Proper Care for Natural Hair
By Funmi Azike
Well-kept hair not only makes you look good but tremendously boosts your confidence as well. Unfortunately grooming the African hair can be fairly challenging due to its fragile nature. It’s tightly curled structure prevents oil secreted on the scalp from reaching the ends of the hair strands thereby causing dryness and eventual damage. While the importance of genes cannot be ruled out, the tips here will help you take proper care of the hair to minimize chances of damage.
- Go easy on chemical treatments, it can damage your hair and scalp if not properly applied. At the salon, ensure your stylist takes great care to avoid the scalp while applying these chemicals treatments.
- Give your hair enough rest between treatments. Avoid stressing the hair with so many processes all at once. Repeated chemical processing combined with constant exposure to heat are damaging to the hair. For example, if you have just straightened/relaxed your hair, avoid colouring for at least two weeks. Also avoid hair styles that put a lot of stress on your hair right after a chemical process.
Dry hair naturally when possible. Heat drying methods zaps out so much moisture from the hair and contributes damage. If you must use heat to dry your hair, apply a thermal protection product beforehand. Also, avoid robust towel drying instead wrap your hair in a towel and pat and squeeze gently to absorb excess water.
- Wash and apply deep conditioning treatments weekly to clean the scalp and improve health of hair.
- Moisturize regularly with a good cream or oil to nourish and add shine to the hair. Pure Shea-butter, Cocoa-butter, coconut-oil, argan oil are natural options for this purpose.
- Do not comb your hair when it is wet. Wet hair is extremely fragile and rubbing can cause damage to hair shafts.
- Pamper your scalp and hair with a massage regularly. Using your fingers, give yourself a little scalp massage. This will improve blood circulation feeding the follicles with essential vitamins and stimulate oil production.
- Trim split ends regularly to help protect the hair from further splitting and damage.
- Minimize tangling by covering your hair with a silk or satin cap/scarf while you sleep. These fabrics are smooth and do not cause friction against the hair which contributes to tangling. Also, the use of cotton pillow cases can deplete moisture from the hair.
- Most hair conditions can be improved by eating a well-balanced diet rich in proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables. Your hair is nourished from within by what you eat and drink. Improving your diet will boost the health of your hair, encourage hair growth and improve your health as well.
- Use the right hair care and styling products. In comparison to other ethnic types, the African hair breaks more easily and as such, it is important to use hair care products specifically designed for it. Good hair care products for African hair are usually designed to improve hair strength and keep the hair well moisturized.
- Avoid hair products that contain alcohol, sulphates and parabens which strip the hair of natural oils. Their drying effects can cause damage to the hair.
Photo credit: Borbotta.com