Paying it Forward: An Open Letter About Hair Care

Ciao Bellas,
This afternoon I recieved a call from one of the women at my church looking for some advice about hair care. She told me that she'd been calling some of the women from church because she's been experincing a lot of hair breakage (she's a cancer patient) and has a itchy scalp, and she wasn't too sure what to do about it. I told her to first talk to her doctor and see if there are any products or ingredients that he reccomends for her to try or stay away from, and then I recommended a few hair care products that have helped me care for my hair (which I'm happy to report is on the grow, I'm pretty sure that I'll be APL -Arm Pit Length- or a little past that by August) and my sisters hair. I'm wouldn't exactly say that I'm this huge hair care guru, but I've picked up a lot of tips and things about hair care by doing a lot of reading, research, trial, and error and I'm more than happy to pay it forward. I pretty much just explained some hair care basics (like moisture, wrapping your hair, using deep conditioner, being careful when you comb it. BTW, the only reason I mentioned relaxers at all is because I happen to know that she used to relax her hair...and I also needed to address some of the hair care no-no's that seem to be floating around my church...like the greasing or oiling up hair before a press and curl *shudders* ) to get her started...I didn't want to overwhelm her with a bunch of stuff (like porosity control, moisture and protien balance, protien treatments, etc.) so I decided to type up a quick letter that I'm going to give her tonight (along with some deep conditioner) explaining some things about hair care, which I'm sharing with y'all below...hopefully it'll help somebody else out there too (and if there's anything else that you suggest that I share with her, let me know!):


First I would recommend checking with your doctor to see if there are any particular ingredients or products that you should avoid using, as you don’t want to cause any reactions or side effects in addition to any medications that you take.
Keeping it simple works best when taking care your hair, and to avoid further breakage the main things to remember are to keep your hair moisturized (as dryness is a prominent cause of breakage), protected (or at least don’t manipulate it too much like by using chemical products like relaxers, and try to avoid pressing and flat ironing it for awhile. Though if you do choose to flat iron it in the future be sure to use a heat protectant – Crème of Nature’s Argan Oil Gloss & Shine Polisher is a good multi purpose product, that also acts as a heat protectant – and wrap it to maintain your style), wrap it night while sleeping (or you can sleep on satin pillowcases if it’s more convenient), and when you comb it be sure to use a wide tooth comb and comb from tip to root to avoid unnecessary breakage. You really don’t need a million different hair products; just a few good staple products are all that’s necessary.
I know that you said that you have issues with an itchy scalp, and hard as it is you don’t want to scratch too much as this could cause more problems. I would suggest using a shampoo that caters to this (Crème of Nature makes a Red Clover & Aloe Soothing Shampoo for Dry Hair and Flaking Scalp). Tea Tree Oil also works well for itchy scalp relief, though it’s important to be careful and use it as directed on the packaging.
If you wear hats and things, it’d be a good idea to put a satin lining in them or wear a scarf underneath so that the hat doesn’t rough your hair up and cause additional breakage.
Also it’s a good idea to limit how often you use heat to style your hair (like using a flat iron, hot comb, or something like that. Using a hairdryer to roller set your hair, or with your deep conditioner is totally fine) …once a week is ok, once a month is ideal. Wearing different textured hair styles can be helpful if you want to try something new…like braid outs to achieve waves (when you cornrow your hair overnight using a setting lotion, and take it down the next morning), or Bantu knots or roller sets for curls. By the way, you should never use oil directly before you flat iron your hair. It’s essentially going to fry your hair the same way you would fry chicken.
If you do choose to relax your hair at some point (though this shouldn’t be anytime soon, and definitely not until after your doctor says that it’s ok), spacing out the relaxers is a good idea (like every 3 months. The textured styles that I mentioned above, in addition to keeping your hair moisturized should help manage new growth).
Everyday:
It’s a good idea to “Moisturize and Seal” your hair twice a day (Once in the morning, once at night) by first using a moisturizing hair lotion (Organic Root Stimulator’s Olive Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion is really good, or if you want something a bit lighter in weight you could try Elasta QP’s Anti Breakage Oil Moisturizer. The Olive Oil Lotion –which I recommend- is thicker, and is good for hair that’s thicker in texture and for use in the fall through spring seasons when the air is cold and dry and sucks moisture from hair much like it does to skin. Elasta QP’s Moisturizer is good for hair prefers lighter products, and is good to use in the summertime when it’s humid. As a general rule of thumb, the first ingredient in a moisturizer will be water), and then seal in the moisture with a oil (Like Hot Six Oil, Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Coconut Oil, etc.).
Wrapping your hair at night is also beneficial, preferably by using a satin or silk scarf (or sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase works too, whichever is more convenient).
Once A Week:
Washing your hair once a week should suffice, and using moisturizing products is important. You can start off by doing a hot oil treatment on dry hair if you’d like (You can use Hot Six Oil for this if you want, or olive oil…even canola oil works well in a pinch), then shampoo your hair (if your looking for product recommendations, Crème of Nature is a pretty good line…and their Kiwi and Citrus Moisturizing Shampoo works really well. Essentially you want to look for a moisturizing shampoo that is for dry and or breaking hair, or you could use the shampoo for itchy scalp that I recommended. You only need to use one…I prefer the Kiwi and Citrus shampoo, though if your scalp is causing a lot of discomfort then the Soothing Shampoo is perfectly fine), then you can use a deep conditioner (In a pinch you can use a regular conditioner, though a true deep conditioner would be one that instructs you to leave it on for more than 10 minutes, with a plastic cap, and under heat like a hair dryer or blow dryer. Crème of Nature’s Argan Oil Intensive Conditioning Treatment works really well, and I’ve included a few packages for you to try at home) to which you can add things like oil (Hot Six Oil, Olive Oil, Canola Oil, whatever you have around the house), honey, and even the Gloss and Shine Polisher that I mentioned. Whatever you decide to use, you need to be sure to comb it through your hair, put a plastic cap on (or you can tie a plastic bag over your hair if you don’t have any plastic caps around), and either sit under the hair dryer or use a blow dryer (though if you use the blow-dryer, don’t put it too close to the bag. We don’t want to set anything on fire) for at least 10 – 15 minutes (or what ever the packaging on the deep conditioner says). After you wash the deep conditioner out, you can use some leave in conditioner (which is important. In a pinch you can use a little regular conditioner), the Gloss and Shine polisher (if you decide to try it), whatever styling products you use, and allow your hair to air-dry then style however you like.
Stylishly Yours,
Ms. Fab

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