Using the right protective measures and products on your afro will keep it strong and healthy, ensuring a speedy natural hair growth.
1. Moisture, moisture, moisture!
It’s essential for healthy-looking hair. Keeping your afro well-nourished and moisturised will help to enhance elasticity and shine, and curb brittleness and breakage. We love: Dark & Lovely’s Au Naturale Afro Moisturizing Butter, R69,95. This delicious hydrating treat can be used every day, if necessary, and leaves no greasy residue. It also contains no mineral oil, parabens or drying alcohol.
2. Wrap your hair before you go to sleep
A silk scarf will protect your hair from friction, preventing tangles, dryness and further damage.
3. Use a silk or satin pillowcase
(Yes, we have more to say on the perks of sleeping on silk – it works wonders!) Try: Silk Lady Pillowcase for R429 at Takealot for a standard size 45cm x 70cm. This naturally hypoallergenic organic silk pillowcase reduces the loss of natural hair oils and moisture, minimizes damage to thinning hair and prevents split ends and frizzing.
4. Beat the heat
Avoid heated tools as much as possible. Instead, let your hair dry naturally. Heat is one of the biggest damagers of hair, especially if you want to go natural. If using a hairdryer is necessary, set it on the lowest heat and remember to always use a heat protectant spray.
5. Snip, snip
Don’t forget to go for regular trims. This is the best way to prevent split ends and enhance growth. A fresh cut will also make your hair easier to style as the dead ends would have been chopped away.
6. Know your products
Products that contain nourishing natural ingredients like argan, avocado oil, jojoba and shea butter are the most beneficial for taming frizz, keeping the hair’s moisture levels high and stopping further breakage. We love: Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food with Avocado Oil & Shea Butter, R34,95.
7. Use the correct hair bands
If you’re going to tie your hair up or push it out of your face, ensure you use a hair band made out of silk or satin. (Yes, we’re sounding like a stuck record!) Other fabrics such as elastic can cause breakage and damage the cuticles.
8. Comb correctly
Use a wide-tooth comb to pick at your afro instead of a small one, which can cause breakage. Picking allows your style to remain volumized and less knotty.
9. Avoid colouring
A colour change is tempting, but it’s best to stay away from any forms of hair dye or bleaching for the first year of growing out your natural hair.
10. Make hair oil your new bestie
We can only list pros when it comes to hair oil: it moisturises, nourishes, prevents breakage, improves texture and detangles. We suggest: My Abby Range Afri Oil for Braids, Weaves, Relaxed & Natural Hair, R249 – it has anti-fungal scalp properties and is safe to add to your shampoo.
11. Enhance those curls
Curls feeling a bit tight? Try: Mizani Curl Define Pudding, R183 excluding VAT – this paraben and wax-free formula tames frizz but gives a lightweight hold.
12. Don’t overwash
Keep your hair clean, but don’t overdo the washing. Wash and condition once or twice a week (lathering twice to get rid of product build-up) and use a leave-in conditioner.
13. Treat yourself
Chat to your hairstylist about hair treatments on offer that will give your hair a quick boost in moisture, nourishment, shine and strength.
14. Want to speed up hair growth?
Try Power Gro Hair Capsules: R57,95 for a packet of 30 at Dis-Chem – it strengthens hair too!