By Deborah Easton
African-American women are redefining the beauty of natural hair like never before.
With twists, coils, braids and locs, we’ve ventured way beyond those early Afro styles of the 60’s. That’s why today, not only does hair need to be strong enough to withstand all of the braiding, picking and pulling; it needs the right care to maintain its healthy brilliance and sheen.
Though natural styles may have evolved, the good news is that some of the best tried and true hair care ingredients are natural, too.
Try These Natural Hair Tips:
1. Use Essential Oils.
Stick to hair products formulated with the essential oils that help to hydrate and infuse your hair with natural brilliance and sheen. Try tea tree oil shampoo to purify the scalp, diffuse unsightly dandruff flakes, stimulate the scalp and unblock clogged hair follicles. Or, try an invigorating peppermint shampoo to gently cleanse hair and eliminate that itchy scalp.
Remember, shampooing too often strips the hair of its natural oils so be sure not to overdo it! Every other week is usually enough.
2. Strengthen & Replenish Every Day.
It’s imperative to use a good protectant on your hair daily. Coconut oil is great for rejuvenating the scalp and enhancing shine without adding weight. For weak hair, there’s nothing like castor oil to help nourish weak, fragile strands while fortifying hair with the strength it needs to grow. Or, try a dab of Jojoba oil to lubricate hair at the shaft and add maximum shine with no greasy residue.
3. Deep Condition.
Why? It helps to defend against damage and maximize shine. Don’t be afraid to veer away from store-bought brands and keep your hair care 100% natural by mixing your own deep penetrating hair conditioner. Use one part olive oil and one part honey. For deeper penetration, apply warm (microwave for 10-15 seconds) and pop on a plastic cap for 45 minutes. Be sure to shampoo out all of the mixture and use a regular conditioner afterwards.
4. Watch out for Moisture Leeches!
Wool hats, baseball caps, excessive sun and even that seemingly innocent pillowcases are all enemies of your hair’s natural sheen. So, remember to always sleep in a satin cap or use a silk scarf underneath that hat in order to maintain moisture and prolong your hair’s healthy shine.
A word of warning: Nothing makes natural hair look as dull and dry as excessive coloring. Explore natural coloring tools such as henna. But, if you really must color, take extra care by using a replenishing moisture mask after every coloring session and don’t forget to use a leave-in conditioner every day.