I began using ceramide oils in my hair care when I came across tons of information about them in the online curly hair community. Ceramide oils are loaded with linoleic acid that keep the hair cuticle flat and intact. Keeping the hair cuticle bonded and strong is one way we prevent hair damage. Although cermides are naturally occuring in hair, surprisingly I’ve learned that curly hair is vulnerable when washed, combed, styled, while using heat, and especially with any chemical processing all impacting the ceramide balance. I’ve chosen to not use heat on my hair or do any chemical processing. Ceramide oils provide lasting moisture in hair which is extremely helpful since my hair tends to be on the dry side otherwise. For anyone interested in growing longer healthy hair, using ceramide oils in your hair regimen is extremely helpful along with treating your hair like fine silk or cashmere.
A few ceramide oils that I have tried are sunflower oil, hemp oil, and wheat germ oil. I’ve included ceramide oils into my hair regimen as part of my henna and deep conditioning treatments, and also adding them to my leave-in conditioners. I’ve been committed to growing out my hair since November 2009, and have learned so much along the way. Here are a few tips that have really helped me during this process.
1. Hair tools are extremely important!
On every online hair board, whether it was for growing long straight hair or long curly hair, there is always a lot of talk around the kind of combs used. Prior to educating myself, I used regular combs and brushes not thinking about how they were made or what they were made of. It was from others that I learned of seamless bone and wood combs.
Most combs that you can find at beauty supply or drug stores have seams running along the middle of the entire comb. These seams can catch on your hair and snap them. I found my seamless wood comb from The Body Shop. Products and oils are distributed more evenly with my seamless wood comb than others I’d used in the past, and also more gentle on hair.
2. Henna treatments are amazing!
Henna coats the hair shaft creating strong healthy strands with beautiful red and burgundy color. I’ve been consistently using henna treatments for about a year and a half and have watched my hair improve in strength, flexibility, manageability, and shine. I didn’t start using henna to color my hair but for its wonderful conditioning properties. The color has been an added bonus. If you are blond or not interested in the color henna provides, you may want to try cassia or neutral henna instead. I recently hennaed both of my parents, and it turned their grays a firey red tone that was gorgeous. Read Henna Beautiful Hair to learn more about henna.
3. Deep conditioning hair is worth the extra step.
I like to keep things simple, yet deep conditioning hair has shown great improvement on the overall feel of my hair. I like to deep condition my hair prior to washing it, also termed a pre-poo. I stopped doing it for awhile, but am so glad that I started back. My hair is softer and tangles seem to melt away. My favorite deep conditioner is with coconut milk and ceramide oils. Read more about it here.
4. I don’t use traditional shampoo.
This probably sounds gross, but it works for me. When I stopped using shampoo my hair thrived! Instead I wash my hair with conditioner, and as needed or monthly with rhassoul clay or bentonite clay. I’ve also used Ayurvedic blends with shikakai, brahmi, hibiscus, and amla to cleanse my hair which was so awesome I could hardly believe it. I used equal parts of each Ayurvedic herb, mixed with distilled water, and made a hair mask. I will get more in detail in another article.
My favorite conditioners to condition wash is Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner and Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner. Neither of these conditioners are good as leave-in conditioners, yet they work great for cleansing my hair. Why would products such as Wen be so popular if shampoo really was absolutely needed for hair? Just a thought.
5. Simple styling is key.
I used to do elaborate hair styles or absolutely nothing to my hair. Although I always slept on a satin pillowcase or with a satin bonnet, my hair would break regardless. I’ve found the best method was right in the middle. I enjoyed the look of doing the Tightly Curly Method on my hair, but the Denman brush was more damaging to my hair than I noticed at first, so I quit that styling method and tossed out my brush for good. I’m now using a super simple styling technique of braiding my hair in about ten to twelve braids to set my curls. Once my hair is air dried, I remove the braids carefully and let my hair fluff out on its own. I don’t comb my hair again until wash day and braid my hair back up every evening adding a moisturizer or oil to my ends. I also wear my hair in buns to maintain moisture in my hair and to keep my ends away from the sun and air which can dry them out.
6. Use a simple ingredient to seal the hair cuticle.
Aloe vera juice is one of the best hair care ingredients that I’ve found. I’ve included aloe vera juice in my DIY Leave-In Conditioner. Even just a simple spritz of aloe vera juice and water helps seal the hair cuticle after cleansing hair. This helps create the proper pH balance in hair which prevents dryness and breakage.
You can find ceramide oils and my favorite hair conditioner by Aubrey Organics at any natural grocery store as well as on Mountain Rose Herbs. Wheat germ oil is an ingredient in Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner.
To read more articles about hair care go here. To see my latest beauty regimen included hair care go here.
(Images by D Sharon Pruitt)