Afro is great. Curly and afro hair is not only beautiful but also an eye-catcher. However, just like most hairstyles, a lot has to be taken into consideration when maintaining healthy and strong curly/afro hair. But as afro hair isn’t easy to handle, there are things we can do to maintain its strength and health. Today, we’re going to be breaking down some hair care tips for the people fortunate enough to rock curly or afro hair.
1. Diet with hair health in mind
This goes for any hairstyle: if you can maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle, you will see your hair reflect the very same thing. A balanced diet will get the right amount of nutrients and vitamins to your hair, allowing it to flourish and maintain strength. This means adding more fruit and veg to your diet and cutting out sugars, fats and processed foods. Furthermore, to maintain a healthy scalp, eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as avocados, walnuts and salmon.
2. Drink more water
You cannot maintain healthy hair without enough water. It is simply impossible to do so without being hydrated. Make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water a day, the recommended daily amount, to keep your body hydrated and your hair supplied with enough moisture. And if you haven’t managed to get more water into your system, try to cut out fizzy drinks or caffeinated beverages as these contain ingredients that are detrimental to hair strength.
3. Potentially use supplements
Supplements are not always necessary, especially if you have managed your diet well and have maintained a balance throughout. However, if you are not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals, supplements can be the perfect remedy.
After all, a vitamin deficiency can lead to hair loss and other severe problems. Vitamin C will help spur hair growth, renew tissue and follicles and help absorb iron into the body – which is a major move as iron transports oxygen to your hair follicles. Try also adding Vitamin B as this is responsible for the overall health of your hair. And finally, Vitamin E can also be added to the supplement list as it stimulates increased scalp circulation.
4. Swap blow dry to towel
If you’ve got curly or afro hair and you’re still using a blow dryer, you may want to switch to a towel turban to dry instead. Blow drying can lead to heat damage which can break down hair follicles, lead to hair loss and reduce the integrity of the hair still on your head. By switching to a towel turban, you can remove excess water from your scalp and hair without having to heat and damage your hair in the process.
5. Use sulphate-free shampoo
Did you know that sulphate used in most shampoos can lead to skin irritation and also strips the oils from curly/afro hair? Sulphate is a drying ingredient and strips the aforementioned hair of all its natural oils. For curly and afro hair to maintain its health and shape, it has to retain those natural oils. Switch to a sulphate-free shampoo alternative to keep your hair in its natural state and free from damaging ingredients.
6. Try Protective Hairstyles
By protective hairstyles we mean looks such as braids, wigs, buns, weaves and twists. All these hairstyles tuck the hair away and are a great way to grow longer healthier and more natural hair. When we keep our hair out and about it can be affected by natural environmental factors, as well as general wear and tear. Protective hairstyles keep them close to the scalp and free of damage.
7. Night Protection
A common mistake people with afro/curly hair make is not practising night protection. Most of us sleep on cotton beds and pillows which are super absorbent. This means that your oily hair will be robbed of all its moisture while you sleep and you won’t even realise. Try adding a bonnet to your night outfit or even switch your cotton duvet set for satin or silk sheets instead. It may be a more expensive alternative but your hair will thank you!
8. Deep condition your hair
It is very important to condition your hair at least once or twice a week. Also, it is recommended to use a mineral oil-free conditioner. When you deep condition your hair, especially after switching between protective hairstyles, you are supplying your follicles and hair with a good moisture-protein balance. This will eventually aid the look and feel of your hair.
9. Trim your hair regularly
When we let our hair grow out, we let split ends grow out as well. By trimming your hair, you also trim your split ends as well. You should inspect your hair every two weeks for split ends and trim them accordingly. If you don’t feel up to the task, make sure you go to a hairstylist for the job. You can test for split ends by running your fingers along your hair strands. Even if you don’t find split ends, you can test how rough or smooth your hair feels when you glide your finger over it.
10. Use a wide Toothcomb
Curly and afro hair can form into knots and tangle up. This will make combing difficult and can lead to hair damage and breakage if you aren’t using the right comb. A wide-tooth comb has softer teeth and maintains enough space between rows to allow hair to safely pass through, without any breakage. Also, to help your comb pass through hair more smoothly than usual, dampen or spray with water.
Taking care of curly or afro hair can be very easy if we keep these 10 hair care tips in mind. The end result is always a luscious and bombastic look that projects strength and looks uber-healthy. What other methods are you using to maintain your curly/afro hair?