YOU AND YOUR HAIR: HERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU DO NOT REALISE THAT ARE DAMAGING YOUR HAIR - An interview with Tara Ayodeji.
Bad hair day is a real thing! Isn’t it? Does that bouncy and flawless hair models flaunt in hair care ads really exist? Well… they do and yes, your hair can be as flawless as that. However, reaching that feat requires following a routine that is sure to guaranty flawless hair. In this article, author Anene Dumebi interviews hair expert Tara Ayodeji, who gives tips on how to take care of your hair. Let’s dive in ladies… Most African women are now rocking their natural hair more than hair extensions or wigs. This has made getting the best hair care routines and products a major concern. In this article, outlined are practices or methods that are causing all your hair care routines to be less effective. 1. Sleeping with no satin or silk protecting your tresses. Satin or silk are very soft materials and do not absorb hair oils as much as other materials. Satin or silk keeps your hair moisturized and prevents frizzing due to the materials being soft and not allowing for a lot of friction. 2. Using products that are not for your hair type. There are a lot of products for natural hair care these days, Most people do not know that not every product is for every hair type. You need to find out your hair type, is it 4c, oily, low porosity, 4b etc. You need to find out all these before investing in hair care products. 3. Exposing your hair to excessive heat. Straightening hair with a flattening iron has become a go to whenever one wants to have a hair that slicks black neatly when doing a hairstyle. The heat from the flattening iron can cause hair damage as it can weaken the strands. Plaiting hair or doing thread is a healthier way to straighten hair. 4. Manipulating your hair frequently. Changing hairstyles frequently will weaken hair. The excess manipulation; the loosening, pulling, combing, twisting etc will be too much for the hair to handle and can start falling out faster than normal. 5. Leaving your hair in a protective style for a very long time. Getting your hair tangled is not very good for the hair as it is another cause of hair breakage. Keeping your hair in a particular style for too long will cause tangles in the hair. It is best to carry hair for at most a month or three weeks, depending on the type of protective style. Tara Ayodeji is the founder and CEO of Nature’s Locks, an information hub and haircare company based in Lagos, Nigeria that produces haircare products and accessories while providing you with the knowledge to achieve your healthiest hair possible. After many years of badly damaged hair, she was able to turn her own hair around and now helps others to do the same. You can purchase the products and read the blog at natureslocks.co and pick up some haircare tips on Instagram (@natureslocks) and Twitter (@natureslocks). The email she would like to be reached on is: firstname.lastname@example.org IG and Twitter handles are: @natureslocks In an interview with Tara Ayodeji, the CEO of Nature’s locks, an authentic and natural multipurpose hair & skin products and accessories company. Tara sheds more light on best practices for your hair. 1. How long have you been conscious of your hair's health? I became very conscious of the health of my hair around 2012 or 2013. I went fully natural in 2011 after my hair sustained a huge amount of damage from relaxers and I had to cut it all off. When I went natural, I thought all my hair problems would disappear and my hair would be bountiful and healthy, not knowing that healthy hair required commitment, time and patience. After 2 years of wearing my hair in braids all the time, I decided to take charge of nourishing my hair and learning how to manage my hair. 2. What made you become conscious of your hair's health? I became conscious of my hair’s health because I wanted long, thick hair. I had experienced so much damage to my hair through my own lack of knowledge and also by trusting others with my hair when they didn’t quite know what to do with it. Through my research, I found that in order to grow my hair and keep it long, I needed to focus on the health of my hair. With health typically comes length. When you focus on length rather than health, you might get that length, but it will probably be damaged and unhealthy length. I wanted my hair to be at its best in every sense of the word. 3. What major setback have you faced on your journey to a healthy natural hair? One major setback I experienced when I first went natural was heat damage. Heat damage is when your hair experiences damage from direct heat being placed on it, for example from hair straighteners or a curling iron. You can typically tell if you’re experiencing heat damage when you see that your curl pattern has loosened or gone completely straight. It can also be characterized by extreme dryness and an inability for the hair to hold certain curly/kinky styles. Heat damage is not ideal because there is really no way to repair it, you can only disguise it – in order to get rid of it, you have to cut it off or wait till it grows out. This is why many people with natural hair opt to go heat free, only using heat occasionally. However, if you choose to use heat on your hair, it is essential to use a heat protector (a product that coats your hair to protect it from the potentially damaging effects of heat) on your hair every single time you use any form of heat. 4. What myth about black African hair do you know of? A myth about African hair that must be dispelled is that black people can’t grow long hair. This myth is harmful and untrue. Black people are more than capable of growing long, healthy hair. While genetics do play a role in how quickly and thickly your hair grows, the most important thing is how well you take care of your hair. 5. What common mistakes do people make while trying to achieve that full, thick African hair? A common mistake a lot of people make when trying to achieve thick hair is trying to moisturize with oils (e.g., coconut oil, sweet almond oil etc.) or butters (e.g., shea butter, cocoa butter etc.). Oils/butters do not moisturize your hair – they seal moisture into the hair. You must use a water-based product in order to keep your hair moisturized, nourished and healthy. Another big mistake is treating our hair harshly or roughly. Our hair may be a little tough to handle sometimes but our hair is actually very fragile and needs to be treated with care and attention. Always be gentle when handling your hair and ensure anyone who handles your hair is also gentle. 6. Please list out products that are perceived to be good for hair growth but are actually bad? Products are not a one size fits all approach. What works perfectly for one person might not work at all for another person, even if your hair looks or feels the same. This is why a little bit of trial and error is important – you need to try different things out and see what works for you and your hair. Your favourite blogger might look like she has the same exact hair as you, but it doesn’t mean everything she uses will work for you. Don’t be tempted to throw out all your favourite products just because someone you follow says they’re bad. 7. Products that do not usually cause build-up in natural hair? Again, this comes down to your hair and what it can handle. People with thicker hair can usually tolerate heavier products as opposed to people with thinner hair. All types of hair can experience build up, so it is important to wash your hair and scalp properly and regularly in order to remove build up and keep your scalp/hair clean. 8. How can one properly moisturize thick African hair? There are several ways to moisturize your hair, but the two most popular and effective methods are the LOC method and LCO method. L stands for liquid (e.g., water, aloe vera juice, rosewater), O stands for oil (e.g., olive oil, castor oil, jojoba oil) and C stands for cream (e.g., leave in conditioner, hair lotion, hair cream/butter).Personally, I prefer the LCO method but try both out and see what works best for you! The most important thing to know is that your liquid always comes before the oil – the water-based product moisturizes the hair and the oil seals the moisture into the hair. The frequency with which one should moisturize depends on your hair and its needs, so it is important to take the time to learn what your hair requires. 9. What advice will you give to someone who just started growing out her natural hair? You must deep condition your hair regularly with a moisturising mask. Moisturise your hair properly and often in order to prevent breakage, even when your hair is in a protective style (e.g., braids, twists, wigs). Keep your scalp and hair clean. Detangle your hair properly and gently with the right tools and using the best method for you (e.g., wide-tooth comb or fingers). Make sure to get your hair trimmed on a regular basis to remove split ends. Don’t keep your protective styles in for too long. Take your time to learn and understand your hair so you can ensure you give your hair what it needs. Be consistent and patient with your hair – hair grows but you must be ready for it to take some time. You have to be committed to the health of your hair. Take care of your general health – what you put in your body often shows on the outside. Try to drink lots of water and eat a balanced diet. If you struggle to take care of your hair yourself, find a capable and trusted stylist or salon to help you. About the author: Anene Chukwudumebi also known as Dictargh is a psychology student, a content creator and a selfcare and self development blogger. Instagram: @orange.without.seeds