Last week I taught a workshop on how to look after hair and skin naturally which has prompted me to write this post. I somehow assumed that everyone knew how to take care of natural afro hair but was mistaken and realised that there is a whole lot of people out there who are still in the dark. So below is just a basic guide for beginners on how to ensure healthy, long natural hair.
You should wash no more than once a week and use sulfate free shampoos as sulfate actually strips your hair of the natural oils which we are trying to keep on our hair to keep it moisturised.
If you exercise regularly and feel that your hair will benefit from more than a once a week wash then you can co wash your hair. This is when you wash your with a silicone free conditioner Click here for more deets on that method.
And remember that the longer your hair gets the less you should be washing it as it will tangle more which provides an opportunity for breakage.
Long hair takes longer to get greasy
The longer your hair is, the dryer the ends because the natural oils produced by your scalp finds it difficult to navigate through your curls and coils to get to the ends.
You should deep condition your hair once a week. If you’re like me and do not have time to sit under a dryer for 25-30 mins then wrap your hair in cling film or plastic cap and get on with your day. If this is the case though then i would leave your hair in the deep condition for about an hour instead of the 30 mins.
This one is optional but I like to do it on my daughter’s hair, which is a protein treatment. Do this once a month and its so easy and inexpensive if you make it your self. Just whip up one egg and then mix the whipped egg in a bowl with your favourite conditioner and apply it to our hair. Wrap your hair in cling film or plastic cap and leave on for about 30-35 mins.
Do not attempt to comb, brush or detangle your hair in its dry state as this will definitely cause breakage to your hair.
Always comb/detangle your hair when its wet and a conditioner has been applied to your hair to add slip so that your comb or detangler can manoeuvre through your curls and coils with ease.
The best comb to use is a wide tooth comb or a detangler.
Moisturising your Tresses
The #1 moisturiser for your hair is water. (I know I’m shocked too) Water actually softens your hair and keeps it hydrated making your hair less prone to breakage.
Keep a spray bottle filled with water (Preferably filtered) and spritz your hair with it at least twice a day, morning and night.
Once you’ve spritzed your hair with a little water ensure you apply natural oils and butters on your hair such as Shea butter, Coconut oil, Jojoba oil, Olive oil, Argan oil and Castor oil.
Your hair at bedtime
At night moisturise your hair with the method I’ve mentioned above and put your hair in two strand twists.
Sleep with a satin/silk bonnet and for double protection you can also sleep on satin/silk pillowcases. I only sleep on satin pillowcases. I don’t like having anything on my head while I sleep.
How should I wear my hair during the day
To maintain healthy, natural hair, its best to wear your hair in protective styles. A protective style is when you put your hair up (Without pulling those edges) and hide the ends (This is optional)
Protective styles are worn to prevent breakage and should be worn in extreme weather conditions. So when it’s really hot, really cold, rainy and windy.
This is how I like to wear my hair and its protective too;
Is braiding a protective style?
Yes braiding is a protective style but here are a few tips to help keep your hair on your head when its time to take those braids out;
- Do not do tiny braids as this can lead to breakage
- Try braiding your hair without the use of extensions
- You must still wash, deep condition and moisturise your hair while its in braids
- Don’t put large hair extensions on small parts of your hair as this will cause tension and stress to your hair which will ultimately result in breakage.
Are there any products that I shouldn’t use on my hair?
There are certain ingredients that are found in some products that should be avoided as these ingredients will cause your hair to dry out which in turn will lead to breakage, clogged pores which are not great if you want to maintain and ensure healthy hair. Below are a list of ingredients that you should avoid;
- Sulfates incl Sodium laureth sulfate and Sodium lauryl sulfate
- Silicones (Any ingredient ending in ‘cone’ is a silicone)
- propylene glycol
As I said before this is just a basic guide and you can tweak methods to what your hair responds to best.
I’d love to hear of your tips and methods on how you maintain healthy natural hair. So share them in the comment section below.