Today, I will tell you one of the many stories about myself and my kinky coily hair. 🙂
I was raised by parents who held 9 -5 jobs and by my Nan of blessed memory who lived with us while I was growing up…it’s been 7 years since her passing and counting and I still miss her so. My relationship with her as it concerned my hair was a love-hate one. We would ‘fight’ all through the hair care process on hair wash days. There was nothing elaborate about my hair care regimen with her. Any bath soap at her disposal was good enough to get my hair washed, forget about conditioning! Condi-what?? You’ve got to be joking! Of course, with the conditioning phase totally skipped, the styling stage was always a tug of war especially with her handcrafted 3-pronged wooden ‘cutting’ comb slicing through my Nubian kinky amazon.
I dreaded my wash & style days so much so I rebelled against my mother’s instructions. It was one of those days during the long school breaks. Before mother left for work on this fateful day, she left me clear instructions to get my hair washed and plaited before she got back. Of course, Nan had since stopped being my stylist…I was too much for her to handle when it had anything to do with my hair. I remember mother stating the consequence I’d suffer if I didn’t get it done before her return. She had promised to give me the “big chop” if I failed to comply with her instructions.
Did that scare me enough? Of course not! As a matter of fact, I was secretly and happily looking forward to it. I think I was about 8 or 9 years old at that time and I was so ready for my first “big chop”! To mother, that was punishment enough to teach me a lesson but from my point of view, it was F-R-E-E-D-O-M!!! Nan called me several times during the course of the day to stop playing outside and go to the local stylist near home to get my hair sorted. Did I listen? Nah!
As the clock ticked on and the time drew nearer for mother to return, Nan started taunting me with the imminent reality. In her mind, she was taking a jab at me but in my mind, my hour of freedom was drawing closer. At that tender age, I was literally sick and tired of my hair and was so looking forward to getting rid of it.
6:30 pm, mother walked in and on sighting my head of untamed hair, she called for a pair of scissors. Without throwing any tantrum, I sat beneath her and submitted the thick amazon on my head to her service. She didn’t have to restrain me to the chair to get on with the punishment. With each snip my smile grew broader, with every nip I saw dreaded hair care regimen being cut out of my life! I bet she was too tired after her long day to notice I wasn’t upset at all about the punishment.
Fast forward decades later, here I am loving this same Nubian kinky amazon!
So, what happened?
I mentioned in my earlier post that I did a lot of research before going back to being natural. The common and constant denominator in everything I came across was CONDITIONING. So let’s talk about that.
In my opinion, Conditioning is the holy grail of successfully staying natural. Conditioners are simply awesome for the hair. A well conditioned hair makes for easy detangling. This is a crucial step in caring for your natural hair and this is a step a lot of us do not consider important. I have been to salons before were the ignorant stylist would use more conditioner on a weave than on your natural African kinks. Some of them admittedly said they didn’t know they could use conditioners on natural hair! Duh!!!
So, what exactly is a hair conditioning?
From my point of view, hair conditioning is the process of temporarily changing the texture of your hair by applying to your hair any specialized hair product designed to give your hair maximum softness and slip/glide which leads to an ouch-less detangling experience on wash days.
Not all hair conditioners will work exactly the same way on every hair texture. In other words, a conditioner that works great on my hair could be completely awful for your hair but the thing is – you cannot give up on your quest and search to finding that ideal conditioner for you! I am not advocating for “product junk-ism” but you just have to find that perfect conditioner for your hair!
One of the easier ways of finding the perfect conditioner for your hair without wasting much money on buying products that may not work for you is to research and look out for conditioners that has given fantastic results to people with the same kind of hair type/texture as yours.
Secondly, look up reviews about that particular product recommended and if you decide to give it a try, buy the smallest size available for your trial run. Going by my definition above, if the conditioner on trial gives your hair maximum softness and great slip/glide ultimately allowing you comb through your entire hair within minutes (that is, your comb glides through your hair without any form of resistance) when applied, that is a conditioner to keep! Go back and buy the biggest bottle you can find!
Another point I’d like to touch on is how to use hair conditioners correctly.
Unfortunately, when attempting to condition your Nubian kinks, you have to lose every sense of prudence! Trust me! You see those peas size droplets of conditioner you squeeze on to your palms just wouldn’t cut it. Generosity is the rule of the game here. Conditioners are the products you’d go through the quickest. Outlined below are the steps I follow when conditioning.
STEP 1: I part my freshly shampooed hair into manageable sections…
…and make sure to saturate each section from the roots to the tips. I attempt to spread the conditioner evenly across my hair…pretending like I am applying relaxer to my hair… I let it cover every strand. Do note that the thickness of the conditioner and the degree of slip it gives will determine the amount needed for each section. I use either Tresemme Flawless Curls Curl Moisturizing Conditioner or Mane ‘n’ Tail Deep Moisturizing Conditioner. They work great for me!
STEP 2: I let the conditioner sit on my hair for about 2 – 3 minutes then I comb it through my hair in sections using a wide tooth shower comb.
I start combing from the tips of my hair and gently work my way down to the roots. Never the other way round otherwise my hair will tangle up more and I will suffer unnecessary breakages. This is one of the ways I achieve length retention.
STEP 3: I rinse off the conditioner from my hair in sections with a lot of lukewarm water and pat off excess water from the sectioned hair with a clean soft cotton towel. Although some hair gurus advice to use an old T-shirt to get rid of excess water to avoid overly drying out the hair and keep moisture in the hair but I don’t have old T-shirts. So, my soft towel works just fine! If I need extra moisture I simply spray the hair with some water.
STEP 4: I apply a liquid leave-in conditioner to my hair at this point, one section at a time. I simply pour in a spray bottle and tend to be generous with my application. I have used ApHogee ProVitamin Leave-in Conditioner since my relaxed hair days and I still find it good for my natural hair…it’s a keeper!
In my next hair post, I will talk about my LOC method. This is basically the next step after shampooing and conditioning my hair on wash days.
I’d love to hear about your wash day routine and personal experiences with conditioning. Also, if you have any questions about this post, you know what to do…hit the comment section below 🙂
Peace & Love