But first, a word from one of my faves:
Just like Segi, I also really love my hair and the daily work of getting to know it so that I can continue to present myself confidently to the world. Over the years, I’ve had the good luck to be in conversations with hair specialists and content creators and, to have that information be corroborated by my own searches on the internet. I also recently spoke to my friend, Alyx Carolus about my “our hair, don’t care” life for All the Pretty Birds. This post here isn’t necessarily about my hair routine but about a few of the non-negotiables that keep my hair healthy:
1. Three-month trims
I trim my split ends every three months. Alternatively, I’m also experimenting with trimming single-strand knots whenever I do my weekly hair routine. There was a time, before I shaved all my hair off in October 2017, when I would not trim at all. That led to me seeing a visible stagnation in hair growth and of course, impossible knots whenever I would wear my afro out. I see a big difference between then and now because my hair grows longer, is thicker and just feels healthier.
2. Three-month treatments
I like to do moisture boosting treatments at regular intervals, on top of ensuring that I deep condition each time I shampoo my hair. The highveld is dry so I like to try to counter that every now and then.
3. Water is moisture
I like to expose my hair to steam from the shower everyday and then massage some oil through it afterwards, on some days. While it is true that water shrinks our hair, our hair shrinks in response to being filled with moisture and that’s always a good thing.
4. Comb while damp
I prefer to finger comb my hair as much as possible but even when I use my afro-pick, I must have sprayed it with water first. Dry hair may break more easily when pulled upon.
5. Protective styling
For me, this means cornrows with my hair only. While I do love fibre braids so I can be ‘summer-time fine’ in “Dezemba”, I think my hair maintains more of its growth when it isn’t being twisted and sliced with fibre on a frequent basis. This is obviously good for my hairline as well.
What about products? I don’t think that there is a uniform recommendation I could make. I think the idiosyncrasies of our genetics, family histories of illness and current states of health do influence how we experience the products that we use. I do not know if I am currently using the best products for me but they fit my minimum standards of no mineral oils, no parabens and no sulphates. As long as products can adhere to that and have generally good feedback from afro-texture haired women whose word I trust, then I’ll try them. I’m also doing my best to only use South African products and I am really enjoying Nilotiqua at the moment.
Something wonderful recently happened for afro-texture-haired people in South Africa. Janine Jellars wrote The Big South African Hair Book (and I’m quoted in it as an academic, fancy fancy!)
This is the publisher’s description of the book:
The Big South African Hair Book is a celebration and must-read exploration of our #NaturalHair community. Part peek into what’s causing generations of women to ditch chemical relaxers, and part practical haircare guide, this book is an indispensable companion for everyone from the curl-curious to #NaturalHair veterans. Hilarious and hair-volutionary, this book, a first of its kind on South African shelves, is filled with advice, tried and tested tricks and tips and haircare testimonials.
It’s available from all good book stores. Buy it. Share it with your loved ones. Read and learn. Ask questions. Chant down the stigma that our hair is “difficult” and keep loving yourself, just how the Creator lovingly made you.