The Online Guide To Great Black Hair

Before you read this post, please watch the following video I found on CNN. I think a lot of us are feeling exact the same way this woman does. I know I do. I’m amazed on how much creativity and time a lot of black women on the web have committed to hair advise. I started this story with an attempt to create Corrine Rae Bailey’s style for myself but my online journey took me to other places. So I’ve compiled a little online guide for great black hair. I will update you later on some books that out there.

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/living/2011/07/21/hudson.natural.hair.cnn

Tamara Winfrey Harris

I went to Corrine Bailey Rae’s website and forum not to post loving comments about how talented and melodic she is but to stare at the beauty that is her hair. When I look at her, I don’t see music, I don’t see anything else. Just the hair. Perhaps this is a result of my current attempts at reinventing my own personal style and growing my hair. Maybe it’s just because she’s got really good hair regardless of what her ethnic background is. Maybe it’s because of the fact that i can relate to her hair. She has Afro textured hair that doesn’t appear to have been chemically tampered with and unlike most famous people has patiently grown her hair. I’ve seen many photos of her the many phases of her hair til now. I’ve never seen her with a weave or even braids. Her hairstyle has remained the same as her hair has grown.

This little video gave me some tips on how to copy the style.

After a resent hair cut, Brazilian Hair Treatment my once forgotten obsession with growing my hair has returned. I’ve previously spent endless hours battling with my hair, sometimes successful other times I’ve been my own worst enemy. Recently I made a commitment to grow as much hair as possible to grow my hair before my sisters wedding. Today I spent at least two hours reading as many of the thousands of blogs out there about black hair and growth. And I’ve learned a lot  and are now suffering from more hair envy.  I’ve recently also tried a lot of the new range of sulphate free, paraben free and silicon free products. They are the new buzz words of the beauty industry. These products have been used in our food, cosmetics and hair care products for years.

I wonder why it’s only now that we’re all being told that they are not good for us and that cosmetic companies are offering us alternatives. Perhaps it’s the current growth of the so called alternative natural products. We’ve finally arrived at the concept that nature does it best and that this should be reflected not only in our daily lives with the food that we eat but also with what goes on our bodies, including our hair.

During my internet hair research adventure, I marveled at the community of sisterhood out there committed to helping us all have healthier hair and achieve the holly grail that has seemed to long have eluded black women for years, long hair!

Looking back at my own case, I realise that the issue is not the lack of growth! Growth is always there. It happens. I just break my hair quicker than I can grow it resulting in constant frustrations. My hair being natural provides additional challenges. There’s the fact that it gets knotted all the time and when I comb it, I lose a lot of it through breakage.  The other issue is dryness. Keeping moisture in my hair has always been a battle,  simply like many other women, I’m too lazy to do what I’m suppose to! That is moisturise my hair on a daily bases. I do it every three days. This obviously has to improve.

Lack of Moisture and hair breakage  are the true evils and villains of black hair. Yet very few of us acknowledge this.

Here are the top tips for hair growth for black hair

Know your hair, be realistic, be patient. Your hair grows (positive)

Prevent hair breakage by handling your hair with kid gloves

Use wide toothed comb, be gentle, moisturize daily

The silk wrap (to be warn during sleep) is highly recommended to prevent breakage, apparently the night time is the most dangerous time for your hair. You lose moisture put into hair during the day to your pillow, another little enemy of the black hair and the black woman. There are suggestions that perhaps it maybe better to sleep on a satin silk pillow as this causes less moisture loss.

Wrapping hair prevents tangling which prevents breakage and also maintains style. There many videos on wrapping hair, here’s one that you might find useful.

Avoid drying shampoos

Use a live in moisturizer or hair lotion

Avoid heat treatments as much as possible (the humble flat iron is another public enemy to black women’s sensitive locks).

Avoid chemical treatments such as relaxer, texturizers and colouring. All bad!

Some suggest oiling scalps others say no. I don’t oil mine although it looks dry. The reason is that I just can’t be bothered. There’s so much hair on my scalp that my fingers get fatigued at the sheer thought of trying to navigate my way through it. I however should oil the scalp before washing, considering I was every three days. This may not be a idea. It all depends on your scalp really and your skin. Oiling the scalp is discouraged by some because of product build up especially if you don’t wash your hair frequently.

Washing your hair

Hair washing is recommended at a maximum of twice a week and a minimum of once. Warm water instead of really hot water (I can’t help it, it’s cold!). Make sure you use a moisturizing shampoo. Not all shampoos are created equal and if you hair is in the habit of tangling like mine is, please use a detangling shampoo and a detangling conditioner. If your hair is extremely dry and is made worse by shampooing then I’ve read that you can skip the shampoo altogether and shampoo instead using conditioner. Another suggestion for dry hair is that you oil the hair with a vegetable oil (most common suggestions are coconut oil, Jojoba oil, Argon oil, and castor oil which my mother had told be is widely used in Angola Africa). Avoid oils with petroleum. There are many natural alternatives out there. If you can’t find anything use a cooking olive oil which is also said to be good for your hair. If it’s safe enough to eat should be certainly safe for your hair. Also make sure you buy your oils in amber or coloured glass bottles. If exposed to light, oils will react and oxidise (oil goes off, this can really stink). By packing your hair with oils before the washing process apparently means that there will be less stripping of the natural oils and the hair will be less dry at the end of the washing process.

Conditioning should now be taking place and I highly recommend a detangling conditioner. The best detangling conditioners I’ve used (I haven’t really used many of them) are Kielhs. I know it’s a black hair product but I live in Australia and it’s the best I’ve been able to get my hands on.

Can be left in hair as a leave in moisturizer

If your hair is prone to breakage use a wide tooth comb to comb and only when your hair is when with the detangling conditioner. There’s also a trick to drying. Don’t just take a towel to your hair and rub away. This could increase tangling. The suggested method for towel drying hair is to squeeze the moisture from your hair using a towel or patting your hair dry.

Treatments 

Recommended after shampooing. Choose a treatment that’s obviously going to cater to your hair needs. If dryness is an issue then there are deep conditioning treatments. The effects of a treatment aren’t always felt straight away. So don’t be discouraged if it your hair doesn’t feel super soft after the first time. Try it for at least four times before giving up on the product.  It’s recommended that you do a treatment in your hair at least once a week. I suggest that if your hair is dry or damaged you start off with doing it every time you wash until it improves.

Live In Moisturizer and Lotions

Immediately after towel drying your hair moisturize with a leave in or a hair lotion. Not doing this straight away could be a disaster. Your hair will dry and be dry. The choice of what you use is really again up to you.  I use a hair balm which is more concentrated than a hair lotion. I’ve mentioned this product before, it’s based on natural ingredients and it’s made in Australia.

 

 

Styling

 

Finally! Styling. After all the methods and treatments that you’ve put yourself through. You would like to think that this would be the easy part! No. Not at all. In fact in styling begins another hair journey. How now do I style my natural hair or my relaxed or whatever other hair you may have. It doesn’t really matter how great your hair feels if you can’t achieve the style that you want.

Again there a lot of videos out there that we should all be learning from. There are videos on how to twist hair, how to flat iron, diffuse and many other product reviews about different styling products and techniques. Below are a few you tube video links to some of them.

For amazing long hair from a girl whose has been growing it since 2004

For an outlook on the use of products check out this video

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