I have been on a natural hair care journey for the better part of 15 years. And funny, I always wondered why my hair always seemed to be suffering so much. I tortured it for years with harsh chemicals trying to tame it and make it easier to control and then decided, one day after some real neglect, that I would wear my natural hair. Well, after doing that, I think I have finally gotten my hair to at least feel something close to healthy. And I am enjoying it now! 🙂 Late last year I discovered hair masks. That is not to say I have not heard of them before, but I frequently wore my hair in locs and just never thought I could use one. Last year, while my hair was still in the locs I tried my first hair mask and LOVED IT! Now, one thing I will have to say before i go on is that I LOVE to change things up and will frequently cut my hair to suit a mood. I have worn my hair in cornrows, an afro and locs over the past 15 years. And for 2012 I decided to go back to an afro. We will see how long this lasts, but so long as my hair continues to feel this silky soft, I guess the natural afro will be the style for a while 🙂 Anyway, back to the mask. I tried the mask with locs (something I recommend if you want to start to revitalize your locs) and I LOVED how my hair looked afterwards. Of course, it being locs there was more detail to washing to make sure that I got out all of the product I had just made, but still, my hair actually LOOKED ALIVE!
So now 2012 has rolled around, the locs are gone and I am nurturing an afro 😉 My hair was feeling neglected again so I continued with the monthly ritual of deep cleansing my hair and daily moisturizing and sealing. But for the purposes of this blog, I will focus on my deep cleansing routine. I had read up on ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) and Rhassoul or Moroccan Red Clay and their great benefits for the hair. Since I know was daily moisturizing my hair, build up would begin to occur and I needed to make sure that I did not begin to stress my hair so a monthly detox and cleanse for my hair and scalp is needed. So, to help my scalp along, I am doing a little detox! But first to remove the monthly residual and assist with the natural pH of the hair. One part ACV to three parts water. This is great and you can see immediately all the residual on the hair as it will turn milky white. Prepare this in a plastic bottle with a spout tip, easier to work into the hair this way. I applied directly to my hair and scalp, making sure that I massaged the scalp with the ACV/Water mix. I left this mix on for about 5-10 minutes to let it really help with clarifying my hair. That will help to start the clarifying process and remove any and all build up on the hair. I should have rinsed out from my hair, but decided to leave on and added the hair mask. (If you are doing this I do recommend rinsing out before following with the hair mask).
This particular blend consists of Activated Charcoal, Henna, and Moroccan Red Clay. Mixed in the mask are Lavender Essential Oil, Rosemary Essetial Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Clary Sage Essential Oil, and Clove Essential Oil. I combined all and mixed with warm water and Baobab Oil. Olive oil is a good hair oil, VCO (Virgin Coconut Oil) is also another one I recommend. Use enough of the oil and water combination until it is a thick paste. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. After all this I put the mixture in my hair and cover with a plastic cap and left on for about 20 minutes. Rinsing this particular blend out is very important. And it is very important that you use a good clarifying shampoo. Or, any shampoo with SLS or that is sulfate based to make sure that you get out ALL of the particles that will be there as a result of the henna. Usually I don’t use henna, but since I wanted to cover some greys and henna is a GREAT conditioning agent for the hair, I added it to the mask. I shampooed until all the mud and particles are out of my hair. Until the water runs clean. My hair feels EXTREMELY clean at this point. Literally squeaky clean…and dry. This will happen once you have done the ACV/Water mix AND the clay mixture. That is why this next step is so important in taking care of the hair…CONDITION AND MOISTURIZE!
This next step is very important, you MUST deep condition your hair. So after a thorough shampoo and rinse, I condition my hair. Rinse this out and use a deep conditioner. I cover my hair with a clean plastic shower cap and left on for about 20-30 minutes. If you want to speed up this process you can sit under a hair dryer for about 10 minutes. Again, rinse until water runs clean. I make sure I dry out my hair and then I add a light moisturizer to my hair. This is important because the hair will be dry and the only way for the hair to feel and look lustrous is to make sure the hair is always moisturized. I moisturize my scalp and hair and then use a nice light oil to help seal in the hydration I just did. I made my own hair oil, a simple one of coconut and avocado oil with a touch of lavender essential oil. You can use whatever oil you want, preferably one containing coconut oil (VCO if possible) olive, essential oil Rosemary, essential oil of Lavender, or essential oil of Clove.
I can honestly say that I have noticed a HUGE difference in the feel and even appearance of my hair since I started to treat it differently now. My hair is softer and more manageable. Definitely less stressed! Of course, drinking water helps with keeping the softness of my hair there, but also moisturizing and sealing my hair helps also. I chose the following essential oils because of their wonderful properties for hair, and I love the fragrance they leave. Lavender and Rosemary essential oils make great hair tonics. Also, both Lavender and Rosemary essential oils combined make great headaches relievers. Lavender essential oil aids in the stimulation of the hair follicles which aids in growth. Rosemary essential oil helps also with stimulation and circulation of the scalp and overall hair growth. A mix of Rosemary essential oil along with Tea Tree oil and Basil helps with most scalp problems and dandruff.