As naturals, we know how tasking some of the techniques and treatments can be; like the post-wash frizz and shrinkage. But alas it doesn’t have to be a ‘necessary evil’.
To help out my fellow naturals sisters out there, here are some of my favourite wash day tips for reducing shrinkage and help keep frizz to a minimum.
1. Washing in sections/Washing in twisted sections
For women with longer natural hair, this one would have to be a big YES from me! I usually wash my hair in 4 even sections separated with hair crabs or in 4-6 big twists. Washing the hair in sections makes it easier to manage, ensuring that all sections of the hair are adequately washed. This is while twisting each section post-wash, conditioning and detangling prevents the hair from re-tangling with itself and other sections of hair.
Leaving the hair to dry in those twisted sections is also highly recommended – it may take a little longer for the hair to dry but it will definitely reduce overall shrinkage.
2. Detangling with conditioner and a denman brush/wide-toothed comb
An obvious contributor to frizz would be combing or brushing the hair while it is dry. Needless to say it is one of the bigger causes of breakage and split ends.
In order to reduce frizz, it is advised that you detangle each section of hair while completely saturated with conditioner – starting from the tips and working upwards to the root. Denman brushes are notorious for being great natural hair detangling tools as their soft evenly spaced bristles allow for easy detangling while the rubber base simultaneously smooths the hair and reduces frizz. These can be found in most beauty supply stores but if not a blunt wide toothed shower comb should do the trick just as well.
3. Rinsing with lukewarm water
9 times out of 10, the hair’s level of frizziness will correlate with its level of dryness. Scientifically, heat has been known to essentially “burn out” moisture. Try placing a pot with a little amount of water in it on the stove; after enough time has passed, you will see the water completely disappear. This is exactly the same thing that happens when we apply enough direct heat to our hair; the direct heat from the hot water will dry out the moisture within the hair. When hair is dry, it not only appears frizzier but it is more brittle and prone to breakage.
However, heat is not all bad. It is known to open up the hair cuticles – allowing hair treatments, conditioners oils and products to deeply penetrate the hair shaft – hence the term “deep treatment”. Naturally, cooler temperatures are known to do the opposite – close the hair cuticles; locking in the moisture and treatment infused into the hair during the aforementioned heat infused procedures. It is for this reason that rinsing the hair with cooler water following a conditioning treatment is highly recommended. Not only will it keep the hair from getting dry and looking frizzy but it will also ensure all that nourishing goodness stays locked up in your hair!
4. Absorbing excess water with an old cotton t-shirt and/or air dry your hair
I know I’m not the only one who thought I looked fabulous in a bath robe with a towel on my head to dry my hair. Sadly, I had to give up on that look when I realized it was making my hair frizzy. Ever wondered why as Black women, we’ve always had to wear a silk/satin scarf, bonnet or some other form of cranial contraption on our heads while we sleep? Well here’s the deal; similar to excessive direct heat, and as you may already know, cotton is very good at soaking up moisture. In anything and everything – your hair included. Being that this is the stuff that most pillowcases and made from, it only makes sense that in order to keep our hair from getting excessively dry, that we cover our hair to protect it from the moisture-sapping cotton pillowcases as we twist and turn through the night. The same goes for towels; they soak up a lot of the hair’s moisture, causing dryness and, you guessed it…frizz!
A good alternative would be to allow the hair to air-dry. A great tip I like to use is to soak up all the excess dripping water with a cotton t-shirt. It takes no time because cotton is a quick absorbent and because I don’t leave it on I do not run the risk of dryness. Following this I just allow the hair to air-dry until it’s completely dry before unraveling the twists and…Voila! The zero effort twist-out is born!
5. Applying a water-based gel to damp hair
For all my on-the-go naturalistas, this one’s for you. I appreciate that we do not all have the time to sit around and wait for our hair to dry before we get about our daily business. Furthermore, the thought of what our hair may look like in public after it has dried throughout the course of the day is enough to discourage air drying on the move, but this tip could almost guarantee you won’t have to worry about such things as you go about your daily business.
Cue the ‘Wash ‘n’ Go’! Following a good wash, if you need to leave the house with minimal time for styling, simply grab your favourite tub of hair gel and work through each section of your hair while damp with some of the gel. Remember to balance the amount of gel you use with the sections of hair you are working with.
Rake the gel through your hair with your fingers in a downward smoothing motion until it is completely saturated with the gel. This will significantly reduce or possibly eliminate frizz as the hair dries and simultaneously enhance the natural curls and coils in your hair!
Be sure to use a water-based gel; check the back of the product to ensure ‘water’ is listed. These gels are far less likely to dry out your hair or give your hair that dreaded crunchy when it is dry.
These are some of my favourite tips and tricks, I’d love to know what works for you!
Photo Credit: Fernandes Borges Michel/Dreamstime
Afope Atoyebi is a Natural hair blogger & consultant. She is pretty simple – She has love for God, people, life, laughter and she loves Love. Her ultimate goal is to bring out the beauty in everything/everyone she comes in contact with. That’s what she’s all about. You can find her at her website: www.afrocurlture.com, find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/afrocurlture or on Instagram: @afrocurlture