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Hair Care 101: Know Your Products

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When I started trying to take care of my hair, I would ask my friends with long hair how they managed to grow their hair out. They’d tell me the hair products and I’d go out and buy them. Try it out for a few months the head back to buy some other product because it wasn’t working. After doing this repeatedly without positive results, I decided to take a different approach; understanding MY hair! Our lack of knowledge about our hair for the most part is what causes most of our frustrations. I found some tips which work for me and I’d like to share them with you. These tips are not cast in stone but they are what worked for me. By the end of this piece, I hope you’d be able to share some product tips as well.

Rule #1 Understand and accept your hair. Your hair can only do what it is capable of doing.  When I started working on my hair, almost everyone recommended Dark and Lovely products to me raving about how miraculous they were. Somehow, no matter how much I used it (with my healthy hair regimen) it just didn’t seem to work out. Now that’s not to say D & L products aren’t good, different products work differently for different people and different hair types.

Rule #2 Separate the good from the bad. There are a million and one hair products out there to help us grow, maintain, soften or whatever goal you’re trying to achieve. Do you have an issue? There’s a product for that! However, what we fail to realize is every product works differently for each person. If you have too many hair products, you’re probably doing too much. After you’ve understood the type of hair you have, you would have a better idea of the products that you need. Most of the issues we have with hair i.e. breaking, shedding, dryness, limpness can all be solved with the right products. The first step is identifying what the issues are.

While trying to determine the right products that can take you closer to achieving healthy hair, the most important things to consider are your shampoo and conditioner. The oils come in right after but will prove useless if your shampoo and conditioner are wrong for you.

Our hair requires lots of moisture which is how regular shampooing helps. Black hair desperately needs moisture and hydration more than any type of hair. Weekly cleansing and conditioning is crucial.

A person can shampoo weekly and still notice that their scalp is dry; dry hair & scalp comes from using hair products that are not suited for your hair type. Shampoos also tend to strip the hair of its natural oils which is where a moisturizing conditioner comes in to avoid having that dry hair feel.

Shampoo

  1. Moisturizing Shampoo: These shampoos cleanse the hair gently without stripping it completely of its natural oils which is essential for our hair. You want a shampoo that can cleanse but still soften and moisturize the hair. E.g Neutrogena Triple Moisture cream lather shampoo, KeraCare moisturizing shampoo. TIP: Avoid the presence of sulfates which are the harshest detergents used to clean the hair.
  2. Clarifying shampoos: When you feel like your regular shampoo is no longer effective, it is time to switch to a clarifying shampoo. They are formulated to remove heavy product residue (e.g., lots of grease) E.g Carols Daughter Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo, Keratin Complex Care Shampoo

How to know when to switch?  Your shampoo doesn’t lather as much and your hair feels flat with little or no movement.  Then you notice your hair keeps breaking irrespective of the fact that you’ve been diligent in your balancing protein and moisture regimen. It is important to note that clarifying shampoos are a necessity for hair that is exposed to heavy oils and serums and should be used every one to two weeks.

Conditioners

Black hair should be conditioned after every wash in order to feed your hair with the moisture that was taken out from the washing. However, there are different types of conditioning process

Moisturizing Conditioner: Can be used alongside a moisturizing shampoo. Its job is simply to increase the moisture content of the hair. It also helps in softening the hair which makes out hair much easier to handle. For me, I find that regardless of how due for a relaxer I am, using a combination of a deep conditioner and moisturizing conditioner makes my hair easier to manage. E.g Mizani Moisturefuse Moisturizing conditioner

  • Deep conditioner: Protein and moisture are the key words to look out for when choosing a deep conditioner. Proteins make sure that the hair holds onto the moisture until the next treatment which is they the deep conditioning should be done often. To ensure the best penetration of the conditioner, it is advisable to use heat (I told you heat wasn’t all bad)  E.g Crème of Nature Nourishing Conditioner, KeraCare humecto Crème conditioner
  • Leave-In Conditioner: Even though most people tend to ignore leave in conditioners, they are a very good source of moisture and protein. That way you have enough moisture to last you till your next wash. When choosing a leave in, make sure to get the one that focuses mainly on the issues of your hair. L’oreal EverPure Sulfate-free Moisture leave-in conditioner.

Individual results will vary with products so before you buy another hair product, remember this;

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Do your research on the hair products or ask a hair consultant
  3. Establish a healthy hair care regimen
  4. Be consistent
  5. Be patient.

For further questions, comments or concerns email me: [email protected]

Passionate about Hair!!! Not just mine, yours as well! I've been through almost every phase your hair can go through so I know what it means to have bad hair days and be frustrated about your hair. For personal hair issues please email me [email protected]

40 Comments

  1. pynk

    August 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Many babes are still busy chasing their hairlines with weaves. too many women with smelly hair in nigeria.

    • guester

      August 25, 2012 at 9:24 am

      hahahahahaha… it’s funny cos it’s true, well sometimes.
      Probably the heat

  2. faith

    August 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks…

  3. HairObsessed

    August 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    While I appreciate the effort in trying to educate people on Hair care, this article has so much misleading and downright wrong Information.

    As you clearly stated we should get to know our hair and that everyone’s hair is different, why then encourage pple to shampoo weekly and even use a clarifying shampoo weekly??? Why won’t the hair and scalp be dry and feel stripped???? You need to study your hair and know when it needs to be shampooed. A co-wash (Conditioner wash) could actually be better than using a shampoo.

    Again I appreciate the effort, but since when does protein make sure that the hair holds on to moisture. Protein helps against breakage. The key to healthy hair care is finding a balance between the Protein and Moisture levels in your hair. Too much of either one will be detrimental to your healthy hair journey.

    Also, if your hair is not healthy the problem may not even be the products you’re using, but your hair care methods, or should I say lack of hair care method. As most ladies in Nigeria have relaxed hair I believe one should mention that for a lot of ladies stretching the Relaxer is key to having healthy and thick hair. Do not re-touch your hair every 4, 6, or even 8 weeks. Relaxers are very strong chemicals which weaken the hair. If you must relax your hair, then give it a break of at least 10/12 weeks. Trust me, your hair will thank you for it.

    Btw, if you are going to list out shampoos then pls include chelating shampoos as well.

    Longhaircareforum
    Blackhairplanet
    Blackgirlwithlonghair

    There are also several Blogs including Blogs by Nigerians on haircare. There are way too many Blogs to list out. Google is your friend.

    Relaxed or natural, you can have healthy hair. Read up on hair care and figure out a regimen that is right for YOUR HAIR.

    Just the few thoughts of a hair obsessed lady. Well, to my friends I’m hair obsessed, lol 🙂

    1
    • MyHairmyBeauty.wordpress.com

      August 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      GBAM!!! U said it. Ladies look for more natural hair products with tea tree oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, etc

    • Iris

      August 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      Yep! And if you can find them in raw form, even better. Coconut oil is a big one. Also, do not underestimate the power of water. It’s the best moisturizer there is. Most of the other products act as sealants so there should be something on the hair for them to seal. Otherwise you may just end up drying out your hair.

    • http://fulanihair.blogspot.com/

      August 25, 2012 at 11:43 pm

      I usually mix my regulate shampoo and conditioner with those oils (coconut, castor or shea). many products that claim to have those natural oils have them last on the ingredient list so good to DIY and fortify the product.

    • Peppa

      August 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      God bless you, sister. Very good critique.

    • Adanma

      August 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      You make some valid points but sometimes doing the very least to your hair can be as helpful as well. I would agree that using a clarifying shampoo every week is a bit much. I would recommend every 4-6 weeks. Protein does hold in moisture for you. If your hair lacks protein, then it’s easy for your hair to become dry. Protein retains moisture however too much protein or too much moisture can be bad.

      When I started my hair journey, I wan’t to try all the techniques out there mentioned on various hair blogs. They were helpful but I noticed the best results when I did less. All I need is a good shampoo, good condition, leave-in condish, some oils if you like and that’s it! All these long lists of what and what not to do and purchase is not necessary. But at the end of the day, get to know YOUR hair. You’ll be surprised how some ladies take better care of their Brazilian hair then their actual hair lol.

    • Tanzanian Babe

      September 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      can you give me tips on what products you have been using for your hair journey?mine is breaking really bad

  4. julit

    August 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    stay away from shampoo with sulphur. very deadly

    • ai baybay

      May 1, 2013 at 1:17 am

      very true, and u can never go wrong with shea buteer melted over a low heat aplied after using a normal conditioner (which by the way is a shampoo without the foam), or better still try my hair mask, mayonnais mixed wit honey and egg yolk or milk(milk is a natural hair relaxer so use if ur hair is too thick to comb) and make a paste.condition once a week u will see results after three weeks

  5. Liz

    August 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Love the piece…somethn for everyone in there.But pls ill like to know the best conditioner and shampoo for my 9months natural hair as winter is almost here and I can’t afford for her scalp to be dry,scaly and itchy..thanks

  6. ItsModella

    August 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    You mean sulphate. Shampoos with sulphate are not all that as as they can be used as clarifying shampoos because the sulphates in them can help remove build-up on the hair. It is not advised to use it regularly though as it can dry and strip the oil and color in the hair.

  7. Rita luv

    August 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    hairobsessed ur vast knowledge abt keeping ur hair healthy made me very proud nd indeed google is a woman’s best frnd 4 hair products. well said

  8. Ogor

    August 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Nice piece…i like the part about getting to know your hair…however, there’s a little i’ll like to add..you dont have to use overly expensive hair products to treat your hair right-not everyone can afford expensive stuff. Find what works and stay with it. Just do your research properly.

  9. @ajiriavae

    August 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    I think the biggest problem with hair care is the salons. Very few hair dressers know how to handle real hair. The way they comb hair, like they are going to war. Then there is the issue of
    water. I always tell girls not to patronise salons that don’t have water running out of their wash station. All the relaxer and shampoo/ conditioner left in hair everyday by these hair killers, sorry, hair dressers don’t help matters. Do not allow any hair ‘professional’ destroy your hair for you.
    http://ajiristyle.blogspot.com/

  10. naijababe

    August 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Thank you, hairobsessed. You know your stuff. In addition to that, it’s important to know what type is your hair. Is it 3A, 3B, 4A, or 4B, it’s really easy to find out. Just google it, it will show you different hair strands and you can compare it to your hair. I have 4A, and the natural products work for me, like using baking soda to wash my hair and honey as my conditioner. But, for my sister she’s 4B, her hair is thinner, more coarse so she had to find specific products that eventually worked for her.

    • 9jababewithlonghair

      February 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      you don’t necessarily need to know your hair type because in 3yrs my hair is past bra strap length now on the way to waist length afro hair and I could not care less till today what hair type it is. This are all man-made definitions. Just understand how your hair works and reacts generally is key.

  11. Dele 2

    August 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    For more detailed info on how to manage/grow different hair type and choice of hair products, visit YOU TUBE people, you cannot exhaust the info their

  12. Melissa

    August 24, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    It took me a long time to find the best products for my hair, I can on.y use sulfate free products like Pro Naturals, I only use their shampoo, conditioner and hair masks. Thanks for the article!

  13. Ready

    August 25, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I agree with pretty much every comment here. Good post too, although I feel the author just copied some stuff. Granted, there aren’t very many petroleum jelly/sulphate/paraben/full of bad ish products by Nigerian hair product makers, I think the list of produccts could be waay more accessible…or at least endeavor to give a more comprehensive idea of what exactly’s bad for the hair; especially considering the title.
    Like someone said, it’s about moisture..I co-wash (conditioner only wash) every week withh Aussie or Paul Mitchell or even Suave (whatever makes your hair feel soft and supple), seal in moisture with shea butter or coconut oil..grapeseed or castor oil is good for some. I find that all these raw oils are the foundation for the expensive stuff anyway. And I try to eat healthy…what you put in your body influences what comes out too.

  14. Presentation Skills

    August 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    A good hairdo is a prime source of confidence for most ladies. But if you’re in LAGOS and would love to further that confidence through PRACTICAL training, I suggest you check out http://www.LiveSpeech.org ASAP..!

  15. Turayo Tijani

    August 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    In addition to the comments, one does not need a lot of lather when washing hair. The lather comes from sulphates. While it provides the visual that you are washing something, it does more harm than good.

    Also mayonnaise is a good conditioner. Just be sure to rinse it out with cold water.

  16. onibas

    August 25, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I have been a hair designer and product development consultant for 35 years.
    Watch this video about conditioners. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h10jJkrfaJA

    All hair products are water soluble so they all breakdown from time of application to 24 hours. Water soluble products will never hold up to climate or environmental changes. The only way to retain moisture is to get it from your shower head and lock it in. Go to http://www.sabinohair.com

  17. Grace Glover

    August 26, 2012 at 1:40 am

    **Very Important **what’s inside you also affects the state of your hair – drink lots of water, eat fruits and maintain a balanced diet. There’s no point applying all the shampoos and conditioners, if your diet is unhealthy. I went to a professional (very important) hair dresser/consultant a few years ago, when I had issues with my hair, despite buying all the right shampoos/moisturisers/creams etc…. she took a look at my scalp and hair and informed me that most of the problem was due to my diet….i took her words of wisdom and noticed a significant difference….I also use mix raw shea butter with my conditioners….

    • Grace Glover

      August 26, 2012 at 1:43 am

      ** I also mix raw shea butter with my conditioner and there is a definite difference

    • queenbee

      September 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      i was just going to say the same. The state of our hair, skin and nails usually is a reflection of our overall health on the inside. When you eat healthy- fruits, veggies and nuts -, drink water and live a stress free life, your hair texture and appearance will definitely reflect it. Beauty always comes from the inside (Garbage in, garbage out and vice versa). But natural oils do go a long way too in keeping your maine tamed, radiant and luscious! Great article nonetheless, at least we got a conversation going.

  18. Pendo

    August 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    i try to use as much natural products in their raw form as i can i use a moisturising shampoo use an avocado and egg conditioner i usually alternate betwen this and natural plain yoghurt(you may have to whisk it to make it thick if you can’t find the thick one) to condition my hair rinse it out then use a coconut oil based leave in conditioner and finally moisturise my scalp with castor oil (in its pure form-liquid0 castor oil used regularly on the scalp promotes hair growth i have seen the results. My facial aare natural too cleanse with lemon juice (mix with tap water), use a cornmeal and honey scrub, steam over a hot bucket and finally use an avocado mask or yet again natural plain yoghurt mask (natural plain yoghurt is useful for so many things including washing “down there” too since it contains the same proteins used in lactacyd based feminine washes)

  19. Tgirl4me

    August 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    U all have made valid points, but just to add some more as someone who is terribly obssessed with growing her hair; moisture is the best ingredient for your hair. I started growing my hair 2 years ago, from neck length, tried all ans sorts but my hair was stillbreaking due to lack of moisture. I was doing all the right things, stretching relaxer to 4 months, hair was difficult to handle. But Longhairdon’tcare forum and youtube helped me a lot. First you need hair products that are sulfate free, co-wash every other wash (use conditioner to wash your hair instead of shampoo), deep condition every wash. I totally stopped hand drying my hair or straightning- v ery difficult at first but now it comes out fine, instead wrap your hair and pin it, cover it with a satin or silk fabric, something that wouldnt break the hair, remove fabric or scarf from hair in the morning and comb, your hair will look straigthened and willh ave a natural bounce to it, like you see on all these oyigbos when wind hits there hair.. Once you find what is right for your hair, stick to it. I moisturize every other day or when i notice my hair tips are dry. Coconut oil, jojoba, olive oil, shea butter are your friends, and leave in conditoner.
    What i do for moisturising is simple; get a transparent water spray bottle, add 50% water in it, add 25% leave in conditioner,and 25 oil. Use it on your hair every day or whenever you feel your tips are dry. After moisturising, comb hair from tips NOT ROOT. Very important or else your hair will break and all the growth you had will fall off. Always comb hair this way. Finally, when stretching your relaxer, remember to moisturise hair always with this method and you’ll see your hair is manageable for how long it is due. My hair is now armpit length. I intend to grow it to bra length and more. If you find your hair hard to manage, i often find braiding and carrying for a month or more depending on what part of the world you are in helps.

    Please do your research,ask questions etc. I am so obsessed with African hair growth so email me [email protected]. My friends and mum want me to nurture their hair now after seeing how much growth have had. Of course for free. Always h appy to help a sister. Someone helped me at the beginning to stick to the plan so here I am.
    Sorry for long piece.

  20. winifred

    August 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    this is too much for me to grasp!

    • miffed

      August 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      Don’t be scared dear. It happens when there is information overload. Take baby steps first. Visit http://naijahaircangrow.blogspot.com/, go to the blog archives, start from the beginning and follow through. She teaches the basics. It will come easily with time.

  21. tolu

    August 28, 2012 at 12:39 am

    una na wa o….
    all this info overload on top hair….
    ive not started growing my hair and im already tired…
    *sigh*
    the lord is our strength…

  22. OmogeNaija

    August 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Weldone Gbeke, I’d like to share my experience, there are many practices around here that damages our hair. As a matter of policy,
    1. I relax my hair after (atleast) 3 months, sometimes, I go as far as 6 months
    2. I leave my hair for 4 weeks after retouching before fixing, weaving e.t.c, all I do during the 4 week period is wash, set and comb my hair.
    3. As much as I like to tong my hair, I do that sparingly. About two years ago, I bought a pair of tongs, and as such I used it as much as I wanted, mostly weekly, sometimes bi-weekly, my hair didn’t last for 6 months before it began to fall-off, I had to cut it, not trim o, CUT because it became very weak and lacked the bounce and fullness it initially had
    3. Anytime I retouch, I make the hairdresser trim the tips.
    4. My constant hair oil is Amalar , I always apply it to my scalp
    5. I apply coconut-oil (adi-agbon) yes, I mean adi-agbon to my hair, I’m always generous with this.

    Actually, taking care of our hair is simple, it’s painful that we always thinks the process has to be complex for it to work, when Naaman was asked to dip 7 times into River Jordan, he was disappointed, he dipped anyway and he was cured of his leprosy, Sis, simple things work 😉

  23. tinkerbella

    August 29, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Hairobsessed is very right. Lots of misleading information in here.

  24. myhairjourney

    August 30, 2012 at 4:14 am

    hairobsessed is so right but i must commend gbeke,the key issue is to identify what the problem is however there are general basics.Different results for different individuals.I just started my hair journey a month and 3 weeks ago,i decided to do a major trim and grow my hair all over.I must confess it’s not so difficult and i have seen tremendous improvement.simply put,PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HAIR like you do for any other parts of the body.
    check my blogsite,its pretty new really,ITS A JOURNEY. share your experience,tots,I LEARN DAILY

  25. Hair Care

    September 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Most of the ladies love to have long hair……This information really helps them!

  26. TLC Naturals

    September 24, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Natural ingredients in hair products are important as chemicals in the hair can cause more harm than good.
    TLC Naturals – we do a great range of products for hair growth, called Grow It. These products are made with pure natural ingredients from India, Japan,, the Amazon and worldwide. The TLC Naturals Grow It hair growth products aren’t just natural, but they are very very effective! Over 95% of users reported longer and thicker hair in just 7-10 days. In addition, the products can be used by both men and women.
    Grow It hair growth products are formulated for premature balding, shedding, hair breakage, thinning hair, poor thinning hair line, slow hair growth, hair loss from chemo or diabetes, and post partum shedding. You can check the products at at tlcnaturalsonline.com. TLC Naturals are also on facebook and other social networks

  27. Mel Stevens

    February 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    The best shampoo I can think of is the hair repair shampoo from pro naturals. It is completely made from argan oil and sulfate free, check it out, the conditioner is awesome too!

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