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Natural hair is a joy to have. Tight, curly coils bring out our inner lionesses and instil pride in our African roots. We know everything has drawbacks, and for natural hair there’s no shortage of tangles to contend with, from products to treatments and all the rules in between. It’s a lot to take in. That’s why we consulted with Hanson Ndabeni, Dark and Lovely National Education Manager. “Many of the most common problems associated with natural hair are interlinked. One problem may offset another, and most are behavioural in nature, meaning it’s either bad habits or lack of knowledge in hair maintenance that are at the root of it all.”
The most common complaint is, of course, dryness; especially ends feeling ‘crispy’ and hard. “Natural hair has a lower absorption than other hair types, also known as low porosity,” says Hanson. “In addition to this, the constant use of heat tools and excessively high temperatures, without protectant, only worsens the problem. To combat this, use an absorbent moisturising product, like Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Afro Moisturizing Butter.” Another option is Mizani 25 Miracle Milk, a multifunctional spray that doubles as a pre-blow-dry lotion and leave-in conditioner.
Dryness can lead to breakage, and this is made worse through heat styling, pulling on the hair too roughly, and combing or brushing when the hair is wet. The best thing to do is follow a deep conditioning routine to repair hair. Use Mizani Moisturfusion Silk Cream Conditioner Dry and Brittle Hair Treatment to lock in moisture and nourishment until the next wash. For a deeper penetration of the scalp, try something like L’Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil Conditioner For Thick Hair, and cover your hair with a sealant cap for a few hours or overnight.
On top of breakage, dryness also causes frizz. Frizz is often an indication that your hair is either dehydrated or you’re handling your hair too roughly when combing it. High humidity in the air is also a culprit. During frizzy moments, the cuticle is raised, so strands spring up and stand out, leading to that hurricane-swept look we all want to avoid. Luckily, there are smoothing solutions out there for just this problem, like Kérastase Nutritive Masquintense Coarse Hair that nourishes dry hair and sleeks down frizz at the same time.
Another problem that all girls with tight coils are familiar with are endless tangles and knots. Natural hair is susceptible to tangling if you don’t condition enough or wear a style for too long. To combat this, use Mizani D’Tangle Moisturising Leave-in Milk detangler and use stretch styles to keep strands from knotting – like rollers and banding to elongate and stretch the hair.
Taking care of natural hair feels like a burden or even its own full-time job, but with self-awareness of your own habits and using the right products, it’s easier. Keep in mind that these problems are linked, so if you manage one the rest will fall away.
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