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September 2015

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FAQ: How to Achieve Soft Manageable Natural Hair

Written by , Posted in Hair Knowledge

How does one achieve soft, easily combed hair in a short time?

What remedies are there for hard hair?

Hair softness and hydration go hand in hand; one can’t be achieved without the other. So they key to softness is to inject as much moisture as possible in your hair and to be able to do this FAST rather than gradually follow the following tips;

Humectants

These attract humidity from the environment into your hair, be careful though when the climate is dry they will draw out moisture from your hair into the environment, so when the weather gets progressively dry it means it is time to set aside the humectants.

The most common humectants used in hair and skin care are glycerine, aloe Vera, honey, hydrolysed proteins, panthenol, sodium lactate, fructose etc.-some of these are ingredients commonly found in hair products.

Glycerine, honey, molasses and aloe Vera can easily be incorporated in your hair regimen by adding them to your conditioner (both store bought and DIY) OR add glycerine or aloe Vera to your homemade spritz.

Deep Condition, Deep Condition, Deep Condition!

This is the key to well moisturized hair furthermore deep conditioned hair is always soft. Best to do this every wash day. Add a humectant to your deep conditioner to give hair that extra softness, or a mashed fruit like banana or avocado. These have extra softening abilities and including fruits in your DIY deep conditioners will add fructose (a fruit sugar) which is a humectant. No softening and deep conditioner is complete without coconut milk.

Specialized softening and moisturizing treatments like the Caramel Treatment, Cherry Lola Treatment, Maximum Hydration Method and the Coconut Milk Treatment. These treatments have specially selected natural ingredients that work together to maximize moisture absorption and softness.

Hot Oils

A hot oil treatment involves warming up oil and applying it to your hair, you then cover with a plastic cap for a period of 30 mins – 1 hour. This method is a very effective for moisture retention and softening hair.

Oil Rinsing

This refers to layering oil on your hair before adding your conditioner on top of that. Cover it up for a specified period. This is a hair softener that never fails and it adds shine to the hair too.

LOC

This stands for Liquid, Oil and Cream and it is method of layering these products on your hair in this order so as to maximize moisture retention. You can follow this order or the LCO method. Liquid stands for the moisture to be absorbed in the hair and in this case the ultimate moisturizer is water. If you feel your hair is weak and needs a boost in strength then u can mix some aloe Vera juice or a herbal rinse in your water. Oil represents any natural oil like coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil etc.

Please avoid synthetic oil like silicones or petroleum based oils like petrolatum, mineral oil as these coat the strands and scalp and smothers their ability to breathe. Cream stands for heavier oils like butters e.g. Shea butter, mango butter, kukui nut butter. For most the cream represents a creamy leave-in conditioner (these tend to be more moisturizing because they are water based rather than oil based), if this is your option then its best to follow the LCO method so that the oil seals in the  lighter layers of water and the leave-in.

It should be noted that fine hair and low porosity usually feel weighed down by butters so the key to this would be to do away with the butters and opt for a heavy liquid oil to effectively seal in the moisture. One such oil would be castor oil because not only is it heavy but it is a softening and penetrative oil, great for extremely coarse hair. Another option would be to whip up your butter (i.e. Shea, mango etc.) with an oil, you could even add aloe Vera gel to it if you wish to make a lighter butter that doesn’t weigh down your hair and this option wraps up both your oil and cream options into one product.

Try this LOC routine for extra dry hair, I guarantee your hair will come out very soft and manageable as a result of the curl activator By Natural Hair Growth 101

To replenish moisture later on in the week use a moisturizing spray or simply make one of your own-the basic ingredients can be water and an oil or a leave-in conditioner and water. You can add aloe Vera juice, essential oils or apple cider vinegar to your homemade spritz to make it more conditioning.

Clarify Your Hair

Have your noticed how soft your hair is after an apple cider rinse or after using baking soda to clarify it? Usually build up on hair forms an impermeable layer on top of your hair that prevents any product or moisture from penetrating. This leaves the hair hard and dry. Making a dilute solution of apple cider vinegar and water (Ratio of 1:4 or 1:3 with 1 being apple cider vinegar) and pour this over your washed hair either as a final rinse or before washing and deep conditioning to ensure that products are not hindered from penetrating your hair by build-up.

Most low porosity naturals find that apple cider vinegar causes their cuticles to seal up even tighter. Baking soda is an effective option in this case because of its alkaline nature. Not only does it strip build up but it also opens up the cuticles so that products can effectively be absorbed. Your final rinse should either be with apple cider vinegar or cold water or spray some aloe Vera juice so as to close the cuticles thus sealing in the moisture in them. This is because of their acidic PH.

Coffee /Beer Rinse

Coffee and tea rinses are usually used to reduce hair shedding (use either black or herbal teas). Coffee has the extra advantage of softening hair and the caffeine in the coffee acts a hair growth stimulant. Simply brew up a cup of coffee and set it aside to cool and then use it as a final rinse on wash day.

Beer used as a rinse is not only softening but it also gives the hair body. Simply pour the beer you intend to use into a cup and leave it to sit for a couple of hours so that it can go flat(this ensures that most of its smell dissipates),then dilute it with water and use as a final rinse. You can pre-boil the beer to ensure that the alcohol in it evaporates. The hops and brewer’s yeast in the beer also boost hair growth.

Here are a couple more tips to ensure that your hair stays moisturised and soft;

  • KNOW your hair porosity so that you can ensure that moisture and products are being effectively absorbed
  • BUY and utilise water based rather than old based products. These should be any product whose ingredient list starts with water/aqua
  • LIMIT your usage of heat as a styling method i.e. curling and straight irons, tonging etc.
  • PRACTICE the Baggy method or the Green house Method-whereby during the course of the week you spray a little moisture on your hair and wear a plastic cap for between 1hr-3hrs. The elevated heat and moisture in the within the cap force the cuticles to lift and the hair absorbs the moisture within the cap. Note that this should be practiced once or twice a week at most because the moist humid environment breeds fungus hence a lot of itchiness. If this occurs simply use apple cider vinegar or tea tree essential oil to correct the situation.

References:

Africanaturalistas

Napturally Curly

Curly Nikki

K is for Kinky

Wiki How

15 Comments

  1. Peninah
  2. Nalumansi
  3. Nalumansi
  4. Hanifa
  5. Shana

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