Growing healthy hair seems impossible to most ladies; and everyone with “good hair” is usually considered to be from a place where ladies have long hair! Most ladies see my hair [see picture above] and the first question they ask is: “Where are you from?” Others ask if my mother and sisters have long hair. Some others go: “What products do you use?”
It makes me sad to realise how little is known about the hair, and even sadder because healthy hair is so achievable!
You have to be born with it, so everyone thinks. This is an opportunity to correct all those lies, and help you grow the healthy and desirable hair—that is all yours, (not Brazilian or Peruvian hairs, unless, of course, you are from Brazil or Peru!).
It will, however, require a total change in the way we think about your hair, and some changes in your hair-care routines.
#1. Reduce the frequency of chemical treatments (like relaxers and dyes)
This is the best thing you can do! Some people stop them completely and may have even better results. These chemicals destroy the basic bonds in your hair strands. Reducing the frequency of touch-ups lessens the likelihood that you will overlap treatments which will further weaken already weak portions . I recommend at least 10 weeks interval between treatments (if you must)!
#2: Always keep your scalp clean!
Contrary to popular belief, the scalp loves to be clean and fresh, and the hair loves water! Cleansing your hair at least once a week gives you both benefits. You can do this by washing with a non-drying shampoo, or using other no-poo methods like the use of cheap conditioners, soap, baking soda, etc. I prefer shampoos (and why, my friend, is a story for another day!)
#3: Make deep conditioning part of your routine.
After every wash, your hair is made stronger by applying a deep conditioner on the sectioned part, and leaving that under a shower-cap (with heat, if you can). This lifts the cuticle and infuses the strands with molecules of moisture (or protein) that rebuild the strands and keeps it soft and pliable.
#4: Ensure your hair is always well moisturized.
Applying a moisturizer once or twice daily ensures that it is always kept soft and strong (and that “soft and strong” sounds like an irony right?) Dry hair is prone to breakage and moisturizing is a sure way to prevent dryness. After moisturizing the sectioned hair, it is an added advantage to apply a natural oil (or butter) to keep the moisture in for a longer period and for a brighter shine.
5. Treat your hair with T.L.C ( Tender Loving Care)
Be gentle on your hair! Avoid vigorous combing, the use of direct heat (like flat irons), the use of hair “snatchers” such as rubber bands (rubber-rings), or anything in general that pulls at the strands. Your hair is precious—treat it as such!
It takes determination to make these changes; and you have to consistently practice them; but if you are persistent, getting the hair of your dreams is only a matter of time!
Your hair is like a flower; nurture it and it will grow!
Dr. Unekwu Negedu,
Medical Doctor, Federal Medical Centre, Keffi; and Co-founder of NatureStrands