Natural hair care is especially important for those of us living in the Caribbean who are exposed to the damaging heat from the sun. Below, I have complied a list of tips that have helped me along my hair journey. These tips are designed to help improve the quality and health of your hair. I hope these tips will be beneficial to you! 😀
- Don’t Forget to Moisturize
Hydrated hair is happy hair. Our warm, sometimes scorching hot temperatures in the islands can dry out the hair thus causing stress to our tresses. Try using a hair moisturizer or hydrating oils daily. You can also lock moisture in your hair by misting the hair with water and then seal it in by using your favorite oil or hair butter.
- Turn Down the Heat
Limit the use of heat appliances such as blow dryers and flat irons. If you need to use hot tools, it is suggested to deep condition prior to use and also use a leave-in conditioner and a heat protectant. In addition, look for tools that have a thermostatic setting and will allow you to use “low” heat when styling. When possible, its best to allow the hair to air dry after a wash or co-wash. Heat can dry out your hair and constant use will cause the hair strands to break, deteriorate and eventually break off.
- Don’t Swim Naked: Wear A Cap
In the Caribbean, we’re privileged to be surrounded by crystal clear, blue sea waters. In Antigua & Barbuda, we’re blessed to have 365 white and pink, sandy beaches. One for every day of the year. On hot days we’re tempted to go for a swim to cool off the heat. It is essential that we protect out hair by wearing a swim cap. Should your hair become wet, it is best to wash the hair using a sulfate free shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner. The same will apply if swimming in a pool.
- Protect Your Hair at Night
Protect your hair at night by sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase, and/or wearing a satin or silk bonnet/scarf. This will prevent your hair from the friction cause by the cotton fabric of your pillowcase and will help hair to maintain its moisture. The result will be hydrated, luscious curls.
- Choose Protective Hairstyles
Protective styles protect your hair ends from breakage and helps with length retention. It prevents the hair from brushing against the fabric of your clothing. These styles include buns, pin ups, braids, two strand twists, wigs, etc. Basically any style that keeps the hair off the shoulders but are not to tight or otherwise damaging.
- Deep Condition or Deep Protein Treatment
Deep conditioners and deep protein treatment help to penetrate the hair shaft, protecting it from breakage while strengthening the shaft. Deep conditioner treatments should be incorporated into your hair regimen at least once a month to provide lasting moisture that will calm the hair and make it easier to style.
- Read Product Labels
Look out for products that have alcohol, sulfates and ingredients whose names you cannot pronounce and avoid them. These products tend to dry out the hair. And we now know that dry hair is unhappy hair.
- Detangle on Wet Hair Only
To help with detangling, use a wide tooth comb on hair that is wet and saturated with conditioner. Combing and detangling on dry hair can cause the hair to tug, snap and/or tangle. Also, you can try using your fingers to detangle first before using a comb. That way you can undo any knots and tangle without snapping the hair.
- Document Your Hair Journey
Take lots of pictures and record length checks and other hair events to mark the progress of your hair. That way you can look back and see where you’ve made mistakes and try to correct them. You could also see trends and cycles with your hair and how your hair reacts to certain products and practice in your hair care regimen. Keep a written journal and take pictures.
- Do Natural Hair Your Way
All natural heads are NOT equal. Therefore, you have to find products and regimen tailored specifically to your hair needs. What works for one head may not work for your head. So please no comparing and complaining!