Want to transition but fear that your hair would not be as soft as the Naturals around you? Here are 5 reasons why you remember your hair being dry, hard and difficult to handle.
1. No deep-conditioning: As a child, I can't remember anyone taking the time out to deep condition my hair. At the time, the only hair type that got that preferential treatment was relaxed hair (remember placenta? ^.^). The sad part is that today, most relaxed ladies in Nigeria don't even get their hair treated (steamed) in salons or at home by themselves. This could be the reason why a lot of us have hair that never seems to grow.
Black hair needs to be moisturised because it easily gets dry; no thanks to weather and a few other factors.
What has changed?
Now Naturals know that deep conditioning keeps the hair moisturised for long periods of time so we don't joke with this part of hair care.
2.Combing: Back in the day, the combs used to comb our hair had little spaced bristles (rat tail comb). Even with tears streaming down your face, the stylists wanted smooth/knotless hair and smooth/knotless hair they got. Using the wrong type of combs to detangle our hair means that a lot of us have bad memories of our hair being hard and difficult to handle. Stories of black hair breaking combs and crying spells during hair grooming sessions are popular amongst Nigerian (African) women.
What has changed?
These days, we stick to using the wide tooth comb and some naturals on youtube have done a good job of showing us how we can do without using a comb by finger-detangling our hair. You can show your stylist how to do this or you can find a salon that has stylist(s) who know how to take out the knots of your hair without causing damage. Remember, less manipulation = length retention.
3.No emphasis on conditioning: As most Nigerian women know, more emphasis was and is still placed on getting the hair clean without putting much thought into conditioning. So for instance, your hair will be washed 2-3 times and conditioned once with little or diluted conditioner.
What has changed? Now we understand that the pH of shampoos causes the cuticles to open up. If the hair is not properly conditioned after shampooing, the hair cuticles stay that way when it gets dry, causing it to feel rough and dry. With this knowledge gained, we know that we can get better results by washing our hair once or twice with a shampoo/bar and following up with a THICK rinse-out-conditioner like Vo5 to close our cuticles and end up with soft , smooth hair. Remember that to have manageable afro hair, emphasis should be placed on conditioning and not just cleansing.
4.We got re-united with black soap: Yes, we totally forgot about the benefits of black soap and fell hard for imported shampoos. While I have nothing against shampoos, I have observed that they can leave black hair feeling hard and dry.
What has changed?
Quite a number of us have found the goodness that is black soap again. I used the word 'again' because our great-grand mothers used this soap to wash both hair and skin but for whatever reason most of our mothers and salons did not use this on our hair (for those who knew black soap, it was strictly for the skin). Unlike most shampoos you will find, African black soap leaves afro hair feeling soft during and after washing.
5.Much love for the LOC method: Taking care of natural has progressed from what you used to know. Among others, you will hear terms and techniques like finger detangling, low heat tension method, and my favourite; the LOC method (click on link to read more). These new techniques have made taking care of natural hair easier and cheaper. Yes, cheaper because you can do most of them by yourself; saving you the cost of frequent salon visits.
So now that you know, please go head and take the steps you need to get healthy hair. If you prefer your hair being relaxed still do your research by visiting other natural hair blogs and sites because what most of us preach is healthy hair and most of the techniques that work for natural hair will work for chemically treated hair.