What products should I use for my natural hair?
In Parts 1 of this series of “Dear ZedHair” columns we dealt with products that can be used for cleansing the hair and scalp.
The next step in your hair regimen would normally be conditioning which introduces nutrients to the hair and can soften as well as strengthen it. We dealt with co washing in Part 2. If you optto use shampoo or other cleansing products in your regimen then you will follow these with a regular conditioner to put back some of the nutrients that will have been washed away. Examples of regular conditioners that are available in Zambia are TRESemme Naturals, VO5, Papaya and Himalaya, these are all moisturising conditioners.
Part 3: Deep Conditioning
Deep conditioning is a more intensive, time consuming treatment than regular conditioning. You can buy a ready made conditioner such as ORS Mayonnaise Treatment, add extra oils and ingredients to a moisturising conditioner of your choice or make one from scratch. Here are some popular recipes; you’ll be more likely to find a lot of these ingredients at the market than the beauty shop:
AVOCADO & BANANA
½ Avocado mashed
½ Banana mashed
2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Avocado, Banana and Eggs all have proteins that coat the hair, strengthen and increase shine. Banana has been said to temporarily loosen curls and make hair more manageable. I must warn you that if you are going to try this recipe you must make sure to blend the avocado and banana into purees as they are notoriously difficult to wash out. Do not rinse your hair with hot water as you will end up with cooked egg on your head.
1 cup of plain full fat Yoghurt
2tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
2tbsp of Honey
1tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 drops of your favourite fragrant essential oil
This is one of my personal favourites and I alternate between using Yoghurt or Mayonnaise in the same proportions. It is great for manageability because it detangles the hair so well. The honey increases the hairs intake of moisture and the Apple Cider Vinegar imparts shine. Olive Oil is an emollient that increases the level of slip. The Yoghurt and the Apple Cider Vinegar don’t smell very nice and the essential oil helps to mask this. I like to use Lavender or Geranium essential oils.
1 cup full fat Mayonnaise
Mayonnaise and eggs contain proteins and enzymes that help strengthen the hair. Honey increases the moisture uptake of the hair and can help with shine.
It is best to rinse out these deep conditioning mixes with your favourite moisturising conditioner as the protein can coat the hair and although it is stronger you may find your hair feels a little brittle. This is part of striking the balance between moisture and protein in the hair. Your hair may like some ingredients better than others, play around with different combinations until you find what works for you.
It is an exciting time in the natural hair community and we are continuously learning more about how to look after our hair. Research has shown that although these treatments are great the protein particles are too large to penetrate the hair strand and for more effective results you’ll need to either find store bought conditioners that have hydrolyzed protein or buy some to add to your homemade mixes. Hydrolyzed protein is not easily found in Zambia and unfortunately many of the store bought conditioners that contain it also have ingredients such as silicone or mineral oil.
Next week we will focus on Leave- In Conditioners.
Do you have a question related to caring for your natural hair? Send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org