Updated: Jan 14
In the words of Phoebe Waller Bridge - "“Hair is everything. We wish it wasn’t so we could actually think about something else occasionally. But it is. It’s the difference between a good day and a bad day. We’re meant to think that it’s a symbol of power, that it’s a symbol of fertility. Some people are exploited for it.... Hair is everything.” While Phoebe isn't black and won't have the same experiences as us with our hair, this quote is everything. So, here are some top tips on how to keep your 'fro fly - so you will always have a good day.
Black hair needs a lot of moisture to stay strong. This easy method does exactly what it sounds like it does - locks in the moisture. The roots of your hair get the most nutrients from the hair follicle, so it's important to take the most care of the ends.
L - Liquid. This just means that the hair needs moisturising - so you can use any product that lists 'aqua' in the ingredients. Most hair masks are great, and for extra nourishment, combining the mask with a shower cap will steam your hair. But you don't even need to splash the cash, because water alone is enough.
O - After moisturising, rub oil through the lengths of your hair, in order to lock in the moisture. Argon oil is probably the most popular option. It's easy to find in drug stores and comparatively cheap to other products. Jojoba and coconut oil are also brilliant options - and can be multi-purpose. Of course, when it comes to oil, kitchen products like olive oil work too. However, in my experience, these options are too heavy, hard to wash out and a bit smelly.
C - The final step calls for putting cream in the ends of your hair, preventing moisture escaping through the cuticles. When shopping for products, a lot of moisturisers have 'cream' in the title - so be careful you aren't just getting another moisturiser.
TIP: if your hair is really knotty, put in a leave in conditioner. When you brush, make sure to section your hair, and start brushing at the ends, then work your way up the length of the hair.
2. Hair wraps
Hair wraps are great for every occasion: the days when you can't be bothered, the days when you want to add a little something something, protecting your hair at night - or maybe your an every day wrap kinda gal.
Living in a rural area I've always found it quite hard to find hair wraps that aren't just insanely expensive scarfs. But turns out Lush are selling wraps for a pretty good price (£3-7). They are advertised as 'knot wraps' with a range of uses, and are credited as part of the Japanese custom 'Furoshiki'. But they come in a range of materials - from silk to cotton to polyester - in different patterns and colours.
Another great brand based up in London is Knots http://knots-uk.com/, a company started by a Haitian woman, selling African head wraps. The prices are little more up market (£20-30), but the site sells more - headbands, bandannas and hair wraps - in a wider range of colours and materials.
The general rule for hair wraps is that you should wear silk for sleeping and cotton for exercising. I don't know how much truth there is to that, but I personally find materials like cotton better for in the day, as they mould to the shape of your hairstyle better and are less likely to come undone. Silk is supposedly better for your hair at night, but the slippery material comes undone. Ways around this are tying a cotton scarf around the base of the silk scarf once it's on your head. You can also get a cotton scarf that is silk/satin lined - or make one yourself. Or simply get some silk pillowcases.
Now it might seem like I'm going back on what I said earlier, but you can put olive oil in your hair. This technique is better for scalp care (more on that later). The night before you have a shower, you can take a little olive oil on your fingertips, and rub it into your scalp. This conditions the hair at the roots and can help your curls grow longer and thicker quicker.
4. Scalp care
Over the course of the day, your scalp is getting built up with sweat, grease and dead skin cells that you can't see. Cleaning this area is good for hair, because it promotes healthy growth. If you think about it, it's like how plants need healthy soil to grow well. Really getting in there with your fingers isn't necessarily that thorough, so you can always go with a scalp massager - maybe even an electric one if you're feeling fancy. Doubling up your tangle teaser as a massager will also do the trick.
And finally, when using shampoo, make sure it is mostly reaching the scalp, rather than the hair ends.
5. Laying your edges
We've been laying our edges for decades, and we know how to make them look slick af.
Amazon will try to sell you brushes specific to edge laying, but all you need is a standard toothbrush, and a bit of gel. Gorilla Snot is my go to, and the travel size will go a long way if you're just using it a few times a week. It's quick drying, but reactant with water, so is easy to remould (which can be a downfall when it rains) - but it smells lush. Eco Styler is another excellent option, plus it helps your baby hairs get thicker.
Simply wet your toothbrush and brush your baby hairs out from your hairline so they're ready to mould. Take a bit of gel between your fingers and wipe it on your edges. Then use the toothbrush to swipe and curl to the side, and into the hairline (of course you can style them however you like). Laying your edges is also very helpful if you want to do something with your sideburns. Finally to set the edges, you can invest in an edge laying paste. But it's a lot cheaper to take a silk scarf and wrap it round your head for a few minutes, covering the edges until they dry in place.
But don't feel pressured to lay your edges, because leaving them or fluffing them up - whatever you want to do with them - is just as gorgeous.
TIP: If you're wearing makeup, put it on before you lay your edges, otherwise the makeup will cover the edges.
And that's a wrap - see what I did there?