Harmattan is here with its extreme temperatures often accompanied by dusty dry winds. Whether you have Locks or loose natural coily hair, this is the season to take extra good care of your hair.
Tips to properly care for your hair during the Harmattan, from “Thank God I’m Natural”:
1. Extra protection
Use an extra moisturising shampoo especially one that is formulated to be gentle on the hair. Avoid clarifying or voluminizing shampoos as these will strip the hair of its essential oils. Also avoid using harsh medicated shampoos and conditioners as these can dry out and irritate the scalp.
During this time, don’t forget to protect your hair at night. Your cotton pillowcase is not your friend especially during the dry season. Cotton is an organic fibre that draws moisture away from your hair and the friction between your hair and the cotton also breaks your hair. So remember to wear a hairnet, silk scarf, durag or sleep cap at night to create a barrier and protect your hair.
2. Deep condition and treat often
This is the best time to pamper your hair. Indulge in deep conditioning treatments every two weeks and hot oil treatments in between. The heat used in deep conditioning opens the cuticle and allows the conditioner to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft restoring proteins and strengthen the hair.
The hairs natural oils take longer to travel the entire length of the hair shaft of natural hair thus use hot oil treatments to help restore oils faster to your hair. The oils increase shine and reduce frizziness.
For Lock Wearers, it is advisable to focus more on hot oil treatments during this period as it helps to restore moisture to the locks and helps them feel soft and healthy.
3. Protective styles are a great option
If you want to wear braided extensions or try on a hair weave this is the time. Tuck your hair away and protect it from the harsh weather. Natural hair is versatile and you can wear weaves just like anyone else.
So this is your chance to try on a new look with a weave cut. People with Locks can also get extension styles depending on the size of their Locs so ask your stylist what to do.
4. Return what is sucked out
Since the Harmattan strips your hair of moisture, you have to endeavour to replace or replenish the moisture. This is the perfect time to mix a hair spritz using distilled water, your favourite base oils such as olive oil, some essential oils and glycerine.
The glycerine acts as a humectant and traps and seals the moisture into the hair, reducing brittleness and dryness. Spray it into your hair or on your Locs once every two days or more, depending on the needs of your hair.
Some hair textures are more parched and thus require a “drink” of water more than once a day. Some people use commercial leave in conditioners but the simpler and more natural you go, the better. Give your hair the essentials- water and essential oils- your hair will thank you.
5. Say “No!” to dust
The dry clouds of Harmattan dust are upon us. So remember that dust can quickly clog up your pores and cause scalp irritation so wash often and use a head wrap or a scarf if your route is particularly dusty. For men, trim your hair low so that you will be able to wash properly and brush off any dust particles. Head warmers might not be such a bad idea.