Additional Hair Care Information:
It is a myth that women with ethnic hair cannot grow their hair long and healthy. With proper care and understanding how nutrients and products enhance your hair, you can achieve the length that you desire.
Think of your hair as another part of your body that needs tender loving care. Many of us take great measures to have clear skin and healthy nails, but when it comes to our hair we allow someone else to chop it, dye it and fry it repeatedly. And then we wonder why we’re not getting the hair length or thickness we used to have. Years of hair abuse and lack of understanding on how to pamper hair for maximum growth is the problem.
Ethnic hair, particularly afro-textured hair tends to be thicker, curly and more coarse than other hair types. Ethnic hair can become dry and break off without proper care. When you’re on the road to growing long and healthy hair, you need to be sure that you are cleansing, adding moisture and protecting your hair on a consistent basis.
Vitamins and Nutrients
Just like your nails and skin, certain vitamins are needed for your hair to continue to grow without breaking. Foods and supplements containing B vitamins, Vitamin E and Vitamin C are essential for healthy hair growth. Think rich and healthy foods such as kale, broccoli, avocado, red and green lentils, black beans, sweet potatoes, almonds, sesame and sunflower seeds, apples, melon, strawberries, blueberries, green chard, whole grains, carrots, red peppers, mushrooms and other whole foods. For meat eaters, try to eat natural, free range and organic meats and eggs as much as possible. Your hair may be dry because your dehydrated on the inside. You should also drink plenty of water to flush toxins out of your system and hydrate your body from the inside out. Toxic beverages such as sodas and artificially flavored drinks should be avoided or kept to a minimum.
The shampoo and conditioner you use should have water as one of the first ingredients. Other beneficial ingredients include: biotin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), aloe vera, glycerin, rosemary, bergamot, sweet orange oil, peppermint and olive oil. These ingredients help to heal and protect your hair. They also assist in adding protein and moisture to dry hair.
If you’re a DIY kind of lady, you may enjoy mixing essential oils with a base oil such as olive, sesame, almond or avocado and keeping it in a plastic bottle to apply to your hair. The essential oils would serve as a scent component for your oil and a hair nourisher. Essential oils are strong and some of them can burn your skin or scalp, so always mix them with a base oil. You can add your homemade oil or a base oil such as olive oil to your conditioner or use it for hot oil treatments.
Ethnic hair needs to be washed and conditioned each week and perhaps twice per week if you work out on a regular basis. Because ethnic and multi-cultural hair tends to be drier, be sure you’re not washing too much. You don’t want to strip your hair of needed moisture. Every night, seal your ends with either conditioner or some type of light oil. Use protective hair styles (buns and rolls) both at night and during the week to keep your hair from drying out or breaking off. The less you manipulate your hair, the more it has a chance to grow and become healthier. You should deep condition your hair once a week, especially if it is damaged from color and chemical treatments. Your deep conditioner should be infused with protein to build up your hair. In between washing, you can co-wash your hair, using only conditioner. This is a nice way to rid your hair of build up without totally stripping it with shampoo.
You can periodically give your hair hot oil treatments by applying oil, wearing a cap and using heat for 15-30 minutes. After any kind of conditioning treatment, rinse your hair with cold water to seal the hair cuticle. Keeping a weekly routine of washing, co-washing, conditioning, wearing protective hair styles and sealing your ends, will help you retain your hair. Breakage and shedding will become minimal, and you’ll see a difference in the quality of your hair.
If you desire to wear your hair smooth and straight on a regular basis, be sure to use heat protecting products each time you apply heat. Heat can damage your hair over time. If you’re following a consistent routine and conditioning your hair the way you’re supposed to, this will help prevent damage from heat styling. After washing and conditioning, you can let your hair air dry and then flat-iron. Or another way to minimize heat damage would be to roller set your hair, sit under a hood dryer and then comb out and/or flat-iron. Wrapping your hair at night will give you a break. The wrap-style is easy to maintain and allows your hair to be free of daily manipulation.
Hair Loss and Balding
Hair loss and balding can be caused from taking medication, tight braid and weave styles and stress. Besides maintaining a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water, talk with your doctor about any concerns you have about hair loss and balding. Be careful with wearing tight braid styles that can leave your hair thinning and literally hanging on for dear life. Sometimes it’s good to not keep braid styles for more than 2 -3 months at a time to give your hair and scalp a break.
Growing long and healthy hair isn’t as hard as you think. Use quality hair products and stay true to what looks and feels good for you.