The Compound Effect in Healthy Hair Care: Avoiding the Fluff and Sticking to Key Healthy Hair Principles

Most writers will tell you that they are also avid readers.  I am no exception to the rule.  Interestingly, one book that has informed my understanding of hair care is not really a hair care book at all.  It’s a little book called, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.  In the book, Hardy states that, “Success is not doing 5,000 things really well.  Success is doing a half dozen things really well— 5,000 times.”  And it’s true.  When I heard this, it immediately made me think of the very well intentioned but over the top, bank-breaking hair care regimens and routines I’ve seen over the years.  We are doing too much, and we get to this point because we really don’t know or want to accept the basics of healthy hair care.  Let’s face it— the basics are boring.  Cleanse, condition, moisturize and keep my hands out of my hair can’t be all, right?

So what happens?  We indulge in distractions. We build unnecessary complication into our regimens. We end up following 5 different hair care gurus’ regimens hoping that something (or some magical new combination of things) will be “the thing” or “the product” that allows us to break from the pack.  We’ll have 4 different moisturizers and more rare, exotic oils than BP and Exxon combined. (Is Kentucky Bluegrass Oil really better than Polynesian Fairy Island Oil or does Bohemian Muskrat oil top them all?) We’ll have enough vitamins and supplements to make GNC and the FDA nervous.  We’ll deep condition for 2 days straight, rinse, repeat, try a new honey-avocado pre-shampoo growth mixture, apply a clay mask, work in some henna and do 3 different length checks in a span of 72 hours all because someone in a book, behind a screen or behind a chair told us to.  Perhaps I’m exaggerating here, but you get the point.  It is all fluff.  We’re “maximizing the possibilities” and that makes us feel good.  But does your hair really need 4 different oils in your oil mix to make your hair softer?  No one ever really had healthy, vibrant hair before the Internet, right?  We might see some progress doing these 5,000 hair care must-dos and using the 5,000 more product must-haves, but the problem with this method of regimen building is that it is unsustainable long term.  In an effort to do 5,000 things right, we don’t realize that it’s really the handful of basic things done well every day that carry the regimen forward—not the fluff and complication we add in.  Doing a few basic things simply and repeatedly IS sustainable, and that’s how we achieve success in hair care.

So, what are the basics you should do simply and really well?

  • Cleansing

No rocket science here. Regular cleansing is essential for hair and scalp hydration. Add additional moisture to this step by using a sulfate-free cleanser or light conditioner.  Reduce unnecessary manipulation to your tresses by managing your hair in sections throughout the process. Whether to pre-shampoo with oil or conditioner is up to you— but it is not a requirement for healthy hair.

  • Conditioning

Conditioning follows naturally after cleansing.  Never mind the 20 different ways to deep condition your hair—just keep it simple.  Take a moisturizing conditioner product of your choice and leave it on your hair until the desired softness is achieved. The end.  Adding oils, other conditioners, honey and other extras we tend to want to mix in our conditioners—is purely optional.  Your hair will still thrive without the mixology.  The key is to simply be consistent with whatever you’ve chosen to do. If you’ve decided to condition weekly— make sure it happens every week.  Keep your focus and momentum.

  • Moisturizing

Like conditioning, your individual product choices and time frame for conditioning are dependent on your own head of hair.  The key is to simply be sure that your product is a hydrating product and that you remain consistent with its application to keep your balance in check.  Moisturizing and sealing go hand in hand—so an effective moisturizing routine will always have an oil or butter to seal the hair.

  • Low Manipulation

I talk at length about keeping the manipulation down as much as possible.  Simply reducing your contact with your hair overall, done many, many times will improve the health of your hair.  I subscribe to a holistic interpretation of protective styling where the entire spirit of the regimen is protective.  See my previous posts on building more protection into your regimen where I give 7 Key Steps for protection that range from cleansing protectively, to selecting hair tools that are protective, and coloring the hair protectively.

Whether it’s improving hair health, losing weight, or saving money— the process is simple.  You must identify the handful of basic things that matter and execute them flawlessly many, many times.  I once tweeted that other people’s regimens should be templates, not mandates for your hair care, and it’s true.  Start with the basics, execute them well, and strive to make them habits without the fluff.



  1. Wow, talk about insightful..I should have that quote on my wall somewhere…it’s application in our everyday lives, even outside of haircare, can make all the difference in how successful we become….thankyou

  2. Excellent Post… TFS

  3. Thank you so much for visiting my blog! It is really incredible how very different our natural hair goals are and how different our hair is, too. Your site is great!

  4. Your book is a God send. I’ve read it cover to cover and I always seems to find new things to help me on my healthy hair journey. Thanks for the tips. Consistency is the key, and keeping it basic but effective 🙂

  5. This blog inspired me to buy the book off Amazon. Of course it has almost perfect views from most readers.

    Thank you for your research and deligence

  6. your blog is hands down one of the most informative (natural) hair blogs out there…your articles were so helpful to me when I was relaxed and the same thing goes now that I’m natural. God bless!

  7. You should be a part of a contest for one of the most useful websites on the internet. I will highly recommend this site!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I don’t understand why I cannot join it. Is there anyone else getting identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  9. Aw, this was a really good post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

  10. Can I simply say what a comfort to find somebody that really understands what they’re talking about online. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people need to read this and understand this side of your story. It’s surprising you are not more popular since you definitely possess the gift.

  11. My brother recommended I may like this website.
    He was once entirely right. This put up actually made my day.

    You can not consider just how a lot time I had spent for
    this information! Thanks!

  12. this is by far my favorite post… I needed a reality check thanks a million

  13. Hi Audry! I just discovered your website couple of days ago and I am now an avid follower! My hair looks pretty good, but I think that more hair has been falling out with time. I’ve been wondering if it has been falling out because of the texturizer I use, or because of the conditioners that I use. I’m slowly piecing the information together.

    I do have one remaining question however: should black women with relaxed hair be co washing their hair once a week in addition to doing a regular wash with a cleanser (sulfate free shampoo) and a deep conditioner every week? I am still confused as to what the ultimate goal of co-washing is.

  14. The book is so straight forward and usable from the first chapter you’ll want to kick yourself for not realizing these ahas in your regular personal performance sooner…

    my blog:


  1. […] The Compound Effect in Healthy Hair Care: Avoiding the Fluff and Sticking to Key Healthy Hair Princi… ( Share this:FacebookStumbleUponRedditDiggEmailPrint Posted in Beauty, Relaxed black hairTags: Relaxed hair basics […]

  2. […] by Audrey Sivasothy of The Science of Black Hair […]

  3. […] Audrey Sivasothy of Black Hair Science pointed out in an article on the site that “in an effort to do 5,000 things right, we don’t realize that it’s really the handful of basic things done well every day that carry the regimen forward—not the fluff and complication we add in.  Doing a few basic things simply and repeatedly IS sustainable, and that’s how we achieve success in hair care.” She goes on to list these basic components of a hair regimen: […]

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