"I love your hair! What do you do to it?"
A Compliment and a Question
I get the statement above a lot. And while I am always flattered when asked, it's also exasperating trying to come up with the right response. Variations are "How do I make my hair curly like yours?" and "What do you use to make your hair curl?".
Nothing. My hair is the way it is, and for the most part, these days I do very little to manipulate the way it looks. I let it do what it wants, sit how it wants, and shrink up. There's nothing you can do to drastically alter the texture of your hair short of perming, texturising or relaxing it. If texture alteration is what you want then perhaps you should re-consider the decision to go natural. If you're not happy with your hair then what's the point?
Back the title of this post: I Love your hair! What do you do to it?
I never know how to respond. It's very vague and very general. I normally say thank you and mumble something about moisture and protection. But that's not entirely true because I don't moisturise my hair as often as I should. In fact, there are some weeks where I don't do anything to my hair, and 90% of the time, at least in recent weeks, it hasn't been in any kind of protective style.
I've finally had box braids done now though. I was tired of wrestling with knots and crispness. I'm in Nigeria right now and honestly, the climate has turned my hair regimen upside down.
So what do I do to my hair? Whatever I can when I can. I try to wash it at least once a week although once a week is gradually being stretched out to once every 2 weeks. If there's time I follow-up with a deep condition. I've completely thrown co-washing out of the window which is a shame because my hair needs that extra moisture now more than ever. But I'm reluctant to dedicate the appropriate amount of time to regular co-washing and de-tangling. It's not that I no longer care about my hair, but now that it is a little longer and I know that growth is not magic, I prefer to spend my time doing other things.
Back once again to the title of this post, what do I do to my hair? I may be wrong, but I feel like the question says one thing and means another. What do YOU do to your hair really means what can/should I try doing to mine. And honestly, I don't know. There's no easy way to really diagnose the correct treatment for a stranger's hair. The most one can do is share positive experiences of things that have worked for them. There's no guarantee the results will be the same though.
I stand by my assertion that 80-90% of problems relating to the growth and condition of hair are down to a lack of moisture. That may mean that a new method of moisturising is required, more frequent moisture treatments, a new set of products, an altered timetable, drinking more water, etc. So my advice is always make sure your hair isn't dry. Keep it moisturised.
If it's knots you're trying to avoid, then stretching (keeping your hair in a stretched state) and protective styling are still probably the best ways to go. Less knots mean less breakage and de-tangling. Protective styling means less exposure to wind, cold, heat, depending on where you are. Stretching works for me. It keep my hair knot-free, it's easier to manage, it's easier to style and manipulate. But once again texture is a factor so you have to experiment.
What do I do to my hair? These days, not very much. But a lot should be done. It will grow regardless.
But is it healthy?