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    Special Natural Hair Care For Nigerians Only (With Pix Illustrations)

    I used to think that African hair just
    wasn’t configured to grow as long hair from other nationalities. However, after
    a lot of research, I discovered that all hair types grow at the same rate (half
    to about an inch every month). The challenge that African hair has is dryness
    which leads to breakage and eventual loss of hair length.  Although sporting natural African hair seems
    to be the current rave, the average lady has on a wig, braids or sewn in
    extensions…and we carry these hairstyles for at least half of the year.
     If
    we consider the fact that the procedures require us to wash our hair at least
    once in two weeks even with the extensions on, condition, moisturize and seal,
    I’d say that we are already being set up to fail because most of us do not even
    carry our own hair enough to make these procedures a habit.
    However, the journey to Rapunzel- like
    tresses is possible and can be jump-started with a few simple steps: 

    1.      
    Exercise!


    I know you’re wondering what this has to do with growing your hair
    but it’s actually very important. When you exercise, our heart rate and blood
    circulation increases causing more blood to flow to all parts of the body
    including the scalp. This will help the much needed nutrients get to the hair
    follicles.


    2.      
    Eat right!

    Hair is actually made of protein (keratin) and eating healthy foods
    like fruits, vegetables and protein (eggs, milk, lean meat, fish). You also
    need to drink lots of water. These foods provide your body and hair with the
    essential nutrients which it needs to grow strong, thick and healthy.

    3.      
    Understand your hair
    Knowing your hair is really important because it determines how
    frequently to retouch, moisturize, oil or deep condition. The thickness and
    texture of your hair also determines what kinds of products and treatments that
    you carry out on your hair.

    4.      
    Know your ingredients

    By now, it is common knowledge that some of the hair products which
    are used in a lot of salons contain harsh chemicals (Sulphates, parabens,
    glycols etc.), which make hair dry and brittle, make the hair break and
    irritate the scalp. When shopping for products, you want to look for products
    which contain natural oils, panthenol, biotin and other vitamins and minerals
    like niacin, zinc.

    5.      
    Provide moisture and protein

    As stated earlier, lack or insufficient moisture is the main issue
    with African hair. That being said, it needs a lot of moisture for it to
    thrive. Providing moisture doesn’t have to be expensive. You need a water
    itself or a water- based moisturizer. Simply pour clean water into a spray
    bottle and spritz into your hair, scalp and ends. Remember that the longer your
    hair grows, the farther it is from the scalp and the less nutrients it gets.
    Since hair is composed majorly of protein, we need to nourish the hair with all
    the nutrients that it needs to flourish. There are many good deep conditioner
    available and less expensive deep conditioners that you can make by yourself
    using mayonnaise, eggs, avocado and natural oils like coconut oil, shea butter
    etc. Always remember to lock in the moisture using a sealant like shea butter,
    coconut oil etc.

    6.      
    Protective Styling

    Protective styling is simply making your hair in such a way that the
    ends are protected from adverse weather conditions, friction or too much manipulation.
    Using wigs, weaves and braids are some protective styles. When carrying your
    own hair, it is also advised that you protect it at night with a silk or satin
    scarf or bonnet or sleep with a silk/ satin pillowcase. In actual fact,
    carrying hair extensions can help our hair grow if we remember to care for our
    natural hair underneath as well. Before getting a weave or any other hair
    extension, make sure you wash and deep condition your hair first. Also remember
    to oil the scalp underneath through the rows and tracks of your hair. It is
    also important to ensure that the braids are not too tight.

    7.      
    No heat!

    It
    is also important to reduce the amount of heat that you apply on your hair
    using flat irons, curlers etc. Hair is made of protein and protein is denatured
    by heat. Regular application of heat to the hair damages it and makes it break.
    It is okay to use heat once in a while but try as much as possible to stay
    away from heat.
    Bonus tip: Give
    your hair time to breathe. Try to wait at least 2 weeks between extensions.

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