I know that many of us are currently practicing social distancing because of COVID-19 and are stuck indoors. There are however some benefits to this...extra hours in the day - which means this is actually a great time to ensure you have a solid hair care routine. Who else is planning to come our of quarantine looking better than ever?
5 Basic Steps to Good Hair Care
Let's start at the very beginning. Here are 5 basic things you need to know in order to take basic care of your hair.
1. Keep it Clean
It’s very tempting to get get lazy and just not wash our hair and scalp at all! As much as wash day can be a whole chore sometimes, your hair will not thank you for all the dirt and bacteria you're building up. Cleaning your scalp regularly removes excess dirt, sweat, fungus and bacteria that can clog your pores and infect your scalp.
Shampooing your hair once a week is a great way to keep your hair and scalp clean. If you suffer from a dry scalp you can incorporate cowashing with shampooing every two weeks. (If you want more info on cowashing, don't worry we can add it to a future blog post!)
FYI: Have you heard of sulphates? They are harsh chemicals included in most shop bought conditioners used to strip the hair of it's natural oils. For us naturals its something to steer clear of when purchasing a shampoo.
Be sure to check the bottle for any of these harsh ingredients:
* sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS),
* sodium laureth sulphate (SLES), and
* ammonium lauryl sulphate (ALS)
2. Conditioning is Key
You want to condition your after shampooing especially if you are using a clarifying shampoo to make hair softer and easier to manage/detangle.
Including this step after every wash is so important as it hydrates, adds elasticity, moisture and strengthens the hair too.
3. Make Sure You Moisturise
This is where it gets complicated for some of us. Many curlies have now adopted this thing called the LCO or LOC Method of moisturising. Let's break that down:
L = Liquid
This can be a leave in conditioner or even just a spritz of water. If you opt for a leave in as your liquid make sure it is water based - check the ingredients!
O = Oil
Olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, Jamaican black castor oil just to name a few. You can experiment with one or a combination of oils, listen to your hair, see what it responds best to and stick to that combo.
C = Cream
This is where you bring in the heavy duty butters, water on its own just evaporates so by using a butter or cream based product you can seal in the moisture. A little goes a long way and note that thinner hair doesn't need as thick a butter.
(it's really not as complex as it sounds!)
Both the LOC and LCO methods have found themselves very useful for many naturals ensuring their hair stays moisturised for longer. Navigating natural hair involves trial and error so get used to listening to your hair and responding to its needs.
4. Find Your Style
Styling your hair whilst being in the middle of a lockdown may feel pointless but there is more to styling than just looking great. Get on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube and find styles that not only look great but are also protective helping you to retain length.
Here are some easy starting points:
Two strand twists or Flat twists
If it is long enough put your hair up in a bun. Do ensure your bun isn’t too tight so it’s not pulling out your edges!
Cornrows or Braids
Opt for low manipulation styles - styles that don't require lots of maintenance and friction. The longer the style can last without you having to redo it the better.
Also not every style suits every face. I found it helps to find a blogger or influencer with a similar hair type and length to you. Work with what you have and learn to love your crown. It is beautiful.
5. Protect What You Have!
In order to retain length and protect your hair you need to be aware of what it is fighting against. Using satin or silk bonnet, headscarf or additionally pillow case can really help you to retain moisture while you sleep and chill out.
Note from Asikara - We are hoping to get more Satin head wraps in store, if you are looking for any thing in particular please don't hesitate to ask. Our Dema & Masaisai wraps are great for protecting your hair.
Although we only covered the basics, I really hope this has helped you and has given you the tools you need to start a building a basic hair care routine over the next couple of weeks. For more tips on hair care and styling please follow @afrohairtips and feel free to ask us any questions you have about all things natural hair.