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HAIR

Everything You Need To Know About Natural Hair

Because our hair is more than just hair

BY Yaza South Africa Team

Feb 05, 2021, 01:11 PM

To black women, our hair isn’t just hair, but rather a means of self-expression, confidence and comfort. Hair plays a significant role in black culture but do you know how to keep your hair healthy at home?
 
Thankfully, it’s not that difficult and the health of your coils are in no danger if you can't make it to a salon. Regardless of whether you have a wig, a weave, braids, relaxed or natural hair, you can still keep your hair healthy at home. All you need is a little patience and a few black haircare hacks.
Do you LOC?

Caring For Natural Hair

Those with natural hair already understand that natural hair requires specific products and careful maintenance to stay healthy. However, if you haven’t been natural for long, or you’re transitioning, it’s understandable if you have concerns about how you’re going to care for your coils.

What’s Your Type?
Firstly, identify what type of hair you have – are you Type 1, 2, 3 or 4 and within that are you an a, b or c?

Type 1 is straight hair. Type 2 is wavy hair with a, b and c being added dependent on how closely your waves look like the letter S, with c the waviest and a the least wavy. Type 3 refers to curly hair with a, b and c again referring to how corkscrew your curls are, c is the tightest and a is the loosest. Type 4 refers to those with super tight curls with a, b and c referring to how tight your curls are and whether they resemble the letter s or the letter z. 

And much like skincare, you can have a combination of hair types. 

Tools Of The Trade
A detangling comb
Plastic shower cap
Silk pillowcase/scarf

Protecting Natural Hair
Plaiting your hair before sleeping keeps it together and will effectively lock in moisture. Once you've plaited your hair wrap it in a silk or satin scarf, the more delicate the fabric the better for natural hair. Cotton is often too harsh for natural hair and withdraws moisture while causing friction. 
What's your hair type?

Wash Day

Maintaining a proper wash routine will boost your hair growth. Using sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for natural hair will provide the essential nutrients needed for hair to flourish. Be sure to wash hair with warm as opposed to hot water, as the scalding temperatures will dry out natural hair even more. 
 
Step 1: Pre-Pooing & Detangling
A typical wash day should begin with you pre-pooing your hair. This is done to protect it from the shampooing process, reducing the risk of your hair being stripped of moisture or its natural oils. Pre-pooing can be done with hair oil or even conditioner. Simply apply the oil or conditioner to your hair and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

You can also detangle your hair as you pre-poo. The texture of natural hair is generally coarse and thick so the best way to work through it is by using a wide-tooth comb. This is because the spaces between the teeth are wide enough to ensure that minimal breakage occurs when working through knots and detangling. 

If your hair is dry, it would be advisable to use your fingers (as well as a detangling cream). Only use a detangling brush on hair that is slightly damp. Detangling helps to remove tangles as well as hairs that may cause knots and breakage.

Step 2: Shampoo & Conditioner
A healthy scalp means happy hair and the best way to keep a scalp healthy is to keep it clean. To properly cleanse your scalp, apply shampoo and gently massage in a circular motion. This will effectively remove dirt and excess oil as well as stimulate the follicles for new hair growth. Do not use your nails to scrape your scalp while washing as this will cause damage to hair follicles, opening the door for infection and sensitivity.

A sulfate-free shampoo is the best choice for natural hair as sulfates can strip hair of its natural oils. In regards to how often you wash your hair, every seven to 10 days should help to keep it clean and healthy.

That said, you should also practice co-washing in between your wash days. Co-washing involves washing your hair with a conditioner or co-washing product. This helps to provide your hair with the necessary moisture while preventing the stripping of natural oils.

After washing your hair, make sure to blot-dry with a microfibre towel or old t-shirt as a regular towel can cause breakage.

Step 3: Deep Conditioner
A deep conditioner not only hydrates the hair but also helps to address specific concerns. It’s advisable to use a rich, creamy conditioner as this will help to keep your hair hydrated and super nourished. You should then cover your hair with a plastic cap for 30 minutes to an hour. You can also apply heat as this helps the hair absorb the product.

Step 4: Protein Treatment
A protein treatment helps to not only add volume to your hair, but it also helps to reduce breakage and prevent split ends. To prevent protein overload, you should only have a protein treatment every four to six weeks.

The LOC/LCO Method 

One of the biggest things that people with natural hair struggle with is moisture. Unfortunately, natural hair is susceptible to dryness and, in turn, breakage.

Therefore, it’s important to keep your hair hydrated and one of the best ways to do so is with the LOC/LCO method. L stands for liquid, O stands for oil, and C stands for cream. This technique focuses on layering your hair with products in an effort to lock in moisture.

Whether you opt for LCO or LOC makes no difference, the order is totally dependent on what your hair prefers. 

How Do I Do The LOC/LCO?
 1. Apply a liquid using a spray bottle. The liquid can either be water or a water-based moisturizer.
2. Use a thick hair oil blend to seal in the moisture.
3. Follow this with a water-based cream or butter. If you have a looser curl pattern, you can choose a leave-in moisturizer but if you have thicker and more coily hair type, then go for hair butter.
Natural hair is typically dry

Protective Styles 

Protective styles are particularly important for natural hair as they help to protect hair from any harsh elements that may damage it. Braids, twists or weaves are examples of protective styles, as are simple hairstyles such as twist outs and Bantu knots.

It’s important to make sure your hair is moisturized and detangled before gently styling it. If you’re not sure how to begin, there are plenty of YouTube channels that offer easy tutorials. Make sure to choose a YouTuber who has the same hair type as you.

Caring For Protective Styles
Make sure you still wash your scalp every 2-3 days and keep your hair moisturised at the root. Spray your scalp with a mixture of conditioner and water or a water-based solution with natural oils such as coconut oil or almond oil.

Stop Touching Your Hair

When we’re stressed, or bored, we tend to subconsciously pull or play with our hair and this can not only weaken it but also create tension. So, you need to find ways to keep ourselves from playing with it. If you find that you play with your hair when you’re anxious or bored, try some stress-relieving activities. These can include reading a book, mediation, or even gardening – all three will keep your mind and your hands out of your hair.
 
Shop the Complete Hair Care Pack for natural haircare from Earth Natural Hair Products

Image: @MikeVon
 
 
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