Friday, 7 October 2011

AFRICAN LADIES: Tips to long healthy hair

There's the difference in the texture and Hair density African hair style tends to be very coarse and either coiled or kinked and in color african hair color, tends to be black (with only rare variations). However, few people who aren't African realize that there are less visible differences. A healthy African  hair on human scalp contains about 60,000 follicles. 

What are the hair care basics?

Many people seem to think of their hair as almost indestructible.  We treat it with chemicals, we towel dry roughly, we blast it with heat.  We pull it up in ponytails (every single day).  We'd like to suggest you start to think of your hair more like a collection of delibate fibers. 

If you had an expensive silk blouse, how would you treat it?  Your hair, while pretty resilient is not indestructible and treating it gently will pay off.  Black hair will tend to be more dry.  And, it is easier to break.  For natural black hair, the places where the hair coils, curls and twists are also points where the hair tends to break.  

The more of these points (as in African hair), the more the hair is prone to breakage.   Also, because our hair is kinky, it tends to tangle more and pulling these tangles out can cause breakage.  If you have put a perm in your hair, you've fundamentally altered the structure of the hair making it a little less strong.

  • Before going to bed, section off your hair and put a few plaits in it.  Or, tie it back or wrap it up using a scarf.  By tying your hair down you will reduce the amount of tangles you have to comb out the next morning.  Less tangles=less breakage.
  • Bedding is important.  If you can get a satin pillow case (we sell one here), that's great.  At a minimum, sleep with a satin scarf or sleep cap.  The satin material is smoother than cotton and will absorb less moisture from your hair.  This helps avoid the damage that the friction from cotton pillow cases can cause.
  • Washing your hair too often is probably worse than not washing it often enough. How often you'll have to wash your hair will depend on how much sebum you produce, how much you sweat, your hair type, the climate where you live, etc.  But, as a rule-of-thumb, wash your hair no more than once every week ro weeek and a half.  Some people will need more, some will need less.  Start with a week and see how that works for you.
  • Comb your hair out while you've got the conditioner in it.  This will help remove the tangles while your hair is slick helping the comb glide thorugh with minimal breakage.
  • Oil/moisturize your scalp on a regular basis with a good natural oil.  We have several including some with Shea Butter, Argan Oil, Emu Oil and Jojoba Oil, our favorites!  A daily moisturizer is a good idea for a lot of people.  Maybe not necessarily daily, but every couple of days.
  • Deep conditioner or do a hot oil treatment monthly.  Using a conditioning cap like the Hair Therapy Wrap will help drive the conditioner deep into the hair shaft.
  • Regularly take your fingers and just give yourself a little scalp massage.  This will help improve your scalp's ciruclation and oil production.
  • Stay away from products with mineral oil or petroleum. These are cheap fillers used by some cosmetics companies.  They give the feeling of oils that would be beneficial  But, they tend to clog the pores (are comedogenic).  And, they are not easily absorbed by the hair or skin.  This is a case where it's best to stick with natural oils.  If your mother used Vaseline® on your hair, stop.  If you're using that pink stuff.  Well, you might want to reconsider.  Natural oils tend to cost more.  But, they are most definitely worth it.  Your hair and skin will thank you.
  • If you exercise and sweat a lot on a regular basis, the salt out of your hair even if you don't wash it.  Rinse it thoroughly with very warm water and condition it with a leave-in conditioner. 
  • Heat can be a killer for hair.  We blast our hair regularly with temperatures that would bake a roast.  Avoid excessive use of heat on your hair.  This is particularly important for those women with relaxers.  Do not take your hair to bone straight at the hairdressers and then have to use a lot of heat and product to get it to hold curl when you're back home.  Stop short of bone straight.
  • Avoid alcohol based products unless you have a need for a water-free shampoo to cleanse your scalp (for example while you're waiting for your locks to lock).  Having said that, not all alcohol is bad.  Ethyl and methyl alcohols are two you generally want to steer clear of.
  • This is tough for some of us.  Keep in mind that water is your friend.  Water, inside and out is good for your hair and skin.  Drink plenty of water daily.  Spritzing your hair with water or water based products can help keep it hydrated.
  • Your hair doesn't begin at your scalp. For proper hair formation, its' important you give your hair the right nutrition so that the shaft that is formed in the follicle is health before it even appears above the surfcace or your skin.  Eat a well-balanced diet with vitamins that proteins that are essential for hair and skin development.  Treasured Locks offers nutritional supplements specifically designed for hair and skin health.  Hair Growth Supplements
  • So many of us fight our hair.  Try to work with what you've got.  We constantly have clients telling us they want hair just like this or that celebrity (and many of the celebrities they want to look like are sporting weaves).  As much as you can, find a style that is compatible with your natural hair type and the way your hair grows.  We all want to style our hair.  But, the more you can go with the flow, the happier your hair and you will be.

Some tools you should have in your kit 
  • A great moisturizing shampoo: The good shampoos will cost more.  However, the better shampoos use more gentle cleansers and are generally more concentrated.  You might find they actually save you money over the course of time.  But, you will find that your hair will quickly look and feel better.
  • A great conditioner that has a fairly low pH.  A lower pH conditioner (lower than 7) will be pH balanced to slightly acidify the hair.  Acidifying the hair will make it shine more and reduce tangles.
  • A good deep conditioning treatment or a hot oil treatment that you like.  This is really enhanced with the use of  conditioning heat cap which opens up the cutilcles and drives the treatment deep into the hair shft.  This is especially critical for dry brittle hair that has been damaged by neglect, abuse, heat, sun and/or chemicals.  We have several here:  Hair Repair Products
  • A leave in conditioner or a product you can use to moisturize frequently.  This is what you're going to use on your hair after you've cleaned it and between washings.  This product should provide moisture at a minimum and preferably oil and moisture.
  • A comb that works for your hair type.  So much damage is done by trying to drag some skinny toothed combed through naturally curly hair.  The more coarse and/or thicker your hair, the more you'll need a comb with wider spaced teeth.  
  • A satin pillow case, a good satin or nylon scarf or cap or wrap to wear while you're sleeping. 

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