One of the most common questions for women rocking natural hairstyles is – how do I prevent dryness? For a lot of black women, especially those of us of the 4a or b persuasion, dry hair is a constant problem we struggle with. After being natural for 8 years between us, we have found ways to combat dryness and most of all keep our hair healthy. Following are a some of our favorite tricks for keeping our hair moist and soft.
- Start with damp hair. Apply a glycerin based product to hair and scalp. Apply a shower cap and leave on for as long as you can tolerate. I know that you are probably laughing and thinking of Jherri Curl days, but remember how moist they were??? Your hair will usually need a light rinse or mild shampoo before styling. It would be very easy to do tip 2(below) after this.
- Before bed, apply natural products to hair and scalp. Fill your two cupped hands with water and smooth over hair 1-2 times. Brush (yes brush) with a wet brush made for infants(these brushes are especially soft). Tie up immediately with silk or satin scarf.
- In the shower, wet your hands and run them through your hair. When you get out of the shower, without drying your hair, massage in a light, deep penetrating oil and style as usual. The oil will “hold in” the moisture from the water and keep your hair moist and soft all day.
- After washing your hair, put in a creme based conditioner(this one is not for locs), put on a shower cap, and go to bed! Just let it marinate overnight.
Now for a few things you should NOT do. A lot of people don’t realize that breakage also contributes to hard, dry looking hair.
- DON’T dry your hair roughly with towels.
- DON’T sleep on a cotton pillowcase or wear cotton/wool tight fitting hats. Only silk or satin fabric should be touching your hair.
- DON’T let your hair rub up against the back of your couch/chair upholstery – this is just as damaging as rolling around on a cotton pillowcase all night!
- DON’T wear high collars/turtlenecks that will be rubbing against the back of your hair.
- DON’T use mineral oil or beeswax based products.
- DON’T wear tight headbands/rubberbands/ponytail holders.
- DON’T use harsh hair dyes. If you must dye, use a rinse, and/or get it professionally done.
- DON’T use heat regularly on your hair. If you must, condition heavily and use a protective product before applying heat.
The above are tips we have learned through trial and error by using them on our own hair. We hope that you try them and use what works for you! We’d love to hear your experiences(good and bad) with keeping your hair moisturized and healthy.