If you suffer with dry hair, using more conditioner - or adding hair butters - will not solve the problem. In fact, it could make things worse - for example, increasing build up of hair products on your hair which leads to tangles. Finding out what is making your hair dry is crucial, so you can find the right solution.
Here are five easy ways to avoid dry hair.
Wash your hair often enough
When you have just had gorgeous braids done, the last thing you want to think about is washing it. You didn’t sit down for five hours just so you can wash your hair the next week. Or you may have just retouched your relaxed hair and because you don’t want it reverting, you avoid water at all costs. Afro hair, permed or not, is naturally dry and one of the ways to manage it is by washing it more often. I recommend washing it at least once a week or fortnightly to remove product buildup, moisturise your scalp and to moisturise your ends. In between, keep hair lightly misted with water and squeeze in a good quality leave-in conditioner.
Ditch the wrong type of shampoo
If you’ve got coarse and very dry hair, you can’t just walk into a chemist and pick up any old shampoo off of the shelf. Most manufacturers still use sulfates and other drying ingredients in their shampoo. Sulfates are harsh detergents which strip the hair (and skin!) of our natural oils, causing frizz, dry itchy scalp and breakage. Read the ingredient list at the back of the shampoo (not just the front label which is mostly marketing) and watch out for these common nasties - Sodium Laurel Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Coco Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate.
Moisturise your hair
Applying conditioners or hair butters to dry hair does not moisturise your hair - it just creates product build up which causes your hair to tangle. Water moisturises your hair. Oils, conditioners and butters seal in the moisture into your hair. Moisturise your hair with water every other day to combat dryness. And then seal in the water with a conditioner. So apply your conditioner, butter or oil on wet or damp hair. One of my friends with braids still does this - she squeezes in the water into her braids and then seals with jojoba oil. It may not be ideal but some of her hair will gain some moisture.
Get ready for seasonal changes
It isn’t so much the weather changing that is the major problem. It is what happens when it does. During the hot months, the air conditioning is turned right up while during the winter, we rely on the heating. These extreme temperatures make your hair dry, brittle and frizzy. Sometimes, if I’m going to be indoors during the winter months and even when I’m running errands in town, I will use a pretty satin scarf to create a barrier to the heating or dry winter air. I know a hair stylist who uses a shower cap to cover her hair while indoors or underneath her beanie cap. With the body heat this provides, her hair will be getting steamed in the process while avoiding the effects of heating. In the tropics, the air conditioning is also a form of drying air so the same treatment can be employed.
Your hair porosity type
You may not have had a chance to find out what your hair porosity type is but this is a crucial step in your hair care regimen. Hair porosity is the ability of hair to take in moisture and hold on to it. If your hair has a high ability to soak in moisture, you will find that it is also easy for it to lose moisture leading to dryness. You need to use conditioners with particular oils which will protect the moisture from escaping. If your hair has low ability to take in moisture, it will need to be deep conditioned on a regular basis using products with particular oils and conditioning agents with low molecules which will penetrate the shaft and stay moisturised.
Hope this helps.
Let me know what questions you have on Instagram @ i_am_equi.