Everything She Wants is all about healthy hair, and we particularly encourage women of color to embrace their natural curls and coils. So we enlisted a few natural hair care tips that promote hair growth from Natasha Gaspard, creator of Mane Moves TV and co-host of the web series, Make Me A Naturalista.
|Naturalista, Natasha Gaspard.|
"Hair grows naturally at a specific rate that differs from person to person based on genetics and other factors," explains Natasha. "The best way to realize that growth is to preserve the hair as much as possible. What you want to do is to make sure your hair doesn't break from the ends."
Here are Natasha's tips on what you can do to give your natural strands a chance:
1. Don't over cleanse your hair. Natural hair is dry..that's a simple fact. The more you wash it, the more you strip away the essential oils it needs to stay soft and pliable. I wash my hair every 3-4 weeks! If there is a lot of build-up from products, then I'll wash sooner. It actually looks better the longer I wait to wash it.
2. Wash your hair in sections. This method comes in handy if your hair is longer or If you find your hair is becoming a lot to handle in the shower. Section your hair into 4-6 sections with loose braids or twists. You will apply the shampoo and conditioner this way. When it's time to condition, simply unravel each section and detangle with your wide tooth comb. When you're done, simply twist or braid that section back up and move on the the next. This method should help you to significantly cut down on your wash/detangling session.
3. Moisture, moisture, moisture. Our hair needs moisture! I learned how to make a moisturizer concoction from natural hair care specialist Diane Bailey. I fill a water bottle with water, my fave conditioner, oil and a few drops of glycerine. I like to add Aloe Vera gel or juice for extra moisture. The mix should have the consistency of milk. Depending on your hair texture, the mixture can be lighter of heavier -- you will have to find which consistency works best for your hair. Water alone cannot keep your hair moisturized. Water evaporates so you need something else that will help retain the moisture, so that's where the other ingredients come in.
4. Preserving your strands is key. When it's time to detangle, it takes a lot of care and patience. [Natural African-American hair] tends to break when it's being manipulated. You can decrease the potential for breakage by making sure your hair is pliable when you're about to manipulate it. Never comb or detangle hair with your fingers when your hair is dry! The great thing about the moisturizer concoction is that it can double as a detangler. Your hair doesn't have to be soaking wet -- just make sure it's damp so the strands have a little give when the comb (the wider the teeth the better) goes through. Remember to start from the ends of the hair and work your way up, smoothing the hair in a downward motion as you go along.
5. Wear protective styles. Styling your hair in a way to keep your ends tucked away is an ideal way to preserve your hair. Some protective styles you can wear include two-strand twists, braids, buns and up-dos. Some women opt for wigs, weaves and extensions, but these styles can cause damage if not applied properly and the hair underneath is neglected. I urge women to consult a professional and make sure to maintain a regimen to keep their own natural hair in optimal condition while wearing these styles. You don't want all that hard work to literally go down the drain!