By Chiteu of http://www.bellamufazi.com
The number one question I get about natural hair is “how do you maintain it?” I’ve heard every complaint and excuse in the book, from my hair is too hard to you just have “good” hair. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it, if you treat your hair well it WILL respond.
For too long we have not understood our hair and this lack of understanding has led to our inability to care for our hair correctly and a loathing for and perception that natural hair in general is DIFFICULT.
So lets go back to basics, what do we know or have we learnt about natural hair that we need to unlearn. What new hair practices can we adopt that will not only lead to more manageable hair but hair that we can enjoy just the way it grows out of our heads!!!
1. Deep Conditioning: When somebody says they want soft natural hair one of the first things I ask is whether they have ever deep conditioned their hair. More often than not the answer to this is NO. Interestingly even when people have relaxed hair very few of them will condition their hair whether by using hot oils or protein egg yolk based products like Cholesterol or hair mayonnaise. I have found that deep conditioning does wonders for my hair, it allows the oils or proteins to penetrate my hair shaft, fill in the gaps in the hair shaft which can lead to breakage and for my hair to soak in all that goodness. I use homemade deep conditioners which I find work just as well if not better than store bought ones *besides that fact that I know exactly what is going into them*.
My favourite is 2 – 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1-2 tablespoons of avocado oil, a few squirts of honey, 1-2 tablespoons of Tresemme Naturals conditioner. You can added any oils of your choice like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil depending on what your hair may need. Mix together and apply to hair for 30 mins.
Some hair doesn’t like protein deep conditioners and may be brittle after so a hot oil treatment may be a better option.
2. Moisture: natural hair is hard they say, I have heard this so many times, my eyes unconsciously roll on their own *hehehe* but to be fair this belief is is true for most of us that were natural heads as little girls. Our mothers,aunties,grannies didn’t know any better so weekends were filled with fine tooth combs, lots of yanking and tugging and tears. When I was about 8 I made friends with a girl that could cornrow and made sure she did my hair which I would keep for 3 weeks at a time just to avoid the Saturday morning combing session with my mom.
What makes natural hair hard? Unlike other hair types natural hair tends to be tightly coiled. This prevents the natural oils produced by the scalp from going all the way down the hair shaft.The result is dry hair. This means we have to help our hair along and the best way to do this is to introduce moisture *and noooooo I don’t mean that bottle of pink oil moisturiser!!!* In the world of kinks and coils moisture= water.
Washing your hair at least once a week is a start. I know I would go for weeks without washing my hair and most of us are guilty of this. A lack of moisture in the hair only means that it’ll be drier and harder to manage. In addition to washing the hair once a week I would recommend giving the hair a moisture boost in between wash days by using a spritz to revive and liven up the hair. A spritz can basically contain only water or be mixed with an oil or a humectant like glycerine. Imagine a cooling mist on a hot and humid day to cool you down. A spritz has the same effect on hair, it gives the hair a little lift to keep it going. Gylcerine is a humectant which means it draws moisture from the air onto the hair and is a great addition to a simple spritz. I spritz my hair every other day depending on what my hair needs. In the winter because of the dry air I will spritz my hair more often than in the drier months. Understanding and listening to your hair and its needs is crucial to maintaining its health.
To make the spritz you can add one part glycerine/oil to 3 parts water. I use the spray bottles from the gardening section and if you’re lucky you can find the calibrated ones. When I want one that will last a few days I use a little spray bottle like the ones which contain hair spray, body mists or pocket air freshners. The little spritz bottle I use when I am not using the spray bottle from the gardening section.
3. Sealing in Moisture: Once you have intorduced moisture to your hair it is important to lock that moisture in. The best way to seal moisture is to apply an oil to slightly damp hair. This can be an oil mix where different oils are mixed together or a single oil. My utmost favourite is jojoba oil which leaves my hair in an almost silken state. I also love coconut and avocado oil.
If you start to do these 3 things you will notice a huge difference in your hair…….I would love for a few of you to try it and comment on this post with your experiences. Here’s to more of us embracing our coils, understanding them and loving our natural hair so no more hiding under them weaves, wigs and cornrows!!!!