I sure do hope that you are keeping well and that your Monday has not been too brutal! A couple of hours ago, I posted a picture on my Instagram, asking my readers to leave their hair questions in the comments section. Many of you responded, thank you!! I'll be giving brief responses in this post. I've grouped the questions and re-phrased some of them, so scroll down for your response! For topics that require a little more depth, I'll plan separate blog posts.
Let's begin, shall we?
Lots of naturalists have been asking me: What is shedding? What is too much shedding? How often does hair shed? What is breakage? Is there a way to prevent it? How do I deal with/prevent breakage after protective styling? Does breastfeeding cause breakage/shedding?
Shedding refers to the process by which hair that has reached the end of its growing cycle, naturally falls from the scalp along with the white bulb root attached. Breakage, contrastingly, refers to the process by which strands splinter off. This is mainly as a result of dryness, mishandling and weakening during styling, or because of exposure to the elements (sun, wind etc). Factors that increase your breakage rate include: styling methods that place stress on your hair follicles; birth control/menstrual cycles, menopause and pregnancy; heredity (genetically runs within your family) and illnesses such as thyroid disorders. If you're in doubt, always see your doc!
Typically, our hair sheds off 10-50 strands a day. This variation can be hormonal, genetic or environmental (eg. stress can cause hair loss). Our hair completes its life cycle in 4-6 years so this cycle of shedding cannot be prevented. If you are losing lots of strands through shedding, you might want to see your doctor.
To prevent breakage from protective styling, you must do the following three things:
Firstly, ensure that your protective style is well installed. Braids that are too tight will cause breakage. Secondly, ensure that you can maintain your moisture regimen within reason. Now of course you might not be able to throw on that banana deep conditioner over your weave, but do try, at the very least to make sure that your tracks are moisturized regularly. Lastly, wear your protective styles for a reasonable amount of time. There's no point in wearing your hair in protective styles for 6 months! You'll find that you are doing more harm than good. Your hair needs a break too!
@lindaosuntade: Can retwisting your hair every night lead to breakage?
This is a tricky one. Retwisting your hair every night does help reduce tangling, all while keeping your hair stretched. At the very same time, it might mean that you are constantly manipulating your hair, which might weaken your strands and lead to breakage. I'd suggest wearing long-term protective styles that do not require too much daily styling and keeping up with your moisturizing regimen in order to strengthen your strands and prevent damage.
@mannniii: Do you trim your own hair? if so, how often & on wet or dry hair?
I have my hair professionally trimmed once a year when I have my hair anniversary. (See pics here). This is done on flat-ironed hair. During the course of the year, I trim dead ends as they arise, and I do this on dry hair.
@_rahelm: Is there a particular food that enhances your hair growth and health?
Not that I have heard of! The rate of hair growth is usually genetically determined. But the health of our hair varies based on how well we nurture it. The key is to moisturize, seal and use protective styles. Diet and exercise aid hair growth, by ensuring that our bodies are healthy enough in the first place, to grow hair! Read this post here on how I use vitamins to improve my nutrient levels.
@kpkasempa: How do you deal with tangling after a period of long-term protective styling?
Great question! I have a video here on how I prepare my hair for detangling. (Don't forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel, there's a really exciting post coming up this week!) I basically saturate my strands in coconut oil and my detangling mix. On detangling day, I give myself several hours to gently work through the knots.
@_justbenatural: What's your hair regimen?
Please find my hair regimen here. This is what works for my hair. Please feel free to tweak yours accordingly!!
@creatingvisionsmua and @oluwatoyin2k2 : How do your prevent shedding/breakage? Am I not moisturizing enough?
Great question! Shedding is a natural part of our hair's growth process. When our hair sheds, the entire strand, with the root intact, falls off. Breakage, contrastingly, is when our hair breaks along the hair shaft - it can be caused by over manipulation, dryness or even wear and tear. To prevent breakage, minimize your hair manipulation by using long term protective style, stick to your moisturizing regimen and trim off dead and split ends accordingly.
@s1mnicity @saimxnda @emyrems: What are my favorite products? Do I use protein treatments? What are my favorite moisturizing deep conditioning products?
Please see my regimen here. I have outlined my favorite products. I believe more in process than in products. The key to hair growth, is not products per se, but a solid hair regimen that allows you to retain moisture and protect your strands from damage. Products only aid this process, but cannot guarantee growth. (See my hair growth "formula" here)
@joy_shiko_13 Do you use black tea/coffee rinses? What about baking soda rinses?
I have used black tea/coffee rinses with much success. They do help prevent shedding, after washday. I've used baking soda once - it made my hair rock hard, so that was also the last time I used it! For deep cleansing, I'd just rather use a cleansing shampoo once every 6 or so weeks.
@nepssy How do you deal with "hard hair"? Is there a way to soften "hard hair"?
This is one of my most asked questions! Well natural hair definitely feels "hard" when compared to permed hair. What you are adjusting to is a texture change, and its totally okay to feel overwhelmed in the beginning! I sure was. There is no product, technique or style that can alter this "hardness" - our curl pattern is naturally prone to tangles and matting! That said, learning how to handle our hair's texture is all part of the fun. (Read about hair textures here) I've found that keeping my hair stretched by wearing it in two strand twists or three strand braids is really helpful. Also, with time, I have gained experience in styling it. The same will be true for you! Hang in there love!
@wachera_betty: Will henna change my hair color?
It all depends on which type of henna you use and how often you apply it. One application, will not alter your hair color - unless you have very light colored hair. However, in my own experience, I have found that multiple applications have given my hair a maroon tint in the sun. But this is after 4 years of use! (See my henna recipe here)
@kimmuneri What is the best protective style for retaining length and protecting edges? Wigs or braids/twists?
I am the biggest fan of two strand twists! I'll be putting up a post soon on why I am super obsessed with them, make sure you look out for it. Coming in in second place are wigs! I have several reviews, read one here. Also, I have a post on protective styles, here.
@pearsandpistachios Do you wrap your hair up at night?
Well being that I don't have my hair out - as in, straightened, too often, no. I do however, wear a satin scarf every single night without fail! If my hair is in two strand twists, which it normally is, I'll simply pin the ends away and then throw on my satin scarf.
Thanks for all these fantastic questions! I hope my responses were helpful! I'll definitely do more Q & A posts in the future to help you all out with your immediate questions. If I didn't include your question here, it's probably because I didn't see it in time! (There's no hate around here, I pinky pwwomisse!! :-) )
On this day, I took out my camera and had a field day; simply taking in my last days in Williamstown, and enjoying my puffy, post anniversary hair!!
Oh Quaint. Quiet, Williamstown. I miss you.
There's just something about bandana tops and sunsets in summer, doncha reckon?
Sunshine & Love & Sunshine!!!