If one of your top goals with your natural hair is to achieve a specific hair length, you know that hair breakage is your greatest enemy. Hair breakage will make it appear that your hair is not growing when in reality it’s growing just fine but breaking off at the ends as fast as it grows. There are of course many things to look at with regards to hair breakage such as:
- Negative reaction to hair products. Just because your best friend sings the praises of Product X doesn’t mean you will have similar results. That’s why it’s best to try ONE new product at a time so that you get a very clear idea of how each works with your municipal water system, body chemistry and hair.
- Overhandling or rough handling of hair. Though I am not a big fan of “protective” styles, if you are a person that constantly styles and restyles your hair, behavior you suspect may be causing breakage, then a protective style might be for you. Tugging, frequent combing, harsh brushes, rollers and gels can all contribute to hair breakage. Put your hair up in a high bun, a low bun, a french braid, or a twist style so that you aren’t touching it for a few days per week. Let your hair rest and you’ll retain length.
- Clogged hair follicles from a dirty scalp. Scalp should be cleansed every week – more often if you work out and sweat, are menopausal and sweat, or do work which requires you to be in a dirt and dust-filled environment. Put your cleansing conditioner or shampoo on the scalp then work shampoo/cleanser down hair shaft to ends.
- Using too much heat. Styles with blown out hair are cute, but do you really need to do that every week? Try air drying your hair and staying away from flat irons, blow dryers and curling irons to give your hair a rest and help stop breakage.
- Failure to properly condition your hair. Natural hair needs moisture and strength to look its best. Though we are all busy ladies and tired when we get home from work, you gotta make sure you condition your hair if you want to keep it. Make time to deep condition your hair at least once per week and follow that up with a leave-in conditioner before styling.
Admittedly, I am not a big fan of commercial conditioners and usually make my own concoctions. However, when traveling or feeling lazy that’s just not going to happen. So I do keep three commercial products on hand that I really like, and Aveeno Active Naturals Nourish + Condition Leave-In Treatment is one of them. This stuff provides instant results and stops breakage in its tracks.
The manufacturer website describes the spray as follows:
AVEENO® NOURISH+ CONDITION Leave-In Treatment does much more than nourish and condition — it quenches the thirstiest hair with a fusion of deep conditioners and moisturizers, recharging it with healthy new life. Hair is instantly revitalized and scientific studies show that just three uses helps repair dry, damaged hair.* And, using the Leave-In Treatment as part of a complete NOURISH+ regimen will help protect your hair from damage caused by thermal styling, resulting in up to 95% less breakage.
The ingredients for Aveeno Nourish + Condition Leave in Treatment are: Water, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, PPG 3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, Wheat Gluten, Wheat Germ Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Quaternium 91, Glycerin, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Butylene Glycol, Amodimethicone, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate.
Appearance-wise, it is a milky-white liquid with a light floral fragrance. It has a light texture and does not weigh down the hair or relax natural curl patterns. The conditioner has a “smoothing” feel when applied to the skin, but it’s neither slick nor oily unless you just go crazy and use wayyyy too much. Aveeno suggests this product is most beneficial to dry or damaged hair.
The worst thing in this product list is the one silicone in the product near the end of the product list. However, a quick read-up on Anodimethicone reveals that its not a huge concern as it (a) is not on any of GoodGuide’s lists of toxic chemicals which cause suspected or recognized health effects; (b) it has not been detected in human tissue or urine; and (c) it is not a high production volume chemical that lacks safety data.
Additionally, Cetearyl Alcohol is a form of alcohol that is fatty in nature, not astringent and drying. It is derived from coconut and/or palm oils and used in hair products as as an emulsifier. That means it is responsible for smoothly combining oils and water, and providing hair conditioners with a creamy appearance. Cetearyl Alcohol and other fatty alcohols provide an emollient smooth softness in hair and skin products. There is no scientific evidence that Cetearyl Alcohol penetrates the hair shaft and dries out the hair, so it’s apparently nothing to be afraid of.
Lightly spray on clean damp or dry hair. Not much is needed – two or three or shots with the built-in sprayer should suffice depending upon the length and thickness of your hair. If you prefer to concentrate on your ends, spray product into your palm and distribute through ends of hair with hands. Don’t be heavy-handed or you’ll notice product build-up and an oily feel to your hair.
How I Discovered This Product
Dogpile and I were searching for product recommendations made by people that were experiencing hair breakage. Of course there were the usual natural hair blog recommendations of ASIAM, Miss Jessie’s, Mixed Chicks, Shea Moisture, Wen, Taliah Waajid, etc. but I was looking for something different. Then I ran across a message board where women were rating this Aveeno product and giving it 4.5-5.0 scores. Wow! That’s rather impressive. I love Aveeno bath products, so convincing me to try their hair conditioner was an easy sell.
My Thoughts and Experience
My hair was having a Hair-mergency and experiencing sudden, unexplained breakage. There were only two things that I’d changed the week prior: #1 I’d used some Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie stuff on my hair; and #2 the weather suddenly changed from 80/90 to high 50s overnight. I had to turn on the heat and dig out coats, that’s how cold it got. Caught in the elements with no hat or scarf to protect my hair, I had to consider the possibility that the cold snap “shocked” my poor hair and made it start breaking.
In retrospect, it was most likely the Curl Enhancing Smoothie that started the hair breakage party. (Note to self- get rid of that stuff immediately because your hair obviously hates it. Every time you use it there is major hair drama!)
Anyway, my hair felt smooth, soft and well moisturized after spraying a total of four shots (one on each quadrant of my head) and gently massaging it into the ends of my hair. But next time I think I’ll just use three sprays instead.
The product label states “With Nourishing Wheat Complex” which is a warning to anyone with wheat or gluten sensitivity. Since the “wheat complex” is comprised of wheat germ oil AND wheat gluten, those of you with wheat allergies should avoid this product, as contact with your skin or scalp could cause a serious allergic reaction.
Widely available at most mass-market retailers and online all over the place. I bought my bottle at Walmart for $6.47 plus 8.75% California sales tax.
Though there are those that proclaim natural hair to be very versatile, the fact remains that over handling delicate Type 3 and Type 4 African American hair can lead to severe breakage. If your hair keeps breaking off or falling out from the scalp, it will appear thinner and as if it isn’t growing at all. Stop breakage with proper handling and conditioning of your dry, natural hair. Aveeno’s Nourish + Condition Leave-in Treatment does indeed “deeply replenish dry, damaged hair” just as it promises at a price that doesn’t hurt your wallet.
About the Author (Author Profile)Blogger, writer, relationships/dating expert, fitness trainer and natural hair enthusiast since 1997. Sharing information from grandmomma, books and scientific journals, as well as my personal discoveries and experiences with natural hair as we journey from relaxers, flat irons and weaves together.
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