My hair is permed. (it was when this was written in 2006). This is a personal decision. I never tell anyone which way they should choose- permed or natural. I just lay out the pros and cons of the decision and let people decide for themselves what is best for each of them. I began the transition to natural hair and found it just was not right for me. I will share with you what my personal regimen is for my permed hair. As we say in all of our guides, everyone’s hair is a little different. What works for me might not work for you. Here are some general tips to get you started.
Washing- I wash my hair once or twice a week.
Wash gently, but thoroughly, massaging the scalp while washing. When you dry, blot with a towel rather than rubbing vigorously. Avoid heat as much as possible for drying. Allow the hair to air dry. Or, you can even use a conditioning cap to drive some of the moisture out before blasting the hair with forced hot air.
Conditioning- After washing, I condition.
Deep Conditioning- Twice a month, after shampooing, I deep condition my hair. I find my hair needs this more often than my daughters’ natural hair- probably because of the perm. I will use one of several products:
- Treasured Locks Deep V Conditioner or Treasured Locks Hot Hair Repair
- Baka Beauty Sahara Clay
- HumiNature Rhassoul Clay
- SuperNatural Curl Tamer
I put one of the deep conditioning products on after shampooing and use a HydraCap for 30 minutes or so. The gentle moist heat from the caps allows the cuticles of the hair to open and the moisturizer to penetrate the hair shaft. A good hot oil treatment could be done here instead.
Moisturizing- Probably the most important key to healthy African hair care is moisture. This is really true if you have a perm. A perm makes it more difficult for the natural oils to distribute through the hair. After the Deep Conditioning or Conditioning I moisturize.
Oiling- The subject of whether to oil or not is controversial in African or biracial hair care. You’ll have to decide for yourself. My experience has been that, for me, oiling is the right choice. The right oil though is of vital importance. I use only use all natural oils, mostly plant oils. I avoid mineral oil and petroleum based products. The one notable exception to the plant oil rule is emu oil (an animal oil). I love emu oil! This is one of those places where you’ll really have to experiment. To apply the product, I put a little of the product in the palm of my hand (and melt it, if it’s a solid product). I then rub it on the hair and massage into the scalp. I will not use anything that doesn’t melt at body temperature. If I happen to use something with a little beeswax (which has a relatively high melting point), I make sure it still melts at body temperature so that it doesn’t build up. I often mix a couple of the products. To be safe, I mostly use products that are liquid at room temperature. Some of my favorite oils are:
- Shea Butter Oil- has the wonderful properties of Shea Butter, but in a much lighter, liquid form. We began our company selling nothing but Shea Butter products. That was before Shea Butter was as popular as it is now. It’s still a key ingredient in many of our hair and skin care products.
- Emu Oil- unbelievably good for scalp health. Improves circulation, reduces inflammation and has natural antiseptic properties. All help promote hair growth.
- Jojoba Oil- the closest thing to natural sebum itself. Jojoba oil is technically a wax, not an oil. It can actually make oily skin less oily and dry skin more oily, In other words, it helps bring skin into balance. In the case of biracial hair care, we are generally seeking to add oil to the scalp.
- Castor Oil- nice all natural plant oil that helps humectify (draw moisture to) the hair and scalp
You can choose from the following products (from heaviest to lightest in order)
- Pure Shea Butter- Treasured Locks Raw Shea Butter. I don’t recommend pure Shea Butter for permed hair. It doesn’t work for mine.
- Treasured Locks Hair & Scalp Elixir
- Treasured Locks Conditioning Balm
- Treasured Locks H2G Hair Growth Serum- with Emu Oil. My favorite.
- Treasured Locks African Argan Oil Elixir
Finishing & Styling- I let my hair air dry whenever possible. The less heat I can use on my hair the better. After my hair is dry I lightly run one of these products through my hair:
- Treasured Locks Hair & Scalp Elixir
- Treasured Locks Liquid Silk
Perm Extender- I was getting a perm every 8 weeks or so. I have been cutting back as much as possible, switching to a milder perm and having my beautician leave it in for less time. While I’m not ready to go completely off of the chemicals, I do try to use as little chemicals and heat as possible. You can use SuperNatural Curl Tamer on my hair at 5 -7 weeks into a perm. I find that this helps with the texture of the hair and allows you to extend your perm an extra week or two.
Repetition- This is very important. I repeat the Moisturize and/or Oiling steps above on a regular basis when I’m combing or styling my hair. I’m careful to avoid build-up and I don’t use a lot of product. But, I find that putting something on my hair almost daily is a necessity with permed hair.
Hair Growth/Health Supplements- I use the Treasured Locks H2G Hair Growth Supplement and Treasured Locks H2G Hair Strength Supplement. I have had a noticeable improvement in the condition of my hair and nails since using these supplements.
I hope you find this guide useful. We know that what you really want is a cookbook approach. But, for the reasons we stated at the beginning, that just isn’t possible. If you follow these general guidelines and learn how to look for signs of hair health, you can easily begin to make your hair more manageable. After decades of working with my hair, I am still improving upon my techniques. After a few days, weeks and months of using the right products and the proper techniques, you will see a noticeable improvement.
If you have any questions after reading this, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re glad to help. We’re available at http://www.treasuredlocks.com.
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