Whenever I am around my family and “offline” friends I am usually asked about what they should buy to make their hair grow. I know, I know…a loaded question right? Rather than launch into a litany about how everyone’s hair grows and lecture them on debunking the myth, I simply explain that the secret to having long hair is retaining what you grow. The basic key to length retention, in my opinion, is keeping your hair moisturized and well conditioned (aka the proper moisture-protein balance). Yes, there are so many other nuances and aspects to growing healthy hair but in a nutshell for newbies – again in my opinion –that’s it.
If you are new to your healthy hair journey, there is an overwhelming amount of information online and searching through it all can be tedious. This is the sole reason I put the L4L Healthy Hair Handbook together – to try to streamline the information in one easy to navigate booklet. But if L4L readers are making a hair “to buy” list right this very moment, what exactly should go on it? If you don’t plan strategically, you will end up spending hundreds on your first few trips to the beauty supply store and quite frankly, it just isn’t necessary. So what do you absolutely need to start your hair journey? I have compiled a list of ONLY five items that I deem as a necessary purchase for getting started:
1. Gentle Shampoo:
- Why: More than likely if you are new to your hair journey you already own a sulfate shampoo which can serve as your clarifier, so you probably only need to purchase a gentle, non-stripping sulfate free shampoo for your regular washes.
- Recommendations: Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo, Keracare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo , L’oreal EverPure Moisture Retention Shampoo
2. Moisturizing Conditioner:
- Why: Well conditioned hair has a proper balance of moisture and protein, nourishes the hair below the cuticle, and helps keep it strong and soft. Moisturizing and sealing simply maintains the health of your hair after it has been conditioned. To start look for conditioners that are moisturizing containing high levels of water and humectants (glycerin, panthenol, propylene glycol) with a lesser amount of protein for a good balance.
- Recommendations: Kerapro Restorative Treatment, ORS Replenishing Pak, Parnevu Hair Mayonaisse
- Why: Keeping your hair, especially the ends, moisturized prevents dryness which leads to brittle, breaking hair and makes it impossible to retain length. Moisturizing (and sealing) your hair regularly is essential.
- Recommendations: Bee Mine Luscious Balanced Cream Moisturizer, Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter, S-Curl No Drip Activator Moisturizer
- Why: You will need an oil to seal your hair after moisturizing and for pre-pooing and hot oil treatments. One oil can serve each of these purposes and if I had to recommend just one for everything I would say either extra virgin coconut oil or grapeseed oil. EVCO is known for its ability to penetrate the hair cuticle and enhance its ability to accept protein. Grapeseed oil is high in natural ceramides, which bind the hair cuticle and help to repair damage and keep it healthy.
- Recommendations: EVCO, Grapeseed
5. Heating Tool:
- Why: I believe deep conditioning is most effective when heat is applied to enhance penetration of the product.
- Recommendations: Electric Heating Cap, Hair Steamer, Heated Hair Wrap, Hooded Dryer
There are of course many other choices than what I listed but I tried to select widely available products that don’t cost an arm and a leg. With the exception of the last item, you could potentially spend only about $30 or less on what you absolutely need to start your hair journey. As you continue to learn, you will probably purchase additional items depending on your hair’s needs. However, I think this small list is the perfect start for your new healthy hair journey.
For additional information on why you need the items on this list you may want to download the L4L Healthy Hair Handbook or read these articles to get you started:
- Shampooing 102: Types & Formulas
- Conditioning 101: How to & Different Types
- Conditioning 102: Moisture-Protein Balance
- Moisturize and Seal: What is it?