Thursday, July 28, 2011

Product Overdose

I've heard that switching up products is beneficial for the hair. Some argue that using the same shampoo and conditioner all the time decreases its effectiveness. I'm not sure to what extent this statement is true, but today I picked up a new shampoo and conditioner, because I experienced a protein overdose. Yes, that's right I overdosed on protein and actually without even realizing it!

I tend to buy products without much consideration. I often purchase a product if it has a nice design and a convincing short description on the front of the bottle (e.g. 1 minute intense repair). I rarely look at the list of ingredients! Another factor that tends to attract me to a product is the description of whom the product is intended for. I always select products that are targeted towards "dry, very dry, chemically processed and/or rebellious hair". Rebellious hair, what the hell is so rebellious about one's natural hair? Just because one's hair (regardless the ethnicity) has a curl pattern, does not in any way, shape or form mean their hair is rebellious! I mean come on, my hair is already dry, why do those companies have to add rebellious to the description-- works wonders for the self-esteem!

Any hew sorry for the discourse, as I was saying, these bad habits landed me in my current state. My hair is super frizzy, dry, and fuzzy! Did I mention frizzy!? For the past 3 months, I have been washing my hair with products that contain proteins. Protein is not so horrible for the hair. In fact when used in moderation and combined with moisturizing non-protein based shampoos and conditioners, it can actually strengthen the hair. However, I was using protein 2-3 times per week-- not pretty!

I had no idea that my weekly, deep conditioner had protein in it. My hair literally reached its snapping point the other when I did my monthly protein treatment. After the treatment, I decided to deep condition to retain moisture. Not realizing at that time that my deep conditioner also contained protein. Basically, I was double dosing! After washing my hair I saw lots of shedding and it was so dry. On top of it all I discovered my shampoo, which I use once a week is not only a clarifying shampoo, but also contains protein-- I was triple dosing! Many hair gurus recommend using clarifying shampoos once a month or when the hair feels weighed down by product residue, as frequent use can result in stripping the hair of its natural oils. So a cumulative effect of too much protein and over clarifying left my hair ├╝ber dry.

After this realization (i.e. lots of googling), I went to the center of town to purchase a new shampoo and conditioner. And can you believe it, I fell for it again!! Nivea has a new line called Cashmere, I mean the name alone makes me think of soft, luxurious moisture! I grabbed the poo and conditioner and headed home. When I arrived home, I took out the bottles to examine them and realized right below the word cashmere, in small print were the words "rice-based protein"!! I cannot escape it! Today I went back and returned both items and bought a mild shampoo from Garnier (biodegradable, made of almond and lotus flowers, the bottle says it's safe for the whole family) and a conditioner from Le Petit Marseillais (made with Shea butter and honey, for dry and stressed hair). Most importantly both products do not contain proteins. Yay!

I have been sporting braid outs all week. I'm really horrible at doing fancy twists and braids, so am happy my elementary plaits can achieve nice results.

I plan on shampooing and conditioning, with these new products this weekend. I hope they are ultra moisturizing! Next week, I'll also experiment with a honey and olive oil deep conditioner. I've been reading about all of the positive qualities of honey in terms of increasing moisture, so I'm excited about that.

Honestly, I don't think I could have ever transitioned without the internet! There are so many blogs, videos and forums out there to inform novices like myself! Chapeau to anyone who transitioned pre-Google! Here's a helpful tip I found for identifying whether a product has protein: Be wary of any product that states it's intended to repair, strengthen or restructure--- these usually always indicate protein. If the product contains keratin, silk protein, amino acids, soy protein, collagen or anything hydrolyzed-- well then it's likely protein-based.

Why do I suddenly have the feeling this blog should be called 100 things not to do when transitioning!

Peace & Love

P.S. - I decided to do an itty-bitty, teeny-tiny big chop on a strand of hair to see what my curl looks like without the relaxed end attached to it. I'll admit, I wanted to keep snipping out of curiosity and because of how weak the relaxed strands look, but I was too much of a coward to do so. 

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