- The elasticity factor
Do you have many days where your natural hair just won't cooperate? If your hair is experiencing that dessert dryness, it may be damage caused by everyday styling habits. To see if your mane is brittle, take one strand (a dry one) and hold it between your two hands. Tug gently this is not a wrestling match. The hair will stretch and either breaks real easily or break only after a lot of pressure has been used. If locks are breaking easily, get thee to a feast of moisture.
- What keeps moisture in?
Some products may rave about "moisture" but if you look closely, they contain nothing more than ingredients that coat the hair shaft and smooth it over for that soft-to-the-touch feel. Who wants an illusion of “soft hair” when you can actually get the real thing! If you are looking for that true moisture, you want to look for products that actually penetrate as opposed to just coating your hair! Look for ingredients like coconut oil, marula oil, Shea butter, almond oil and moisturizing oils. These are natural oils that go into your hair. Keep a watch out for products that just sit on top of your hair. If products are just sitting on top, moisture will knock and they won't allow it to enter! Petroleum and mineral oil happen to be notorious gatekeepers that prevent moisture entry.
- Is heat your villain?
If you want that silky, soft, sheen look what is the one great way to get it? Heat. But, heat can have it's drawbacks if abused. It's like a coiled snake that lashes out when provoked. It strikes you with dryness and leaves you with wounds that need an emergency treatment. You can protect your natural hair from heat that is emitted by flat irons, curling irons, blow dryers and press irons. Make sure you shampoo with a cleansing shampoo then follow with a deep conditioner. When your hair is semi damp, apply a light leave in. You have now prepped your hair for heat. Before you get the urge to run towards a flat-iron, put on some heat protecting cream/spray (apply to semi damp hair). Coarser hair textures can also stretch hair naturally with rollers and flex-rods.
- Weather matters....
No matter what the weatherman says, cold or hot, it's always going to have some effect on your hair. Scorching days to polar bear cold are going to bring on dry hair. For those scorchers, buy a sunscreen spray that you can use on your scalp and along the length of your hair. For those freezing days get some type of protective styling going (e.g braids, twists and head wraps) or use richer conditioners that have hydrating ingredients.
- Don't be fooled that split ends are growth!
Why do you have a death-grip on those shaggy looking ends? A quick tip: you should be trimming your ends about 6-8 weeks or whenever they look kind of raggedy. If you are married to a heat-producing tool (flat iron, blow dryer...) then the frequency of trims should be sooner than later. You should also take into effect the type of scissors you are using. Go for real hair shears! Those paper cutting scissors will only fray your ends since they're dull and not built for cutting hair. The hairs ones are sharp and provide a clean snip.
- Lubrication will do magic!
In the case that you are experiencing the Sahara dessert on your head, go try a moisture-rich oil treatment. Look at oils like coconut oil, olive oil and almond oil. When your hair is damp, rub in some drops and just cover with a shower cap for around 10 minutes. This is the part that makes it an oil treatment. The heat from your scalp will help the absorption of moisture. Then you can wash this oil off with a non-stripping shampoo and followed by a conditioner. Let is all air dry so you can promote moisture into your locks.
- Bedtime prep time
Think about the way you sleep – the motion of tossing and turning may end up getting knots, tangles and breakage. Use a silk pillow or wear a silk scarf to get rid of friction that often breaks hair. Prepare your hair for bed by wearing loose styles (e.g. a loose braid, bun, twists). If you wear a bun or one big braid, using a boar bristle, brush the top and spreading around the natural oils from your scalp and the boar brush also removes tangles. When in doubt, throw on a bonnet and go to sleep.
- "Stop hurting me with chemicals" said your hair in that small, sad, voice.
Do you have a routine that involves chemicals that alter your hair structure? This includes relaxers, perm, hair coloring and texturizing? We will never wave a mean long finger and rebuke your relaxer ways (as you know we are not here to declare superiority over other ladies who choose the chemical way). But, we just want to bring to your awareness that chemicals do deplete natural hair of its natural moisture and this dryness works to weaken the hair strands. That's when you get that frizzy, dull, appearance. If you can't resist the chemicals, at least try to reduce the times you are processing your hair. Increases the intervals before you get your next treatment.
- Get a fast hair treat
If you're at home and want luscious smoothness from a DIY quickie, look no further. Honey is a humectant which means that it draws moisture into the skin/hair and helps retain water. All you need is some honey and olive oil. Mix them together in equal parts. Run the concoction into your natural hair then use a shower cap. If you're not within reach of a shower cap, go to the trenches with some saran wrap. Cover your hair and leave it on for 30mins-1 hour. Then wash it out with a non-stripping shampoo. Because why would you put moisture into your hair only to strip it out minutes later? Talk about a time waster of 30 mins to 1 hour. Then follow up with some conditioner. If you want to reap the benefits of this moisturizing masque, do it once a week.
- To shampoo or not to shampoo?
You may be addicted to that squeaky clean feeling so you may end up making everyday/week a wash-day! Unless your scalp runeth over with oils go easy on that sulfate shampoo! Choose a sulfate-free shampoo to avoid stripping your hair. When you shampoo, apply the product directly to your scalp and massage while doing that. Don’t apply to your ends since the shampoo will follow its natural course by running down your natural hair strands. When you apply conditioner, apply it closer to your ends not the scalp.
I couldn’t resist throwing one more hair growth tip into your tip jar so here’s #11! See I’m not stingy at all!
Think of your hair as part of your lifestyle
Hair inhales nutritious foods. It wants to be nourished by that salmon and that shine of coconut oil! Hair needs those good fats like avocados to help it have that vibrancy, luster and health. Your scalp produces oils and by giving your body the essential fats, you are gifting your dry scalp with natural oils! That’s why crash diets suck for your hair! They strip you of all those nutritious goodies that are a must in the process of bringing forth healthy hair!!