Greetings Chicas/Chicos..I pray all is well with everyone!!
Ok, so let's talk about a subject that is a 'much talked about subject' when discussing natural hair. And that is DRYNESS. Now, keep in mind, natural hair is naturally drier that straight hair due to the fact that the oils that are produced by the scalp do not easily 'slide' down the follicle of the hair due to the curls and bends in natural hair. We should also understand that just because hair shines does not necessarily mean that it is healthy. Shine and health do not go hand in hand and sheen/shine is due to how light reflects off of a surface. This is why straighter darker hair appears more shiny than other hues of hair, and when it comes to natural hair, again, the shine is not as prevalent due to how light reflects..or rather, does not reflect due to the curls and bends in the natural pattern of curly, coily and kinky hair. So, when we want our natural healthy hair to have a sheen, we help it along by adding moisturizers and butters and oils to give it the desired look we want. Ok, but now you ask, 'how do I achieve healthy hair that does not feel brittle?' Well, let's discuss that now!!
- EXCESSIVE USE OF HEAT: Excessive heat is when we use items such as blow dryers, flat irons and other straightening tools on our hair. Using excessive heat can cause dryness due to the heat pulling the natural moisture from our hair. In addition, you could expose your hair to possible heat damage. When this happens, you melt the protein bond of the hair changing the molecular structure and the once beautiful coil is now damaged and straight, known as 'heat damage'. Unfortunately, there is no way to correct, but treat the ends as you would relaxed ends and either clip them away at once or gradually clip them away.
- CHECK YOUR INGREDIENTS: Products that are in many commercial, non natural products as well as some natural products are main culprits of aiding in dryness. Products that contain silicones can block moisture from penetrating the hair and many regular shampoos are not formulated to remove many silicones, which is why a hair detox may be needed to thoroughly remove buildup from the hair and scalp. Silicones give the illusion of a faux sheen that acts as wax buildup that can be difficult to remove, aiding in dryness. This layer of buildup blocks the hair from receiving proper moisture, leaving hair feeling dry and you feeling frustrated. Detoxing the hair requires the use of a strong cleanser, such as Terressentials Pure Earth Wash , various black soap shampoos, such as SheaMoisture Black Soap Shampoo and Dudu Osum Black Soap Shampoo and a thorough cleansing of nothing but the shampoo for up to 7 days (Terressentials website mentioned details the process of hair detoxing). Though I do use natural and organic products, I do a hair detox of 3 days once per year to ensure buildup is thoroughly removed, as natural ingredients can buildup over time as well. Be sure to check your ingredients to ensure that your tresses receive nourishment as some of these ingredients are known to be very drying in the long term use of them. If you are ensure of an ingredients, visit the manufacturers website or google the ingredient to stay 'in the know' of what you are putting on your hair and scalp.
- IMPROPERLY MOISTURIZING: Dampening hair with water or a water based product are EXCELLENT!! However, water evaporates quickly, so once the hair dries, it is DRY. So, to combat this and ensure the moisture is locked in, first, apply water or a water based product..THEN lock the moisture in with a butter or oil based product. And since our ends are the oldest part of the hair, be sure to pay special attention to them. A helpful tip that I learned from Ciprana of Urban Bush Babes was dip end into water, or mist them thoroughly with water, soak up the excess water with a paper towel or old t-shirt, then apply a heavy butter (shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter, or your Natty Butter) or a heavy oil, such as castor oil to your ends and protect at night. Protecting the hair at night with a satin/silk bonnet, scarf or pillow case is key to helping the hair to retain moisture as cotton absorbs moisture from the hair.
- PRODUCT BUILDUP: it's great to nourish the hair with natural butter based and oil based products, however, not properly cleansing at least monthly will aid in product buildup. At least once per month, try clarifying the hair using a natural clarifying shampoo (SheaMoisture African Black Soap Shampoo, Dudu Osum Shampoo, Terressentials Pure Earth Wash , Dudu Osum Shampoo or Bentonite and Rhassoul Clay Treatments have been known to work amazingly for removing product buildup). When product is constantly built up on the hair, moisture is not allowed to properly penetrate the hair, therby aiding in dryness and lack luster hair.
- HARD WATER: Because normal tap water contains chlorine and other minerals that aid in dryness, it's great to use distilled water to cleanse the hair..OR.. Apple Cider Vinegar rinses are great for aiding in ridding the hair of mineral buildup. The use of Apple Cider Vinegar as a final rinse is great for helping to close the hair's cuticle, which helps the hair hold on to more moisture and gives hair a shinier appearance. It also aids in protecting the scalp from water and environmental contaminants that aid in scalp issues. Water filter systems are excellent as well, just be sure that your system removes chlorine as well.
- LACK OF WATER, IMPROPER DIET AND CERTAIN MEDICATION: 'Let Food Be Thy Medicine' a popular quote by Hipoccrates meaning, what we put into our bodies affect what comes out of it. Food is meant to nourish, but as we all know, all foods are not nourishing. So be sure to treat your temple to foods that are healthy and nourishing, especially fruits and veggies. Be sure to get plenty of water. Our bodies are made up of mostly water and we need to ensure to we keep it stocked with water, so bottoms up!! And lastly, certain prescription medication can aid in causing dryness in the hair. Check with your medical professional to find out if hair and skin dryness are side effects of any medication you may be prescribed.
Happy Natty Day!
Healthy Natural hair with moisturizing aids and butters and oils to seal. Hair that is dry makes a crunchy sound and feels rough to the touch. Properly moisturized hair when pulled, will immediately spiral back into a coil. Hair that is dry and damaged tends to snap and break easily when pulled.
Healthy Natural hair with moisturizing aids and butters and oils to seal. Listen to your hair, feel your hair..get to know your hair and recognize when it's time to step up the moisture game.