By Leah Fletcher
After the dry winter months, restoring your hair’s natural luster and moisture is key. While preparing your hair properly for the warmth of spring, remember the transition to healthy hair begins with a healthy scalp.
While African American women sport a range of hair textures from straight and wavy to curly, coiled and kinky, many struggle to maintain a healthy moisture level at the scalp. Curlier textures are prone to dryness, and women who straighten and or/color their hair expose it to harsh chemicals that can further dehydrate the scalp, according to Michelle Williams, a New York City ethnic hair care stylist.
Williams said that a healthy scalp is important no matter what the season or what type of hair you may have. “Your scalp is made up of several pores that control hair growth and need to be taken care of for healthy hair growth,” explained Williams, who also pointed out that an unhealthy scalp may lead to infection and even hair loss.
Take note of your scalp the next time you are caring for your hair. If you notice that your hair is dehydrated and your scalp is dry, Williams believes that by adhering to the following healthy hair care guidelines, you may ensure your hair is healthy for the spring season.
Shampooing removes excess build up
Wash your hair once every seven to 10 days to prevent both the hair and the scalp from drying out. Many African American women tend to wash their hair bi-weekly because excess oil build up accumulates at a slower rate that it does for women of other ethnicities. Some African-American hair is drier, courser and/or thicker, and oiling the scalp prevents dandruff, an itchy scalp and dry skin. Hair oil also increases hair growth.
Apply shampoo with your fingertips. Rub the shampoo into the roots of your hair and scalp by messaging it with your fingers. Never rub shampoo into your scalp with your fingernails. Start at the perimeter of your hair and work your way toward the center of your head. Rinse your hair completely. Use a clarifying shampoo about twice a month to remove any excess build up.
Conditioning: Locks in Moisture
Apply a conditioner to your hair after every shampoo. It will lock the moisture into your hair follicle as well as the scalp. Section off your hair and apply the conditioner to each section. Comb out each section with a wide-tooth comb, from root to tip. Rinse out conditioner completely. It helps to use a leave- in conditioner once a week.
Hair Oils: A scalp’s best friend
There are an assortment of hair oils that range from natural to commercially-prepared.
Regardless of the type it is important to keep your hair hydrated. Apply a small amount of oil to your hands and rub it into you scalp. Message the oil into your scalp with your fingertips for three to five minutes. After the scalp has been completely oiled, brush your hair to blend the oil into the scalp, through the hair, and into the edges.
Avoid using too much hair oil. Too much will result in difficulty combing your hair. Dip your index finger into the oil using only enough to fully oil the scalp. Thick hair grease may be used to evenly oil the scalp. However, hair lotion might be better for damaged ends. Be careful when applying it because, while hair lotion tends to drip over the fingers and into the hair, it is not always absorbed into the scalp.
As you plan to step into to spring, Williams advises that you do it with good hair health.