Curly hair has many enemies, however, in this post I will share the top 3 enemies of Afro Curly Hair. Some you will know, others may be a surprise. Let’s get into it.
Hair has specific needs to keep it looking its best. After being pushed out of the scalp, the support it gets is minimal. Yes, sebum is supposed to help keep hair strands supple until it falls out, but we live in a time and varying environments where that is not enough.
Each hair type has its own needs that are quite specific to it, you can’t expect something that works well for straight hair to work just as well for curly hair, or what works for thin hair to work for thick hair.
The haircare industry has created a hair type as the standard, long and straight, preferably blonde, that we all should get to grips with and follow. The industry then created products around this fantasy hair type and if our natural hair doesn’t conform, that is too bad. This is so whether your hair is wavy, loosely curled or Afro curly. Now you see why so many of us have issues with our hair, as the products on the market weren’t made for them.
Afro curly hair is so vastly different from other hair types it needs its own version of products, it cannot tolerate a one size fits all approach. We can break down the hair scientifically and try to determine what will work for it, but experience trumps science every time. Science confirms what experience knows.
Another issue in the Afro Curly space is that scientific research is sparse and not enough people with the power to make impactful change are listening to our needs. Brands such as Holpura and others are doing our part, a small part, but as a collective we need to do more to truly understand the mystery of Afro Curly Hair in order to support it.
Yes, things have changed, slowly, but not significantly. We’ll get there eventually. Now let’s talk about the enemies of Afro Curly Hair.
1. Mass Produced Sulphate and Silicone Based Products
Whilst products help us with managing our hair, we must use the right products that are for our type of hair. Using incorrect products causes problems later on. Sulphate containing shampoos are too harsh, completely strips the hair and scalp and can cause cuticle damage.
This damage is then patched up with silicone based products, said to make the hair easier to comb, add slip etc. What these silicone based products do is coat the hair strand with a layer of film to stop the hair from attracting to each other, which is great at first; but as you continue coating the hair, it causes the hair to become dry, brittle and break off.
Mass produced products are made for profit, the ingredients are cheap and made to give an illusion that they help, but most end up being trojan horses. I write from experience, not because I have a business. You don’t have to buy from me, there are others like me who are trying to make space for you. My aim is for you to be aware so you make better decisions when looking at what to use on your hair and skin. And honestly, I’m tired of seeing bad wigs when you can rock your awesome hair 🙂
2. Cold Environments
If you live in a country that experiences varying seasons, you may have noticed how each season affects your hair, especially summer and winter. During the summer, your hair requires less products, it tends to grow more and is much easier to manage. During the winter months, the hair becomes dry, it requires more products and acts like the wild child that runs around the supermarket touching everything – uncontrollable.
Winter is not the friend of Afro Curly hair nor our skin for that matter, the air is dry and stagnant and our hair can feel that so it curls on itself as if scared, tangling more. It tends to break more at this time, the main reason is dryness. During the winter, the hair needs much more attention and gentle handling.
Whilst it is tempting to pile on products at this time, the best protection is tucking the hair away, especially your ends.
3. Heat Styling
The only heat the hair likes is hot water washing away dirt, any other type of heat is a problem. Heat forces the cuticle of the hair to open, letting moisture and whatever else is in the air, in and out. When the cuticles are open, the hair’s defences are down making it easy to become damaged.
Healthy hair can withstand some heat, which is why if you heat style once or twice per year you won’t experience a lot of damage. However, constant heat styling, such as once per week, will cause damage that will only go when the hair is cut.
So we know when the hair is pushed out it is kinda on its own. It has a small sack at the base, inside that scalp that feeds it from the inside whilst it’s growing and the sebum protects the outside. When you heat the hair, the heat dries out the nutrients inside the hair strand, nutrients that will not be replenished. The more heat you use, the less nutrients your hair has so it becomes dry, brittle and breaks off – like a broken tree branch.
As mentioned above, there are many enemies of Afro Curly Hair, combs and some brushes are another, but you already know that. I hope this has broadened your perspective so you can make decisions that prosper your hair and skin.
If you would like to discuss any of what’s in this post, comment below or drop me an email via the contact page. You can also connect with me on our Facebook page.