ON STRAIGHTENING NATURAL HAIR TO REDUCE BREAKAGE

By Hadassah Agbaps - November 18, 2014



Hi people, what's been on?
Hope you've all been good and your natural hair journey is moving on smoothly!

So about my title, it's odd right because to popular knowledge, straightening natural hair especially with heat is supposed to cause damage and breakage instead of prevent it, right?!

Well, for me, it does....prevent damage I mean.

The rains are screeching to a halt and the dry weather is preparing to make her grand entrance. During this time, my  natural hair tends to get very dry and break more and knot more.
 To avoid this I switch up my regimen to include more stretched out styles.

For the past two weeks, I've been rocking heat straightened hair.


I did this because I noticed my ends were getting brittle (perhaps the long term effect of color) and a lot of new knots were beginning to form no matter how many times I moisturised my hair.
I had hoped that this year, I'd be rocking my curls but experience has taught me that the best way to protect my hair from breakage was to keep it as stretched as possible during harmattan. Stretched hair meant less knots and less split ends.

To straighten my hair, I first did a protein treatment (Aphogee 2 mins protein treatment..I wasn't in the mood for henna). Then I clarified my hair (Elucence Moisture Benefits), did a tea rinse (Black tea for strength, green tea to prevent shedding and hibiscus to condition and strengthen my roots), deep conditioned ( Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner mixed with coconut milk) and then conditioner rinsed off (ie use diluted conditioner to cowash using VO5 Strawberry and Cream Conditioner) the deep conditioner.

Then I applied a leave in conditioner (Aphogee Provitamin and Pantene Relaxed and Natural Wrap and Set Lotion....need all the hydrolysed protein I can muster), sealed (NappyGirl Pudding) and made six twists so my hair air dried stretched.

Once my hair was completely dry, I applied coconut oil and then heat protection (I used Beautiful Textures Curly to Straight Silkener). Then I blowdried my hair in sections on medium setting pulling gently to stretch out the coils.

Then I flatironed my hair in small sections at 190°c making sure not to make more than two passes. My hair was straight but not very straight. Heat damage is real for me!

To further stretch my hair and maintain, I make one bantu knot on top of my head and wrap my hair in a satin scarf over which I wrap a Pashmina scarf. This is so my hair and edges stay smooth.
(If your hair is shorter, you can make more knots). I've heard you can wrap your hair around your head to keep it straight. My cousin tried to teach me how but it was such a hassle for me that I gave up. Too much hair.
Bantu topknot


Now, how do I prevent breakage by heat straightening my hair?

- I apply a little coconut oil a la the Indian Oiling Method (enough to be completely absorbed...no greasy mess for me) to my hair everyday without fail in the morning and at night before bed. Coconut oil is a penetrating oil which goes as deep as the cortex and have high affinity for hair proteins. This helps prevent protein loss, it also helps lubricate the strands keeping them supple. Back in the day, I used olive oil.

- I massage my edges daily with castor oil mixed with palm kernel oil to protect the fragile hair of my hairline. This allows them to grow long enough to blend with the rest and therefore reduce frizziness and dependence on edge control gels/creams.

- I protective style most of the time with a ponytail and only try new styles on Sundays for church.
My everyday hair

Fishtail braid 

Roll and tuck updo
- Because my hair is stretched, there's less likelihood of knots developing and it also gave me the opportunity to trim off any split ends.

- Due to low humidity, my stretched style has lasted up to two weeks without the need to re straighten my hair. In higher humidity, I'd need a keratin hair straightening system like Beautiful Textures Texture Manageability System to keep my straight hair humidity proof.

Q. Will I keep on heat straightening my hair until rainy season comes in?

A. No I won't.
If you noticed, I used a lot of protein during my straightening process especially those that are heat activated. Then I applied a lot of coconut oil to help hold those protein in.
I'll be rocking my straight hair for a month till my next major washday. Then my hair is strong enough and I can keep my hair stretched using a heatless method such as twists, braids, threading, banding, bantu knotting etc.

Q. How do I keep my hair and scalp clean during this period?

A. I do an oil cleanse.
 I soak a towel with oil and clean my hair in sections from scalp to ends. Then I use a clean paper towel to wipe off the excess oil until it comes out clean. I try to remove as much oil from my scalp as I can to prevent dandruff. I've improved this method of cleaning by adding tea tree and rosemary essential oils to my cleansing oil for their antimicrobial action. Also, I usually use olive oil to cleanse but I think I'm enjoying grapeseed oil. It's lighter and less greasy.

Someone may ask why I just don't get a dry shampoo...
Well I've been using this oil cleansing method for as long as I can remember so I'm stuck in my ways.
 Secondly, where can I get a dry shampoo?!

So that's my hair care method for the dry weather and how it helps me reduce breakage.

What's your dry season regimen like? Do you have any questions about my regimen?

P.S. WILL YOU BE IN LAGOS FOR NATURAL IN THE CITY 9 MEETUP ON 22nd NOVEMBER 2014?

THE MEETUP WILL BE ALL ABOUT "LENGTH RETENTION" also known as HOW TO GROW YOUR HAIR LONG!



For more info, go to www.naturalnigerian.com



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