My hair is my crown and glory. I do my best to make sure that I follow a healthy hair routine. My mother and my aunt taught me how to style my hair during my childhood. By the time I was in middle school, I was styling my hair in braids or roller sets. I learned a lot by practicing and making many mistakes. I thought by now I would have it all figured out. I recently discovered that I have been making three essential hair routine mistakes that I will never make again.
In July 2014, I began transitioning my hair from a relaxed texture to its natural kinky curly texture. Throughout the transitioning phase, I learned new methods to maintain healthy natural curly hair and retain hair growth, which has resulted in me now having long thick curly hair. Nevertheless, I know that I still need to improve my hair trimming habits. While I know that it is critical to trim natural hair quarterly to maintain healthy hair and retain hair growth, I recently allowed my busy life to prevent me from trimming my hair regularly. This was a huge mistake. April 2017 was the last time my hair was trimmed, so you can imagine why my hair was in need of intensive care. I will never allow that to happen again by making a commitment to keeping my hair appointments.
I recently had my hair silk pressed and trimmed by hairstylist Lakesia “Kesia” Hayes at the Replenish Salon in Atlanta, Georgia. Thankfully, Kesia could see immediately what was wrong with my hair. The split ends in my hair had traveled up the hair shaft, resulting in my ends looking transparent. I was concerned that I was going to lose a lot of inches of my hair growth. Kesia kindly reassured me that my hair was repairable and we would determine how much to cut once she silk pressed my hair.
A silk press involves blow drying the hair using a gentle stretching technique which straightens natural hair removing the texture of the hair, followed by one pass of a flat iron. As a natural, I am concerned about heat damage and heat training. When done correctly a silk press preserves the natural hair curl pattern and does not damage nor heat train the hair because this technique limits the amount of time direct heat is applied to the hair.
While Kesia styled my hair, I learned about three hair routine mistakes I was making, that I never will make again. Kesia taught me three lessons that I think all naturals should know.
Lesson One: Limit Hair Manipulation by Cleansing Your Hair Less
As Kesia separated my hair preparing it for cleansing, we started talking about my current hair routine. I told her that I co-wash my hair every week and shampoo once a month. Kesia told me that I am over manipulating my hair by cleansing and twisting or braiding it every week. Over manipulation of the hair can lead to a decrease in hair volume and an increase in hair breakage. I was shocked, I thought I knew exactly how to maintain healthy hair. I have consistently washed my hair every seven days, including prior to transitioning back to natural. Moreover, I have listened to many natural hair bloggers who also say they co-wash their hair every week. Furthermore, my hair has grown significantly over the past year due to retaining moisture. However, I noticed that my ends were very ratchet lately, and though it was due to not maintaining a healthy hair trim routine. I never considered that over manipulation is also contributing to my split and thin ends. She explained that regardless of me leaving my hair in twists of braids, detangling my hair each week was too much manipulation for natural kinky curly hair and can increase split ends. The bottom line is that natural hair is more sensitive than hair with less texture (i.e. relaxed hair), and thus, natural hair needs a hair routine with less manipulation.
I sat in the chair disappointed that I was over manipulating my hair and potentially stunted its growth potential. As Kesia began wetting my hair to being the cleansing process, I was thankful for the knowledge I gained. However, I was concerned because I sweat in my hair and thus have dry skin, which itches and urges me to wash my hair. As I reminisced about how I solved this problem in high school when I ran cross country and track, I was reminded that when I relaxed hair and had dry skin in my scalp, I would carefully lift up the dry skin and apply fresh oil to my scalp. No dry shampoo was needed and I could wait a little longer between cleanses. Due to our conversation, I decided that I am going to cleanse my hair every ten to fourteen days and monitor my progress over the next few months. I look forward to cleansing my hair less frequently because I will have more time to relax, practice yoga, run, read, hang out with friends, and explore.
Lesson Two: Use a Clarifying Shampoo with Mild Sulfates
The hairstylists at Replenish Salon always explain what they are doing to your hair throughout the process, which is important to me because I do not trust everyone with my crown. It is imperative that I know what the hairstylists are doing each step of the way. I would not go to a salon that does not explain what they are doing to your hair. Otherwise, you may end up with a different hair cut than you wanted, which has happened to me, and I am sure I am not alone.
We continued talking about healthy hair routines as Kesia cleansed my hair with a clarifying shampoo and a moisturizing shampoo. Kesia explained that everyone needs to use a clarifying shampoo with a mild sulfate because it removes build-up and cleanses the scalp completely. I thought sulfate-free shampoos also cleaned the scalp. However, I have noticed that my hair does not always feel clean when I use a sulfate-free shampoo. As I listened to Kesia, I confirmed my suspension that I was not completely cleansing my scalp when using a sulfate-free shampoo. Kesia was nice enough to answer all of my questions related to shampoos and co-washes. I like many other natural curly girls have raved about co-washing and avoid using products with sulfates. Clarifying shampoos are milder and safer for the hair than shampoos with harsh sulfates, which is why Kesia recommends incorporating a clarifying shampoo into every healthy hair routine.
Clarifying shampoos are formulated without harsh sulfates, parabens, or phthalates. Instead, clarifying shampoos use a blend of mild surfactants, which are a type of sulfates. Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) is a surfactant that is better for our hair because the mixture of organic compounds is produced using a chemical reaction that results in fewer 1,4-dioxane organic compounds, which is a known carcinogen. This does not mean that shampoos with SLES do not contain any amounts of 1,4-dioxane, but it does mean that these products contain less carcinogen compounds than products with harsh sulfates.
In order to decrease the chance of stripping the hair of moisture and natural oils, Kesia recommended that I use a moisturizing shampoo after shampooing with a clarifying shampoo to add moisture back into the hair. Thankfully, I already use a moisturizing shampoo, at least I am doing something right! There are two opportunities to moisturize the hair. The first opportunity is during the cleansing phase or shampooing process, and the second opportunity is during the conditioning phase. Leave-in conditioners reinforce the moisture that was established during the cleansing and conditioning phases. Thus, it is imperative that the scalp is cleaned and moisturized properly in order to obtain and maintain healthy hair.
Lesson Three: Use the Correct Detangling Tools
After Kesia shampooed and conditioned my hair I received a micro mist treatment. The micro mist steamer opens the hair cuticle, giving the hair a boost of hydration by locking-in moisture. Kesia then began detangling my hair, which I was a little concerned about because I knew that my ends were a hot mess. To my surprise Kesia was able to detangle my hair with ease because she was using the correct detangling tools. I asked her what she was using because I have tried detangling my hair using my fingers, a modified Denman brush (which I broke because now my hair is too long and strong), and a paddle brush. I used the paddle brush because I saw many natural hair bloggers suggested it, but I learned after a few months that my hair texture does not work well with a paddle brush because there are too many bristles. Thus, I unfortunately pulled out a lot of my hair while using the paddle brush.
Kesia suggested that I purchase a Felicia Leatherwood brush and a coconut infused comb. While combing or brushing our hair we should not hear any sounds, instead the comb or brush should glide through the hair without making a sound. If you hear sounds, that is your hair breaking and/or being pulled out. As a reminder, never detangle your hair without product in it, always detangle your hair after applying a leave-in conditioner. Previously, I suggested detangling in the shower during the conditioning phase which appears on many products and suggested by other natural curly hair bloggers. However, I now know that detangling after applying a leave-in conditioner is the best way to prevent hair breakage and split ends.
Kesia began the silk press process and once my hair was blown dry and straightened with the flat iron, we decided the amount of hair to trim. Thankfully, I was able to save a good amount of my hair growth. Enjoy the photos and videos below documenting the process.
I look forward to Kesia silk pressing and trimming my hair again in three months!
Schedule a Hair Appointment with Kesia at Replenish Salon
Kesia is incredibly knowledgeable and really knows hair! If you are in the Atlanta Metro Area, I recommend booking Kesia because she will help you have healthier hair in a warm welcoming environment. Kesia is no longer with Replenish salon, she is now with Nia Nicole Salon to book Kesia you can make an appointment at vagaro.com/keycurls or you can email her at KeyCurls@gmail.com. Follow her on Instagram at @KeyCurls. If you make an appointment with Kesia be sure to tell her Jessica sent you!
Live well ladies and get in healthy kinky curly girl formation,
This blog post is my opinion and my experience. This was not a sponsored review. This blog post was updated on April 20, 2018 to include appointment information related to Kesia.