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Want Longer Hair?: Know your hair type

By Anjela Olu Ajetunmobi

If you want long hair and you do not know the essential characteristics of your hair and scalp, you are wasting your time. What makes your hair thrive and what makes it break? Most women who come for hair restoration will tell you that their problem started after they did a certain style. It is almost impossible to imagine that you could suffer total hair loss after wearing a certain style just once. But it happens, and it may be irreversible. It is very difficult also for women to accept that even though they have always worn their hair in a certain style, and never suffered any negative effects, irreversible and complete damage could still happen.

If you have straightened hair, take a clean break from chemicals to start; postpone your next touch-up for another 3 months, so you can get a few more centimeters of undergrowth before ‘retouching’. Straightened hair is weakened by the chemical used and this makes it vulnerable to breakage. So the idea is to reduce the number of times one applies the chemical to the hair in a single year. This allows the hair to recover from dryness, a direct result of relaxing creams. BUT, with hair that is due for a touch-up, if not done, the hair runs the risk of snapping at the point where straight hair meets new growth. And this is why some stylists do not like to delay the chemical process when hair is due.

So what do you do with your over-due hair when you want to postpone chemical work?

You could try 3 options:
[A] Put your hair in braids, making sure the braids are not too small [like the million braids] and not too big [so its weight does not tug at/on your natural hair, thereby breaking it];
[b] Fix a weave-on and do not leave any area of your hair outside of the weave, so you can get even growth all over the head when the weave comes off;
[c] Keep hair matted down, preferably without any form of extension [so you won’t cause excessive heat on the scalp, thereby avoiding the inevitable itching that will come with sweating] and don a wig.

With the first 2 options, you may keep the styles for as long as 10 weeks, which gives you 2 weeks for all treatments to be carried out before you decide on whether or not you want a touch-up in the 12th week. In other words, after the 10th week, take out the extensions, apply a detangling/protein treatment liberally to all the hair, cover and ‘steam’ under a very hot dryer for about 15 to 20 minutes; the undergrowth will be quite dense by this time, so you will not be able to comb hair to the scalp. Concentrate the combing on the straighter and softer hair at the top; never try to force-comb hair so you do not tear or break it.

After ‘steaming’, use a wide-tooth comb to go through the hair. It should be easier to comb since the conditioning treatments would have lubricated the hair sufficiently. Next proceed to use a detangling/conditioning shampoo to further soften the hair, making sure you use your fingers to separate the tangles as you scrub. Do NOT ‘rumple’ the hair while shampooing so you don’t end up with a tangled mess; use systematic and rhythmic strokes to go in the same direction so hair will not tangle. Rinse hair thoroughly without scrimping on water and do not towel-dry. Let excess water drip off before you apply special leave-in treatments formulated for your hair. Include a scalp potion [such as ‘FLAKE KONTROL’ from our studio], before setting hair with rollers. Dry and style, taking care not to use narrow-tooth combs. Remember that you will not be able to comb the hair from the base due to the thick undergrowth, so do not even try to force it.

With the 3rd option, you must try to have treatments at least once a month, since you are wearing a wig. If you can spare the time, please have the treatment stated above every 2 weeks; always matt or weave the hair before wearing the wig; it is safer for the hair when you do so. The biggest mistake you can make is to assume that you do not need to treat natural hair. Contact the studio if you need help getting a treatment that is specially suited to your hair and scalp characteristics and it can be sent to you anywhere in Nigeria via express post.

Chemical Discoloration

Dear Angel,

Anytime I ‘retouch’ my hair, it turns brown. Please,
What can I apply to make it black?
Anonymous     Via text 29 November, 2008

1. What product are you using for your touch-up, kit or lye formula? It must be defective in some respects; relaxing creams do not turn the hair ‘ginger’ anymore, because they contain conditioners that protect the hair against discoloration and damage. You may want to consider changing to a more superior product, preferably one that comes with a full range of after-care products, including neutralizing shampoo.

2. Discoloration occurs when the chemical is not completely shampooed out of the hair, eventually turning it brown over a period of time. Make sure you ALWAYS employ the use of neutralizing shampoo when you apply straightening chemical to your hair; it will help
you get rid of all traces of the relaxing cream from your hair, thereby making it less likely to change color or break. Get a bottle of Angel’s studio NEUTRALIZING shampoo and keep it handy in your salon bag so you can be always sure that all chemical is cleansed out of your hair.

3. Now, you could use a conditioning color rinse to restore color to black. Consult your professional stylist to recommend one that would be suitable for your hair type. The important thing is to continue to deep-condition the hair as often as possible. The fact that a rinse only coats the hair and does not change its primary color is no excuse to ignore the hair. To prevent hair having a dull lifeless look, treat with care all the time.

Thanks for reading and writing in!
Do make it a great week!



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