Last year, I attempted to wean myself off of applying heat to my hair. I lasted about 6 months with 1 or 2 blowouts a month before I started relapsing into my old habits (blowdrying and flat-ironing once every 2 days). Trigger Warning: In this post, I get real about some medical issues and other personal shit.
About 6 weeks ago I discovered the curlyhair subreddit and realised that I had found my people. Two weeks ago I reflected on how my hair got to this state, which included reflecting on how my hair was treated during my childhood, when I had no bodily autonomy:
- Having my hair treated by my parents as if it was not radically different to the wavy and straight hair of my sisters
- Always having my hair blowdried roughly throughout my childhood (I don’t recall a single photo of me as a child with natural hair)
- Not having the right products for my hair and scalp type
- My hair was relaxed multiple times between the ages of 7 – 13 to “make it straight” (WTF)
- My hair was overdosed with oil products to combat the dryness, which just made my hair look dirty all the time
- I was not allowed to cut my hair, and maybe got a home trim of <1cm to “take the split ends off” like once a year
The hair dysfunction that started in my childhood carried over to my adult years:
- I had to quickly learn how to blowdry my own hair once I moved into res in first year i.e. basically tortured my hair with the amount of heat I was applying
- Still didn’t know the right products to use
- Left my hair “natural” on occasion and was never pleased with how it looked because the curls could not come out
- Started colouring my hair and cutting it now that I was “allowed to”
To add to this shitshow, last year I was diagnosed with mild scalp psoriasis, which spreads to my elbows and neck in times of stress, and is related to the dermatitis I always had on my scalp. It was never dandruff, and my parents never bothered to take me to a proper dermatologist when I was younger, despite eczema running in the family. I wasted time and money making my dermatitis worse by using rough anti-dandruff shampoos which never worked, because I never had it.
Once I knew what it was, it pretty much cleared up. I have some flare-ups now and then, but it’s far more under control than it ever has been. Probably because the biggest stress factors in my life are gone!
Anyway, I started the method 2 weeks ago. I chucked out all my hair crap and bought products containing no sulfates or silicons. I’m currently in the transition phase (read: my hair looks like shit), but just like with losing weight, I just have to power through and within a few weeks I’ll hopefully have my curls back (I’m a 2C/3A combo). The method I’m following for now is as follows:
- Sunday: Shampoo + Condition
- Monday: Rinse
- Tuesday: Co-wash (i.e. wash with conditioner) + Condition
- Wednesday: Co-wash + Condition
- Thursday: Rinse
- Friday: Co-wash + Condition
- Saturday: No wash
The rinse days are only to get the sweat out of my scalp after a workout, otherwise those would be no-wash days as well. After each wash, I’ve been alternating between using Aunt Jackie’s Curl Custard and The Curl Company’s Creme Gel as my leave-in. I’m also going to start plopping this weekend to combat the frizz and crunch.