It’s taken me some time to learn how to take care of both the hair I bought and the hair I’m growing.
Now before I go into details about which products I do use, how often I wash my hair, which salons I trust etc, let me start by describing my hair to you.
Note that I’m not going to use the letters and numbers from the controversial grading system.
Remember that we all have good hair, or at least we all could have good hair if we learned how to take of our particular concerns when it comes to our scalp, roots and ends. My locks are natural (not chemically-treated), dense, thick and some of the strands are curly, some coily and most are kinky.
Length? I’m not sure but blow-dried straight, I can style it into a bun. It should be longer and healthier but I’ve neglected it in the three years since I transitioned to natural. It’s also become highly porous which means it’s always thirsty so I look for any products that shout moisture.
I’m currently rocking a curly weave made from hair that’s very different to mine – it’s Peruvian I think. I wear one not because I want to hide my own crown but because it allows me to just wake up and go.
I don’t have to worry about it getting wet (I still have to get over my issues with shrinkage) or what’s going to happen to it after 8 hours of sleep. I’ve worn this weave for 9 months – with not enough breaks in between – and I’ll admit that up until recently I’ve ignored my own hair. No more. This is what works for me…
1. I wash my hair once a week (I’ve never had to pat my hair to combat itchiness) with shampoo (no conditioner) but when I remove my weave, I’ll co-wash.
2. I scalp my hair every other day with a carrot oil hair cream from ORS and alternate with a hair and scalp cleanser from Schwarzkopf to get rid of product buildup. When I apply any conditioners, I pay special attention to my hairline for obvious reasons.
3. I spray my weave and own hair daily with style refreshing milk for curls from Mizani and run a brush or comb through it to style.
4. Once a month I’ll deep condition my entire head of hair with a hair mask focusing on my cornrowed tracks. Best product? Philip Kingsley’s Elasticiser Extreme, which I leave in for half an hour. If I forget that month, I’ll drench my hair with Arete’s Moisture Milk Daily Moisturiser after every wash. I haven’t found that any oils like coconut or almond oil work for my hair – I’ve tried them all and now use them on my skin so it hasn’t been a complete waste.
It’s so encouraging to know that for girls growing up now, that they can access a wealth of imagery of gorgeous black women and girls rocking different hairstyles but even more importantly, growing up knowing how to take care of their hair just the way it grows along with products made specifically for it.
A big shout out to the internet (because we still aren’t being represented properly in magazines, runways and advertising campaigns globally) and blogs, tumblrs and Instagram accounts run by to name a few women for being such great examples of hair pride - Leila Noelliste of Black Girl Long Hair, Nikki Walton of Curly Nikki, Thelma Golden of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Solange Knowles of Saint Heron, Oroma Elewa and closer to home Mathahle Stofile, Thando Moleketi-Williams and Renate Stuurman.
No shade to former FLOTUS Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama – I respect her choice to straighten her hair as much as I choose to wear a weave - but I can’t wait for the day that we have another black or mixed race family in the White House with a First Lady or President rocking an afro. As well as our very own head of state too. It’s important to see people you hold in the highest regard seen in a style that is still denigrated.
Where to go:
1. (for hair care) Mmuja Hair Salon in Parkhurst, Joburg 087 151 1970 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
2. (for weaves) Urembo Concepts in Rosebank, Joburg 011 327 7575 082 677 2911
3. (for braids) Espace Rosie in Seapoint, Cape Town 021 434 3496