Camping was a foundational part of my childhood. Every summer, my extended family would plan two to three trips to the beautiful provincial parks of Alberta. We would either stay in our tent trailer, an Alpine Club of Canada hut, or tents depending on how remote our campsite was. Access to water was quite limited and we had to pack light, which meant no room for extraneous items like hair care supplies.
Whether your regimen is minimalist or high maintenance, every naturalista needs her holy grail kit to keep her curls popping. But when you've got to choose between packing camping essentials and your fave styling gel, it's a no-brainer: the hair stuff stays home. This generally wasn't a big deal for our shorter trips. My hair would usually be tucked away in box braids or cornrows ― styles that could survive a weekend without fuss. Longer trips took a bit more planning, though. If we were going away for a week or two, I'd try to get my hair done as close to our departure date as possible to maximize the longevity of the protective style. This way, I wouldn't need to touch it up during the trip and could get away with shampooing just once if necessary.
If you're going camping or travelling for an extended period of time, I recommend sticking to the easiest styles and simplest products you can find. The last thing you want to do is spend hours detangling your hair in the woods when you could be enjoying the gorgeous scenery. Here are some suggestions:
Buns are fantastic for short trips because you don't have to spend any time installing them, and they do a decent job keeping your coils out of the way. Big cornrows, flat twists, and Bantu knots are better options if you don't want to restyle your hair every morning, but because they won't last longer than a few days before getting fuzzy, you should consider medium to small ones for week-long trips. Most naturalistas are able to keep braids, twists, and weaves in for anywhere between two and eight weeks, making them ideal for trips longer than seven nights.
Of course, some lucky people get to travel for months and months at a time. Should you be on the road for over eight weeks, I would suggest braids or twists ― but only with your own hair. Taking down extension hair in the wilderness is very difficult and time-consuming. You can literally shave hours off this process by braiding or twisting your own hair, taking it down after a few weeks, giving it a good wash, and reinstalling the style while sitting by the campfire.
If you're wondering why I haven't mentioned twist outs, braid outs, or wash-and-go's, it's because those styles are wayyyy to high maintenance for camping. Moreover, you'll be in big trouble if it rains or you decide to take a dip in the lake! That said, I'm sure many people have no issues travelling with their afros out and you're certainly welcome to try it if you want, but I prefer to keep the number of things I need to worry about to a minimum.
No matter what you decide, make sure you're doing what you can to keep your hair healthy while you travel. Remember to moisturize regularly and protect it from the elements. And try not to worry about it so much! It'll keep growing no matter what, so just relax and have a fantastic vacation.
How do you keep your hair healthy while travelling? Share with us in a comment below!
Because kinky, coily afro hair is prone to dryness and breakage, it's super important for us to keep it well-oiled and moisturized. Regularly sealing in moisture with oils is critical to any healthy natural hair regimen, and the benefits can be super-charged with weekly or bi-weekly hot oil treatments. But many naturalistas complain that they don't have time for hot oil treatments, which can last anywhere from half-an-hour to overnight. If you're short on time but still want to give your hair a boost, keep reading.
WHAT'S A HOT OIL TREATMENT?
Oils like coconut, castor, and jojoba are fantastic for locking moisture (water) into natural hair. They do this by repelling water molecules, thereby trapping them inside the hair shaft. When oil is heated, it helps the cuticles (scale-like coverings) along the hair shaft open up so the hair can better absorb the water and nutrients in the oils.
WHAT'S THE POINT?
As previously mentioned, hot oil treatments encourage our hair to absorb moisture and nutrients. If you use a light enough oil you might not have to rinse it out after, but one of the main advantages of doing the treatment is that it serves as an excellent pre-poo. A pre-poo is a treatment that's done before shampooing. Many shampoos contain ingredients that are very drying and strip the hair of too much oil, which can weaken the strands and lead to knotting and breakage. A pre-poo, such as a hot oil treatment, ensures enough oil remains in the hair and on the scalp to prevent dryness.
SO HOW DO YOU DO ONE?
There are many different ways you can do a hot oil treatment, but generally you want to use at least one carrier oil and, if you like, one or more essential oils. A carrier oil is necessary to dilute essential oils, which can be so potent they can burn you if used in high concentrations. For this reason, you only need to put a few drops of essential oil into a tablespoon of a carrier oil, such as extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, etc.
Speaking of burns, be careful to not heat the oil too much. Ten to fifteen seconds in the microwave or 5-10 mins in a hot water bath should be enough. If it's too hot to touch with your fingers, wait for it to cool down. Spritz your hair with a moisturizer like water and/or aloe vera juice, then apply the hot oil treatment to your hair and scalp. Most people typically leave the treatment in for at least 20-30 mins, and some even wait until the next day to rinse it out.
WHAT IF YOU'RE SHORT ON TIME?
Waiting around for the oils to work their magic can be a deal-breaker for those of us on tight schedules. Here are a few ways you can speed up the process:
This may seem like a lot of steps, but with practice you'll likely be able to do the whole process in under ten minutes. Depending on how your hair is styled, you might even be able to get away with not taking your hair down before applying the treatment. Just make sure you focus on your scalp and your own hair, rather than any extension hair, and rinse it out properly to avoid product build-up.
How do you save time in your regimen? Share your tips in a comment below!
Everybody's into podcasts these days. Whether it's to learn how to start a business or cope with mental health issues, there's a show on any topic for any audience. If you like listening to podcasts and can't get enough of natural hair, check out this list of shows. They're all informative, entertaining, and hosted by super charismatic and smart women. Enjoy!
"Snatched Edges is a podcast all about hair health. Expect to hear tips on how to solve common hair and scalp issues, how to tackle hair loss and the best ways to style your hair. Whether you are loc'd or loose, natural or relaxed you are sure to hear something to keep your hair flourishing."
The Natural Hair Weekly
"Join our Global Editor and Curator Jahdusha V Shines, for a 'natural conversation' (and some laughs) exploring elements of the natural hair lifestyle with special guests from around the world in entertainment, health, wellness, business and life."
Grow it Long & Strong: Natural Hair Radio
"Learn to grow your afro, kinky or curly textured natural hair hair with ancient techniques, modern science and inner wisdom like never before. Discover why the products you have been using have or have not been working, what are the best styles to retain hair length and how to promote better hair health from the inside out for long lasting results."
The Nappturalite Radio Show
"Calling all Nappturalites! Whether your hair is naturally kinky, curly or wavy, this show has you in mind. The Napptualite Radio Show is dedicated to the love of all things related to black natural hair care. We will discuss natural hair topics, interview natural hair specialists, give you the scoop on the best hair care products and share resources that benefit Nappturalites everywhere. Airs M-W at 3pm EST and on Thursdays at 7pm EST!"
Long, Healthy Hair - Natural Kinky and Curly Hair
"This channel is designed for people that have recently gone natural and need a few quick tips on a) how to maintain the health of their hair and b) how to make sure it grows to its maximum potential."
Natural Hair 360
"A weekly podcast about everything that has to do with Natural Hair, its care, maintenance, trends, etc. Review, rate, and subscribe."
Natural Haircare News
"Just two sisters doing our thing! Join us as we have "real" conversations about everything from the perceptions and attitudes that black women and the community have about natural hair - both positive and negative, to natural haircare tips and strategies from A thru Z. Show us some love and leave a review on iTunes if you like our podcast, then check out our blog - NaturalHairCareNews.com"
What's your favorite natural hair show or podcast? Share it with us in a comment below!
One of the best pieces of advice you will receive as a natural is: never do your hair in a rush. When we hurry through processes like detangling and washing, we risk damaging our hair by causing unnecessary tangles, snags, and breaks. However, we're all busy ladies and sometimes it's hard to set aside hours and hours to do a thorough job. That's why I've been researching the quickest ways of maintaining natural hair. Stretching your curls can be particularly time-consuming, but after some digging I've determined the following three techniques to be the most efficient.
What you'll need:
2. Twists + Bobby Pins
3. Roller Sets
What's your favorite method of stretching your hair? Share with us in a comment below!
MORE TIPS FOR YOUR NATURAL HAIR
Lemonade braids are still trending!
Five Ways to Grow Thicker Hair
Seven Dashing Ladies Who Are Taking Yarn Braids to the Next Level
Nothing is more aggravating than an itchy scalp. Whether it's caused by dehydration, allergies, or tight braiding it can be super embarrassing, and lasting solutions are often hard to come by. It's is an issue I've struggled with for years so I decided to put together this list of tips in case you're also looking to soothe an angry scalp.
It might be a few weeks before you start noticing results, but stay persistent and hopefully you'll get some relief. If nothing helps, though, definitely consider seeing a dermatologist.
Do you have a trick for soothing your scalp? Share in a comment below!
The other day a friend of mine opened up to me about one of her fears. She explained that although her hair is healthy now, she heard it will likely get thinner when she's older. It turns out a lot of people have this concern. Female pattern hair loss isn't uncommon and can occur for many reasons, including natural causes like pregnancy and aging as I covered in a previous post. To some people this may seem like a frivolous thing to worry about, but the state of your hair can actually indicate a lot about your overall health. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to grow stronger hair while taking care of your general wellbeing.
1. Seal with Castor Oil - Many naturalistas swear by the effects of castor oil because of its ability to lock in moisture. Moisture is necessary for both softening hair and strengthening it against breakage. Because it's a thicker oil, it's easier to apply when slightly warmed up. Just make sure you use it only when your hair and scalp are damp in order to maximize its benefits. Castor oil is also known to treat skin problems like acne and dryness. Some people also use it for constipation and menstrual cramps. (HomeRemediesWeb.com)
2. Use Gentle Tools - One of the easiest ways to promote thicker hair is to prevent breakage while detangling and styling. Using your fingers and gentle tools like wide tooth combs and ouchless hair elastics will minimize the amount of tugging and snagging that each strand endures. The less stress your hair is under, the more it will flourish.
3. Practice Protective Styling - Another method of avoiding breakage is to keep your hair tucked away in long-term styles, such as braids, cornrows, and twists. These hairstyles greatly reduce the amount of manipulation your hair undergoes by allowing you to rock the same look for several days or even weeks at a time. Not having to fix your hair each day gives your scalp and strands a much-needed rest, thereby encouraging growth.
4. Get Your Fluids - We're all aware of how crucial it is for mental and physical health to stay hydrated, but did you know drinking water is an easy way to maintain healthy skin and hair? That's because the cells in the hair follicles at your roots require water to function properly. Water also staves off dandruff, itchiness, and other scalp-related issues by keeping the skin moisturized. While you may think it's enough to regularly spritz your hair with a water-based solution, it doesn't hurt to moisturize from the inside out, too, by drinking fluids and eating juicy fruits and vegetables.
5. Eat a Balanced, Protein-Rich Diet - Hair is made of keratin, which is a form of protein. Your body needs to take in protein regularly to grow new hair, and contrary to popular belief, meat isn't your only option. Broccoli, asparagus, kale, almonds and soybeans are all high in protein. (MindBodyGreen.com) You can also opt for fortified foods like soy milk and yogurt that have added protein, or try protein bars or supplements.
How do you keep your hair healthy? Share with us in a comment below!
With all the new regimens, month-long challenges, and novel products constantly being released, we naturalistas are able to enjoy a wealth of hair care knowledge that has never existed before. A few years ago it was impossible to find information online about how to do your own box braids. Now, I can't even count how many braiding tutorial videos are on YouTube. Better access to information about natural hair care has obvious benefits: it allows us to celebrate our natural beauty and indulge in self-love while rocking amazing hairstyles! However, sometimes it can be overwhelming to sift through all the advice －especially when some of it seems contradictory.
Take, for example, the issue of detangling natural hair. For the longest time the afro pick was the universal tool for getting tangles and knots out of kinky/coily hair. In fact I remember my Mom using an afro pick for all sorts of purposes. After detangling, she would use it to create parts, and while she was styling, she would even use it as a clip to keep stray hairs out of her way. Despite the incredible usefulness of the afro pick, it (and other similar combs) face growing competition from another school of thought: the finger detangling method.
Finger detangling is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of passing through your strands with a comb to remove knots and tangles, you instead create small sections of hair and gently pull each apart until, theoretically, every strand has been separated from its neighbours. If done properly the results of combing and finger detangling are pretty much the same, but not everyone agrees that these two methods are perfect substitutes.
As you can see, it's a bit of a tossup between the two. It's up to you to know what your curls need and to decide which option is best to maintain healthy, happy hair. Of course no one is forcing you to pick one, either. Many naturalistas (including me!) alternate methods depending on the circumstances. Regardless of what you choose you'll need the right tools to get started.
TOP DETANGLING COMBS
TOP DETANGLING PRODUCTS
Do you prefer to comb or finger detangle your hair? Why? Share in a comment below!
MORE TIPS FOR YOUR NATURAL HAIR
How to Keep Your Scalp Squeaky Clean Between Washes
How to Find the Best Blow Dryer for Curly Hair
Do You Need a Hair Mask?
It's so easy to find a good hair dryer these days. A quick search on Amazon will result in thousands of matches, each boasting an array of attractive benefits. However, if you're specifically looking for hair dryers designed with curls and coils in mind, the hunt becomes a bit tricky. When shopping for a hair drier for your natural hair, you should consider the following:
Now that you know how to choose a proper blow dryer, here's a list of some of the best hair driers for natural hair (you're welcome!).
What's your favourite hairstyling tool? Share in a comment below!
If you've ever researched ways to grow long, healthy, and strong hair, you've probably come across advice suggesting you try a hair mask. In the past few years they've become an increasingly popular addition to hair care regimens for people with all hair types. Essentially, a hair mask is a blend of moisture-rich ingredients that is designed to deliver nutrients to your hair by penetrating the strands for a period of time.
There are a number of benefits to doing weekly(ish) hair masks. First, they're extremely easy to make. If you've got access to a fridge or a pantry, you can make a hair mask. Common ingredients include honey, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, mayonnaise, and banana. Here are some great DIY hair treatment recipes I've found. Hair masks are also quite simple to apply. Unlike other treatments that require professional expertise, hair masks can be made without non-toxic ingredients, which makes them much healthier and safer for you to try by yourself. Hair masks are also a great excuse to feel pampered! Many women in particular find the experience rather luxurious because it allows them time to soak in a warm bath or paint their nails while the mask sits. Lastly, but arguably most importantly, the results of hair masks can be seen pretty quickly. I personally have noticed that my hair feels softer right after rinsing out a hair mask. This means my hair is easier to detangle and comb after washing, which leads to fewer knots and split ends over time.
Regardless of whether or not your hair is damaged, hair masks are a great way to promote health and encourage growth. If you don't have the time or energy to mix your own hair mask you can find plenty of pre-made options in stores and online. In fact there are so many options out there the choice can be daunting, so I've done a little homework to give you a head start.
FOR HEALTHIER HAIR
Curl Therapy Softening Hair Mask by Carol's Daughter
Essential Shea Mask by Fekkai
Nourishing Mask by amika
DRY HAIR SOLUTIONS
Hydrating Argan Oil Hair Mask and Deep Conditioner by Arvazallia
Deep Repair Mask by Macadamia Oil
Salon Grade Hair Mask and Deep Conditioner by Rio Cabello
OILY HAIR SOLUTIONS
Argan Oil Treatment by Agadir
Miracle Hair Mask by It's A 10
You Are Beautiful Fine Conditioning Mask by Ken Paves
FOR COLOUR-TREATED HAIR
Colorcaretherapie Color Bloom Masque by Matrix Biolage
Argan Oil 7 Moisture Healing Mask by Nelson j Beverly Hills
Do you have a favourite hair mask product or recipe? Share with us in a comment below!
I don't like to make generalizations, but I must say that Black women (and some Black men) really don't like to get their hair wet. Regardless of whether we're relaxed or natural, water simply doesn't play well with our kinks and coils. Even a humid day can wreak havoc on our painstakingly-achieved curl definition, not to mention the extreme shrinkage many of us experience if our hair gets completely drenched in the shower. When you consider how devastatingly quickly moisture can undo hours of hairstyling it's pretty easy to understand why people with afro-textured hair try to wash their hair as infrequently as possible. Of course there are other reasons we postpone wash day, including the fact that our scalps don't readily accumulate oil or dirt. We can't leave our hair unwashed forever, though. At some point we have to give in and get it wet... or do we?
Enter dry shampoo. Even though dry shampoo seems to have taken off in the last couple of years the concept has actually been around for centuries! According to Toni&Guy, Asians were applying clay powder to their tresses back in the 1400s. Dry shampoo has been commercially available for decades and has become popular as more people discover the convenience and styling advantages it provides. However, many of the people who love it so much tend to have type one or two hair (meaning their hair is quite straight). I Googled to see if I could find any curlier-haired people who have tried dry shampoo, and the results were interesting. While many ladies said they liked the product, I noticed four issues with the way it's supposed to be used and how it actually works.
PROBLEM #1: Dry Shampoo is Designed to Cause Dryness
The whole point of dry shampoo is to remove excess oil. This is a huge benefit for those whose hair gets oily quickly. However, the curlier your hair is the less likely it is to get oily, especially if your hair is long. This is because sebum, the nutrient-filled oil produced by your scalp, has a harder time sliding down the hair shaft. Applying dry shampoo to tresses that are already dried out will consequently strip them of what little protective oil they do have. I should mention there are dry shampoos that might work for people with dry hair, but I would only consider it if I had a tonne of product build-up and absolutely could not wash my hair.
PROBLEM #2: Dry Shampoo Must be Brushed or Blowdried Out
Because our hair is so dry, it's also quite brittle. It's a good idea to avoid manipulating it too often so it grows healthy and strong. Manipulation involves anything from braiding and brushing to twirling your hair out of boredom. Any kind of tension or friction exposes the hair shaft to the risk of breaking. That's why you should be careful about how often you change your hairstyles and the tools you use. The trouble with dry shampoo is that it can't just sit on top of your hair. It works best when evenly distributed by either brushing or blowdrying. Even if your hair has been straightened, brushing your hair too regularly or applying heat through a blowdryer can cause irreversible damage over time.
PROBLEM #3: Dry Shampoo Can Cause Itchiness
Your scalp might get agitated and itchy if you accidentally spray dry shampoo too close to your roots. Some people say their scalps get itchy if they apply excessive amounts of dry shampoo to their hair, too. One way to alleviate the itching is to massage your scalp with a light oil, but ironically, the best solution for a super agitated scalp is to actually wash it with water and conditioner!
PROBLEM #4: Dry Shampoo is Supposed to Add Volume and Hold
This is less of an issue and more of an undesired feature, in my honest opinion. My hair grows upwards and outwards instead of downwards because it's so kinky. You've probably noticed that your hair has a natural tendency to grow large if you also have type four curls. Unless you have very fine strands or you want even bigger, badder hair, you probably don't need a product to add more volume to your afro. Similarly, our hair texture is fabulous for holding styles without requiring much product. Whereas people with straight hair need cans and cans of hairspray and a million bobby pins to hold their hair up, ours pretty much stays put wherever we leave it. As such, I think the volume and hold dry shampoo provides are wasted benefits.
With all this in mind, dry shampoo doesn't seem ideal for afro-textured hair. I'm not a hair expert, though, and I'm not trying to refute any existing reviews of dry shampoo; if it works for you, great! I just wanted to write this post because there isn't a lot of information online about how dry shampoo truly works on kinkier hair and drier scalps. If you still really want to avoid washing your hair, check out my other post on how to keep your hair and scalp clean between washes.
Have you used dry shampoo before? Share your experience in a comment below!
With all the misinformation out there about afro hair being naturally dry and frizzy (shoutout to Ouidad), it's easy to start thinking there's something wrong with kinky/coily hair -- even when it's perfectly healthy. This misinformation can prompt us naturals to buy products that aren't suited for our hair. Even companies that cater to afro-textured hair get it wrong sometimes so it's important to be diligent when shopping for your hair, otherwise you might become what I call a hair hypochondriac.
As naturals, we're always being told how fragile and brittle our hair is. "Breakage" has become this big bad B word that has sent us running to stores in frantic search of products that will protect us from the horrors of thinning edges, single-strand knots, and split ends. We're bombarded with advertising that suggests our hair could be thicker, longer, shinier, and most fallaciously of all, straighter. The funny thing is even if you have superbly healthy hair, you've probably felt compelled by these claims too. I for one can admit to second-guessing the health of my edges whenever I see certain advertisements. (Are these normal baby hairs, or am I balding...?!) Obviously, this doubt inspires me to purchase some cream or gel that promises to restore my edges to their former glory. It's not until I've tested the product and had zero results that I realize I had been paying more attention to the advertising than to my own hair! I'd fallen victim to clever marketing that made me believe my hair might be damaged (is my hair dull, or is it just bad lighting in here?) and I lost sight of what my hair truly needed. I'm a much savvier shopper now that I have a few tricks to avoid becoming a hair hypochondriac.
I hope you find these tips helpful and remember them next time you're shopping for hair products. Unless you're a huge fan of the flat iron and you dye your hair a new colour every two days, chances are your hair is doing just fine! Be sure to listen to what it wants and forget all the corporate noise telling you otherwise.
Have you suffered from hair hypochondria? Share your experience in a comment below!
I really do love me a good hot oil treatment. By coating my strands in rich, nutrient-packed liquid gold and letting the warm oils soak in, I'm ensuring my hair stays as strong and healthy as possible. I like to heat up a blend of coconut oil, grapeseed oil, castor oil, and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and sit with the mixture in my hair for thirty minutes to an hour. I rinse it out afterwards and either shampoo or co-wash.
That was my weekly routine until about two months ago when I got box braids. Knowing how messy hot oil treatments can be even on short hair, I asked one of my hairdressers what she thought about continuing the treatments with the extensions in. She stated, "I wouldn't recommend it." I figured this made sense because the oils would probably be wasted slipping down the length of the extensions rather than focusing on my hair. So when it came time for me to do my regular hot oil treatment, I skipped it and instead went straight to co-washing.
I did this for about two weeks, but then I noticed my scalp was starting to dry out. It was flaking without the boost of nutrients and moisture from the oils. Even regular spritzing couldn't alleviate the problem. Despite getting professional advice against doing a hot oil treatment I couldn't ignore what my body was telling me, so I gave it a shot. I did tweak some things, though. First, I used much less castor oil than usual. This is because castor oil is incredibly thick and I was worried it might be hard to wash out of the braids. To make up the difference, I added a little more grapeseed oil and EVOO; they're not as viscous. When applying the oils, I focused more on my scalp and first inch of hair. This allowed any excess oil to travel down to the ends of my natural hair without bogging down my braids.
Unsurprisingly, I noticed relief within a few days. My scalp retained more moisture after co-washing and soon the flakes were gone. I'm glad I figured out a way to continue my hot oil treatments while protective styling, otherwise I'd probably have to take down my box braids after only a couple of weeks!
How do you switch up your regimen when protective styling? Share in a comment below!
Like a fine evening gown, kinky hair neither requires nor can handle frequent washing. Most naturalistas recommend cleansing no more than once a week, and some go as long as four weeks between washes! Personally, I need to at least co-wash my hair every seven days otherwise the itching drives me bonkers. It must be a combination of product slowly building up coupled with the gradual drying of my scalp, because by the end of the week all I can do is fantasize about what new oil mixture I'll use in my deep conditioning treatment. But what if there was a way to extend time between washes?
I've been researching ingredients to figure out what can combat the effects of product build-up and dryness, and it turns out there are quite a few. The best part is they're all natural, so you don't have to feel bad using them as often as you like - or even eating them if you dare! So without further ado, here are the top six scalp refreshing ingredients that you can add to your spritzes, deep conditioners, and salads.
I should mention that an oily scalp can still be considered clean. That's because your scalp needs a certain level of moisture in order to be healthy and facilitate hair growth. A clean scalp has just the right amount of nutrients to encourage growth without being so oily or full of product build-up that it starts to get itchy or flaky.
How do you keep your scalp clean between washes? Share your tips in a comment below!
Did you remember to turn off the stove? Lock the door? Feed the hamster? Life throws a lot at us to remember, and sometimes it's a little overwhelming to keep track of it all. As I learn more about keeping my hair healthy, it seems like the list of products, methods, and tricks only continues to grow. Despite keeping my routine as low-maintenance as is socially acceptable, there are three things I often forget to do to take care of my hair.
1. Drink Water - I'll give you a second to grab a glass of water before you continuing reading.... Alright, now that you've got some hydration let's talk about how immensely important it is. You've no doubt heard over and over that roughly 70% of the human body is made up of water and that it constantly needs to be replaced due to bodily functions such as sweating and urination. Of course your internal organs take priority, but did you know that some of the water you drink actually makes it all the way up to your scalp? That's right. And when it gets there, it works hard to combat dryness and keep your strands from growing brittle. The body sure is a wonder.
2. Seal in Moisture with Oil - So let's say you're drinking your eight glasses of water a day. What use is all that hydration if you let it evaporate? The same holds true for spritzing your hair or washing it with conditioner. They key to locking in moisture is applying an oil or butter afterwards. Here's an awesome video that scientifically explains why this works.
3. Trim as Needed - When's the last time you trimmed your hair? If you have no idea, you should probably get on that. Regular trimming prevents split ends from traveling up the hair shaft so each strand remains strong and length isn't compromised. Your ends are the oldest and most delicate part of your hair, so the longer you go between trims the more likely your ends will start to suffer. This is when you'll start noticing dryness, frizz, and other unsightly issues. This is a great guide you can use to properly trim your hair.
How do you stick to your hair care regimen? Share in a comment below!
If you live in the northern hemisphere of this beautiful planet, it's time to get serious about your winter hair routine. It's never too late to ramp up your hair care regimen -- even if the snow has already begun to fall -- but the earlier you prepare the better. Last winter was something fierce here in Toronto. I was introduced to a chilling phenomenon called a polar vortex (they couldn't have come up with a scarier name) in which the frozen air chewed vigorously on my delicate tresses. Temperatures were often below -30ºC (-22ºF) and humidity was high, which meant moisture could easily seep into each hair strand... and then freeze! Having never heard of deep conditioning back then, it's no wonder I experienced so much breakage. This year I am older and wiser. Here's a list of preventative measures I'm taking to keep my hair strong this winter.
How do you prep your hair for cold weather? Share in a comment below!
We're always hearing about how fragile our natural hair is. "Don't comb it when it's wet or it'll break." "Don't comb it when it's dry or it'll break." "Don't comb it at all — only finger detangling can truly prevent breakage!" Everyone's talking about all the "don't"s, so I decided to make a list of "do's" to help you on your path to stronger hair.
1. Hot Oil Treatments and Clay/Powder Masks - This is one of the easiest ways to fortify your tresses. By administering hot oil treatments and/or masks routinely, you ensure that your natural hair is receiving the nutrients and moisture that it requires to thrive.
2. Regular Trimming - The ends of your hair are the oldest and therefore the weakest. This is compounded by the fact that the natural oil your scalp produces to protect your hair has a harder time reaching your ends, especially if you have very kinky hair like I do. The best way to keep your hair strong is to trim your ends as soon as you notice any knots or splitting. This will prevent these problems from getting worse and causing hair loss.
3. Quality Conditioner - Regardless of whether you're riding the pre-poo bus or the no-poo train, conditioning your hair is very important. Good quality conditioners will minimize frizz and assist in detangling, which will save your hair from damage.
4. Protective Styling - I can't say enough about the benefits of reducing manipulation through protective styling. Keeping your hair in braids, twists, etc gives your strands a much-needed break from daily pulling and tugging, which in turn prevents breakage.
5. Drink Water - Moisture is essential to the health of your hair and scalp. Daily spritzing and the LOC/LCO method are great ways of preventing dryness. However, did you know you can also deliver moisture to your follicles by drinking water? That's right: what you put inside your body is just as important as what you put on it, so be sure to stay hydrated in order to guarantee your natural hair is receiving as much moisture as possible!
What do you do to grow healthier hair? Share in a comment below!
If you live in the northern hemisphere, you may be noticing some changes in the weather. Here in Toronto the sun isn't shining as brightly, the days are a bit cooler, and the wind is definitely picking up. It's important to pay attention to these atmospheric changes because they have a great impact on your natural hair. As the temperature and humidity drop, you should focus on how your hair looks and feels. Here are the top three ways you can update your natural hair regimen for autumn:
What are your tricks for preparing your hair for cooler weather? Share in a comment below!
Having grown up in the hot, dry Canadian prairies, I know firsthand what it's like to struggle with dryness. If you're living in a desert-like climate with high temperatures, relentless sun, and limited humidity, this post is for you! Years of experimentation have revealed to me three main tricks to keeping natural hair moisturized in dry summers.
1. Spritz Regularly
You can't afford to cut corners on this one, even if you're worried about shrinkage. You don't need to douse your hair completely, but applying a mixture of water and aloe vera juice with a spray bottle every so often will definitely help quench your hair's thirst. I do this once a day to every other day because my hair dries out fairly quickly. You may only need to spritz once or twice a week if your hair more readily holds onto moisture.
2. Use Light Oils
As I mentioned in The Best Natural Hair Oils for Hot Weather, you should opt for runnier oils during the warmest months of the year. Coconut and jojoba oil are two examples of light oils that are great at sealing in moisture without weighing your hair down. In the heat, thick oils like castor oil will feel heavy on your scalp and clog your pores. (Remember to apply a small amount of oil after every spritz, otherwise the water will simply evaporate leaving your hair as dry as it was before!)
3. Avoid Humectants
Humectants are products like vegetable glycerin and honey, which absorb moisture from the air and release it into your hair. Sounds good, right? Usually yes, but when humidity is low it can spell disaster. This is because humectants also transfer moisture from your hair into the atmosphere if humidity is low. They do this to create balance, shifting moisture from an area of high water content to an area with less. That's why humectants can be your worst enemy in dry weather － they can literally suck the moisture right out of your hair!
How do you combat dryness in the summertime? Tell us in a comment below!
Did you know that most of the damage your hair sustains is likely caused by UV radiation? Natural hair is pretty susceptible to the elements. Even under the best conditions it still requires a lot of TLC, and if you live in a sunny clime you must take extra precautions to avoid frizz, dryness, and even bleaching (unless you're striving for that look, in which case a hair coloring product might be a healthier option).
Ultraviolet radiation weakens the external part of the hair shaft, which is made of a protein called keratin. Keratin is sensitive to UVB rays and thus begins to degrade when overly exposed. You might notice your hair isn't as shiny anymore, and it may seem less elastic. Not only is this bad news for the structural integrity of each hair strand (hello split ends!), but the accompanying UVA rays can also strip the hair of melanin, which is responsible for giving hair its colour. The ultimate result is dry, brittle hair that looks fried.
Luckily this damage can be avoided. Here are a few tips to keep your hair safe while you have fun in the sun:
How do you keep your hair sun safe? Tell us about it in a comment below!