Contribution from Ebun, a pharmacist and speaker from London.
I went natural about 3 years ago and the longer my hair grew the drier it would get. I often hear complaints about dry hair from women with very tight coils.
There are so many products on the market that only seem to be quick fixes, with the moisture only lasting a couple hours in my case. I wanted to get to the bottom of it and explore the root causes of dry hair and find permanent fixes.
What causes dry natural hair?
I always thought my natural hair would not be dry as I was no longer using chemicals and my shampoo was ‘sulphate-free’ (as sulphates strip hair of its natural oils). However, I learnt this was not the case as kinky hair has so many coils and twists making it harder for oils from the scalp to travel down to the bottom of the hair. This is why the ends of the hair are the weakest and why people with looser curls don't tend to struggle so much with dryness.
Whilst you can't change the pattern of your hair without chemicals, there are some simple steps you can take for shiny, moisturised afro hair.
1. Drink more water
Drinking water allows the body to flush out toxins much quicker which can contribute to hair growing faster. Water keeps your hair hydrated from the inside out and hydrated hair is less likely to break.
Even spraying water on my hair has become its best friend, especially when styling!
2. Eat a balanced diet
The truth is we are what we eat — if we eat food lacking in vitamins and minerals, it will begin to show on our body – and hair.
Nuts about dry hair? Brazilian nuts are an excellent source of selenium, which helps prevent hair loss. Also, walnuts are good sources of potassium and omega fatty acids which are vital for scalp health.
3. Moisturise and seal
At the beginning of my natural hair journey I thought this was a long process, however, the time has told me I cannot live without it!
LOC or LCO, whichever method you use does not matter as long as it’s done. I use the LCO method, water or Afrocenchix Sheen Natural Moisturising Spray (which smells amazing!) as my liquid/lotion, followed by a moisturising cream. A good moisturiser must contain water such as Afrocenchix Smooth Moisturising Cream.
Once the hair is moisturised, it should be sealed with an oil or butter based product that can seal in moisture. I normally use coconut oil and shea butter as my go-to sealants. More recently, I have been using the Afrocenchix Seal 100% Natural Hair Oil – loaded with castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil and more! The Afrocenchix Seal has become a personal favourite as it leaves my hair moisturised for days without using an extra product.
4. Protective styles
As much as I love wearing my afro hair out, I have simply learnt that I just cannot have it out all year round, especially in extreme cold or hot weather.
Protective styles include braids, weaves and crochet braids. They protect against dryness and breakage, however, you must still shampoo your scalp, sleep with a bonnet/satin scarf and keep your hair moisturised. Coconut oil and the Afrocenchix Sheen Natural Moisturising Spray works for me when wearing protective styles.
Combatting dry hair takes a mixture of many things, including finding what works for you. It may mean trial and error but it's a battle worth fighting!
Afrocenchix natural organic products can be found on their online shop or at WholeFoods UK. Afrocenchix products are expertly researched and are derived from 97-100% natural ingredients. The products are free from cruelty, SLS/sulphates, parabens, silicons and parfum/artificial fragrances and are vegan-friendly.