(Part of this content was featured in Nov/Dec 2014 issue of Celeb Styles written by Ruth Mafupa)
For a long time, we were meant to believe that African kinky hair does not grow long. And we were not wrong in our beliefs because indeed, it never seemed to grow long. I remember as a young girl, if one had hair down to her shoulders, we all saw her as the one with long hair. But now things have changed. Armed with the information all over the internet, from friends and family, we have come to realize that African kinky hair does grow long as long as it is treated well and with respect. Oh yes there are T’s & C’s attached to it.
You see, kinky hair is fragile. And as if that is not enough, it mostly has high porosity and tends to lose moisture very quickly. And as if that was not too much already, due to its coily nature, the sebum produced by the scalp to lubricate the hair, has a hard time trying to reach the tips of the strands leading to much dryer ends and with all this put together, even the strongest hair would find it difficult to stay put and not split or break. Don’t dismay though. Let me tell you something, there is help now, not a cure for kinky hair but help to live with it. Not that I am equating it to a chronic disease or something we have to endure, no, not at all. We are all aware of the abundance beauty in natural kinky hair. Its versatility, soft fluffy nature and just it being different. It is beautiful in so many different ways, more than I could even start to mention here. So now, kinky haired heads, the T’s & C’s are listed below.
- Moisture balance is key. Seeing there is not much you can do about the shape of the hair strands nor its structure, one thing you can do is make sure the hair is well hydrated. Kinky hair needs moisture so step your moisturizing techniques with water as the main player.
- Low manipulation. What happens if you keep handling something fragile, say a piece of fabric? It will tear in no time. That’s the same with fragile hair. Over manipulation does no good but harm to our strands leading to chronic breakage. What, with the hand in hair syndrome? I know I am guilty of that too. But discipline when it comes to styling your hair has big rewards in the long term
- Stay away from harsh chemicals or hair dyes. If you can’t, then you should be well aware of the consequences and be willing to do the extra work needed to keep that hair on your head.
- Stay away from heat styling tools. Once in a while should not harm your hair especially if you use heat protectants. But too much heat is not good for kinky hair.
- Braids, twists and cornrows are very cute but if done wrong or left in for too long, they may cause unnecessary damage to your hair especially the hairline.
- Keep your scalp clean as much as possible to grow healthier hair.
- Hair conditioners are your best friends. Be it your leave-in or your rinse out conditioner, make sure you have enough of these every time you wash your hair. Not conditioning your hair is not an option after shampooing it. Always follow with a moisturizing conditioner, preferably one that is pH balanced if you can.
- Love and enjoy your hair at every stage of your hair journey. Although you are not your hair, your hair is part of you. Nourish it.
What are some of the things that you do or feel will help to grow kinky hair healthy & long?