Healthy Hair 101

NOTE: If you are unfamiliar with hair terms used in this section please use the Glossary as a reference. 

If asked, most people would say that the majority of ethnic hair doesn't grow. 
This is untrue, Black hair grows at the same rate as all other races, which is about .5 inches per month.The problem is retaining the length. But, with proper care and nutrition is can be done. One of the first things you must do is pay attention to the ingredients in the products you use. Almost every product at the store marketed to "Ethnic" hair that promises growth doesn't work and contains "bad" ingredients such as,
          Isopropyl Alcohol Sulfates
             Mineral Oil Petroleum 
Parabens Propylene Glycol Silicones
As I stated before that's almost every product on the shelf. When beginning a "healthy hair journey" you have to deprogram all the myths and false information you've been exposed to over the years.
If you are natural you need to learn what your hair type is and chose products accordingly. ( see Hair Types)

You need to a build a regimen. A hair regimen is a "routine" that keeps moisture and protein in check as well as cleanliness. Find out what your hair likes because this is not a one size fits all deal. The basics that should be incorporated into each regimen is. A moisturizer, a sealeant (oil), Shampoo, Conditioner, DEEP conditioner, and a leave in conditioner. Vitamins are optional. When building a regimen pay attention to your hair's needs. Whatever you decide CONSISTENCY is the key so avoid "band wagons" at all cost.Healthy hair starts internally. A multi-vitamin, biotin, fish oil, or garlic pills are great. You should also be drinking water daily to moisturize.
HAIR TIP: YOU MOISTURIZE FIRST THEN SEAL natural oils are best for this(jojoba,olive oil, coconut oil)
This should be done twice a day.The first ingredient in your moisturizer should be aqua(water) WATER is not your enemy it's your BEST FRIEND. (DETANGLE AND REMOVE SHED HAIR BEFORE WASHING OR HAIR WILL MATT AND LOC)Co-washing is a great method to moisturize and thicken up hair. When washing your hair do not bunch it all up or pile it on top of your head, this causes knots and tangles. Wash your hair in a downward motion. Don't wash your hair with HOT water, lukewarm is fine. You should rinse with COLD water because it closes and smooths down the cuticles. Let your hair air dry at least 75% whenever possible. Always remember hair thrives when it is clean. 

 III. PROTEIN + MOISTURE & The Proper Balance
First off, let me say OIL does not moisturize your hair. To have healthy hair protein and moisture must be balanced or breakage will occur! If you are balanced when your hair is wet it won't be hard but it will not be mushy either it will FEEL strong.
Now, you're probably wondering how to find out if the balance is off.
IF THERE IS TOO MUCH PROTEIN hair will feel rough, dry, and brittle. Hair will not stretch it will just break off.IF THERE IS TOO MUCH MOISTURE if your feels "mushy" or gummy. Also, if your hair stretches and stretches and doesn't return back.
Protein treatments should be done every 6-8 weeks this may change depending on your hair. 
ApHogee is a good protein treatment or you could mix a homemade recipe with egg and mayo or egg, conditioner and EVOO.
When in doubt moisturize. 
Protein is in a lot of products such as cheap conditioner like v05 and suave. It's also in "moisturizers" like Infusium 23. 
These products are okay to use just pay attention to your hair. 
Chemically treated hair needs more protein than "natural" hair. 
By chemically treated I mean color treated or relaxed hair. 
This is because these chemical processes BREAK down the protein in your hair.

PROTECTIVE STYLING is necessary if you want to reach a certain length or retain the length you already have. Once you reach SL this becomes important. Protective styling is when your hair is hidden or your ends are tucked away illuminating friction between your hair "clothing". Some examples of effective PS are (Buns, Two-Strand Twists,Flexi-rods,Rollersets,Braids, Ponytails, Phony Phonies, Sew- in weaves, and wigs.)

You should limit brushing hair and invest in a wide tooth comb.
There is no need to sugarcoat that relaxers are harsh on your hair. But, everyone doesn't have the time nor patience to go natural and, EVERYTHING IS NOT FOR EVERYBODY. If your relaxer is properly applied, cared for, and stretched you can minimize damage. When apply a relaxer do not put in your entire head. You only apply the relaxer to your new growth (virgin hair). Stretching your relaxer will prevent and eliminate overprocessing.  WHAT IS OVERPROCESSING? (see Relaxers)
TRIMMING you don't need to trim your hair every 3-6 weeks. This is another reason you are not seeing growth. You get .5 inches every month and then cut off that amount you will stay at the same length. You should get a trim as needed or every 6 months with light dusting in between.

SHEDDING is normal, so please do not think your hair is falling out. The average person sheds 50-100 strands PER day. Keep that in mind when you've been in a PS for 3months and a large amount of hair comes out.
Breakage tends to be short pieces while shed hair is generally longer.
Shed hair also has a white "bulb" on the end if you can not see it you should be able to feel it.
Shedding is natural but breakage on the other hand is not natural, and is an indication of an imbalance of important forces within the hair strand.
What causes breakage?
-hairstyles that pull the hair
-chemicals (Relaxers, Color)
-protein and moisture balance being off 

If you are listening to your hair you should be able to recognize breakage and stop it before it really begins to start.
For "mild" breakage aPhoghee keratin treatment is great and can be used weekly until it stops.
Black tea rinses are good to help stop shedding.
ACV rinses helps restore the hairs Ph level.
A hardcore protein treatment is ApHogee 2 step or a simple homemade egg and conditioner mix. This is very drying to the hair so be sure to deep condition afterwards. 

Hair does not grow over night so please be patient. Thickness will most likely come before the length. When on a hair journey you should strive for health and thickness over length. Homemade natural recipe's are best for your hair. You will find these recipe's here.

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