Image via WikipediaIn attempting to keep up with current beauty trends, I have seen women with textured hair do inestimable damage with coloring, rinses, tinting, relaxers, texturizers, braids and other styling techniques. As a result, many suffer from shedding and breakage, split ends, dry damaged scalp and slow, imperceptible growth. These problems are so pervasive that they have lead to the belief that African American-type hair does not grow. Not true. Let's investigate what's going on here a little deeper.
Anatomy of textured hair
Afro-textured hair is similar in composition to other hair types as far as the keratin content and structure. The difference is the amount of curl or spirals in the hair which are due to coiled-like growth patterns. Also, this hair has slightly less lipids which causes it to be on the drier side making it more subject to breakage.
Now, compound this with regular chemical and relaxer use, super heated blow drying, straightening combs and curling irons, your hair doesn't stand a chance. It's really a miracle that we aren't bald. What can be done?
The solution is to stop killing your hair! Give it a rest. Today's styles are cute and fun, but at the expense of your hair and scalp? It's not worth it. Leave the relaxer and perms alone-period. There are so many things that you can do with extensions and weaves, such as color, different textures and lengths, it is really a dream come true. Your hair can rest while you experiment with such styling options. Just be careful to maintain your hair by conditioning, which will be examined a little later. Also, be mindful of the tension on your hairline when preparing for weaves and extensions since this can cause tension alopecia.
To start your new regimen, have your stylist examine your hair's condition, if necessary, cut off the damaged hair and start anew. I know, it's difficult, but I've been there, done that. Next, condition, condition and condition. And by that I mean with natural hair care products, not the chemical laden hair treaments that tend to be drying themselves because many of them contain alcohol. (Read the labels, you'd be surprised.)There is an entire natural pharmacy of products out there that can strength your hair. I am learning about them and loving it.
Natural beauty and natural hair
Enjoy the healthy moisturizing treatment of shea butter or avocado oil. These are tried and true hair health builders that moisten, condition and add luster and shine to your hair. Olive oil treatments are excellent as well as they are full of antioxidants and are fantastic for moisturizing and nourishing your hair back to health. Almond oil and henna are hair strengtheners and are used by women from all over the world. Henna is a natural hair colorant which covers the gray without the damage of chemicals.
Also, to tame the curliness and texture in the hair use dairy products such as milk, sour cream or yogurt. These products contain lactic acid which help stretch out the curl pattern and contain protein, just like the hair does.
Above all, make sure that you are staying health internally by drinking plenty of water, get lots of fresh air and sunshine and take a good multiple vitamin supplement along with a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and protein.
By being patient and steadfast, the fruits of your labors will be many as you see your hair growing in much healthier and longer.
Alma, "Shrinkage in natural curly black hair, how to work with it" http://www.blackhairinformation.com/