Staples for Natural Hair Maintenance

Date

Spring 2024

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A woman’s hair has historically been thought of as her crowning beauty.  Current fashion trends allow women to change their hairstyles almost as often as they change their shoes.  Whether curly, bouncy, or braided, women wear their hair as a reflection of their inner selves, experimenting with colours, length, and styles to express their personal identity, self-expression, and creativity. For women who are ditching straightening and processing, there are certain staples that will keep those tresses beautiful naturally. 

Here are 7 staples for natural hair maintenance.

Use Gentle Shampoos and Conditioners.

Shampoos and conditioners contain sulphates that can strip hair of its natural oils, causing dry, brittle hair to break easily. Use alternatives with natural ingredients to cleanse the scalp but not strip the hair of nutrients. Wash your hair with shampoo and warm water, and opt for a chilly rinse after conditioning to close the pores. For deep conditioning, use black tea, aloe vera or castor oil treatment.   

Detangle Gently.

Detangling your hair can be challenging, but it’s essential to prevent breakage and maintain optimal hair health. Use a wide tooth comb or brush, or your fingers to detangle starting at the ends and working back to the roots. A detangling spray prevents you from pulling on knots and tangles which can cause breakage. Make your own detangling water and conditioner.

Massage your Scalp.

Use your fingertips or get a hair massager to give yourself an invigorating massage. This will increase circulation by stimulating your red blood cells, promoting growth and rejuvenation. Incorporate cold-pressed coconut or olive oil. 

Sleep in a Nightcap.

Protecting your hair at night by wearing a night cap is essential for maintaining its natural appearance; after all, our grandmothers used them! Sleeping on a cotton pillowcase for example can cause friction, leading to breakage and frizz. Use a silk or satin pillowcase or nightcap to keep your hair looking smooth and shiny. 

Reduce Hot Styling

Results can be magical in terms of style, but it’s best to avoid heat tools like blow dryers, curling irons, and flat irons. There are a variety of heat sprays that will protect the hair and minimize damage when using these gadgets.  

Trim Frequently.

Trimming split ends is essential for natural hair. Trim between six to eight weeks, depending on the condition and length of your hair. Split ends travel up the hair shaft, so your hair will look healthier without fraying, dead ends. Try the ‘two-strand twist trim’ for a safe do-it-yourself trim by separating hair into 1-inch sections. Brush and twist tightly, then cut the ends of the twists that are thinning or have a diagonal slant.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle.

Eating a healthy diet is a must for the maintenance of healthy hair. Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin D and E, biotin, and omega-3 fatty acid to promote healthy hair growth. Drinking plenty of water can also help keep your hair hydrated and healthy.

The acceptance and celebration of natural hair not only represents a shift in beauty standards, but also promotes self-love and empowerment among women of colour. Let’s embrace it!//

Janet Bennett-Cox | Contributing Writer

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