Can you live a year without heat on your hair especially when its afro 4C, extremely curly and difficult to manage. Well the answer to that will depend on the thickness of your hair, the porosity and also the surrounding individuals. This year, I managed to live most of it heat free. It has been challenging just enjoying my hair as it is in its curly state.
Strategies for afro hair
Now how did I survive you ma
y wonder? Well each time I washed my hair after a wash day, I would try to air -dry it more than using a towel because I always felt that the towel just makes the hair get more tangled. Immediately I would get my wide-toothed comb and section it off, depending on the mood of the day, I would either put in twists or massive flat twists to save time. I also found that it helped to use moisturize on my hair to avoid it from getting too dry. This would mean that if I wanted to remove the twists or flat twists after some time, the hair will not be in its original state of shrinkage.
Embrace the afro
I soon learned to embrace my afro in its most natural state, without manipulation, I would just put oil and let it dry. This took some time to get used to, I will let you know why. Firstly, I grew up with this idea that your hair cannot be in the afro state at all. If it is in that state you must do something about it. Secondly, I remember some comments I would get with my hair in this state, none of them were compliments so this really plays with your mind. Thirdly, there is this idea that we always had when we were younger that if an individual’s hair is just in its original state, then it is unkempt.
I had to acknowledge that these ideas were not right because I always wash my hair every single week. I always make sure to detangle and deep condition in order to keep my hair in good condition. Learning to just embrace my afro helped me to view these ideas as completely foreign and know that sometimes you have to love everything about you, regardless of what anyone thinks. This was a lesson for me and now when I view myself, I don’t acknowledge those negative views anymore.
Care for the afro
I came to realize how fragile and deprived my hair because it get’s dry every 3 days. I had to learn how to moisturize it often. I realized that my scalp was quite sensitive and it really needed nourishment to minimize it from getting dry. I learned how to work in maintaining it as it was and realized that moisture and my hair are friends. I have low-porosity hair, that means that most times when I use a cream or some type of butter, it will just stay on my hair and take a long time to absorb. This meant that I had to start utilizing more light oils on my scalp like jojoba and argan oil. I also started minimizing the use of coconut on my hair although my hair certainly likes it, the only problem I get is when it solidifies.
I came to realize that with my hair, especially before bed, I would make sure that I wrap it up before going to bed. This is something that is necessary for maintenance of afro hair. When its neglected it tends to dry and becomes a lot more brittle and difficult to manage. I would also use my little bottle that had water should I want to add moisture to it. Any individual would think that the process is cumbersome, however if you want to maintain natural hair, unless you have other products that can keep it in good condition, this is necessary.
It actually made me think about all the thinks that were done to natural hair way before products came up. Although a few years back I was always looking for the next new product. I stopped getting a lot of products after realizing how some would not get used. I am also quite particular about what I use on my hair so I stopped getting the next new thing and just worked with all the items that I had.
What do I use?
When I wash my hair, I discovered Maui, I really love it. Although it can be costly, I got it on sale.
I really like how wonderful it feels on my hair. I usually use this and most times just a shampoo that does not contain sulfates. I find with these types of shampoo’s I get fewer tangles and it also get’s well moisturized.
Once I am done I normally get my conditioner which is mostly jojoba and sometimes coconut.
I also put some oil on my scalp just to keep it from drying up, mostly shea butter. Which does not have much of a smell and does melt on the scalp.
This process takes a shorter time as before this I used to spend at least half a day on my scalp, now after I wash it its quite a quick process, I just wash and put moisturizer and I am on my way.
I use deep conditioning at least every month, although I want to experiment with that every week to see what will happen to the hair. I think especially in summer it would work, however in winter I would probably keep it to once a month.
The deep conditioning that I use is Garner although this changed as I was only using henna conditioner.
The main thing I find with deep conditioner, is that most of them can be used as they are mostly moisturizing to the hair. The amount of time you use it on your head depends, however the longer the better. I normally make sure that I have it on my head when I know that I will not be running too many errands, although even if you are running errands, there are so many options now to used to cover your head.
The only challenge at the moment is that I certainly need a trim to make sure that my afro is in good condition.
As I reflect on this year, firstly I would like to mention that although it has been difficult, I believe that there is a lot that I have learned and one thing I have learned to embrace is my hair. The best part of the journey has been learning just to embrace it as it is.