I have written often about the need to listen to your hair and I think it will probably be the most consistent message that I would like to share.
How do you listen to your hair?
One of the best ways to listen to your hair, is to get to know your hair. In order to get to know your hair, you must spend time with it.
If your hair is perpetually in a weave or wig, you are unlikely to ever get to know your hair. You never give the two of you a moment or alone with each other. There is always someone else’s hair in between you.
Similarly, if you do not take time to occasionally do your hair yourself, you will also not get a chance to get to know your own hair. You will never have the opportunity to know what your hair likes or doesn’t like, or how your hair wants to be treated.
With listening to your hair, comes learning your hair. You need to learn the tricks of how to make your hair work for you instead of you working for your hair. Let’s be honest, for most of us, our hair is firmly in control of our relationship. It is NOT the other way around, when in fact, it should be.
My first experienced with listening was as my TWA was growing out. I never had natural hair at school, so I also never had to learn the discipline of plaiting vikuti at night. However, because I found combing my hair in the morning painful, I decided to begin plaiting my hair at night. I was amazed at how much easier coming my afro was in the morning. When did I learn this lesson? In December 2010. This was how I was able to wear my first afro confidently. This is because it was a soft and moisturised afro an not the dry and brittle one. Around about this time, I also noticed that I had less breakage with my hair because it was protected at night.
The next way I learned to listen to my hair was with the products I used. The day i used raw Shea butter, I immediately noticed how well my hair responded. It was soooooo soft. I also found that Castor oil, although heavy, helps my hair feel fully moisturised and really coats my hair. It feels stronger when I use Castor oil. Then, I noticed that when I applied coconut oil for shine, I would only have to do it every few days. Castor oil and Shea butter did not shine on it’s own. At least not for my hair. I found that the sheen sprays, also did not last as long as coconut oil which ensured my hair gleamed for several days as opposed to a few hours.
Washing my own hair has also enabled me to know the difference between different shampoos. Some shampoos just made my hair feel dry as paper. Others, really left my hair silky. I listened. The paper shampoo hit the rubbish bin.
The final point I will share was the difference with using a silk as opposed to cotton scarf to tie up my hair at night. The cotton really makes my hair feel dry in the mornings, but the silk scarf doesn’t absorb moisture from my hair.
These are just a few of the things my hair has told me over the last few months as we have spent time getting to know each other.
Picture from: Total Electronics