My low maintenance natural hairstyle
Me pulling some of my hair
My two strand twists
Close up of natural hair with curls defined
Close up of natural hair
After recognizing that I needed to spend more time nurturing my hair from the inside out, I decided that I wanted to care for my hair without heat. I felt that this would be the best way to help my hair recover (see my previous post for details). After a lot of trial and error, I have come up with a low maintenance natural way to care for my hair. Basically I am defining the curls in my hair and wearing my hair in this state in between washes. I like this method because it leaves my hair really soft, and once I do it, all I to do maintain it is tie up my hair at night with a couple of silk scarves. When I get up, I take off the scarves, pull on my hair a little bit to arrange it, and I’m good to go. My favorite hair accessory to wear with this style is a simple fabric headband.
My method is still a work in progress, but what I am doing is the following:
In the shower:
- Shampoo my hair with Northwest Scents™ shampoo.
- Cleanse and detangle with Northwest Scents™ Keratin and Silk Curl Cleansing Cream.
Get out of the shower and apply Northwest Scents™ conditioner liberally to my hair to seal in moisture.
Divide my hair into four sections, braid each section, and let the hair dry.
After my hair has dried then I:
- Unbraid a section of hair.
- Apply Northwest Scents™ hair oil liberally to that section of hair.
- Separate that section of hair into smaller sections.
- On each smaller section I apply additional Northwest Scents™ hair oil, then I apply Northwest Scents™ hair gel. I rake the gel through the hair until it straightens out partially. I then twist the section.
I repeat the above four steps until I have finished all of my hair. Then I let the hair air dry and I take the twists down. I then carefully separate the twists, and I am done.
I have been experimenting with this method for a few months and I like the fact that it keeps my hair soft and it is easy to maintain between washes.
In the photo above, I dampened my fingertips with a teeny bit of water and applied that water to the sections of hair in between applying the oil and the gel (Part B after applying the oil in step 4). What that did was use less gel and create a fluffier hairstyle. When I didn’t apply the teeny bit of water to the sections of hair I got more definition.
The products that I have used are available in a sample kit (it is called the curl defining sample kit) for anyone who wants to try them.
If you have read some of my earlier posts on this blog, you know that I started out talking about my childhood in Nigeria and my recollections of the fancy hairstyles that I grew up accustomed to seeing on the heads of Nigerian women. Even though I don’t wear those styles now, I have always admired them for their beauty and artistry. As I was digging around on the internet, I found an online collection featuring some of the work of J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, the photographer who I talked about earlier on this blog. This online display is part of the Contemporary African Art Collection, which is a private collection that was created by a Italian named Jean Pigozzi.
The above photo, from the collection of Klara Kristina is licensed under a creative commons 2.0 license
This photo of my hair was taken in December 2006. This is the longest I let it get before I started trimming it. (in this picture I have flat ironed the hair). After taking this photo I started trimming it regularly. I think that the new hair that is growing in since I started my new routine (as described in Twelve Steps For Growing Black Hair) is healthier than the old hair that was maintained under my old routines, and that is why I try to trim my hair regularly.
This is a photo of my natural hair right before I press it. It tends to knot at the ends and it takes work to deal with the knots. But working out the knots helps to preserve hair length, so it is something I’ve decided to take the time to do. I’ve decided that there are three ways to deal with knots: 1) Decide it if is a knot in the first place. Sometimes the kinks feel like knots, but actually aren’t. 2) If it is a knot, try to work it out using hair oil or a thin needle. When I encounter a knot I try to gently unloosen it. When my hair is moisturized it is easy to remove knots that aren’t too tight. Sometimes I take a thin pin and put it in the center of the knot and gently unloosen it. 3) If the knot is unworkable, remove as many hairs as possible from the knot, and then cut the knot out. I try to work the knot down to one or two hairs and then if it is joining two hairs together, I cut it off. I hate this last option, but sometimes it has to be done.
These two photos of my hair were taken on May 15th, 2006. I read recently that if you are iron deficient, it can cause your hair to be brittle among other things. Women of childbearing age are the ones most likely to be iron deficient. But doctors don’t recommend that you take iron supplements unless your doctor prescribes it because if you take too much iron it can have negative effects too. They say it is better to get your iron from food sources like spinach and sunflower seeds, or enriched cereal.
This is where my hair is now in March 2006. My hair is quite elastic and sometimes the growth is not as obvious. In between 2001 and 2006 I have trimmed my hair by several inches to try and remove the damaged sections. My hair is thermally pressed.
When I was growing up, one assumption that I always had about hair was that some people could grow long hair, and others couldn’t. I always assumed I was in the second group. I figured that my hair would reach a certain length, and there it would stop. Even though I occasionally saw black people with long hair, I assumed it was a genetic thing and that my hair would never grow that long. But after working with my hair I have realized that it can grow. Hair growth is a product of two factors, technique and product. You need both to have decent hair growth, especially with kinky, coarse African American hair.
Hair growth = (good hair products) + (good hair maintenance techniques)