Update: caring for fine, natural hair, pt. 2

It’s been five months since I started using the Pantene line for fine hair. The results are that my hair has improved quite a bit. Feels stronger and there is a lot less breakage. The verdict is that thickening and/or volumizing products are best for my hair. Now, it’s time to try some other products. I boiled it down to two options:

1. SheaMoisture Yucca and Baobab line

2. Organix Biotin and Collagen line

SheaMoisture is more expensive than Organix, but still affordable. However, I will have to order it online because I haven’t found a local place that sells all of the Y+B line. The one place that I might have luck is Walgreens, but my memory is hazy on what SheaMoisture products they carry. If they have any of the Y+B line, it’s just the shampoo and/or conditioner. I’ve decided to try Organix first, since it was easier to find local and is cheaper. I used it the first time this past Sunday. In between wash days I also started using the Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum on my hair daily. I just put a tiny bit in the palm of my hand and smooth it all over my hair.

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Results

Pretty good, I think. My regimen is: detangle, wash, condition and style.

My detangling conditioner is Tresemme Split Remedy. It has lots of slip and I start on dry hair, pre-wash. For the purposes of detangling, I use a lot of product. I let it sit in my hair, with a cap and towel on while I eat brekkie. Then I detangle with a wide-toothed comb (I’m actually considering trying finger detangling next wash day), then get into the shower and shampoo and condition. I used to wash my hair in sections because I have, like, 90 percent shrinkage and that causes too many tangles and knots. Keeping my hair sectioned until I styled cut down on that. However it seemed like during the shampoo, my scalp never got very clean and it was time consuming to make sure no shampoo remained on my hair. So I now wash my hair loose, put conditioner in, and gently section my hair again, securing with duckbill clips. I never rinse out conditioner, always using it as a leave-in, whether it is technically a leave-in or not. After letting my hair dry slightly (but is still pretty wet), I twisted my hair with Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Smooth and Hold Pudding.

My hair feels good. I would say it is perfectly moisturized. Soft, yet strong. For the weekend, I’m going to wear a twist-out. Then once that gets old looking, I will twist my hair into large twists nightly, wearing it out during the day, until next wash day. This will be my basic regimen throughout the winter.

I’m beginning to think that the hair typing system is not useful for figuring out what products are best for your hair. I suppose it’s nice to formalize the different hair types, so that people are aware. But you can tell just by looking if your hair is straight, wavy, curly or kinky; it’s not rocket science. I think where a lot of naturals get frustrated is that they stop there and don’t consider if their hair strand diameter is fine, medium, or coarse and if their hair density is high or low. Those areas are where product type matter the most. The finer your hair, the less natural protein is in the strand. If you’re on the fine end of the spectrum and you overuse moisturizing products, loading too much on, your hair will be a mushy mess and be prone to breakage. Coarse hair as a lot of natural protein in the strand. If you’re on that end, overusing protein laden products will make your hair a crispy mess and lead to the same problem: breakage.

I think it is assumed that if your hair is kinky, 4A, B or C, then it’s automatically coarse. And you need to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. There is also a irrational fear of protein, probably based off of some coarse-haired naturals experiences. When one is new to being natural, you are likely to think of fine hair being that less kinky, 3C type. But it does not matter what your curl pattern (or lack of one) is; you can have hair that is anywhere on the fine/medium/coarse continuum. Many naturals also realize their hair isn’t very dense. My hair is fine, but the density is high. Some 4A-C naturals have both fine strands and low density. Which means heavy products, too much moisturizing and not enough protein will eventually damage their hair. Or, in the very least, their hair will seem not to thrive well and length retention is difficult, if not impossible.

In my opinion, it is largely irrelevant how kinky or nappy your hair is. When someone decides to transition from relaxers to natural hair, they should (in my opinion, of course) figure out just two things: hair density and strand thickness. Now, there are definitely major differences between hair on the straight to kinky spectrum. Curlier hair is harder to keep moisturized. But if curly hair is fine, making sure you use enough protein helps your hair retain moisture better.