With the new year just around the corner, this would be the perfect time to consider jump starting your healthy hair journey. For guidance on how to get started check out the information after the jump...
The very first step is to realize that there are a spectrum of approaches that you can take when deciding to start a hair journey. You can be extremely rigid in your actions and avoid everything that any person tells you that is wrong but I suggest that you heed the advice of others and implement the fundamentals in a way that fits into your lifestyle. Below I've outlined the steps to guide you to getting your hair to a healthy place.
Step 1: Remember from whence you came...
You've finally committed to starting a healthy hair journey, now it's time to take a starting picture of your hair from the front and the back. You'll want to keep this picture for two reasons. (1) You will want to know where you started, this will come in handy when you are a couple months in and are not as far along as you thought you would be. This will serve as a visual proof that you have in fact made improvements, since starting this hair journey and will give you motivation to keep at it. (2) You want a picture to properly assess the current state of your hair. Having a starting picture will allow you to look at your hair as others see it. You can figure out what you don't like about it and decide on your initial goals that will help you improve your hair's health. Make a needs improvement list (actual or mental) and start doing research on how to address these issues. Note: It's best to attack one thing at a time (maybe two, but that's it) because you don't want to get overwhelmed with all of the extra steps, procedures, and products.
Step 2: Decide on your Goals.
As much as we profess the importance of Health over Length, I'd be willing to bet that what attracted most to the world of healthy hair journeying is the prospect of achieving long lengths. Maybe you accidentally caught a YouTuber you admired talking about her hair journey or ran into an old friend with noticeably longer hair only to find out she kept mentioning something about being on a hair journey. Whatever sparked your interest don't worry about it, we're just happy you're here. Plus that's just how I got started. While running a google search on a "protein treatment" that my hair stylist mentioned, I found a picture of this girl on LHCF whose hair was insanely long, thick and relaxed. Regardless of what got you interested in starting a hair journey, the possibilities are endless for what you can achieve on this journey. Do you want fuller hair? Less Breakage? To Stop Shedding? To stop dandruff? Restore your Edges/Nape Area? Add natural shine? To Combat Dryness? To get past a Length Plateau?
Step 3: Troubleshooting
Once you've found the things that are troubling you, you'll want to start researching how to address the issue(s). Again, I would suggest that you take one thing on at a time because all of these elements can be quite overwhelming, start with the basics and work your way up as needed. But below are some of the more prevalent issues and the posts you can find on this site addressing those issues:
Now that you've figured out what you should/shouldn't be doing. It's time to start building a hair regimen or routine that supports your personal hair goals. There are several things that you can do with your regimen that will address the issues you seek to troubleshoot. It's best to try one thing at a time and see how your hair responds to it. If you want to address your hair's shedding, there are black tea rinses, garlic hot oil treatments/conditioners, and several other things that will help you address this issue. The best way to know what works for you is to try one of thing at a time and assess whether it works for you or does not.
Step 4(a): First figure out what you want to incorporate into your hair regimen. Here is an example of the basics to any regimen: Cleanse, Moisturize, Strengthen and Protect. This may be where your regimen starts and ends, but depending on your lifestyle and your hair's needs, there may be other elements that you decide to add to it (for example hot oil treatments, pre-shampoo, rinses, daily moisturizers/sealants, co-washing, etc.).
Step 4(b): Finding Products for your Hair Regimen -- This is where a lot of people get hung up for various reasons, the ailment often referred to as being a PJ (Product Junkie) or PJism (Product Junkie-ism). The cause: there are just so many different hair products out there, "how am I supposed to know that I'm using the best one for my hair?" The result: you stock pile hair products like you're starting your own Beauty Supply Store. How to prevent this: A good way to avoid this is to weed out bad products (or to find some products to start out with) is to check out product reviews on blogs, forums and websites. From there try one product at a time (for a few weeks at a time), if you hate it repeatedly --> kick it to the curb; but if you love it --> keep it by your side.
Step 5: Be Consistent, Persistent and Patient!
While you are working on your regimen you may have some setbacks and/or epiphanies, at which point you reassess and adjust your regimen to accommodate them. But the foundation of your regimen doesn't change much and what's important is being consistent and persistent in your healthy hair endeavors. It is the best/fastest way to get your to your goals. However, keep in mind that this journey takes time because depending upon your ultimate goal it will take at least month but (if you've got lofty goals like myself) it can take years. If you get discouraged (or want to check on your progress) take another picture of your hair from the same angles as your starting picture. Compare the pictures, do you see improvement? If not, return to Step 3 and try to figure out why you may not be making progress. But if you do see progress, then you're on the right track and should continue to be consistent with your regimen and push ahead.
Some Key Tips
Average Hair Growth Rate is 1/2 inch per month.
Normal Shedding Rates: We shed an average of 50 to 100 hairs a day.