How many times have you combed your hair or watched someone comb their hair so hard the head shakes like one of those bobble-head dolls? That, my friends, can produce major stress to the scalp and hair, creating hair damage.
As Diana Ross & the Supremes would say, “Stop! in the name of love,” followed up by Aretha Franklin…RESPECT. Yes, respect the curls. To avoid unnecessary breakage to your hair, add some TLC (tender love & care).
Here are some basic hair-care techniques or tips that could yield healthy hair strands over a period of time when done regularly. If you have not created a hair regimen that will work for you and your lifestyle, then this is a great starting point.
Your hair regimen should include the products you use to cleanse, condition, deep condition and style. Enjoy building up your arsenal of hair tools:
1) Spray bottle — for your water or hair sprits you may want to mix. One of the best moisturizers for your hair is good ole H2O. Easy access: grab the bottle and lightly mist. Some people do it daily, but you must find the right frequency for your hair.
2) Wide-tooth comb — They are sold all over. The most effective way to use this comb is to grab a small section of hair and begin combing from the end of the hair gently moving in a downward motion, then working your way up as you continue to fully detangle your hair.
It’s recommended to detangle when the hair has a conditioner, water or both to avoid excessive pulling on the tangled strands. This is the phase where you really want to practice patience.
The goal is to glide the comb down the hair shaft without excessive ripping and tugging. Do not get nervous when you see hair collecting in the comb. Our hair can shed up to 100 to 150 hair strands a day.
3) Hair clips — To ensure you are coating all or most of your strands with product, whether you are styling, cleansing or conditioning, especially if your hair is thick and as it gets longer, part the hair in four sections and secure with a clip. Then work one section at a time. Your strands will appreciate receiving the nutrients.
In reference to specific products to use in general, I would have to say, “One size does not fit all.” What works on one person’s hair may not work on others. During your hair-care journey, you have to discover what products your hair likes. Typical hair growth is approximately a half inch per month; however, some people may experience faster or slower growth, so never compare your hair to someone else’s.
Massage scalp — To increase blood circulation, gently massage your scalp before and during your wash regimen. Did you know that massaging your scalp can influence hair growth? Studies support that the stimulation of your fingers on your scalp can boost circulation, which allows the hair follicles to receive increased nutrients that can promote growth.
Massaging may also reduce stress, help to condition the scalp, and can help strengthen the hair roots. You can also add a product like castor oil around your temples at night before bed to stimulate growth and a healthy hairline.
Silk or satin scarf/bonnet — On our heads, cotton is not our friend. Cotton tends to rub hair, causing friction, and it absorbs the moisture we worked so hard to put into our heads. When you go to bed at night, it is highly recommended to wear a satin/silk scarf or bonnet to help retain moisture level. For those who do not like anything on their heads at night or sleep too wild, invest in a satin or silk pillowcase, sold at Target, WalMart and beauty supply stores.
Ultimately, we simply want the best hair we can have, working with what we have been given. In a hair regimen, commit to cleansing, massaging and moisturizing a couple times a week, once a week or once a month. Find what works best for you and stick with it.
I found success in a weekly cleansing and deep moisturizing, daily moisturizing with water or leave-in conditioner. I only use a wide-tooth comb to detangle once a week and use my fingers for styling during the week.
I enjoy wearing protective styles, which we will explore later in this series! Respect your tresses, be good to it, and it will be good to you!!
Keep in mind that being pro-natural does not mean you are anti-relaxer. I like mine Fro Real No Lye!
Natural hair coach and enthusiast Kelley Eubanks welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.