I have often wondered growing up on a farm with everything organic why black women resorted chemically processed hair and weaves. I guess it was the norm that time to look good hair has to be straight. This is the reason woman of African decent are having trouble with alopecia.
It is often said that with slavery and colonization came a depletion in knowledge of traditional hair maintenance. Thank God kinky hair is now a trend. Here are some new and old favorites passed down generations:
Step 1: African Black Soap: Cleansing Wash
This is a traditional soap from West Africa and it’s main ingredients are shea butter, honey and plant ash. It is commonly made into a bar soap however I have mastered a DIY technique to keep it in liquid form as a shampoo. Thoroughly cleansing the hair and leaving the honey and Shea butter nutrients locked in my hair.
Step 2: Rhassoul Clay: Clarifying Hair Mask
Moroccan mineral filled gem, Rhassoul clay is a traditional mud wash that can cleanse oil and impurities from hair. The word rhassoul derives from the Arabic word for washing, “Rhassala.” It has an unmatched ability to draw out impurities from the skin and hair and is used for detoxifying, cleansing and reducing dryness. It has a reddish brown color and has been used for soothing scalp ailments such as dandruff and psoriasis.
- Rhassoul clay is the moisturizer and softener.
- It reduces dryness in the hair while also removing toxins and product buildup.
- It improve hair’s elasticity and unblocks your scalp’s pores.
- It reduces flakiness and aids in detangling and although it cleans like bentonite clay but unlike the detoxifying clay, it leaves your hair soft and moisturized.
Step 3: Locking in moisture!
Shea Butter, Avocado Butter, Cocoa Butter, Ghee Butter
These are pretty common knowledge. The one thing that is consistent across the continent is the use of oil to help maintain hair moisture. This is perhaps the most important step in maintaining growth and softness do try to include an oil/butter treatment as opposed to cholesterol treatments. Ethiopian communities use ghee butter which is a type of clarified butter. The butter is used to help seal in moisture and strengthen hair. I have realised in my Hair care routine to apply the butter while the hair is still wet wear a plastic cap and voila you have an oil treatment 🙂 Thank me later.
Step 4: Marula oil : Scalp Moisture
This is a traditional oil from Mozambique and South Africa. I have found this to be gem especially mixed with hemp oil it becomes a magical hair growth oil. Applying only on the scalp 3 times a week.
Step 5: Styling : African threading
The final step especially to straighten hair without the use of heat. African threading or Braiding the hair down gets the job done. This technique was used traditionally in West and Central Africa to wrap and protect hair as well as create intricate styles. Today, it is used in a similar manner and in addition is a way to stretch hair with no heat.
As we commemorate our African heritage, let’s take a look at these old African health and beauty tips for healthy hair. Are there any other that you know of? Please share