In the past, looking after Afro hair meant nothing more than washing it every now and again, normally at the weekend, when the hairstyle needed to be redone. This was usually an all-day event. The hair would be shampooed, conditioned and dried and the scalp greased before the hairstyle was redone. This means that we have always viewed looking after our hair as being nothing more than washing it every now and again.
Today the situation is similar, where our hair will only be cared for when we want to get it restyled. For example, if a person wears their hair in braids, it’s likely to only get washed and cared for once every two or three months when the braids are taken out. This means you put the styling wants before the health needs of your hair.
But if you really want to enjoy the benefits of healthy hair, looking after your hair can’t just be a one-off event. It needs to become a regular part of your week. This doesn’t mean you will be spending all of your time doing your hair (in fact, I believe that the best hair care regimes are simple ones), but it does mean that you will need to do a bit more than just giving your hair a wash every now and then.
Change Your Mindset
In order to look after your hair properly, you need to see looking after your hair from a health perspective rather than a styling one. You need to look after your hair to keep it healthy, rather than look after it when it needs restyling.
Looking after your hair should be viewed on the same level as brushing your teeth, washing your face and cleaning your skin. This means that it is just as important as doing these things. Your hair is a part of your body, and it must be cared for and kept clean just like any other part of your body.
The Hair Care Cycle
One of the things that you will need to accept and firmly ingrain in your mind is that looking after your hair is an ongoing cycle of washing on a particular day of the week, and caring for it in between those washes. It is exactly the same as brushing your teeth and washing your skin.
In the morning, you wash your skin, moisturise it, put your clothes on and begin your day, only to repeat the same process later that evening.
Another example I like to use is ‘the plate’: you take a plate out of the cupboard, you put food on it, have your meal, and when finished, you wash it, dry it and put it back in the cupboard. You repeat the whole process when you next use it.
This extract is taken from my book, A Beginner’s Guide to Afro Hair Care. To learn more about how to look after your hair, click here to order your copy.