As the year comes to a close, we wanted to start 2021 off on the right foot by providing you all with our best tips, tricks and advice on looking after your hair next year.
This guide isn't just for those of you who are keen to change and ensure your hair is the best it can be, we want it to be seen as reference point for all things hair related for the year ahead!
It All Starts With A Routine...
Having a solid routine and following it consistently is what keeps your hair looking healthy and feeling strong. It’s the foundation of everything you do.
The question is, where do you start?
The first step in an afro hair care routine is to create one that is simple and works around your lifestyle or schedule. If it doesn’t, you’ll find excuses to brush it off or insist it’s “too much effort” — and that’s when your hard work can go to waste.
Now when we talk about routine, we don’t mean washing, drying, moisturising and styling your hair every day… parts of it only need to be done roughly once a week.
A simple and effective afro hair care routine looks something like this:
Most of us wash our faces and brush our teeth every day. We have a consistent and repeatable process that’s ingrained in our lifestyle. Likewise, looking after your hair should be the same.
One reason your hair can become dry and damaged because of hygral fatigue. This is a weakening of the hair which is caused by the repeated expansion and contraction of hair each time it is washed (the hair shaft expands as it fills with water and then contracts as it dries). Ultimately, hygral fatigue can result in dryness, breakage, weak hair and split ends – basically, everything we want to avoid!
To avoid hygral fatigue is by pre-treating your hair coconut oil before washing it. Coconut oil has been proven to protect hair by binding to the proteins in the hair shaft meaning that fewer water molecules can bind to the hair and less swelling happens.
On a weekly basis (or between 7-10 days), wash your hair once with a sulphate-free shampoo. Swish, our sulphate-free shampoo is pH balanced, gentle enough to be used frequently and cleans without stripping your hair of moisture.
Make sure you wash your scalp using a gentle, circular movement. This will dislodge dirt, encourage blood flow to the scalp and help you avoid itchy scalp issues (learn more about why your scalp might be itchy by watching our video, below).
NB: ‘Washing’ your hair with conditioner isn’t something we would suggest. Shampoos work by removing dirt from the hair and scalp, and conditioners do not have the cleansing properties to effectively clean your hair. Save your conditioner for after you’ve washed your hair. You can learn more about this by watching our video, below.
Rocking box braids? You can learn how to wash your braids without water and without creating frizz with the help of our video. Rachael Corson (Afrocenchix cofounder) demonstrates how to easily clean your scalp when you have locs or a long term protective style like braids, faux locs or twists.
Braids need love too! Our Braid Care Set is perfect for protective styles like braids and twists with your natural hair or extensions.
Loc'ing In Moisture
This is where the LOC/LCO method comes into play, this is the layering of products (liquid, oil and cream) to effectively combat dryness and maximise hydration.
Liquid: our recommendation would be to use a water-based moisturisier. Sheen, for example, has all the natural ingredients your hair needs to be healthy and to keep moisture “locked” in your hair strands.
Oil: after applying a liquid, seal the moisture in using oil. Water evaporates very quickly from hair, so you need something thick to keep it there. Seal (one of our favourites), will leave your hair feeling hydrated and super soft. Make sure you check it out.
Cream: here you’ll want to use a moisturising cream or leave-in conditioner. It’ll really help to keep the moisture in and leave your hair feeling smooth. Check out Smooth if you’re looking.
Our Moisture Surge Set contains products for all three steps — Sheen natural moisturising spray (liquid), Seal (hair oil) and Smooth (moisturising cream).
Now, what about styling? We are huge fans of protective styles, which are where the ends of your hair are tucked away — think braids, twists, or weaves. They keep your hair clean and moisturised over a period of time.
We also love low manipulation hairstyles are those that require little to no maintenance and still look great. Buns, rolls, twists and pins — these styles keep your hands away from your hair.
From office looks to date night, there are plenty of ways for you to wear your hair. That said, we can offer a little bit of inspiration!
Quick & Easy Hairstyles
In the video below, we showcase three cute quick and easy hairstyles using our wash day set and the LOC method.
The Wash Day Set will help you cut down the time it takes to wash your hair and leave you with clean and moisturised hair ready for any style.
Simple Professional Hairstyles
Interview coming up? Going back to work? Want to look good for a serious occasion? In the video below, we share some of the easiest professional afro hairstyles (and how to do them). Check it out.
Stretching Afro/Curly Hair
Want to stretch your hair? We love using heatless methods, here are our two favourites...
How to stretch afro hair with Bantu Knots: In this video we show you how to stretch afro hair without heat using the products in our Wash Day Set. The key to a great style is starting on freshly washed and detangled hair.
Banding Method: Looking for ways to stretch your curly or afro hair without heat? The banding method is a quick and easy way to stretch your hair and doesn't require a hairdryer. It's a favourite with our co-founder Joycelyn and is super simple to do.
Hairstyles For Kids
Once you know the basics, styling kids’ hair can be simple and — mostly — fuss free. This video will give you a simple step-by-step guide.
Hair Care For Kids
Kids' afro hair care can be simple once you know the basics! In this video, Joycelyn shows us how she washes, moisturises and styles her niece's hair.
We believe it’s important to us that children grow up loving their afro hair, that we can speak positively about hair around children and also, show them how best to look after their hair.
Hair Care For Wig Wearers
It’s no secret how effective protective styles like wigs can be in helping to protect natural hair.
But simply putting your hair away under a nice wig won’t help you make the most of the protective nature of the style. It's important to care for your natural hair under your wig and avoid dangerous practices such as gluing your wig. To learn more, read our guide: How to Care for Your Natural Hair Under a Wig.
Product Recommendation: Our Afrocenchix’s curated Under The Wig Set has everything wig and weave wears need to look after their hair.
Hair Care For Locs
Locs are a versatile way to carry your natural hair. But there is a common misconception that locs require no maintenance, however, locs like all hair require care.
Editor's Tip: Our Braid Care Set works well with locs. It consists of Swish our sulphate-free shampoo, Sheen our moisturising spray and Soothe our scalp oil. Sheen is a favourite because it moisturises the hair without leaving build-up.
New to locs or just want to know more about how to make your locs thrive? Read our 6 tips for how to take care of your dreadlocks.
Transitioning Hair Care
Want to transition to natural hair but not sure where to start? Or has lockdown caused you to ‘forcibly’ transition? Whatever your reasons for going from relaxed to natural, our transitioning to natural hair guide will give you all the tips and guidance you need to make the natural hair transition easier.
Coloured Hair Care
Coloured your afro hair but not sure how to look after it? Rachael, co-founder of Afrocenchix talks through 5 things you need to know when it comes to looking after coloured afro hair in our video, below.
Hair Care For Swimmers
Chlorine and saltwater can be extremely drying to afro hair, which can lead to a multitude of issues such as damaged hair and breakage. This is why it’s so important to make sure you're using the right hair products and following a hair routine.
Learn more by reading our Ultimate Guide To Swimming With Natural Hair. and watching our video featuring Alice Dearing (one of the top marathon swimmers in Britain).
Hair Care For Essential Workers
There is a lot unknown about Covid-19, but the recommendation is that essential workers should wash their hair more frequently (and in many cases, daily).
We know that increasing the frequency at which you wash your hair can play havoc with it. So check out our guide: Afro Hair Care for Doctors, Nurses & Other Essential Workers.
Itchy scalp? Embarrassing white flakes everywhere? If you're wondering if you have dandruff our comprehensive guide covers everything: from symptoms, how to get rid of dandruff and how to tell if you just have a dry scalp.
You may have noticed more hair than usual on the pillow, on your clothes, in the plughole after washing. However, it is usual to use between 50-100 hairs per day. Discover everything you need to know about Alopecia (hair loss) in our video, below.