The Black Farm Girl’s Guide To Repairing Hair

Every single black woman out there knows that the sun can do a lot of damage to our hair and we have to protect it with an arsenal of treatments. You see, straight hair grows out of a round shaft and stays stronger than hair that isn’t straight. Everyone else has oval to oblong-shaped shafts which makes the hair bend and twist as it grows out; creating breaking points. It means that non-straight hair is much more delicate and needs special attention. And with everything from the elements to relaxers, our hair may not be as healthy as it can be. So with this information, you can now create a covenant with your hair. Agree to treat it right and formulate an understanding with it. Get a good rapport going and you’ll have a relationship that shines – literally!

I first realized I had to reconsider my entire hair routine when it became more and more damaged by the sun. This was apparent when I started my first garden which kept me outside most mornings. Remember, I came from a web design job that would have me indoors all day and night if I allowed it and I would never see daylight. When I was able to stay at home a lot of things changed, especially my hair. It completely dried out and I became desperate and had to rethink everything I did to it. That included straightening it with the flat iron occasionally (rather than daily), getting rid of the curling iron altogether, and changing all the products I used to buy. Now that I’m a (wannabe) farm girl, I am outside all day everyday. I know that I can’t let my hair get dry and brittle this time, it could become damaged beyond repair. So I take precaution with a few very easy steps. Here’s how:

If you relax your hair, it’s always better to start with a product that is chemical-free. And if it’s organic then you have a win-win situation, right? So if you don’t use one already, seriously consider finding a healthier relaxer, because the chemicals in most of the popular relaxers on the market will certainly seep right into your skin, adding unwanted toxins to your body. There are several relaxer kits out there that are really terrific, but each of us should make this choice alone since hair texture and strength varies. I like to keep a relaxer in my hair to keep it manageable… my favorites are: Natural Hair Care Oasis and Organic Root Stimulator. And please visit blackhair101.com, blackgirllonghair.com and the Naptural85 Channel on Youtube for homemade recipes too!

Now I have just two words: Carol’s Daughter. And I won’t say anything about any other company from here on out. For that I am really sorry because it’s a bit pricey – the cheapest bottle of shampoo is $13.00! Wow! My only regret is how much money I dumped into this company. The founder started her hair line by using items from her own kitchen, so I am on a mission to come up with homemade products that you and I can create to save money. I promise. In the mean time, the #1 thing I do is to make sure I am well-stocked with this short list of products from Carol’s Daughter. (And check out Transitioning Movement for more styling tips from Carol’s Daughter.)

» Shampoo
» Conditioner
» Hair oil
» Hair milk
» Hair butter

My favorites are the Black Vanilla or Tui shampoo and conditioner and the Tui hair oil. Smells amazing.

As I mentioned above, I had to change the way I pamper my hair. The hair routine I found (and tailored) on the Carol’s Daughter website is the best one so far, and I’ve been doing it ever since. As soon as I wake up I apply a good amount of hair milk to my hair and pull it up into a ponytail or bun. And sometimes I cover it with a scarf which usually depends on the weather (especially if it is really hot). Yes, I have given up the idea of looking glamorous in the early morning hours. (Of course we are the glamour girls of yesterday, but there is a time and place for that. Hey wait, who says a scarf ain’t glamorous?!) So once again, #2 – while doing the early morning daily chores, hair milk goes in and then hair goes up.

My schedule keeps me in a ponytail or bun and/or scarf until sometime around 8:00am. After that I can then take time to shower and get gorgeous. (blush) Now, this may seem a bit strange, but the next step is crucial to my hair maintaining a healthy state. Let’s call it “To Wash Or Not To Wash” since that is exactly what I decide from day to day. Somewhere along the way, I learned that it is not beneficial to your hair to wash it everyday! In fact, daily shampooing is extremely drying and should be avoided if possible. Who knew? So now I check my schedule before jumping into the shower for items like – visiting my mom. For that, I probably should shampoo. Step #3 is one of the following: massage hair oil into the scalp and freshen hair with a bit more hair milk – or – if shampooing, use the conditioner afterwards followed by massaging in some of the hair oil.

As a treat, #4 is added to the routine for deep conditioning. The treatment can be applied about every two weeks – once a month. That’s where the hair butter comes in. I go a bit beyond the basic instructions on the jar and apply an ample amount of the hair butter to wet hair, then submerge a towel or head wrap into hot water and wrap my head, leaving it on for a good 20 minutes. Always wash your hair afterwards.

That takes care of the outside, and now the inside. Yep, you heard me right. For #5, we need to hydrate. Water may be drying to the point that you shouldn’t shampoo every day, but it is crucial to drink lots of it for a healthy scalp. As it turns out, most of us are not drinking enough water, so here is a simple way to figure out how much you need each day: Multiply your body weight by .65 (.55 for cold climates and .75 for hot climates) to determine how much water to drink. (livestrong.com) Urine should be light in color and you should be using the restroom throughout the day. Done. Now onto the foods.

#6 should come as no surprise – we need to eat right for healthy hair. The foods won’t surprise you either, they are not unusual items and you probably already have them. But try to eat more of them if your hair is damaged in any way. Out of all the resources I’ve checked online they all say pretty much the same thing:

» Salmon, Walnuts, Avocados, Eggs, Bananas, Sweet Potatoes – for omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B-6 and B-12, and iron
» Carrots, Spinach, Broccoli and Swiss chard – for vitamins A and C
» Oysters, Beans, Cashews, pecans, and almonds – for (more) iron, zinc, and biotin
» Meats – for protein
» Diary – for calcium

A pretty well-rounded and expected list. The most important to healthy hair seems to be the omega-3 and zinc foods, which I’ve seen over and over again on a lot of sites from webmd.com – ehow.com. But do you know what is interesting? None say to supplement the foods with packaged vitamins. All will tell you to eat for healthy hair. Hmm. Okay then, let’s start loading up on these (real) foods. Sounds good to me!

Note: Need to style it for a day in town? Try this technique that needs no heat!

Well girlfriends, I certainly hope this helps. Remember that we are not all carbon copies of each other, so you must tailor this routine to get the most out of it. Sun or no sun, let this serve as a starting point to getting a head of beautiful, healthy hair!

How to Tie a Headscarf in the Jerusalem Twist Style
 

1. You’ll need a large square scarf
2. Fold the scarf into a triangle.
3. Lay the scarf on your head so that the two side corners fall before your shoulders and the middle corner falls to the back of your head. The edge of the scarf should be lined up with your hairline above your forehead.
4. Take the two side ends and switch them, pulling them to opposite sides, behind your head. Make sure you switch them over the scarf tail and not under.
5. Twist the two ends as you wrap them around the crown of your head.
6. Tuck the two ends securely around the temple.
 

How to Tie a Headscarf in the Bun Style
 

1. You’ll need a large square scarf
2. Fold the scarf into a triangle.
3. Lay the scarf on your head so that the two side corners fall before your shoulders and the middle corner falls to the back of your head. The edge of the scarf should be lined up with your hairline above your forehead.
4. Cross the two front corners to the back of your neck and tie once.
5. Tuck in the third corner beneath the two corners that were just tied.
6. Wrap the two remaining corners around and around the corner that was just tucked in.
7. Tuck in the small left over pieces.
 

Source: eHow.com