- Shampoo – once a month with the Zarona sulphate free shampoo, shampoo strips out moisture & oils which dries out the hair. Shampooing is mainly to remove product build-up & to allow water to penetrate the hair cuticle.
- Bentonite Clay Treatment – apply once a month, between shampoo & deep conditioning step, to detox the hair.
- Deep Condition – after every shampoo (clay treatment). This is a very important step as it allows moisture to penetrate the hair cuticle. I also finger detangle & section my hair while I have the conditioner on.
- Co-Wash – every week instead of shampoo, frequent shampoos dry out the hair.Apply your Zarona hair conditioner and allow it to sit for 30 minutes to an hour then rinse.
- Pre-poo – use one part conditioner and one part coconut oil. This prevents hair from taking up a lot of water during a wash. I apply the mixture to the hair and sit for about 30 to 60 minutes, rinse and follow with the shampoo as above.
- Seal in – after every wash or co-wash section the hair into small parts, it makes it easier to work through.
- Apply shea butter hair cream working through each section at a time. Finger detangle and brush to make sure the shea butter is evenly distributed and covers every strand. Work through very small sections at a time.
- Stretch – to stretch the hair either use the African threading method, twists or your preferred method, careful not to pull too much. Air dry, avoid heat as it dries out and damages hair.
- Day to day care – apply coconut oil serum daily; these oils are able to penetrate the hair cuticle. If the hair is dry use a water spritz to mist the hair and apply shea butter hair cream to seal, otherwise apply shea butter hair cream every other day.
- Protective Styling – you may need a protective style to give hair a break from manipulation and allow it to grow. Chose a low tension protective style to prevent hair breakage and damage, especially to the hair line.
- Moisture retention is key for growing and managing African hair, I have 4C, high porosity hair so my hair loses moisture easily and lacks natural oils because of its mixture. This makes it difficult for sebum (oil produced naturally by the scalp) to make its way down the hair shaft. In order to get 4C hair moisturised, you may have to get rid of some bad habits and hair products with chemicals.
- Reduce the frequency in which I shampoo my hair.
- I wash my hair every week but I don’t always apply shampoo.
- I shampoo my hair once a month and co-wash bi-weekly.
- On occasions where I do shampoo my hair,, I use a sulphate free shampoo. Sulphates can damage and dry out hair so I deep condition my hair after every wash.
- I then wash and rinse my hair with lukewarm to cool water, because hot water dehydrates hair.
- I then apply the Zarona Unrefined Shea Butter after the wash. The shea butter coats the hair locking in moisture.
- I maintain moisture by spritzing my hair twice a day and applying Zarona Shea Butter hair cream, with coconut oil. My spritz is a mixture of water, coconut oil, argon oil and vitamin E oil. In winter I prefer using argon oil more than coconut oil, because coconut oil solidifies making it difficult to spray.
- Finally, one of the major causes of dry and damaged hair are the products we use, therefore choose carefully. Avoid products with petroleum jelly, sulphates, parabens and silicon.
African hair (curly and coily) benefits from protective styling, which helps retain length. Protective styles require low manipulation, therefore reduces hair damage and breakage caused by regular styling and manipulation. Protective styles include braids, cornrows, twists, bantu knots or buns that keep the ends tucked away. It is important to choose hairstyles that do not add a lot of weight or cause too much tension to your hair, as these hair styles can cause hair damage and breakage, especially around the hairline area. One of my favourite protective styles is a simple freehand cornrow.
I like this hairstyle because it creates such a drastic change to my look without cutting my hair and is simple and elegant. Most importantly, it does not add tension and stress to my hair and hairline.
Do not keep a protective style for too long (no more than 2 months) as this can dry-out the hair. It is important to keep up with hair treatment while on a protective style spritz (with a water-oil mixture) to moisturise the hair and apply oil shea butter and coconut oil every other night.
Most shampoos that are available in supermarkets contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or Sodium Laureth Sulphate, these sulphates create that foamy lather. The problem with sulphates is that they strip the hair of essential natural oils that provide moisture and form a protective barrier. This is particularly a problem with African hair because this type of hair does not contain as much oil as other hair types. If you have dry or damaged hair avoid products that contain sulphates, which can dry the hair and damage the cortex. It is best to go for a product cleanses the hair gently while also moisturising and nourishing the hair. Check the ingredients in your hair products and ensure that your shampoo and conditioner are sulphate free.