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3 easy tips from an expert on maintaining a healthy afro

Akhona ‘Miss Acalaca’ Lali shares some hair care tips.
Akhona ‘Miss Acalaca’ Lali shares some hair care tips.
Image: Supplied

We’re fast approaching summer and many of us are keen to try new hairdos to turn heads in the coming season.

While you ponder which style you’ll snatch wigs within Dezemba, it is important to remember that you have to take care of your Afro from the roots to the ends - even under a protective style.

To help us honour our crowns while trying out new dos, owner of Honour Your Crown Akhona ‘Miss Acalaca’ Lali shared these tips:

1. Your ’Fro and heat

While it is not advisable to use a blow dryer on your Afro often, certain hairdos can only be achieved when your curls are straightened.

“I do not recommend using heat because it burns the hair and it starts breaking, especially if you use it frequently,” Miss Acalaca says. She advises you to invest in a heat protectant for when you do use a dryer. This is a product that seals the hair, helping to stop it burning and being damaged. While there are myriad heat protectants on offer, Miss Acalaca says butter-based products, like shea butter, can also be used to shield your hair from heat.

Consider changing the setting of your hairdryer to reduce damage. While setting it on low means your hair takes longer to dry, it is the healthier alternative.

2. Avoid styles that strain your hairline

Sometimes your hair isn’t in good enough condition for the look you’re going for and, although this is a hard pill to swallow, you need to think about the health of your hair in the long run.

Miss Acalaca is not shy to make her clients aware of this. “If you come to me and I see that your hairline is in ICU, and not suitable for the specific hairstyle you want, I recommend something else.”

As a customer, you have the right to tell your stylist if they’re plaiting your hair too tight. Tight braids, cornrows and locs not only cause receding hairline, they could lead to traction alopecia, which means your hair will not grow back because it has been pulled out from the roots.

3. Wash day applies to protective hairstyles too

For those who think protective hairstyles mean your weekly wash days are on recess, think again. Our expert says you still need to wash your hair and treat it. “All those products you use keep building up, so you need to keep washing or treating your hair every two weeks, while you have the protective hairstyle on.”

If you’re thinking that washing braids makes them heavier and that they will take forever to dry, Miss Acalaca says you need to focus on the roots of your hair because that’s where the product build-up lies.