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Natural Hair Care, 10 Tips and Techniques for Healthy Hair Growth

Natural Hair Care – 10 Tips and Techniques for Healthy Hair Growth

Millions of black/African-American women are on a quest for longer, healthier hair. For us, the right strategies may be even more difficult to pinpoint because of the diversity of hair textures and styling practices that obtain within our culture. Don't worry, hair growth for African-American hair is in reach. Long, healthy, natural hair can be yours - here are some tried and tested natural hair care tips to help you achieve your optimum natural hair growth goals: 1.) Be realistic with your expectations Hair – regardless of your race or hair texture – typically grows at a rate of ¼ to ½ an inch per month. Be patient. 2.) Realize that hair texture affects the appearance of growth rates Coarser, kinkier hair retains less moisture and is therefore significantly more prone to breakage (and shrinkage!). It is breakage that makes it appear that hair is not growing. 3.) Where possible, choose protective hairstyles Protect the ends of your hair by shielding them from the elements (sun, wind, cold etc), but be careful: too-tight braiding or plaiting can break off strands, stress delicate hairline hair and cause traction alopecia. Note that daily hair loss (up to 100 strands a day) is normal. 4.) Sleep on silk or satin Cotton or polyester pillowcases are unforgiving on hair, leading to breakage – and dryness. Invest in silk or satin pillows, or use a silk/satin head scarf/cap. Head coverings can be problematic in hot or humid climates (and artificially heated conditions) because they can make you sweat – and that sweat/salt, combined with any product build-up can cause breakage. 5.) Don’t over-wash Washing hair once a week is adequate unless your work or lifestyle dictates otherwise. Avoid shampoos that contain sulfates (harsh chemicals that create the familiar foaming action) or parabens (cancer-causing preservatives) and fragrance (it’s stripping). Look for shampoos that contain moisturizing Shea butter or rosemary oil. To optimize moisture retention while washing, try this oil mask treatment before shampooing: mix 1 tablespoon each of almond, macadamia and jojoba oil and apply to the hair shaft. Leave on for ten minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual. (Apply shampoo at the scalp only – it’s drying and a waste of money to douse your entire head with shampoo.) Consider co-washes: a one-step shampoo and conditioner; or better yet, skip shampoo altogether, one week on, one week off. 6) Don’t over-condition The effectiveness of your conditioner (whether a rinse-out or leave-in conditioner) is, like all hair products, contingent upon your hair texture/ hair styling choices (eg. thick, creamy formulations are an absolute no-no for locks – they are difficult to wash out and the residue attracts lint). Get advice from a good natural stylist – especially if you are dabbling with protein treatments, as these can have immediately damaging effects on the condition of your hair if misused. Don’t apply conditioner to your scalp. It can block follicles if not rinsed well, and it is the hair further down the shaft that needs the attention; the hair nearest the scalp is adequately nourished by the scalp sebum (oil). Always rinse your hair thoroughly - for approximately five minutes – ideally, in cool water (it seals the cuticle and helps lock in moisture). 7.) Seal in moisture after every wash Blot-dry your tresses (no rubbing!) with a soft towel (microfiber towels are excellent as they do not snag or pull delicate wet hair). Next, you’ll need to seal in the moisture. This is a step that trichologists and hairdressers stress as being key to hair retention and thus, longer hair. While hair is still damp, apply a good hair growth serum to the shaft to seal in the moisture – there are some wonderful herbal hair growth serums available – the best contain rosemary oil, raw Shea butter or coconut oil. Air-dry your hair. Never brush wet hair. Avoid tugging; detangle gently with fingers or a comb from the ends up. 8.) Go natural with maintenance products Stick with the proven performers: coconut oil, Shea butter, macadamia oil and jojoba oil. Leave your scalp product-free so your follicles can breathe and nourish new growth. Avoid hair products that contain petroleum, mineral oil, fragrance and alcohol. If you are a brush/comb user, invest in natural boar bristle brush and use a smooth wide-tooth comb only. 9.) Cut off split ends Whatever "they" say, cutting your hair does not make it grow faster; but cutting split ends prevents damage from advancing up the hair shaft and ultimately causing breakage. Eliminate your split ends and you’ll see better retention of hair length and thickness. 10.) Eat a balance diet, drink more water and if necessary, pop a multi-vitamin Your mother was right – healthy hair starts from the inside. The foods most recommended for optimum hair growth results are: Salmon – full of omega-3 fatty acids

Red meat – full of iron

Eggs – contain selenium and the all-important biotin

Sweet potatoes and carrots – full of vitamin A

Raw, unsalted walnuts (especially) and almonds – contain zinc, iron and the hair growth powerhouse of B Vitamins

Blueberries, avocado, mangoes, tomatos –full of anti-oxidants and Vitamin C

Oatmeal – yes, that’s right.

Water – Some say drink eight glasses a day, others say half your body's weight in water. However, having a few glasses of water instead of coffee or sugary drinks can help significantly. Doctors confirm that if you are eating a balanced diet, you should have no need for any vitamin/mineral supplement to promote hair growth; and most medics view supplements with skepticism, not least because invariably, supplements are not FDA approved and evidence of their effectiveness is mostly anecdotal. Also, be aware that certain medications can cause hair loss, and vitamin supplements may affect the efficacy of your medications. Talk to your doctor and do your research. Best of luck on your hair growth journey! As always ... Dedicated To Your Beauty Juliette Samuel

Esthetician/Author/Publisher Nyraju Skin Care
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