If your hair is naturally straight and sleek, you long for volume and curls and vice versa – no matter what type of hair you have, chances are you probably aren’t happy with your hair texture and spend loads of time and money to try and achieve a different look.
The trick to loving your hair is to embrace it and to learn what it needs to look and feel its best without trying to make it something it is not.
On a mission to change up the hair care industry by promoting self-celebration rather than transformation is natural hair health activist and colour alchemist, Reneé Potgieter. To help you start the journey of getting to know and love your hair and treating it right, she shares three tips to point you in the right direction:
- Reduce your wash days: Super clean hair doesn’t automatically make for healthier hair. It’s the scalp that determines the level of oil excreted onto your hair and therefore how often you need to wash it. Dryer and coarser hair types absorb this oil much better than finer hair, resulting in those with fine hair needing to rinse it more regularly. The natural oils produced by your scalp are the best food for your hair and overwashing, especially with the wrong shampoo, wreaks havoc with the pH. The overuse of products causes build-up that results in real nourishment being blocked from penetrating the hair and scalp. This derails the natural processes of your body totally and can result in hair drying out or being weighed down.
- Be fussy with your products: Checking that products are sulphate, alcohol and paraben-free is a good place to start when choosing shampoo, conditioner and home treatments. Natural products that tend to be plant-based are less likely to cause build-up because they don’t use petrochemicals (a waste product of the petroleum industry). Oils are fantastic for hair if they are of good quality, but it is important that they are cleaned off correctly, or they will leave the hair oily and heavy. Beware of “Green Washing” by advertisers, as this can take you off course; I have seen some ‘natural’ products produce worse build-up on hair because the company producing them didn’t understand hair.
- Go easy on your styling: When you do hard styling – braids, cornrows, or mechanically changing texture with blow-outs and straighteners – you put a huge amount of strain on your hair. Ethnic women, who have used these methods for many years, often have badly receding hairlines from having the follicle pulled out by many weighty weaves. The same goes for Caucasian women who add heavy extensions, as the weight pulls their natural hair out or breaks due to the load. Bonded or glued extensions don’t like oils in products, which usually eliminates more natural options, making this a particularly unhealthy option. If you walk away from a salon visit and your hair feels dryer, more fragile or your scalp hurts, you need to re-evaluate your hair treatments. Rather, opt for clip-in braids and extensions if you would like a little change without putting the hair under strain. Using wigs and wraps is a great way to get some variety in your look without lengthy salon visits and or chemical exposure. And of course, silk scarves and hats have always provided a great way to add to your look without causing any damage.