Do you recall a time when haircare was simple? I do! Up until the time I got a relaxer haircare was straightforward. My Mama would shampoo, condition and put my hair in plaits on Friday. Then on Sunday she and I would spend an hour in the kitchen bonding over the pressing comb and jar of Blue Magic. Fast forward to the present, a time where those things your Mama and Granny used to don’t quite jive with YouTube, the Internet, the science, the practical knowledge and the array of products that we now have available to us.
It seems that with all the information at the tips of our fingers somehow things have gotten hella confusing. Since starting the #30dayhairdetox last year, I have learned a great deal from the hundreds of women who actively participated in our private Facebook group, along with the many professionals that I follow on social media. I recently asked them to share some hair care practices that they were doing prior to the detox that they believe are totally overrated now and here’s what they had to say:
1. Using Grease, Oils and Butters
Grease, oils and butters have been the staples of not only the natural hair community but they’re a right of passage for every Black girl who has made it through her childhood. In fact, Black women across the country share anecdotes about how their Grannies used grease on their hair and how their hair was down their back. Great story, but the belief shared by many that grease, oils and butters seal the hair is inaccurate. Sorry guys but conditioner actually “seals” the hair and every product that you put on following conditioner is merely just another layer of product. “I was the ponytail princess or I could make an appointment better than anyone I know and now people ask me what I use to make my hair so healthy and shiny and find it hard to believe that I don’t use oil,” says crystal T, a #30dayhairdetoxer.
“Heavy oils and butters, such as coconut oil and shea butter, are not the best thing to be putting on our hair; Especially if we aren’t using clarifying shampoo regularly,” Samantha P adds.
2. Custom Spray Bottles
I’m guilty of having a “refresher” bottle filled with equal parts coconut oil and water. I mean, that’s what I heard about on the Internet so I just went with it. That was until I noticed the beads of water sitting atop my hair the same way water beads form on your freshly waterproofed suede boots. I quickly found that spraying my hair every day wasn’t improving the moisture in my hair so I began to cease and desist. Moisture does indeed come from water, however, that water is only able to get into the hair during the shampoo process. Shampoo lifts the cuticle and conditioner seals the cuticle. Again, anything applied after that is just another layer of product which is why the contents of your spray bottle bead up on top of your hair.
3. Wash Day
If you search Instagram you will see an array of posts from women whining over having to wash their hair. It’s like something you have to mentally prepare yourself for each and every week immediately after getting through one of these dreaded “Wash Days.” I’m here to tell you that Wash Day doesn’t have to be an all-day epic affair and that you can actually make it out of the house to hang with the homegirls to get in on some brunch, shopping or cocktail action. Chantelle L can’t fathom the idea of going back to her former practices of “using daily conditioner to detangle prior to deep conditioning; then rinsing hair with aloe vera juice prior to putting in leave-in; then twisting the hair until it’s 50% dry to retwist with some form of goopy DIY styling mix to increase ‘stretch.'” Do you see why the #30dayahairdetox was necessary?!
4. Washing Your Hair in Sections
For many naturals, sectioning the hair into 4 or as many as 8 sections was helpful for getting through the cleansing step. But the problem with sectioning is that it takes up way too much time and it also uses way more product than you would like to part with per cleansing session. I honestly can’t remember the last time I parted my hair in sections to cleanse but I’m so grateful I was able to give it up because it was adding too much time to my already long wash session.
Somewhere on the Internet shampoo started getting a bad rap because it was allegedly drying out people’s hair. So, to avoid being plagued by dry hair, lots of naturals began the practice of exclusively co-washing their hair. The problem with this newly adapted hair care practice is that conditioner does not contain surfactants to lift dirt, oil or buildup from the hair. Another problem is that the cuticle never gets lifted and in turn, the hair is not getting the moisture it needs. “Shampoo is not to be feared and it’s good to wash our hair,” Chantelle W. another #30dayhairdetoxer shares.