



What did you learn about your hair’s likes and dislikes in 2013?

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13 responses »

  1. 1. My hair likes to be lightly finger detangled daily with grapeseed oil. I wear wash-and-goes 99% of the time, and waiting until wash day once a week to detangle just leaves my hair too tangled.

    2. Keeping my ends sealed and taking care to add a daily protective layer to my ends of oil or moisturizer really helps with length retention for me, and it also cuts down on tangling.

    3. My hair likes to be cleansed once a week with a cleansing conditioner, a light shampoo or a shampoo bar. No co-washing only for me.

  2. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Since my hair has grown I need to stretch my hair in order to avoid tangles and Single Strand Knots.
    2. I never thought I would dry detangle (using coconut oil for slip) it works but I am use to using my detangling conditioner. I “dry” detangle if I am not ready to wash my hair but want to detangle and will usually put my hair in twists and tuck it away till the next day when I will wash it.
    2. Having a regular routine of DC’ing my hair is necessary for my hair to be balanced (protein, moisture, Strengthening.)
    3. Keeping a hair journal really helps me remember things I do with my hair and things I want to do with my hair.
    4. My hair likes and responds well to Glycerin! So I will be adding a little more of it to my DIY products.

  3. My comment is what I learned about my hair YESTERDAY in light of what I’d learned in 2013!!! After allowing my stash of henna/indigo to run out, & waiting patiently for reinforcements, I was excited about having my 7th henna w/end and taming these greys. Imagine my horror when I mixed, washed in a sulfate-REALLY low shampoo, cool conditioned (WITHOUT mumbling mean utterances about Shellie too much for the tip), then rose on MLK day to finish my 2-step process w/indigo, only to find that THE INDIGO DID NOT STICK!!! I immediately called Mehandi & was informed that they just discovered that some non/low sulfates don’t work well with indigo, just henna. Comment on this bc I’ve been told to use a sulfate shampoo pre-indigo application, but I know you use pre-poo. Ever had any issues??? And for the record, though they’re telling me a baking soda wash of my roots will solve the issue, I’m concerned. I like the sulfate free stuff for the softness and such it provides, but it no likey indigo!!!

  4. Posted too fast – my hair liking sulfate-free shampoo is what I learned in late ’13!!! And that addition was the only change I did that coincides w/my fail @ applying indigo. This was my first time using it during a henna session.

    • Hey Tee! Okay, you keep cracking me up about cursing me out when you do the cool rinse! And I know you are probably throwing in a few extra choice words now that it’s winter too!! LOL!!

      Now, as to my process, I don’t co-wash/use conditioner between my henna and indigo at all. I don’t shampoo either. I just dip my hair in the tub, rinse my hair with lots of water (sometimes not even lots) and then apply the indigo. After the indigo is when I use lots of Herbal Essences Hello Hydration to rinse the grit. And mind you, I do it for a long time, but I still always have henna/indigo left in my hair, because some more always comes out my next wash.

      • Okayyyyyyy, so I’ve been SLIGHTLY more colorful w/cool rinse utterances since the 17 degree temps settled in…, but I digress… ; ) This is good info – bc I now see IT’S MY FAULTTTTTTTT (balling uncontrollably 0_0) bc I liked the easier eradication of grit that co-wash provided. Got-it, and for the record, BAKING SODA SCRATCHES FACES, and I HATED very moment of that fiasco so I’m not doin’ nuttin’ but dunkin’ between henna & indigo from now on!!!!! : )

  5. I have curly frizzy uncontrollable dry hair used to grow better now very slow falls out a lot please help me find something to make my hair pretty again thank you much

    • Hi Cecilia, there is a lot of info on here on hair care. You may want to check out my post, “Moisturized Hair: It Starts on Wash Day.” Unfortunately, there is no exact formula for healthy hair. A lot of it is understanding basics and then trial and error with products. You may also want to check out my post on “How I Retain Length.” Both of these articles are linked in the right hand navigation.

  6. Great post and you just inspired a post I need to work on ;-). It’s so interesting when we take the time to really listen and pay attention to our hair, how much easier things can be. I’ve learn my hair and lifestyle requires simplicity. Having a simple hair routine with simple ingredients has caused my hair to flourish. Also protective styling. I avoided it like the plague, but for me if length retention is my goal, is a must!

  7. Great post and you just inspired a post I need to work on ;-). It’s so interesting when we take the time to really listen and pay attention to our hair, how much easier things can be. I’ve learn my hair and lifestyle requires simplicity. Having a simple hair routine with simple ingredients has caused my hair to flourish. Also protective styling. I avoided it like the plague, but for me if length retention is my goal, is a must!

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