First thing I should have stressed before saying anything about Charlene -my mane- is the importance of moisture.
My hair, like most black people’s hair, is naturally very dry.
The reason our hair is so dry is because
of the tiny coils in our strands that make it difficult for sebum -an oily or waxy matter produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin in order to lubricate, moisturise and protect the skin and hair- to travel from the root to the ends of the hair.
Our hair tends to break easier than the
hair belonging to other race groups
because of this factor.
Dry hair is the most fragile and is the most susceptible to mechanical damage- damage caused by constant
If you take only one thing from
this, let it be the fact that MOISTURE IS
How much moisture the hair needs varies from person to person.
Personally, I moisturise my hair 3-5 times a week with water. I used to do this daily but it turned out that was too much for my hair and it started feeling all mushy soft. Plus that much moisture was causing frizz and fuzz like no other so my styles would never last. I elaborate on my weekly moisture routine a little further below.
I also wash my hair with conditioner- this is called co-washing. I am
in love with Tressemme conditioner,
especially Tressemme Naturals. When my hair is free and not in a protective style, I do this once a week, I extend it to once every 10 days when I want to maintain a protective style. I do this because of conditioner’s moisturising properties while it cleans gently.
Which brings me to my next step.
I wash with shampoo-a sulphate free shampoo is recommended as they are not as drying as regular shampoos
that have sulphates as on their ingredient- once a month.
The reason I use shampoo so sparsely is because shampoo tends to strip the hair of it’s natural oils, and our hair already has so little of it travelling down the strands to the ends. It is
too harsh on our hair.
Conditioner cleanses the hair sufficiently without stripping it of its natural oils. Though a shampoo wash once in a while is necessary to get rid of product build up and provide thorough cleansing.
I make sure to pre-poo- saturating the
hair in conditioner or oil- for 30 minutes
to an hour or for however long you like, up to overnight even, before washing wishing with shampoo for protection against moisture and oil stripping. It also makes the detangling process after washing a whole lot easier.
Some people don’t find it necessary to
pre-poo, that again is a matter of
personal preference. I suggest you give it a try a few times to see how your hair responds to it.
I follow the shampoo process up with a conditioner and deep condition- there will be a post on this soon.
For my between a week moisture routine I use a spray bottle- It is just an old Mr Muscle spray bottle that I thoroughly cleaned out. I put a quarter of glass of water in it, a few drops Apple Cider Vinegar and a tablespoon of my oil mixture (see previous articles ”Growing Charlene and Let’s talk oils”).
The Apple Cider Vinegar- AVC- water
solution acts as a natural hair leave in
conditioner, it makes the hair soft and
balances the PH of the scalp and hair.
The oil helps to further condition, soften and lubricate the hair. I spray until the hair is damp, not wet, then I seal the moisture in with my shea butter mix- a post on this is on its way- and braid or twist my hair for bed. Needless to say, I do this at night, right before bed. You can substitute AVC with Aloe Vera Juice if you prefer. Aloe Vera Juice has been found to be very beneficial in hair care, particularly
because of its healing properties.
When you moisturise, you must seal
moisture in, or else it will evaporate leaving your hair dry as bone and you will have achieved nothing. This is where the LOC method comes in for me.
The L stands for liquid or leave in.
The O stands for oil and,
The C stands for cream.
These products must be applied in this exact order, liquid- or leave in conditioner-, oil and cream. During
the week when I use my spray mix, I just seal with my shea butter-which is a
creamy texture- because my leave in
conditioner already has oil.
On wash day though, I apply oil then shea butter to my wet hair after the wash process is complete. This ensures hair remains moisturised for hours or even days.
How do I determine that my hair needs
I feel it. If it feels dry and crunchy, then I know its time for moisturising. I used to get confused on how to tell when
Charlene needed moisturising, but trust me, once you feel dry hair, you’ll know.
Moisturised hair that is ‘ÓK’ dry still feels soft and manageable. So I let my hair get really dry by not moisturising at all for slightly over a week so I could see how it feels and behaves when it is thirsty.
Now one thing you must understand is
that moisture and shrinkage go hand in
hand. I manage the situation by braiding my damp, shea butter sealed hair in 2, 3 or 4 large braids- depending on how I feel- then wrapping it in an old satin shirt- satin and silk do not suck the moisture out of hair like other materials tend to do- and
then go to bed.
By morning, I find the braids have
stretched out my hair again, I usually
leave the waves from the braids in as a
style, just gently lifting at the root to get rid of showing parting lines and blending and styling the hair with my fingers.
You can not stop your hair from drying
out, all you can do is replenish moisture.
Hair, technically, might be considered
dead but it is affected and does respond to external and internal factors. Start form the inside, try to eat healthy(ier), exercise and drink plenty of water, when you are living a healthy lifestyle, it shows on your hair, skin, nails and body.
How does moisture help with gaining
length, you might ask. Well, the answer is simple, it helps minimise breakage. It also vastly improves the look, feel and general health of our hair.
Keep in mind that black people’s hair is
the most fragile, so handle it with care.
Do not comb through it roughly or rip
tangles apart, be very gentle and patient with it.
Though hair growth is determined by
genetics, a healthy lifestyle really does
help improve the rate of hair growth. Also remember its important to not compare your hair growth rate to other people because we have different genes, Even sisters may have different hair growth rates. Hair differs from person to person, what works for one person may not work for another.
All hair grows, just at different rates. it is best to focus on taking the best care of your hair and enjoying every step of the journey.
1 year and 3 months in, I still have not mastered the art of braid-outs, twist-outs or bantu knot-outs but I do love my fro outs and large braid-outs.
All these tips are meant to help us understand and learn our hair
I mostly gravitate towards the use of
natural products, that is just a personal
preference and my Charlene is
responding so well to it. You can use
whatever product works best for you.
Till next week. Stay fab!
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.