Ladies and gents, meet Auketria Manor. She is one of the new guest bloggers to join the Blog Xpressions team! Name sounds familiar? I interviewed Auketria back in December 2015 about her book, Catching Feelings.
In the post below, Auketria takes us into the thriving hair industry and shares her personal experiences and views about relaxed and natural hair. She offers helpful tips and tricks to keep your mane in control. I recommend you get relaxed and grab a cup of coffee – this is some good stuff!
The black hair industry has always been a thriving business regardless of the current trends. A multi-billion dollar industry is completely fathomable when hair care and styling is one of many statements in the culture of black women. Ensuring that the mane is groomed is not only a priority, but it has had the power to convey to others that you have a set apart style and care about your appearance – almost providing a sneak peek into the type of woman one may be. So much so, many can be described as “Toya, whose hair is always on point” or similar descriptions referencing someone’s fierce hair game. Now, as unfortunate as it may be, there have been great debates concerning “natural hair rockers” as opposed to those who still relax their strands. I, for one, have been natural since 2012 after a long transitional period, but I admit that I have a love for current short hair trends on relaxed and blown out natural hair as well as a perfectly coiled afro or protective style.
I am sharing some of my easy tips and tricks that can serve as a basic guideline to keep your most glorified possession (your hair), strong and healthy:
MAINTAIN YOUR CROWN
The ultimate goal in the way any woman chooses to wear her hair is to possess healthy strands. I cannot stress this enough. With the variations of hair types whether it’s overly moist hair or severely dry tresses, the focus should be on maintaining that crown with the healthiest regimen possible for your hair type and texture. As a “naturalista,” I have had many challenges with finding the most effective products and styles for my 4B hair-type (see collage above) which consists of a z-shape pattern and depending on what product I use, it will display a more defined curl or a fluffier look. During my days of maintaining a relaxed mane, I experienced dryness then as well. With sandy brown hair growing up, it was difficult to keep my hair with a balanced moisture. Now that I am more informed about hair care (because I’m constantly gawking over beautiful styles and products that seem to be the answer) I have some regimens for “sistahs” with hair preferences on both sides of the spectrum!
FOOD CAN AID IN PRODUCING HEALTHY HAIR
Believe it or not, foods that you eat impact your skin, nails and your HAIR! I hope you enjoy the taste of salmon because it is packed with natural ingredients such as vitamin D, iron, high protein, vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids that can be essential to the scalp therefore promoting hair growth. I actually love smoked salmon so this is no challenge for me. Although I am not a huge fan of raw carrots, they contain vitamin A which also helps to maintain a healthy scalp. PECANS! Who knew? Growing up in the country we were used to having pecan trees in the neighborhood yards and we’d pick them, crack them open and eat them as a past time. All along having no clue that they offered any minerals that were good for hair. There are tons of foods that we eat every day that can increase shine, a more moisturized scalp and hair growth. For more tips on essential foods click here and find out which of your favorites made the cut.
Now those foods we were talking about can be beneficial to either relaxed, “texlaxed” (somewhat of a looser curl but not a complete relaxer straightening the hair) or natural hair.
MORE CONDITIONER, PLEASE
Deep conditioning is also a win-win regardless if you are relaxed or natural. This prevents breakage and severe dryness. When it comes to products however, there is a difference in results with the hair types. For natural tresses, be cautious with shampooing with products high in sulfate because it strips the hair of its natural oils. Co-washing however (cleansing the hair with conditioner) helps to retain moisture in the hair and prevents severe dryness. There are products such as Cantu and KeraVada that actually carry a co-wash product in a bottle. I use Cantu quite frequently and I love the results!
Outside of deep conditioning relaxed hair, you don’t want to overdo it with products containing oils because it may affect the finishing touches of the style you choose. Long relaxed hair may not have bounce if it’s overly saturated with oils or a short haircut may not curl as successfully if the hair is too oily. All in all, you want to have the right balance of moisture dryness, if that makes sense.
Now before we go, here are a few hair tips and tricks from some of my favorite hair scientists:
- For overly dry natural hair, try wetting and conditioning the hair daily until you have reached the desired hydration level for your hair (@justcurlyqutee)
- Be mindful of hair ingredients on product labels ending with “cone”. These ingredients will cause your hair to gain build-up quickly (@justcurlyqutee)
- Personal advice that I have received regarding hair growth on stagnant hair is to massage the scalp three to four times per week with oil in a circular motion. This stimulates the hair follicles promoting hair growth. This is great for natural or relaxed hair (for relaxed hair use oil in moderation depending on the level of dryness)
- No matter the hair type EVERY lady should sleep with the hair covered with a silk/satin bonnet or scarf to protect the hair from the friction caused by cotton pillow cases
- Minimize the use of heat on any hair type. Overheating causes damage
- If you are going to wear an updo (protective style) make sure the stylist understands that your edges do not need to be snatched in order to look maintained. This is the quickest way to cause breakage on the outter parameters of your hair
I want to hear from you! What is your methodology to maintaining your crown? Are you a relaxed hair queen or a natural hair queen?