Greetings! I am starting a new segment of my blog where I highlight ingredients that I find are essential or preferable in a HHJ. The spotlight will also include how I use these ingredients and how they have benefited me.
I feel that I must start off with the most essential ingredient in a HHJ (and life period) – water!
Agua. Eau. Nero. Acqua. Wai. Aigua. 水. Ama. Wàsser. H20. No matter how you say it, water is a vital to all know forms of life. It is so simple and readily available, yet so underutilized in the black community when it comes to hair care. We probably have heard the old myths “don’t get your hair wet, cause it will dry it out!” but that fallacious statement could not be more further from the truth. Water itself will not dry your hair out, but if you put things on your hair that does not promote moisture retention after you wash it, then yeah, your hair will dry out (which is odd … because eventually all things dry … I guess it depends on what one’s definition of “dry out” is … hmm). So instead of using sources of true moisture (where water is in the first or second ingredient), we use greases, oils, pomades, etc. that promise to “moisturize” our hair with harmful ingredients such as mineral oil, jellies, lanolin, etc. (look no further than this post, where the Isoplus product promised to “moisturize,” yet didn’t contain water!) When those products do not deliver anything but limp and greasy hair that is dry and breaking, we slather on something else!
Water is comprised of one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Most often, water is found in the liquid state, but can also be found in its solid state (ice) or gaseous state (steam or vapor). Water has long been touted as beneficial to health from a holistic vantage point: from preventing dehydration, to improving the appearance of skin, to weight loss, to maintaining digestive health and to having a healthy head of hair!
There can also be a downside to water in a HHJ which everyone should be aware of:
– Hard water (having high mineral content) can leave hair dry, brittle, and breaking. The best ways to combat hard water is to install a shower water filter system (try this one from Aquasana or Culligan), regularly use a chelating (kee-lating) shampoo to remove minerals from hair, and deep condition as often as possible)
– Leaving hair in an excessively wet state can cause breakage. This is due to hair losing it’s protein structure and elasticity. I realized that when I would baggy my hair, it would be gummy and stretchy, so I abandoned it early in my HHJ.
I am 100% sure that my length retention has come from from me keeping my hair properly moisturized with water-based products!! Also, it is important to make sure that you stay hydrated from within. One of my goals for the summer is to drink at least 60 oz of water a day. I am doing quite well on this challenge.
And remember this quote from the philosopher Derek Zoolander: