The styling techniques that can be applied to afro hair are endless. From locs, braids, twists, a plethora of cornrows, wigs, weaves, faux locs, african threading, yarn locs, wash and go’s, twa’s, afro puffs and much more, our hair allows us to express ourselves in ways limited only by our imagination. Such a blessing is also the cause of the number one problem for afro haired individuals, breakage!
This is a real problem, made especially noticeable as breakage occurs along the hairline, leading to traction alopecia (Alopecia Areata is a medical condition very different from what we are discussing). Traction Alopecia is evident in a thinning or non-existent hairline. This condition happens over time, the issue only becomes obvious after repeated strain on the hairline. So how do we minimise this issue, or better yet hold on to our edges?
- Work with your hair and not against it. There are some styles that may look amazing but simply will not support your healthy hair goals due to the stress they put on your hair. Examples of this include micro-braids.
- Do not keep braids installed for longer than 6 weeks without having a hairline touch-up. The hair at the back is more robust so it can last longer providing good washing methods are employed.
- Weaves and glue-down wigs must be installed and removed by a properly trained stylist to avoid hair damage. Make sure you use correct aftercare advice to avoid mould or smells developing.
- Cornrow bases for weaves and wigs must be varied each time as repeatedly following the same braiding pattern weakens the hair.
- Wigs must be well fitted and the clips should not pull on the hair. Wig caps should be worn to reduce friction between the wigs and your hair.
- Take breaks between styles and let your hair breathe. Protective styles used the wrong way will undo your efforts.
- Afro-puffs and ponytails like all other styles must not be tight or headache inducing.
By combining the elements of the 5 steps we discussed during the series you should be able to see a marked difference in your hairs health. You should now be better able to hold on to any new growth and be able to understand your hairs needs and the products it responds well to.
TIP: Always receive a consultation before styling. You get what you pay for so work with your stylist to maintain healthy hair and ask lots of questions regarding the style you desire and your hair’s ability to withstand the disadvantages of the style. Every style has pros and cons depending on your hair and harline condition; for example Faux locs, by their nature are drying.
If your hair is extremely dry already, then focus on restoring your hair’s moisture balance before having them installed. Most celebs are quick to switch up their styles because they have good stylists who provide quality consolations. For this reason, out hair inspiration this week goes to Brandy, who is forever changing up her look.
Lets stop the hair damage and embrace our curly crowns. Until next time, Happy Hair Loving!
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Afrotility is the founder of blieq.com , her focus is on natural hair care and styling. She is Passionate about afro hair in all its different degrees of curliness, and believes that “understanding your hair is the key to enjoying it and loving every single curly strand”. She also insists that “no styling without consultation” should be the new standard.
Editor: Ama Badu (Senior Online Editor)