Kurly Kichana Mail: Kui Asks

Monday, November 28, 2011

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Hi ladies,Thank you so much for your blog. I transitioned to afro hair a few months ago and it's been a frustrating journey to say the very least! Even worse is that in Kenya (an African country where women's natural hair is afro kinkiy!) I have struggled to find a hair dresser who can effectively manage natural afro hair!! How now?? So I have now resorted to doing my own hair at home with the assistance of ur blog. YAY to the kurlykichana blog:-) So I have a couple of queries:1) I have REALLY REALLY tough (and thick) hair. I mean can-break-an-afro-comb type of tough. I have tried all sorts of things to try and soften it (including following some of your regimens from the blog), but so far nothing seems to work! I'm so desperate now I'm contemplating texturizing it just to make it more manageable - although ideally I would really want to keep my hair 100% natural and chemical-free. Can you suggest/advice anything that I should try to make it softer/more manageable or should I just be patient and a miracle will happen?? I do find it perplexing cause my hair was always kinda tough even before I relaxed it many years ago but I don't remember it being this tough. Like I had natural hair all through primary and secondary school and it wasn't this bad!!!

Honestly we get questions like these all the time! From this post http://thenaturalgirlsguidetobeauty.blogspot.com/2011/11/hair-typing-101-basics-and-controversy.html, Mary detailed the different hair types which explained how some textures need more care than others. Someone with 3c and someone with 4c hair need different regimens to take care of their hair, a lady with 3c may have an easier job detangling than one with 4c. Most people with hair thats 4b and above believe that their hair is hard, we are here to enlighten you that this is not the case.
As we all know natural hair is not easy, we all have to come up with regimens that suit our varying textures and there is not one product that will make your hair softer. Making sure that your hair is properly moisturised and thorough detangling will enhance it's softness and manageability. The tips to remember are,

  • Use a water based creamy leave in conditioner, this locks in moisture and keeps hair soft
  • Always remember to seal in any moisture with an oil or butter, this will avoid hair losing moisture to the atmosphere and leaves hair moisturised for longer.
  • Deep condition often with products such as honey, avocado and various oils
  • Experiment with different products and create a regimen that works for you...this could even mean moisturising two times a day or baggying thrice a week. Baggying is when you apply a moisturiser to damp hair and then put on a plastic shower cap or plastic bag over your hair for 2-3hrs or overnight . The plastic bag/shower cap traps in heat and helps hair trap in moisture. This is really beneficial to afro hair
Happy Monday...X
kinky_lockz said...

hey kurly gals, i was wondering whether you have ever discussed scab hair? i'm not suggesting this is what Kui is experiencing but i do think that post-relaxer, after i transitioned and BC'd i did experience my texture feeling a lot more rough/tough than it is now (2yrs later). i think your advice is on point... a lot of times we need to nurture our hair and for me it meant putting down the protein treatments which caused my natural hair to feel hard but were ideal for my relaxed head. Moisture, moisture, moisture for those curls :) [moisture-protein balance was a huge turning point in my hair care]. as always, i love reading the blog!!

Nyachomba said...

@Kinky-lockz....Sadly none of us have ever been relaxed so really have no clue about scab hair...However this is something many ladies have experienced...Maybe you can share this in writing as a guest post? Thoughts? and thanks for reading...appreciate the love

kinky_lockz said...

i accept the challenge (to at least do some research and provide references)...i don't think i've written anything 'proper' since leaving uni lol.

reading this post again i'd just like to add that Kui may be having a problem retaining moisture. we all know afro-textured hair is naturally dry but the key to managing it i believe is technique first and products second. a basic regimen includes: cleanse, condition, moisturize and style. but how someone goes about this is integral to one's success with managing their hair.

for example: pre-poo (this reduces the stripping effects of shampoo, begins the process of detangling with fingers/comb), shampooing in loose braids or twists (reduces tangling especially with longer or thicker hair), condition using the baggy method ('activates' heat and traps moisture as Kurly mentioned), style in sections (helps with thorough product application particularly at the roots and discourages the strands to curl up on each other). it's all trial and error to find what works for you though. like, do you get the best results from detangling/deep conditioning/styling on wet, damp or dry hair? do you have better control washing your hair in the shower, over the bathtub or at the sink? do protective styles help keep moisture locked in your hair or do you prefer to wet your hair often and seal again. whatever the case i suggest keeping the hair stretched by sectioning and/or braids/twists.

for me, until consciously 'going natural', taking care of my hair before relaxers was not as difficult because i wasn't aware of what i needed to do to promote health and length. perhaps i was naive...i just wanted it to look cute (no lie), but now that i know better i do better. i think it's important to still keep it simple and remember hair evolves therefore so must our routines. like i said previously, at the beginning i was anti-protein but that was because my hair was lacking moisture badly. now light proteins play a major part in my regimen because i am able to retain moisture and they assist to strengthen my fine strands which are prone to breakage.

Anonymous said...

There's a post on Jc's blog on scab hair. The link is below.

On the other hand maybe Kui is just out of practice i.e. she has not experienced her natural hair for long and so her memory of it's texture, thickness etc may be a abit fuzzy. All the tips above are great and hopefully things improve. If it makes you feel any better, I always blowdryed my hair after washing. The first time washing, braiding without heat was awful. But with time and practice, experimenting with products and techniques, it's much simpler now.

I'd also like to add that sectioning hair helps alot! Using this technique saved my sanity on wash or styling days.

I.O.N, I think it's very ironic that many stylists in Nairobi seem to not know how to deal with natural hair. I think it's the attitude, my guess is many beauty schools teach kinky hair is hard etc. I would suggest finding a stylist who is receptive to new ideas. Remember to:

-Bring your own products if you so desire
-Tell them what you don't want them to do e.g. tight braiding, excessive heat if blow-drying etc.

Good luck



Kui said...

Hi ladies,
Thank you all very much for your useful tips. I feel so much better now (and really encouraged!). And kinky_lockz ur definitely right in saying that I'm having trouble retaining moisture and my post-relaxed hair is undoubtedly rougher/tougher than my pre-relaxed natural hair! I hope next year a time like this I can write another post but with better news of how life in the afro/natural hair world has become much more pleasant and bearable for me:-)

Just a quick query though... everyone always talks about this moisture-protein balance with afro hair, so are protein treatments like the hair mayonnaise type of treatments or how exactly do you differentiate between protein-based and water-based treatments?

Again asanteni sana....this has been really helpful:-)

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