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Relaxed hair: Desirable [Maybe] Compulsory [No]

By Angela Olu-Ajetunmobi

It never ceases to amaze me that most women [and men] think that a woman can not look ‘fashionable’ until her hair is fried and limp like the European hair. I meet women who have beautifully soft natural hair which they are able to manage with braiding and weaving, without much stress, but yet they feel this insatiable need to relax their hair.

Honestly, it is not compulsory especially if you are one of those whose hair never ever thrives with a perm! Some of us are born with hair so fine, even a texturing cream would still fry it; this is in spite of having only 4 sessions of texturing a year. The difficulty for most women is in accepting that their hair is different from every other woman’s own, and learning to deal with the limitations of one’s hair. What should it matter, after all said and done, whether or not you can wear certain styles because your hair is ‘different’? If one style does not go with what you have, then plan a style that works and disguises your hair’s sore points.

dandStraightening agents can and should only be used where hair can cope with it. We all tend to forget that we are handling chemicals; most women only truly realize how dangerous a relaxing cream can be when they see or experience chemical damage. If hair is so coarse for instance, that it is painful to comb and/or difficult for even a braider to handle without ending up with blisters, then such hair may benefit immensely from application

of relaxing agent to help soften and manage. But what are the points to consider before determining to go the chemical way?

How much time and money do you have to expend on your hair’s needs? It is a fact that chemicals require attention; once you have altered the natural state of your hair with a straightening cream, you can not afford to ignore the after-effects. Remember that you have altered the physical and chemical structure of the hair; therefore, more will need to be done to help the hair cope with the extreme. If you are not using a professional salon, you must invest in superior products. There are some cheap[er] alternatives out there, but you have to be sure that they work. Has anyone used the product and it worked?

Above all, know your hair type! I can not emphasize that point enough because many of us are guilty of blindly using products that our friends are using, without seeing that the 2 hair types are not the same. Think logically: would an oil steam be of benefit to your fine hair for instance? If your hair is not thriving with a perm, perhaps, it is time to evaluate your hair’s priorities. If you want healthier hair, then it may be time to stop hitting the straightening cream.


Scalp wounds


I have a problem with my hair; it constantly itches whether washed or unwashed leading to wounds on my scalp. Please send the remedy to me. Thanks.
— Anonymous via text

Generally, I find that most ladies experience terrible itching when growing white hair [often referred to as grey hair!]. Try this simple test: ask a friend to look at the specific areas of the scalp that tend to itch the most, to see if any white hair is present on that site. If you do find white hair, you may wish to change your after-care products to include preparations that will soothe your scalp and make you ‘feel good’. If however you do not find any signs of white hair, then there really is a problem.

Do you have flakes fall off from your scalp when you scratch? Have you felt scabs on your scalp? Is it when you scratch the scalp or peel the scabs that wounds are formed? Have you eliminated the existence of living organisms on your scalp such as head lice?

My honest advice: see a skin specialist or dermatologist immediately, and preferably not at a ‘private’ clinic! Get a letter of reference from your regular doctor to enable you see the consultant dermatologist at the nearest general or teaching hospital to you. The condition you have is definitely outside the purview of cosmetology.
Please take this condition seriously because the wounds you are getting on your scalp may get infected leading to more problems for you. In the meantime, do not apply chemicals to your hair so that you do not aggravate the scalp and cause final hair loss. Avoid all mint products that contain menthol such as ‘sulfur 8’ that can burn you as well. When you see the specialist, ask when you can safely resume all normal hairdressing activities and do not assume it is safe to do so until you are given the go-ahead.


Men also have flakes

If the number one problem we face with our hair is breakage, the number one challenge we face with our scalp is dandruff. And I do apologize for not mentioning that men also suffer from dandruff. It is especially a problem for men who now wear their hair almost cut to the skin. Obviously, a man would be unable to wear skin-cut when there is serious ‘gari’ on the head especially when they feel that no real man must be seen to be worrying about such trivialities. Now you know that some of the men out there, who are sporting full heads of hair, may actually be hiding the evidence of their severe flaking underneath all that hair and suffering in silence.

It would be wrong to dismiss any dandruff as minor since it is only the sufferer that can determine that. Yes, dandruff has grades but then we all have different thresholds for pain too. Some people will not cope with mild dandruff while some are coping with more serious attacks otherwise called ‘seborrheic dermatitis’. But the one thing all sufferers have in common is that its presence dominates your life. The hair styles you opt for is often determined by how long it takes for your flakes to re-surface after shampooing. Some men and women will see flakes immediately they step out of the bathroom after shampooing their hair during their shower. In fact, sometimes, the more you shampoo the hair, the more the flakes fall off.

For the sake of those who are suffering from this EMBARASSING condition, there is hope. Dandruff is one of those conditions that one must learn to manage until you find that the flakes have suddenly not come back. It will not go because you shampooed the hair once with shampoo; it will not go because you use a comb to dislodge the flakes till the scalp bleeds. Only the right combination of product and technique will give you relief. The FLAKE KONTROL Anti-dandruff kit is now available directly from our studio in Lagos; we do NOT have any branches anywhere. Please text to make enquiries if you are weighed down by your dandruff problems.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.