In this episode we’re going to talk about getting rid of those hair issues and retaining your length. We do a lot of things wrong when it comes to caring for our hair, whether its natural, relaxed, under a weave or in a jheri curl.
If the various mothers in my life taught me one thing it was: you better comb all them kinks and naps out of your hair girl, or it’ll break off. Here in Nigeria it’s like a threat; relax your hair every 4 weeks or it will break off, use the smallest comb to make sure every hair is detangled or it will break off, sleep with a hairnet on or it will break off! I think the number one reason why all the ladies who ask me for advice have length retention issues is because they don’t detangle efficiently for their hair. There is no one size fits all to detangling and you have to figure out how detangled you need your hair to be and how you’re going to get it to that stage.
Products and their ingredients are something I don’t really talk about. I didn’t think they were that important at the start of my journey, but now I have recognised the superiority of the natural ingredients over the synthetic ones. Now, i’m not saying go and burn all your shop bought products and bathe in rain water (lol), but i’m saying a lot of companies fill their products with crap and claim to have the best ingredients. meanwhile it’s filled with skin irritants like sulphates, cheap fillers like mineral oil and suspected carcinogens like parabens. Before you buy anything from now on, please look at your ingredients list. Even if you understand zilch, it’s best to at least know whats in your products (including things you might be allergic to). In addition, companies claim to have ‘olive oil’, ‘argan oil’ and ‘jojoba oil’ in their product, but you only see it way down the ingredients list, meaning you’ve probably inhaled more of that product in the air than the amount currently in your bottle of product.
Styling and Manipulation
In African countries, we are very guilty of putting hair length over health. You see someone with armpit length hair, but about 3 inches of that length is stringy and see through. If you suggest a trim to that lady she’ll assume you’re a jealous enemy of her progress. Hairdressers mostly care about how something looks and not how its done. A hair dresser once started snipping the frizzy hairs from the corn rows she had just done, which were done with NO EXTENSIONS. I lost all of my front hair after a stylist fixed my weave too tightly to the braids underneath. A stylist started trying to RIP the knots out of my hair because she didn’t have the patience to detangle it properly. I understand arguing with hairdressers just adds to the struggle, but allowing them to do what they do can cause us lengthy setbacks.
Another thing is we tend to manipulate our hair way too much. A hairstyle should not need to be adjusted multiple times in the day, I don’t even believe in retwisting hair at night any more because I found that the curl pattern the next morning looked better when it was more slept in. An out style for me usually lasts 3 days with definition and after that it can only be salvaged by a puff, updo or retwisting. You should aim to only manipulate your hair twice a week excluding putting on scarves and accessories etc.
We love to blow dry our hair and tend to do so before any major style but heat is so bad for your hair. I’ve never been one for hair science, but if you think of how it feels when your burn yourself with a straightener or have the dryer on one spot too long and you can imagine how your poor hair feels. Heat basically denatures the proteins in your hair and breaks them down. This causes your hair to be more fragile, lose its curl pattern and be less co-operative with your styling regime. Blow drying and straightening isnt too harmful once in a while, but you need to make sure you have a heat protectant and do the heat styling at a low temperature. It’s also best to have your hair in a really healthy state before any heat styling.
These are the main things to consider when trying to gradually increase the health of your hair, and now onto some health hair practices you should try and begin to ensure your hair stays healthy.
If you live in a humid climate like I do then i’m just gonna say it straight. Wash your hair woman (or man)! Even if you live in an air-conditioned world the humidity is going to get to you even a little bit, and I can’t believe people will go months without washing just to preserve a style. It happens frequently here, and frankly I would like to see it stop. You NEED to wash your hair as often as logistically possible, but by no means should you not wash your hair at all for more than a month. Whichever method of washing you choose, you need to get all of the oils, stylers and other gunk out of your hair so your scalp can be clean and fresh and so your products can be effective.
Some people think treatments are for special things like birthdays and weddings, when really they should be more every other wash than every year. Protein treatments, deep conditioning, henna et al are all things you should do on a regular basis. Obviously not all will work for you and thats ok, but at least one of them will, and I think it’s necessary to give your hair an extra boost when you can. Something as small as adding a few oils to your regular conditioner and leaving it on for 20 mins can have a positive impact.
Protective styles and protection
Protective styles are kept in for longer periods of time than out styles are enable you to manipulate your hair less often. If, when you have a protective style in, you find yourself still manipulating your hair daily, you ain’t protecting nothing. A protective style can be anything from a week long updo, to a 6 week long weave.
Other things we many not know to do is protecting the hair, night scarves are an obvious example of this, but others are hats to protect from the sun and wind and hairband to protect your ends from you clothes.
This post was long!! But I hope you started to see what your regimen may be lacking, and you’ve picked up tips on how to make it better! This is the end of the theory part of the series for now! The next element I will be focusing on is an ask me segment where you can ask me any questions pertaning to any issues you may be having with your hair, and i’ll do my best to answer 😉 contact me at email@example.com for any questions you may have!!
EDIT: my email address is actually firstname.lastname@example.org my bad!!!