Sunday, December 16, 2012

Second Day Hair, refreshing techniques

What is second day hair?
Second hair is when you preserve you waves or curls so you can skip a day (and for some lucky girls, 3 or more) of washing and styling. It gives you a break from the sometimes tedious task of styling, and it gives your hair a break from the damage that can be caused from washing and styling. It also helps preserve hair color vibrancy if you color your hair.

For some, second day hair is the unattainable unicorn of wavy-ness. For others, it seems effortless. So don't be surprised if you can't achieve second day hair right off the bat. Some people just can't seem to get it no matter what. For some it takes a few tries.

Probably the most important step is try and preserve your waves the best you can. One of the most popular techniques is to do something called a pineapple. This is where you put all your hair up on top of your head in a very high ponytail (most say to use a fabric covered scrunchie, but I don't. I just use ouch-less ponytail holders). This will keep your hair contained while you sleep. Investing in silk or satin pillow cases can also help preserve your hair because they allow hair to slide and not catch on the fabric (the same principle as not using terry cloth to dry your hair). Satin sleep caps are also an option. If you can stand them. IMHO, they tend to look silly and aren't that comfortable. But I do believe they are the very best way to preserve waves and curls, because they allow the hair to be scrunched over night, and it is completely contained so clumps remain intact and frizz should be minimal.

Refreshing technique #1:
Sprtizing with water, or a curl enhancing/moisturizing spray. I highly recommend using distilled water for refresher sprays if you decide to use plain water or make your own. It has been heated to kill bacteria and molds, and it isn't hard like most water from the tap. I also recommend disinfecting you spray bottle before every fill. I just use alcohol. There are many options for enhancing sprays or moisturizing sprays. For a moisturizing spray, just add some condish and dilute it with some water in your spray bottle. Of course, there are many recipes that can be found all over the 'net for homemade moisture sprays. And you can also buy them. My favorite store bought spray is Shea Moisture Hold and Shine Moisture Mist. 
You can also add some Epsom Salts or sea salts to your water/conditioner mix to make a curl enhancing spray. Be careful with the salts, however. They can dry your hair out. And I have found that unless I dissolve them in boiling water they tend to make my hair feel product-y. There are also a ton of homemade curl enhancing spray recipes on the 'net, as well as ones that can be bought. I really liked the old formula Curl Junkie Curl Fuel. I have never tried the new formula, so I can't comment on that one.
At any rate, you may choose just to spritz and go. Spritz and scrunch. Spritz and smooth, Spritz, smooth, scrunch, and diffuse. It's really up to you and what you find works best for you.

Refreshing technique #2:
Some people can just scrunch in a product and be good. Some like holding products (gels, mousse) some like moisturizing products (condish, curl cream). Some like a little hold and a little moisture and use moisturizing jellies (Kinky Curly Curling Custard, As I Am curling jelly) Again, you may scrunch, smooth, smooth then scrunch, air dry or diffuse. It's what works best for you.

Refreshing technique #3:
A wet washcloth/microfiber cloth/flour sack. Take a wash cloth/microfiber towel/ or flour sack towel, or even a cotton t-shirt, and get it really wet. Lean over your sink, and scrunch sections of hair with the wet fabric up to your scalp and squeeze to squeeze water into your hair. Most people notice a lot of frizz with this technique if they stop here. I have better luck using a flour sack towel (smoother texture) scrunching in some flax seed gel, aloe gel, or even a hard hold gel then spraying lightly with my spray bottle and smoothing down before I scrunch excess water out with a dry flour sack towel. I find I do have to diffuse for a couple of minutes with this technique because my hair is wetter than with just spritzing.

Refreshing technique #4:
Supersoaking on DRY hair. The traditional supersoak is done on wet or damp freshly washed hair. But I find I can get just washed looking hair by supersoaking on my dry hair. I fingercomb a little to get any big tangles out. Then I supersoak by bringing my cupped hands full of (barely warm or cool) water up to my scalp. I lean over my over sink, do one side, then half the back. The I switch to the other side and the other half of the of the back. At this point, I usually scrunch in a conditioner. I like Renpure My Pretty Hair is Parched because it is light but very moisturizing. I can then finger comb a little to get the clumps the way way I like them. I might supersoak again at this point to make sure the hair is very wet, then scrunch in a medium to light hold gel (I usually use my Flax Seed Gel thickened with xanthan gum and with honey added for extra hold). Plop for 10-30 minutes, scrunch out excess water and gel with my microfiber towel, and diffuse. It takes longer than spritzing or scrunching in product, but half the time of a normal wash day. I think because even though most of it has been thoroughly wet, the roots have not, and it hasn't AS wet as a normal washing would wet it.

"Refreshing technique #5":
I put this in quotation marks because to me, it's not true second day hair. But if you feel you need to style from scratch but don't really need to wash, you can wet your hair in the shower, maybe scrub your scalp some and do a quick water wash to remove excess sebum and product, then condition with your regular rinse out and style as usual with one modification. A quick water wash may not be enough to remove all your product. So you may need less product on the days you decide to rinse and condition or water wash and condition.

"Refreshing technique #6":
Again, I don't consider it "true" second day hair, but it saves on a wash.
You can rinse and condition in the evening, or at night. Style as usual, but put your hair in a plop. Make sure it is tight (but not so tight it is very uncomfortable). Then go to sleep. I sometimes tie my sleep scarf over the plop to add extra protection. When you wake up, your hair should be mostly dry and may air dry quickly on it's own, or you may diffuse for a few minutes to add extra oomph. You can also do this on wash days. Some people have great success with this technique, while others don't. But my theory is, if you can plop for an hour, than this technique will probably work for you!