A question I always get (online and in real life) is: "I want healthy hair but where do I start?" While the answer may seem like common sense to most of us now, I'm sure we all remember a time where our hair looked like death warmed over but we weren't entirely sure what to do about it. It's frustrating!! One reason for me starting this blog was to show the world at large that having healthy hair isn't some unattainable thing and that is isn't just for people w/ 'good hair.' It is something that anyone can do provided that they take the steps to take care of their hair.
While I am no expert, the things I am about to list have been nothing but beneficial for my hair. I have grown my hair to longest it has ever been in my 26 years on this planet by doing those simple things. You may find you have to tweak it to work for your hair but the concept is still the same. Starting your healthy hair journey doesn't require that you be the bomb.com in hairstyling (shoot, I'm still trying to get that right). It does require that you are ready to try something other than what you have been doing and doing what is best for your hair.
1) Stop relaxing frequently!
This is probably the easiest fix. I have found that, in general, people look as relaxers as though they are some styling cream that makes hair more manageable. They aren't considering that fact that relaxers are essentially breaking your hair down, making it weaker, and drying it out (and let's not forget that they are caustic!!). There is so much more to a relaxer than manageability and I think a lot of people don't know that. Given the nature of relaxers, one would think that you don't want that on your hair every 4 or 5 weeks. The longer you are able to go without putting a relaxer in your hair, the better. However, this does take some adjusting and creativity if you are used to relaxing all the time.
1a) Assess if your relaxer works for you. No lye may be the worst choice ever for your hair. Lye may be the pits for you. This is something you must figure out!! For my hair, no lye was the debil!! My hair was dry, brittle, and lifeless when I used no lye relaxers. I made the switch to lye and never looked back. Your case may be the opposite. It really helps to assess what the relaxer is doing for your hair.
2) Limit your heat usage!!
Heat usage and relaxing is a double whammy for your hair. Relaxers break down and dry out your hair. Heat breaks down and dries out your hair. The two combined results in a broke down dried out mess. Especially if you use heat every day. At the highest setting. Ask me how I know. When I first started my journey, I scaled back my heat usage to every wash/DC day (Side note: when my hair was short, my wash days were more frequent to counteract the heat I was using). Now, I'll use heat once, maybe twice a month. It doesn't even phase me to do that. The trick to limiting the amount of heat you are using is to separate yourself from the idea that your hair has to be straight all the time. It doesn't. When you find styles that work with your new growth (or hide it), going heat free becomes second nature. Either way, removing heat little by little will be beneficial for your hair.
3) Wash and DC your hair with quality* products
You would be surprised (or maybe not so surprised) to find that outside of hair boards and this blog, folks don't wash their hair frequently. There are people out there who wash their hair only once a month. Some folks duck and dodge water because they want their style to keep. Personally, I feel that this does no favors for your hair! Your hair needs moisture in the form of water...and that is something that is easy to provide. On the other hand, you may have people who do wash their hair often but they are using craptacular products (sulfate ridden shampoos that their hair hates, DCs chock full of mineral oil....that their hair hates. Yall get the idea) so they aren't seeing any benefit for their hair. In this case, quality and quantity are so important. Yes, it is important to get a good wash and DC in but it is also important to do so with the products that work for your hair. If you're a newbie, finding the right products can be a daunting task (and it turns you into a product junkie). However, doing a search of hair blogs, hair boards, etc. can help you narrow down the field a bit.
That's really it. Those are the 3 things I would tell anyone who is new to their hair journey. I try not to overwhelm with product listings and really just suggest 3 things that should be done to see a relatively quick turnaround in the state of their hair.
What would you tell a HHJ newbie?