As promised, our talk on African hair and ways to take good care of it continues. Last week, we looked at some myths surrounding black African hair in order to start a healthy hair journey on a clean slate. This week, I bring you a list of Do’s and Don’ts for your hair. Following this simple advice helped many a woman to protect her hair, keep it healthy and promote growth:
- Eat healthy: Isn’t it interesting to know that even hair thrives on what we put into our bodies? The quality of diet plays a major role in our outward appearance. If you want to have beautiful hair begin by maintaining a healthy diet. Unlike the widespread opinion that eating healthy is expensive, eating healthy food can actually be affordable especially if you have a little yard at home where you can grow fresh produce. Being born and having grew up in central Africa, I know that fruits, vegetables and starches are things which used to grow in our back yards, sometimes with very little efforts from our part. Fish also contains a vitamin very essential to healthy hair, Omega 3. Couple this with a solid hair regimen and give yourself time, you’ll love the results.
- Wash hair regularly: Clean hair is not only beautiful but also keeps your scalp clean and allows for growth.
- Use wide tooth comb only: Wide tooth combs are perfect tools for African hair. They apply less strain and tension to hair.
- Use shampoos with no sulfates in it: Know your products! Sulfate is a very harsh chemical and most shampoos on the market contain this chemical. When applied to hair, such shampoos cause dryness which lead to hair breakage. Read up on products, get informed on what ingredients should be avoided when choosing your hair products. Many African hair bloggers have made these info available on their blogs. I will share some links later on.
- Use natural oils as moisturizers and sealants: Nature never disappoints! The best moisturizers are your Coconut oil, Castor oil, Olive oil, Grapeseed oil, Tea tree oil, Almond oil, shea butter and the list goes on. Always make sure you have one of these. You can use them in a daily moisturizing routine or mix them in a hot oil treatment.
- Massage your scalp: Massaging the scalp increases blood circulation to the head and promotes hair growth. Do this regularly, every week.
- Protect your hair ends: Protective styles are a great way to protect your hair from rough weather especially in winter. When it’s cold and windy, braids and wigs are good options to protect hair. However, make sure you stay away from very tight and thin braiding styles.
- Use a satin bonnet or scarf to cover your hair at night: Unlike cotton or other material which strip hair of its moisture, satin retains hair’s moisture and texture. If you are serious about having great hair, get yourself a satin bonnet or scarf to use at night.
- Excessive heat: Say no to constant blow drying, flat ironing and the like. Excessive heat can cause hair to lose its strength and become prone to breakage. If you want to use heat, do it d make sure you use heat protectant.
- Greasing hair: Grease can clog pores and slow or prevent hair growth. In fact, African hair does not need grease. There are many other better and healthier ways to moisturize hair as discussed above.
- Rough combing: Combing hair should be a gentle exercise. Someone once said to me that hair should be treated like an organ, with utmost care. Avoid combing hair when it’s wet.
- Scratching the scalp: Please avoid scratching your scalp with finger nails, combs or any sharp material. The scalp is very sensitive. Usually lack of moisture causes itchiness, try moisturizing and if the problem persists, first find out what’s causing it and get treatment.
Here are some of the great hair blogs I’ve come across:
Look out for our 3rd and last article in the series About My African Hair this week on Thursday. Until then, keep loving your hair !!!!