Not everything is for everybody. The one area of our lives as Black women where we don’t seem to understand this concept is in hair care. For some reason, many of us believe that what works for Tracee Elliss Ross or Jill Scott’s hair will immediately take to our own, causing her huge luscious mane to grow from our scalps. Nope.
Our scalps, our strands, our follicles, our bodies speak to each of us in very evident ways to show us exactly what our hair needs are. Too often we ignore our hair’s signals because we see a product or technique that looks good on/for someone else. This often offers disappointing results – dry, breaking hair, traction alopecia, and most devastatingly – hair loss. Here a few telltale problematic signs that your hair could be giving you and a few suggestions on how to combat the problem:
1. Severely tangled roots
This could result from a number of things including: Only detangling the length of the hair and not at the root; and a lack of moisture concentrated at the root.
TIPS: DETANGLE! Gently detangling (from the ends working your way up to the roots) a few times per week. Patience during the detangling process is also key as you want to make sure you’re not pulling to hard on your hair.
- On dry hair: Try finger detangling with your favorite mixture of oils. My favorite is a mixture of castor oil, olive oil and coconut oil. Split the hair into four sections and gently detangle from tip to root.
- On wet hair: Split hair into four sections and evenly and generously distribute your favorite conditioner through your hair. Detangle from tip to root with your fingers or a large-toothed comb like the Jibere.
2. Traction Alopecia
This receding of the hairline normally results from too much stress on the hairline whether from weaves, braids or other forms of protective styling.
TIPS: Take breaks between styles that can cause stress on the hairline. If you love your weaves, take a break every few months to allow your scalp to breathe. Massage your edges with your choice of oils and keep them covered.
3. Breakage along the hair shaft
This is normally caused by lack of moisture, too much stress at that area or lack of protein which helps strengthen the hair shaft.
TIPS: Moisturizing is absolutely one of the most important parts of caring for your hair. Create a regimen that allows for regular deep conditioning as well as daily or weekly moisture based on what your hair responds best to. For example, I spritz my hair daily with water and follow with a water-based moisturizer when I leave my hair out. Or I follow the water with a mixture of coconut oil and shea butter, then some Jamaican Black Castor oil. I have seen much less breakage when practicing these regimens. In order to really notice any of these or other symptoms, it is important take daily, weekly, monthly account of your hair to see how it is changing, if it is growing, what products it responds well (or poorly) to. Do your research but ultimately, listen to your own hair and treat it based on what it tells you.
La Truly is a late-blooming Natural haired Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself, La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change through her writing. Check her out on her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.