Monday, 29 March 2010

The Sin Bin and Angels Wings: Why do products stop working?

The Sin Bin
Going into the sin bin today is not listening to your hair. Picture the scene - You are a new natural and after a few months of switching products you have found your magic combination - you have your products and you have your routine down to a T.

A year on you find that the conditioner doesn't work like it used to or perhaps that magic leave in really doesn't work. You find that your go to style, twists, coils, wash and go....whatever it is don't really work like they use to. So why do products or routines stop working?

Your hair is basically old. It has been washed, pulled, braided, stretched and maybe heat treated for a year. It is nothing like the hair that you started out with because

1. It has fewer cuticle layers and less protein (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, pg 155-75, 1978.)
2. It is likely to be weaker
3. It is more prone to split ends. (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, pg 155-75, 1978.)

Every extra year that you have the same hair, the more damage it accumulates and therefore the more conditioning it needs(perhaps different more depositing agents like behentrimonium or protein or silicone or a different combination too).

Perhaps most important above and beyond all this is treating the old hair gently. The less force you apply on it (less pulling AND less squeezing) the more likely it is to keep wanting to hang around (pun intended). Don't dismiss it if you find that a proven routine or products suddenly doesn't pass muster.

Angel Wings
Wearing the halo today is change! Change the products or style depending on how your hair reacts. Also if you want angel wings 2.0 you should make a mental note of what works at what stage. Therefore if you choose to cut back and maintain a specific length, you can know what products and styles suit that length.

This post was inspired by Alice talking about breaking up with her wash and go and Milan who laid blame (lol) at the feet of natural veterans.


  1. This post is very timely, because I'm going through changes right now. I just started wearing my hair out again after winter, and I was using different products last summer. My hair looks pretty good today (if I do say so myself!), so I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of it!

  2. Haha Moni, love that 'if I do say so myself'!

    Yep I've made some changes too since I've restarted swimming. I'm back to boxbraids and given that I'm washing and conditioning my hair every other day, I've eliminated the official wash day.

  3. LOL its like you read my mind, me and my little one's hair has been acting different to products lately. We did move overseas so I kind of figured that to be one of the catalysts as to why its hating us now LOL. I am thinking about using coconut oil as a conditiioner for her and keeping her hair in protective styles.
    * I know bad jaded I kept her hair out in a cute curly fro :-(*

    Or I was just going to buy her an expensive hair system from and PRAY on my last dollar that it works LOL

  4. OOoo try the coconut oil as a prewash (apply a lot of it on dry hair the night before washing).

    I don't think you have to buy anything expensive. For softness look out for conditioners with behentrimonium and for moisture look for leave ins with glycerin or aloe vera. You may be lucky and find one that works immediately but likely you will need to try a few.

    Definitely take a break too and use the protective styles. Can't fault you for loving the fro!

  5. Thanks for the shout out :)

  6. Great post Jc - very helpful!

  7. Thanks JC will do!! And I'm sorry, I just bought quite a bit of the Qhemet Bilogics and Carol's daughter products. My wallet's in despair -_- LOL

  8. Thanks for this post! Excellent! And thanks for the info about behentrimonium. I'm no good at pre-washing. My hair always comes out too oily.Any suggestions?

    - savvy

  9. Lol. I did not blame you all. I just said, no one seems to talk about that enough. I didn't know what was going on with my hair at one point and you vets weren't discussing this. Hehehe.

  10. lol Milan.....I know you weren't blaming us, I do definitely agree that bumping up things we have discovered along the way will be helpful. I think vets tend to forget that we were once lost in the woods too.....well atleast I was.

  11. I have been sleeping on you blog...Great Information. I just had to step up my conditioner's. before i was using V05 as a detangaler conditioner, but i started to realize that my hair love/ need a thicker conditioner.. So i switch to tresmmuse natural conditioner..but my staple conditioner is trader Joe's Nur & spa

  12. I know this article is some three years old now, but I'll ask anyway. Couldn't there be some other physical factors that attribute to you hair responding differently to the same product? Like stress, change in environment, or body changes?

    About 6 or 7 weeks ago I started noticing serious breakage in my hair. Even the most delicate handling resulted in so much hair coming away in my hand, it was really upsetting. I know everyone says it's not the product but the process, but Aphogee 2 step was always the business for my hair. Not anymore. I thought my hair was beyond repairable until speaking with a lady in a health shop today, it never occurred to me that the breakage started not long after I had abdominal surgery.

    Is it possible that because my body is concentrating on healing where I was operated on, it caused a deficiency in my hair, causing it to react differently?



I love comments! All comments are moderated so they will only appear on the blog once I approve them.