Our readers became familiar with Chloe-Ana when we first interviewed her. She has helped many women who are looking to transition, start their hair journey or maintain healthy hair. She imparted a lot of knowledge and now she is back to share her detailed regimen to maintain healthy hair, as well as, her tips and tricks to retain length while taking care of your hair.
Clean, moisturized hair, and using quality products that are naturally made are what work. In her book, she does not look at the curl pattern to care for her hair but focuses on density and porosity. Porosity is the hair’s ability to receive and retain moisture and is the most important thing to know about hair. She has high-density hair, and she has a low to normal porosity natural, so she has issues with moisturizing sometimes. Chloe-Ana, in healthy hair care, uses the following steps: (1) Pre-Poo/Cleanse (2) Detangle & Condition (3) Deep Conditioning (4) Moisturizing and Styling.
Her regimen begins with cleansing where she uses a gentle shampoo/cleanser to cleanse both her scalp and shaft; she sometimes pre-poo her hair. She is very cognizant of product build-up which can result in one’s hair becoming unhealthy, so striping the hair shaft of old product and dirt is essential. The first step to having moisturized hair is having clean hair; she looks for products that are gentle on her curls and leaves her hair clean and moisturized. Her favorite shampoo is the CURLS Cashmere and Caviar Hair Bath that she has used for months and swears by.
“I am not 100% on the Curly Girl Method (which is a no sulfate, no silicone regimen), so I believe when it’s necessary, go ahead and use sulfates. Sulfates have a bad rep in the curly community because of its characteristics but can be really helpful when clarifying, so I personally do not shun them. Some gentle cleansers cannot get rid of product build-up, especially if you use heavy creams and butters.”- Chloe-Ana
Conditioning and Detangling
The next step is the conditioning and detangling of her hair. This is the second step in her regimen and it is where she places most emphasis since her hair is thick and her curls clump. She likes to use a thick rinse out conditioners and that will help her with finger detangling. Detangling aids in the retention of length, prevent breakage and allows curls to clump naturally because brushes can cause breakage and hinder hair growth.
“While it can speed the process up, taking the easy way out is the last thing you should be doing if you want healthy hair. There’s a saying in Jamaica – “shortcut draws blood”, well in this case, shortcuts lead to split ends and breakage.” – Chloe-Ana
Detangling is followed by deep conditioning where she repairs and moisturizes her hair. Her favorite deep conditioning products, which she uses interchangeably, are the CURLS Cashmere & Caviar Hair Masque, Eden Bodyworks Natural Deep Conditioner, Mielle Organics Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner and Strands of Faith Intense Deep Conditioning Treatment.
“I like to deep condition my hair in sections to ensure that the deep conditioning treatment is properly distributed. I like to maintain a balance between moisturizing and strengthening products. Doing more of one can cause a shift in the health of my hair which can sometimes be very difficult to bounce back from.” – Chloe-Ana
Moisturizing and Styling
Moisturizing is one of the most essential parts of her regimen and she utilizes thick moisturizers and creams on her hair due to the thickness of her strands as well as the fact that the climate of Jamaica will evaporate moisture easily. Chloe-Ana layers her hair by firstly adding a leave-in conditioner or hair milk; her favourite is Camille Rose Naturals Sundae Glaze.
She moves on to adding a more moisturizing cream to define her curls; her favorites are Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, CURLS Blueberry Bliss Twist N Shout Cream and Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter.
After layering, she adds Eco Styler Castor and Flaxseed Oil gel, which is highly dependent on the hairstyle she is doing; most times it is a wash-and-go then she allows her hair to air-dry.
“After air-drying, usually overnight, my hair still will be extremely moisturized and defined and fluffy. Most people get a crunchy feeling with gels and that is what’s known as a “gel cast”. When you get gel casts, the gel’s just doing its job, I personally don’t get gel casts anymore because I make sure to add moisturizing products underneath my gel so it will balance out the drying effect of the gel.” – Chloe-Ana.
Chloe-Ana’s Top 10 ways to retain length and volume
- Keep your ends healthy. Don’t be afraid to get rid of damaged ends, split ends and one strand knots. If your ends are trashy, get rid of them. The only solution to split ends is to trim them. Hair grows from the roots but the length shows at the ends. If your ends are constantly damaged and being damaged, they will break and you will never retain length and eventually, the damage will travel up the shaft of your hair and cause even further damage.
- In addition to trimming your ends, adding more moisturizing products to your ends when styling is a great way to retain length and keep your ends healthy. Using thick butter and oils on your ends will prevent them from drying out and causing damage as they are exposed to the elements.
- Protective styling is a great way to retain length also. Protective styling isn’t necessarily just long-term styles such as braids, cornrows or twists, but they can also be as simple as a bun. Any style which protects your ends, and the shaft of your hair, is considered a protective style. These help to tuck your ends away and prevent them from possibly being damaged.
- Deep conditioning your hair regularly and on a schedule, will improve the health of your hair which will essentially help you to retain length. Breakage can be caused by many factors, but the main one is dryness, which deep conditioning will snuff right out when done properly. I always recommend deep conditioning at least once a week, no matter the hair type, density or texture. Curly hair is known to be dry, no matter its characteristics.
- Deep conditioning and balancing moisture and protein in the hair, will significantly change the health of your hair and lead to better growth and length retention. The hair shaft is made up of protein bonds which are known as keratin; some people have more keratin than others and therefore need to replenish the shaft more often. For low porosity hair, in particular, the hair tends to be super packed with keratin/protein bonds, so protein is not recommended on a regular basis as that can cause dryness due to its strengthening properties. On the contrary, high porosity hair usually tends to need more protein as the hair shaft isn’t as strong/rigid and can withstand manipulation and damage from the elements. Protein is usually an ingredient that’s in most hair products, as the hair is damaged on a daily basis, simply from even just touching it. Finding the balance between protein and moisture in your natural hair will help to promote healthy growth, prevent breakage – promote length retention and promote elasticity in the curls and coils. Nobody likes limp, lifeless hair.
- Always be EXTRA careful when detangling. Personally, I only finger detangle my hair. Finger detangling is the ONLY safe way to properly detangle natural hair. Breakage is reduced and every tangle is removed. Some people swear by wide-tooth combs, but that causes breakage if used too often. Combs and brushes increase your chances of breakage, no matter how gently you use them. They will never be as gentle as your fingers will be. In addition to finger detangling, it only detangles your hair while it’s wet and saturated in conditioner, never do it while it’s dry. Dry hair is more vulnerable to breakage and split ends, it’ll snap and break off really easily.
- Volume can best be achieved with a layering haircut or hair shape. Haircuts don’t necessarily mean cutting INCHES off the hair, but a little can make such a big difference, especially if volume is your main concern.
- In most cases, as curly hair gets longer, the curls become more weighed down, get heavier and there is a lot less volume, for those who have this issue, it may be necessary to use products that are moisturizing but won’t weigh the hair down, such as hair milks and lighter gels. Also, modifying the amount of product being used can make a huge difference also.
- Using shampoo in your regimen. Shampoo helps to get rid of product build-up, dirt and anything that may be preventing your hair from having volume. Products and product build-up, dirt, etc. can weigh the hair down and cause you to have limp or flat hair. Don’t be afraid to use a clarifying shampoo once in a while, or a clay mask to pull build-up from your scalp and hair.
- Invest in quality hair tools specifically created for increasing volume. My first recommendation is always a plastic pick. Picking your hair will promote volume, especially if you pick from the roots, try to lift your roots only, so you don’t disturb the curl definition on the ends.
Before starting your hair journey one should set goals and experiment with products. Also, try not to look at the journey of others and become deterred or disappointed in your progress, but use their tips as a guide. Take it one step at a time and find out what works for you and your hair care journey. Chloe-Ana has done just that and has maximized her hair care techniques to which she can create a channel and following to inspire others and continues to do so as she charters her path to achieving her goals.
By Alexandra Daley