Monday, July 21, 2008

Free Yourself: Caring for Black Hair

It's time to stop being a slave to the hair salon and learn how to take care of your own hair!

If your hair is still preventing you from working out, it is time to free yourself by using hair techniques below.

I realized today that I have written several posts encouraging you all to take care of your hair so that it does not prevent you from exercising. However, I did not address basic hair care techniques. I know that not everyone knows how to care for their hair. Up until about 1 year ago I had no understanding of how to wash, condition, and style my relaxed hair. I had regular appointments at the hair salon and depended on my friends to maintain my hair. I only knew how to maintain my style until the next appointment. My hair is really really thick and I was always under the impression that it was just to big of challenge for me to tackle.

After spending last summer in Vegas my hair got really dry and I decided to try wash and condition it myself and it came out decent. I never thought I was capable of doing my own hair. I tried doing my hair a couple of times last fall and realized that I was perfectly capable of taking care of my hair.

Learning how to do my own hair has freed me from the stress of spending $65 at the shop and not being able to workout for a week. I wash my hair regularly, a minimum of once a week and it is getting healthier (I condition it a lot!) and longer. I still get my relaxers done professionally and get blowouts at the egyptian spots here in Chicago (like the dominicans in NYC), but only if its a special ocassion. I love being in control over my hair, it saves me money and I can workout without feeling like I'm wasting my money.

Here are some basic hair care resources I found online:

Natural Hair Care

Relaxed Hair Care

Here is how I care for my hair:

I use Elasta QP Conditioning Creme Shampoo and wash to a lather 2-3 times.

I use Elasta QP Intense Conditioner and let it sit on my head for 15 min.

Next, I use IC deep conditioner with Olive Oil for an add'l 15 min , if I have time.

Next I towel dry it really good and blow dry it in very small sections (the smaller the sections the straighter it gets)

Then I use a Olive oil hair spray or oil to condition it before I flat iron it. I sperate my hair into small sections and flat iron. A little more hair spray and I am good to go.

The whole process takes me about two hours, but it is worth it plus its free!

After 3 or 4 workouts I will usually use a Dry Shampoo (spray that refreshes your hair) and then put it a ponytail (if I can't wear it wrapped). After the 5th workout of the week I will wash, condition and style it again and wear it wrapped over the weekend and then on Monday I'm back in the gym.

I developed my hair regime by trial and error. There were certain shampoos that I tried that dried my hair out. I finally found one that hyrdrated my hair. You will have to find what works for you but hopefully I have given you a starting point.

*I also started recently using aveda anti humectant which I use after blowdrying. It has helped maintain my style a littile longer than normal but I'm still not sure if it's worth the 20 bucks (I'll keep you posted).

More tips on how to care for your hair?
How did you learn how to wash, condition, and style your own hair?
Know of any additional resources or products?


Lauren said...

the aveda anti humectant is actually worth the 20 bucks b/c you dont need to use alot and it works really well. i have natural hair but flat iron it every other day and it makes it great being that i live on the water!

Anonymous said...

Found this blog through Evia's...I too am back on the fitness trip so I look forward to reading your progress.

I was an adult and had relaxed hair when I learned how to swim back in 1992. I didn't ask my hairstylist's permission the way some sisters do ("Is it okay?"). I told him, "I'm going to start swimming. What do I need to know?" He hipped me to Paul Mitchell's Awapuhi shampoo and the value of rinsing with lots of plain water. I took his advice and never had a problem.

Now that I'm natural, I'm still a fan of rinsing with plain water after workouts. I don't actually do it after every workout because I don't sweat in my head that much (I do sweat everywhere else, though). With short hair, it's crazy easy; with longer hair, it's a little more challenging but not impossible. I have the kind of hair that shrinks a lot so if it's loose I'll put it into fat twists to dry overnight. If it's in twists, I don't have to do anything else to it other than let it dry.

Hair has never held me back from getting my sweat on and I'm amazed that in 2008 so many sisters still allow it to hold them back.

afrodisia said...

I sport a color-treated curly afro. I work out five days a week and I sweat a whole lot in my head. Sometimes I think that's the only place I'm sweating! I like Paul Mitchell (I used The Conditioner religiously for years), but now I mostly use Carol's Daughter products.

When I lived in Atlanta, my stylist told me to wash my hair with conditioner to hold the curl and that most budget shampoo brands(Pantene, Fructis, etc.) had so many drying agents that rinsing with conditioner is better for curly hair. I've been doing that for about three years or so and my hair is clean (!) and the curls are healthy. FYI, I use shampoo every few washings.

Fitness Goddess said...

Thanks afrodisia I keep hearing about co-washing but I haven't tried it yet. I plan to try it soon.

Brittany said...

Okay so I recently did a product review and I'm just DYING to share it.

I'm usually a skeptic when it comes to things such as product reviews simply because everyone's hair is different and I'm always thinking that when most people say they love a product on the internet, they're doing it because they get it free or are paid to. So upon the urging of some family members, I tried Pantene Relaxed and Natural Intense Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner. Prior to trying this, I was a die-hard Motions fan! It was okay, so I kept using it. I went back to Motions and it didn't work as well, so I went back to Pantene. I visited some hair blog sites and read some raving-fan reviews on Silk Elements. I went into Sally's and ran into a hairdresser who noticed Silk Elements in my basket and said, "Oh girl that's gonna make your hair so soft!" So with a new confidence, I went home and tried it. I tried the shampoo, conditioner and the hair mayonnaise. I was about 2 weeks post-relaxer and when I dried my hair to put the hair mayonnaise in, it was REALLY tangled. Mind you, my hair is almost always soft. So I deep conditioned with the mayonnaise and it was STILL tangled! OmG!!
I thought, this can't be, there were such good reviews on this. I tried again for about 3 more weeks and my hair was so dry and it began breaking. I was like, "You know what, let me just try Pantene again." What do you know; my hair was back to its healthy soft self after just 1 wash. I still use the mayonnaise for deep conditioning but Silk Elements for me was a nightmare. I just wanted to share that. Now I am the huge fan of Pantene that everyone I know who has used it is!