Can you believe this post has been in my drafts for over 4 months, like what has your girl been thinking but nonetheless the post is here. So a few months back l had a series called Back2Basics where l was explaining the basics of how to care for natural hair. If you missed those posts, please check them out.. So my last post on that series was on washing your hair and cleansing your scalp. So after you are done with a co-wash or a shampoo then what?? This brings me to the next topic Hair Treatments. Hair Treatments also known as Deep Conditioning is not spoken much about, yet it is an important step in a hair regime.We have two key treatments that we all have to incorporate and both treatments are vitally important for healthy hair growth. Protein Treatment vs the Moisture Treatment. Before l explain the difference, let’s do a hair test!!
There are times when you do not know which treatment your hair needs, some cases its obvious but not always. So here’s how to test which treatment your hair needs.. After you have washed your hair, take a strand of your hair and pull it
- If hair strand quickly snaps off — Moisture Treatment (your hair is super dry)
- If hair strand breaks after a bit of a pull —– Protein Treatment (your hair has too much moisture.
One way or another we all have suffered from excessive breakage, damaged hair, neglecting the hair, rough styling, wearing wigs/weaves, applying heat to the hair and so forth, that’s when l would suggest incorporating a Protein treatment to repair hair strands. I remember when l used to relax my hair, l would regularly have an OT (Oil treatment) and so it applies to our natural kinks. Protein treatments are temporarily known to strengthen and repair hair. So how does this happen? Well, it does this by filling in the gaps that are along the cuticle, if the protein molecules are small, it can penetrate through the hair shaft. As natties we generally need a protein treatment because our hair can easily get damaged in so many ways. So you might be wondering who needs it, well if you are like me and you stay in Harare (hot climate), we all NEED it.
The best effective type of protein treatment you want to use is the one that has the words HYDROLYZED or CAROTENE, that is hydrolyzed silk protein, hydrolysed oat protein, etc. However, ensure that the word hydrolyzed is within the first 6 ingredients mentioned, if not then it’s more of a light protein treatment. Hydrolyzed essentially means the protein whether it is plant or animal based, it has been broken down into small molecules to be able to penetrate through the hair cortex. As a side note, the treatments that we use mostly use such as avocados, mayonnaise, eggs, etc are light protein treatments. Yes these treatments make our hair feel strong but do not penetrate as much as a hydrolzed protein treatment. I would suggest to do a Protein Treatment once a month. Protein treatments have to be done in moderation as they can become heavy on our natural hair. With every protein treatment, allow the product to sit on your hair between 20mins to 2hrs and cover with a plastic cap. Below are two budget friendly recipes for a light protein treatment that is easy to do:
Avocado and Olive Oil Deep Conditioning
The natural foods and products that favour hair growth are those that have vitamins and nutrients that hydrate them deeply and act by regenerating all the damaged parts of the hair. In this sense, the avocado is an ideal fruit to make hair grow strong and healthy. It is very rich in vitamins A, B, C and E, water and vegetable oils. This combination of water and vegetable oils makes it perfect to soften, restore, nourish and strengthen hair. This strengthens the hair follicles and therefore helps the hair to grow faster and healthier.It is an excellent natural remedy for dry thirsty hair and in need of moisture. This hair mask is able to fight split ends, so the hair will not split so easily and you can gain a few extra inches in less time. This mask regulates hair growth and reduces hair loss.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Mix all the ingredients to form a consistent paste.
Apply on your hair from the root to the tips, cover with a plastic bag and leave on for 45 minutes.
Rinse with water.
Olive Oil and Egg
Egg is a food rich in proteins that act on the hair follicle strengthening it. This is great if lately you have seen that your hair falls out more than necessary. Egg is one of the foods that has a high percentage of proteins that is not only recommended to be present in the daily diet, but also it must be applied directly to the hair through a homemade mask. To make a natural treatment for better hair health you have to use the following ingredients: two egg yolks and two tablespoons of olive oil.
Egg-based hair masks will make your hair thicker . This is a mixed hair mask which means that in dry hair it works as a moisturiser while balancing oily hair.
Beat the ingredients well. Apply to washed hair, gently massaging throughout the hair and scalp, cover the hair with a plastic bag, leave on for at least 20 minutes and finally rinse with plenty of water cold. Please do not use hot water or lukewarm water as you do not want to fry the egg in the hair because it will not be an experience you will enjoy (Trust me on this).
Key notes to remember for a protein treatment:
- Excessive breakage or heat damaged
- Ensure it’s a hydrolysed protein for maximum benefit
- Should be done, one a month
Well simply put, this treatment is critically important when you are suffering from extensive hair dryness. Yes our hair needs moisture to flourish but just daily spritzing might not do the trick. l know there’s a group of my are fellow ladies who have “hard mashona/mufushwa” (extreme dry and tangled) hair where incorporating moisture treatments would be ideal for your hair. Moisture is literally bomb to our hair. Below are two recipes to start with:
Coconut Oil and Honey
Well honey is one of my favourite natural moisturisers for my hair and face. It has been wowed by people with its amazing properties and numerous benefits for natural hair.It is a natural humectant, which means it absorbs moisture from the surroundings and is also a natural hair conditioner that will soften hair. No wonder why most moisturising products honey- honey is golden. Hair masks containing honey that have been blended with healthy penetrative oils work wonders in repairing damaged and rejuvenating hair follicles. In this scalp nourishing hair mask, we’re going to be using coconut oil and honey! Coconut oil unblocks clogged hair follicles and strengthens them, and also helps get rid of bacteria and stale oils that block the follicles. Honey, on the other hand, works by nourishing dry follicles that are prone to falling off. Together both ingredients will help alleviate dandruff and itchy scalp issues, ultimately promoting growth.Always remember to use pure honey and organic pure virgin coconut oil as the processed ones usually contains additives that may adversely affect your hair for example: dry out your strands or make them look greasy.
Just mix the two ingredients in a bowl, apply to damp or wet hair focusing on the ends of the hair as well. When the entire head is applied, wear a plastic cap for 20 – 40mins and rinse off. If you don’t have coconut oil you can use olive oil.
Castor Oil and Shea butter
This is definitely a double whammy combo.. Any mixture with shea-butter will leave your hair with so much life. Make sure you blend your shea-butter then add your castor to mix the two. Follow the same procedure as above as you apply to your hair.
If you’re feeling extra you can just mix both recipes and you will definitely get a more richer moisture treatment but that all depends with your budget and what you can afford.
In conclusion, both treatments are a must for our hair to grow in a healthy manner. As a side note, when preparing your hair for a protective style, ensure that you either do one of the treatments to create a good foundation before your protective style.
** Let me know below, what is your favourite store bought protein/moisture treatment or your DIY method**