Expert tips on what to do — and what NOT to do — when it comes to DIY hair care
If your plans of getting that new wig, fresh box braids or having a professional deep-conditioning treatment done have been somewhat hampered by the national lockdown, chances are you're about ready to tear your hair out by now — and you're not alone.
While less visits to the salon might have given our hair a welcome break from the damaging styling practices we normally subject it to, that doesn't mean we shouldn't care at all about how it looks or its health.
Don't neglect to wash your hair, no matter the style, agrees Candice Thurston, founder of salon chain Candi & Co.
However, this does not mean you should become extra creative with your home hairdressing skills — you may live to regret it. Thurston maintains that you should steer clear of trying any salon grade treatments (colour, chemical straightening, relaxer).
So what should you do? Thurston shares some expert hair care advice:
If you have natural hair:
- Try to stay away from heat styling and use deep-conditioning hair masks to moisturise and strengthen your hair.
- Do an overnight hair mask. Wash your hair the next day, then plait or braid it; this is very beneficial to achieving healthy hair.
If you have braids:
- Do a deep cleanse. Wash your scalp and braids using shampoo, condition and rinse thoroughly. Do this in the morning so that your hair has the entire day to air-dry. Alternatively dry it with a towel or an old T-shirt.
- Use a scalp lotion and a moisturising spray on your braids. You can then rub over a hair oil or cream. If you don’t have any of that, mix a little bit of a hair mask or some conditioner with water in a spray bottle, shake well and apply.
- Wrapping your hair in a scarf (ideally a silk one) while you sleep will also help to prevent breakage and moisture loss.
If you have a wig or weave:
If you’re on week four to six of your wig or weave; remove it and wash your hair and scalp.
An important tip is to first detangle your hair with a deep conditioner and then wash it; follow these steps:
- Section your hair into four or six parts, then use a water bottle to wet it.
- Add lots of conditioner to each section and, using a wide-tooth comb, comb hair from tips to roots in small sections. Don't rush; be gentle on your hair to ensure you don’t break it.
- Shampoo each section of hair separately, ensuring you give your hair and scalp a deep cleanse. Do not use your finger nails against the scalp when working in the shampoo as that will inflame it; rather use the balls of your fingers and apply pressure.
- Apply a hair mask and leave it on for the time recommended on packaging. For more moisture, cling-wrap your hair and let the steam of the shower work its magic.
- Wash the mask off, apply a leave-in conditioner and plait hair either in two-strand twists or knots (small buns).
- Let your hair air-dry, or alternatively blow-dry it at a cool temperature and wrap it in a scarf (ideally a silk one) while you sleep.
Always aim to have these key items in your beauty arsenal: shampoo, conditioner, hair mask, leave-in conditioner, scalp spray or lotion, wide-tooth comb and a scarf (ideally a silk one).
When buying hair care products choose those that are high in moisture by looking for words like “repair”, “hydrate”, “moisturise” and so on on the label.