The majority of the black women (and men) that I speak to about hair care have the same concerns – dryness, breakage, slow growth, and to a lesser extent, hair loss.
Why is it that everyone has the same issues with their hair?
The answer is two-fold. First, black hair is unique. The curly or coily texture means our hair has different needs than straight textured hair. The problem is that for many years we have been conditioned to believe that we should care for our hair in the same way that we would if we had straight hair, and if we don’t get the results that we want, it must mean something is wrong with our hair.
Of course this is not true. There’s nothing wrong with our natural hair texture. We just need to learn to give our hair what it needs.
The second reason most black women have issues with their hair is that commercial hair products just are not created with our best interests in mind. Manufacturers are more concerned with how they can profit off of us than they are with how to make sure our hair flourishes and thrives.
This means that they use inexpensive and sometimes harmful ingredients to make products that they can sell cheaply and still make money from, with no regard for how these products affect our hair, and in turn our self esteem.
When I first went natural almost 18 years ago, there were very few products on the market that were targeted towards natural hair. I couldn’t find anything that kept my hair soft and moisturized, so I was forced to create my own products if I wanted my hair to be healthy.
Deep conditioning was the most important step in adding moisture to my hair, so the first product I set out to make was a moisturizing deep conditioner.
I spent 4 years testing different ingredients and formulas on my hair until I had created the perfect deep conditioner for coarse, coily hair.
What makes this deep conditioner so amazing? First let's talk about the properties of black hair that make it different from other hair types.
What makes curly hair different?
Our scalps produce a natural oil called sebum that keeps the skin moisturized and travels down the hair shaft to coat and protect our hair strands. For those of us with kinky hair, our scalps tend to produce less oil and the curliness of our hair prevents that oil from traveling as easily down our hair shaft.
This makes our hair more prone to dryness. It’s also the reason why we wash our hair every one to two weeks instead of every day. Oil does not build up in our hair as quickly as those with straight hair, so it generally needs to be washed less often. This also explains why we have developed the practice of oiling our scalps and hair.
Our kinky hair texture also makes our hair prone to tangles. Our hair is not meant to be combed or brushed daily, nor is it necessary for our hair to always be 100% tangle free. If you can’t run a fine tooth comb through your hair, that’s normal and it’s OK.
So what do you get when you take kinky hair and add products that draw moisture out of our already dry hair, plus tools like combs, brushes, and straighteners that are not designed for our hair texture? You get extreme dryness, breakage, shedding, and hair loss.
What's the solution? We need to invest in high quality products that are specifically created for our hair and contain the ingredients we need to keep our hair hydrated, protected, and moisturized.
The Honey Hibiscus Deep Conditioner
When I was creating the formula for what is now our Honey Hibiscus Deep Conditioner, I researched the most moisturizing and hydrating ingredients that were able to penetrate the hair shaft to provide long lasting results. I also looked for ingredients that were soothing to the scalp because I was struggling with scalp dryness, itching, and dandruff.
After reading up on the common ingredients found in black hair care products, I found that most products on the market contained ingredients that did the exact opposite of what we need for our hair.
At the time, I had no plans of making my products available for other people to use, so I didn’t create my formula based on profit margins nor did I try to make a product that would be easy to manufacture. I simply wanted the best product with the best ingredients that would give me the best results for my hair.
The result was a deep conditioner that melts into your hair and provides softness, moisture, and shine that last for days after washing. I spend three 12 hour days hand crafting each batch of deep conditioner because the end result is well worth the extra time and effort.
How often should you deep condition?
Deep conditioning restores moisture and softness to the hair. If your hair is extremely dry, you should start deep conditioning once a week for at least 8 weeks. Once your hair is in better shape, you can cut back to deep conditioning every 2 weeks, and eventually you can reduce your deep conditioning sessions to once a month.
What should you look for in a deep conditioner?
The main purpose of your deep conditioner is to hydrate your hair. Since our hair is prone to dryness, we need to use our hair products to add and maintain moisture throughout the week. Water or aloe vera should be at the top of the ingredient list for any deep conditioner.
Oils and butters such as jojoba oil or shea butter are great for sealing moisture into the hair. These ingredients should be used as part of your deep conditioner, but should not be at the top of the ingredient list.
As we said the primary purpose of your deep conditioner is hydration. If your deep conditioner has too much oil, it can actually prevent hydrating ingredients from entering your hair, which causes more dryness in the long run.
Also, too much oil can leave a greasy residue on your hair after rinsing out your conditioner. This can be a problem if you use your deep conditioner before straightening your hair, as the oil can weigh the hair down and leave your hair feeling stiff instead of soft and bouncy.
A humectant is an ingredient that draws moisture into the hair or skin. Humectants are an important ingredient in any deep conditioner due to their ability to hydrate the hair.
Common examples of humectants are glycerin and honey. I chose to use authentic Manuka honey as the humectant in the Honey Hibiscus Deep Conditioner because along with adding moisture to your hair, it also heals the scalp.
Your hair is made of a protein called keratin. Using conditioners that contain a small amount of protein can help repair and strengthen your hair. If you use chemicals in your hair such as relaxers and dye, or if you use heat often, you will want to use a protein conditioner regularly. The frequency can range from once a month to every 3 months depending on your hair’s needs. For this purpose you want to look for proteins such as keratin or collagen. Be careful not to over use these types of proteins because too much protein can cause hair breakage.
For hair that is not severely damaged, protein is still helpful. In this case, you want milder proteins that will soften and strengthen the hair. This is why we use silk protein along with wheat protein in the Honey Hibiscus Deep Conditioner. These proteins strengthen and protect the hair, but are mild enough to use weekly.
Ingredients to avoid
Just as important as what ingredients should be in your deep conditioner, is what ingredients should not be in your deep conditioner.
Avoid products that contain harmful ingredients like parabens, benzyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and mineral oil.
If you have sensitive skin, you may also want to avoid products that contain artificial colors and fragrances.
The Indara Naturals Honey Hibiscus Deep Conditioner contains no harmful chemicals and no artificial colors or fragrances. It is made with organic ingredients and plant based preservatives to give you the best possible results for your hair.
If you’ve been suffering from chronically dry hair, click the link to try our Honey Hibiscus Deep Conditioner and bring your thirsty curls back to life.