The secret to milky-soft black hair. Most people spend a lot of time, research and money seeking out the best conditioner. Most get fed and offered all sorts of magical products with the promise of a miraculous change. This product will give you super soft hair, and that product will replace the salon results.
However, the real secret of super soft hair is more about technique and less about product. Yes, it is true that your hair may prefer a particular ingredient but it is possible with the right process to get your hair super soft regardless of the product. Here are the tips.
1. Do not skip shampoo
Hair conditioner is the first thing many think about when it comes to soft hair but applying hair conditioner to hair with a layer of oil and styling products really reduces its ability to work as intended. Find a mild shampoo that you like and always use it during your main wash. If you choose to co-wash between main washes, this is fine, but using a shampoo during your main wash will help fight build up and create a nice clean layer for your conditioner to work on.
2. Do not be heavy handed with conditioner – Unravel those twists or braids
If you are washing your hair in large twists or braids, take the time to unravel each twist or braid and apply hair conditioner properly to coat each strand of hair. You do not have to be heavy handed with your conditioner, you just have to make sure you get every strand covered . Plopping a large amount of conditioner on hair and trying to squeeze it through each large twist or braid is not the way to go. However, do rebraid or retwist after the conditioner application, if you intend to control shrinkage.
3. Heat up your conditioner and keep it on for 20 – 30 minutes
Often in a salon, you will either have your hair wrapped in a towel after conditioning and asked to wait or covered with a plastic cap and placed under a hooded dryer. At home, you can achieve the same effect by simply heating up your conditioner in a water bath and then keeping the heat in once the conditioner is applied by covering your hair with a towel. Heat increases the amount of deposits on the hair surface from conditioner (adsorption if you are in the know). Increasing your conditioning time to 20-30 minutes also increases adsorption but after this time period, there are no further increases.
4. Go easy with the leave in products and stretch your hair out to dry
Leave in products are useful for maintaining moisture but using a large amount can reduce the softness of hair. Naturally if you prefer your hair to be coated with a product as it feels better, then that is okay.
If you have hair that clumps, please ignore this next tip, you should encourage clumping and allow your hair to dry unrestricted. If your hair has tight curls and multiple kinks, allowing it to shrink fully can create a very rough feeling texture, regardless of whether you have followed the processes listed above. This is the reason why many stylists will finish hair with a light blow dry or twist out/braid out depending on time and client’s desire. Stretching out the hair increases the feeling of softness.
Finally, one additional tip that I can give for stretching hair at home is that if you are choosing to air dry your hair in twists or braids, you can get a very good stretch and hair that feels very soft by stretching in two cycles. First, apply your leave ins/oils to freshly washed hair and braid or twist to dry. In the second cycle, unravel the dry twists or braids, re-wet lightly with water and reapply a small amount of leave in or oil once more. Re-twist or re-braid and allow to dry once more to get to a really good stretch.