Talk about contradictions and ethnic Afro hair is one of the few examples that would easily make the cut. However, probably being the only hair type in the world that can be tensile yet fragile, Afro manes can be tricky to handle when it comes to daily care and maintenance.
Naturally glorified and lustrous that ethnic African hair looks, much of its smoothness is attributed to the efforts dedicated to its upkeep. Indeed it is one of a kind hair type wherein proper attention can make all the difference in terms of a mane that rocks in good health or is dry, brittle and prone to breakage, and that is where a hair-care regime comes in. All you need to do is to incorporate it into your daily routine to enjoy long-term benefits.
Vulnerable that ethnic African hair is, it is sure to suffer damage from the absence of proper care. To prevent such a situation, discussed as follows are guidelines that would ensure that your ethnic locks always look and feel good –
Shampooing & Conditioning
While the shampooing technique remains the same, applying it on your scalp and taking it along the shaft right down to the tips, what can truly make a difference is the type of shampoo you use. The objective is to identify a shampoo that would effectively cleanse without stripping the strands or the scalp of natural oils. So, if you have ethnic Afro hair, the ideal shampoo would be one which –
- Has moisture boosting properties;
- It is free of harmful sulfates, which are known to cleanse at the cost of causing excessive dryness;
- Can remove all the dirt and debris from the scalp, enabling the pores to breathe;
Word of caution, while shampooing, try avoiding tangling the hair while manipulating and lathering. Instead, focus on rinsing till all the soap has disappeared.
Make it a point to condition on the same day as your shampoo so that the impact is maximum and long-lasting. After thoroughly rinsing your hair, apply a deep conditioner that is jam-packed with natural oils. You would begin by using the conditioner on the scalp so that the roots are duly covered and take it all the way down to the tips. Preferably re-apply the conditioner on the ends till they feel slippery to avoid dryness and splitting.
After about 5 minutes with cool water, Rinse off the conditioner and wrap your hair in a microfiber towel, after which you can style as per the occasion.
Moisturizing Ethnic Afro Hair
One of the best ways of keeping ethnic Afro hair supple and healthy is to moisturize it with soft natural hair creams. Choose a water-based moisturizer replete with natural ingredients to preserve the curls and render the strands smooth and supple. To ensure uniform moisturizing –
- Roughly divide your mane into multiple sections, preferably four or more, and secure each using a clip in such a way that it does not infringe on the other areas;
- Doing so would enable you to check what is going on with your hair while rendering it easier to reach out to even the remote corners of your scalp with relative ease;
- Takedown each section and apply the moisturizing conditioner, starting from the scalp and moving downward along the shaft till you reach the tip;
- Seal the moisture in by applying oil, once again starting at the scalp and finishing at the ends, which should be flush with oil;
- Standard options like coconut oil and olive oil notwithstanding, Amla oil is an alternative that you must consider owing to its inherent ability to strengthen the strands and nourish the scalp;
It is crucial to ascertain the optimum quantity of oil for your mane, wherein it should not be too little or too much. In case your hair feels excessively greased, rinse it with lukewarm water, wrap a towel for a few minutes, and let it air-dry.
Follow the LOC method – an acronym for Liquid-Oil-Cream – for moisturizing ethnic Afro hair either in-between washes or after shampooing. The liquid adds sheen to the strands, while the oil seals it in, and the cream adds a touch of smoothness.
Tucking Away Ends
Regardless of the hair type, prolonged exposure causes the ends to dry up, and the next stage is brittleness and breakage. Ethnic Afro hair is no exception, and although inherently tensile, it is sure to suffer damage and breakage if not granted timely and appropriate protection. To this effect, a timeless remedy entails adopting a protective hair-do wherein the ends are effectively tucked away, thus limiting exposure.
Twists, braids, and knots, and their variations are some protective hairstyles that are not just simple to achieve but are just as easy on the pocket. In addition to protecting your mane, they also facilitate efficient moisturizing and cleaning and have a long-term positive impact on hair health.
Of course, several other remedies can add suppleness to your mane if regularly observed, like drinking plenty of water every day. To maintain a sufficient intake of water daily and enjoy its positive impact on your hair.
If you harbor a bias towards natural ingredients, then try a blend of honey and amla oil for conditioning. First, mix both ingredients in equal amounts, and warm it slightly in the microwave before applying it on the scalp and coating the strands. Next, wrap your mane in a warm towel to maximize impact, and shampoo after a while. Sticky though this solution might be, it contains the goodness of both honey and amla oil and hence benefits your mane in more ways than one.
Amla oil is indeed the dark horse for moisturizing and conditioning ethnic Afro hair, owing to being lesser-known despite its numerous benefits. Use it to seal your strands and experience other benefits like better scalp health and curtailing problems such as dandruff. So how about including it in your hair-care routine and check if it truly makes a difference to your ethnic Afro hair type?