African hair is very beautiful and versatile. It can be styled in a wide variety of ways and the great part is it stays in place. Because of its wooly texture however it is prone to dryness and the natural oils produced by the scalp don’t get to the ends of the hair because of its coils leading to breakage. Due to its ease of breakage most people actually think that natural hair doesn’t grow as long as that of the Hispanics or other races, this and other myths have been proven untrue. African hair does grow long it just needs a little bit of extra TLC because it is very fragile. Below is a list of the things that you can do if you have hair of this texture to ensure that your locks grow nice and long.
The shampoo that you use on your natural hair is very important. If possible try to look for a more natural shampoo like WEN, if this is not possible and you can’t find one try to avoid shampoos with sulpher. Because African hair is already prone to dryness using a harsh shampoo on your hair further strips it off its nutrients and oils thus making it dryer. If you can’t get your hands on any natural or sulpher free shampoo try using as little of the shampoo as possible, so instead of washing your hair every week with shampoo maybe you can wash it once in two weeks.
This is a very important step in your hair washing routine. The shampoo strips your hair and a good conditioner will help you get a bit of the moisture back into your hair. A good silicone free conditioner is always best because silicone coats the hair shaft over time blocking the much need moisture from your locks. As an alternative to constantly using shampoo most naturals prefer to wash their hair with conditioner only in-between their shampoo wash, this ensures that the hair is still reasonably clean while at the same time not stripping it of its oils. I usually wash my hair with conditioner (co-wash) three time in a fortnight and the the fourth time I use shampoo to get rid of the build up.
Apple cider vinegar
Ever looked at your hair and thought that it was a bit pale and dull. Well a good product to add shine and make your hair soft is apple cider vinegar. I know it smells a bit funky but once you have rinsed it out the smell quickly goes away. One part vinegar to three parts water will see you hair luscious and shiny. One thing that I find annoying though about this recipe is that the mixture runs down your neck and into the sink and you have to keep adding more vinegar mixture to make sure your hair gets clean, one way to avoid this is by mixing the one part vinegar with my conditioner to the consistency that I want and because my treseme conditioner is very thick I usually don’t need to add much, so I have myself a cleansing conditioner and it masks the smell of the vinegar as well.
Hot oil treatment
Another way to ensure that your locks remain shiny and strong is by doing a hot oil treatment. This will not only add shine to your hair it also refurbishes your hair in a sense by putting back some of the oils that have been stripped out during washing. To do a hot oil treatment just spray warm water to your locks and warm some oil that you want to put in your hair (make sure the oil is just lukewarm otherwise you will burn yourself) and cover your hair and scalp with your oil of choice. Cover with a plastic cap and wrap towel around your head for 30 minutes and the treatment is done. Easy.
Moisturizing natural hair
After cleaning and conditioning the hair it is always important to apply an oil or moisturizer to your hair in-order to seal in the moisture. Some people just use olive or coconut oil to seal in the moisture. A great product to use is shea butter. This will leave your hair feeling very soft.
Because the African hair is prone to breakage it is important to protect your ends from breakage especially during the winter by wearing protective hairstyles. Some prefer to just pin the hair up but others prefer braids because they are very easy to maintain. Whichever way you choose to protect your delicate ends it is important to take care of your hairline and ensure that the style is not to tight.
Some of you have seen those horryfying Naomi Campbell photos of her almost non exestant hairline. For those who find themselves with a hairline like that the most important thing to do would be to stop getting hairstyles that are too tight and maybe take it easy on the weaves too. A great natural product that will massively help to get you that hairline back would be astor oil. It smells a bit funky but it does wonders. ( It is also good for the skin in small doses).
The roll and tuck
Hair breaks a lot during combing. When combing ensure that you use a wide tooth comb in-order to minimize breakage. The best technique would be to start combing the hair from the ends delicately working your way to the roots while holding the hair with the free hand. It is better I find to comb the hair when the hair has got conditioner on it initially to take advantage of the slip and thus avoiding unnecessary damage to the hair. The trick with natural hair is always to be gentle.
When styling with hot tools like tongs and using the hair dryer it is important to have a heat protect-ant on. Some oils such as grape seed oil are very good as a heat protectant as well to avoid damage. Minimal use of these styling tools is always best.
“Natural Hair” Hot Oil Treatment