Hair Dye Tips

To cover gray hairs, as a sign of rebellion or self-expression and sometimes just because we can Humans have always and will always dye their hair. The world of hair dyes has seen many transformations over the last few years especially as safety issues over chemicals in beauty products have been scrutinised. Just because we cannot see or feel an immediate reaction it doesn’t mean we are not being harmed by some chemicals. When researching this article i cam across an interesting quote “When you use chemicals near or on your body, you are essentially performing a science experiment on yourself. The results of which you will never know”.

What can you do though If you do colour your hair or are planning to?

Elainafrika knows how to rock vibrant hair

Elainafrika knows how to rock vibrant hair

TOP TIPS

1) See a Pro!

Use a professional colourist, preferably in the same salon as your regular stylist. Remember healthy hair is a result of team work so everyone touching your hair should understand your hair goals. They should also offer a patch test to check for skin sensitivity or allergic reactions. Pink hair is cool as long as you are not left looking like you been through some sort of battle!

2) Research Your Chosen Product Well!

Whilst researching this article I came across so many interesting opinions and experiences regarding the use of “safe hair dyes” like Henna and vegetable dyes. So I won’t recommend any product but rather encourage you to really try to understand what is in the dye you choose. There are reports of certain chemicals being linked to infertility and cancer so if you choose permanent colours DO YOUR RESEARCH. Avoid products containing Resorcinol, Ammonia and Parabens. That’s why I think it’s always best if you can afford it to go to a professional. They will hopefully be well informed about available options and take your hairs needs into account.

3) Do A Hair Health Check!

The colouring process isn’t kind to your hair so before you dye your hair ensure its in a good enough condition. Dyeing hair strips it of its natural oils and can leave your tresses dry. Not great news for curly hair so iff your hair is not in great shape,nurse it back to health first and save the dye for another time. If your hair is healthy then prepare it well to withstand dyeing.Deep condition your hair at least twice before the colour process though truthfully, how much pre-colour deep conditioning you carry out will depend on an honest assessment of your hair.

4) Temporary Colours!

Spray on hair-dyes, hair chalk and even hyper pigmented eyeshadow will dye your curls. Just remember results will vary however, but this will be the least damaging to your hair. The plus side is you can have a different coloured hair every few days. (If you’re  up for that ☺️)

5) Aftercare!

Keep to a good routine of moisturising your hair but avoid washing it too soon after the colour process. This will keep the colour looking good for longer. Keep that spray bottle close by and seal with a trusted hair oil or butter. Follow the advice provided by the salon.

I realise this post is geared towards getting your hair dyed by a professional colourist. If you’d rather do it yourself I will be putting up a DIY tips post later in the week. Do you have dyed hair? How do you look after it? Would love to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by till next time Happy Hair Loving

images courtesy of elaineAfrika

How to protect your curls from sun damage

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So summer is well and truly underway (some days anyway) or you are heading off to warmer climes with guaranteed sunshine. Yippee! I’m sure you are all packed (or almost) and you are counting down the days to your well deserved holiday.

Whilst the summer is full of outdoor activities, think music and other types of festivals, Wimbledon, and a host of other sports. Not to mention picnics and barbecues and lots of delicious fruit and veg have you thought about what the sun exposure may be doing to your hair?

The sun is great BUT it dries everything! For curly hair (Afro  Hair IS curly hair) this is not great news purely because the curls make it difficult for your scalp oils to travel down the hair shaft. This means that  naturalistas have to constantly ensure their hair is well moisturised even without adding the suns heat into the mix. The suns heat whilst pleasant is not hair friendly and has bleaching properties and so could leave your hair looking burnt and feeling crunchy.

Top Tips

Water Water Water

Drink the stuff and don’t forget to spray/mist your hair a lot more in hot weather. Not only will your skin thank you but you will maintain a good level of hair growth. Remember if you are dehydrated your body’s functions are compromised. Meaning your hair and nails will be nourished last! Drink up lovelies (And no, cocktails don’t count) and give children plenty of water laden fruit and veg. Think watermelon,cucumber strawberries the list is endless.

Wear a hat

You don’t want your lovely curls getting scorched do you? If you are not a hat person try bandanas or a funky scarf. Ideally a silk one. There is no right way to rock a head wrap so own it and rock it how you feel it!

Swimming

Whether in the sea or the pool, dampen your hair first ,then apply leave in conditioner or a natural oil of your choice and wear a swimming cap. For children I recommend spraying the hair with water or even wetting it and applying an oil to seal and not stressing if they don’t keep the swimming cap on. The hair cuticles will have swollen due to the clean water before they hit the pool or sea water so it won’t absorb much. Shampoo thoroughly and rinse well and condition well after swimming session.

Deep Condition

Increase your deep conditioning treatments to ensure hair strands have good levels of moisture. Remember any damage you sustain now may become visible in a few months time and we will have other weather induced hair-related issues come October right? So step up your conditioner routine by looking for products that say Replenishing,Hydrating or Moisturising. Also use a leave-in conditioner for extra conditioning and frizz-taming. Lastly remember to spray spray spray with that water bottle.

Low Manipulation styles

If you spent winter in protective styles you no doubt want to just enjoy your hair and leave it out right? That’s a great thing however if your hair is longer than 6inches( about shoulder length) then consider having styles that keep your ends tucked away…. Think up-dos,loose buns or flat twist. Your ends are the oldest part of your hair strands so limit their exposure to the sun.

This is not an exhaustive list but hopefully it will get you thinking about protecting your precious curls whilst enjoying the pleasantness of summer. Do let me know what you do to care for your curls. Any  tips or questions please do leave your comments below.Till next time Happy Hair Loving!

Hair Consultations!

Today we are talking consultations at Afrotility….. What are they? Do they really matter and what exactly should they accomplish? Basically a consultation is the process of discussing your hair needs, goals and objectives with your stylist/ hairdresser in order to receive objective advice and assistance so that your hair goals are achieved. Hair goals!!! What are those? If you don’t already know there will be a post on that soon.

So we have looked at what a consultation is the next question is Does it matter?

To answer that think of how many times you’ve heard ” I’m never going back to her again! Crazy woman/ man didn’t do what I wanted! I hate my hair, it’s not what the picture I showed her or pointed to looked like!”   Or perhaps you’ve heard it said…..”she/he didn’t tell me it would look like this! My hair is messed up!” How about ” I felt too embarrassed to say anything or ask what she was spraying onto my hair after I told her it was stinging”.

I hope you now understand that as a paying client your stylist must give you advice and information regarding what she/he is using in your hair. What it will do for the hair and whether the style you want will work for your particular hair texture, face shape and lifestyle. ( Think of people with weaves and braids left unwashed for weeks or months simply because they don’t know how to wash their hair with those styles in? Or worse still they’ve been told not to! Totally an unhealthy hair practice)They must welcome your questions and you must not feel like an irritation. If you are made to feel that way do you not think its time to find a new stylist?  If the above is true of adults then how much more so is it for children? You need to know the pros and cons of whatever a stylist is using on your childrens hair and ESPECIALLY the effects of the style you ALL ( stylist,adult,child) decide on.

Questions to ask:

Does the style agree with hair texture and health of hair? Tree braid weave/African queen and micro braids  are never a good idea for weak or fragile hairlines. A weave with a leave out on natural hair will lead to heat damage on the strands left out,especially if your hair texture is fine. ( relaxing the leave out is bad practise)

How long will it take to do? ( most kids want it to take five minutes, so think,what effect will having to sit for 4 hours with 5 people tugging at her hair have on a young child?)

How should it be maintained at home? How often should you spray your hair? What kinds of sprays should you use? Oil based sprays on glued in weaves will compromise the glue and on braids it can lead to quicker gunk build up

How long can it safely be kept it? Braids worn for longer than 6 weeks should have a hairline touch up to avoid stress on hair as it grows and the weight of the braid becomes a source trauma. If your hair has a fine texture and locs easily then you may want to avoid having small braids installed and leaving them in for too long…..

I hope the above has helped. It’s been a long post however, this is an area sorely missing from afro hair care. Afrotility’s goal is to instill in the next generation of Afrohaired beauties that consultations are standard BEFORE anyone is let loose on their crowning glory. Remember you and your stylist should be a team working towards achieving your hair goals TOGETHER.

Please do let me know your thoughts on the subject. Share your experiences and suggest other issues you feel you would like discussed during consultations……happy afro loving

Shampooing afro textured hair 1

The subject of shampooing natural afro hair is a touchy one. There is the No-poo (no shampoo)  camp and the co- wash (conditioner wash) camp and then there is the ACV and baking soda camp. I’m being simplistic I’m sure I’ve left out some camp or other. Then there is the vast majority that buy whatever is on offer or go along with whatever the salon or stylist uses.

Shampooing hair is essential to hair and scalp health so getting it right will make a huge difference to how your hair looks, feels and grows.  There are loads of shampoos available but the vast majority are not ideal for afro textured hair. This is because they tend to contain ingredients that strip our hair of its natural oils.

So the best way to get the most out of shampooing is to use products that are not laden with sulfates. Remember though that if your particular hair does not mind what you use to wash it then don’t fix what is not broken. Afro hair covers a wide range if textures that respond differently to products and no one can claim to have the best shampoo for black hair. Learn to understand your hair and indeed the hair of the kids in your life. You may want to use these simple questions…..

1) How does my hair feel with this shampoo applied

2) How does it look and feel after rinsing

Hair should not feel brittle or rough nor should it feel squeaky clean as that probably means it’s washed away your natural oils.

Before applying shampoo spray hair lightly in order to finger comb/ detangle it as you don’t want your hair getting knotted. I find parting it into sections helps especially with my young clients. Dampen hair and pour shampoo into your palms,rub together and then apply to hair. Massage the scalp and hair gently! Vigorous scrubbing leads to pulling, breakage and possible scalp irritation. Not good memories if you’re washing a child’s hair. Rinse hair thoroughly to get rid of all traces of shampoo. Apply conditioner and then do a thorough detangle of the hair whilst it has conditioner in it…..if you haven’t why not check out the Detangling Afro hair post. Let me know what your thought are. Do you use shampoo? If so what sort. Do you check the ingredients on your shampoos? How do you currently wash your hair or the hair of the kids in your life and finally if you take them to a stylist do you discuss what shampoo they will be using on your child’s hair?

Detangling afro-curly hair

imageA lot of us have memories of our hair being combed and the process was headache inducing.  When we have to comb or detangle our little naturalistas are we making the process a bearable one? I find sectioning the hair into four parts  ensures all the hair is detangled but in manageable amounts. Most importantly it is less harrowing for the little miss or mister involved. The hair should not be combed from the scalp but rather work from the tips towards the scalp. Natural hair is best detangled when saturated with conditioner. Loads of conditioner. We will discuss washing methods another time but I find that prior to washing  I go easy on the detangling. It’s best to use a wide-tooth comb during the process and explain what you are doing to the child so they understand the need to get the knots out of their hair and get rid of shed hairs. If you currently detangle in a different way would you try this method and let me know how it goes. The combing and detangling process should not leave a child wincing and must not be dreaded. Do share your experiences  of your own detangling methods. What works best for you?

The language of Afro loving

This post is mainly about how words have an impact of our perception of a matter.  Have you ever been told ‘your head too tough”, or “your hair is too course” ” you have too much hair” or my least favourite ‘your hair’s too kinky”! Whilst these terms may be standard accepted terms, I refuse to use the term kinky to describe anyone’s hair.  The problem with the above comments is that somehow the individual in question has something wrong with them. Their hair is simply not good enough and is somehow inferior to hair that is not as course,thick etc. Therefore when consulting with clients I prefer to use terms like, abundant instead of you have too much hair! Many people pay to volumise their hair so why hold it against someone if their hair is naturally abundant? It’s a good thing. Our hair is thirsty not dry. To my little clients mind it helps them understand they need to moisturise their hair rather than go down the route of …..”I hate my hair,it’s so dry!” Our Natural hair is curly. Yes  CURLY. According to a trichologist…”curly hair can be medium textured,course or Afro-Caribbean”. There are varying degrees of curliness and so I choose to use this more positive term as it conveys something socially acceptable. This is important in embracing our hair because our hair in its natural state is Not a political statement! It is HAIR!

My advice to anyone responsible for a little girls hair whether mixed- race or not is this:  Think carefully of the words you use to describe hair. Are you reinforcing a negative stereotype or attitude towards curly hair which tends to be thirstier than straight hair or are you teaching that little person to view their hair as a beautiful part of them that requires care and attention? We teach kids to brush their teeth, is it not time we taught them to love and care for their delicate curls?

Please do share your positive hair terms and let’s compile a list of terms to remove from the care of natural hair in all its varied degrees of curliness!