If you're on a healthier hair or length retention journey, it's important to note common mistakes that can hinder your progress, some can even damage your hair.
So here are some things to watch out for, they are not exhaustive but I see them often!
Excessive shampooing can strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle. Admittedly, this issue crops up more amongst our Caucasian cousins, but I have also advised some with afro-textured hair to reduce the frequency of their wash, taking into consideration their lifestyle of course e.g an athlete or frequent exerciser may have to wash more than once a week. However, in general, I advise on weekly washes for optimal scalp and hair health. If you have afro-textured hair, your weekly washes should be with a mild shampoo or clay. If you wash once every two weeks, consider a good clarifying shampoo.
2. Using too much heat:
Heat styling tools like flat irons, curling irons and blow dryers can damage your hair over time. And heat damage is irreversible. Without meaning to get technical, heat rearranges your protein bonds, protein bonds keep your hair strong and healthy, so consistent use or reckless use will weaken the bonds and cause breakage.
I don't want to scare you from using heat, because believe it or not there is also science showing water weakens hair over time, so air drying doesn't get a straightforward pass. The key is to use heat responsibly, not too often, and always always use a heat protectant! and do keep your temperature reasonable!
Personally, I am avoiding heat until the end of the year because my hair feels weak. I’ll also be increasing my protein intake and other things to address strength! Remember that towel drying your hair with our bamboo towel and using alternative stretching methods e.g African threading, two strand twists, etc are gentler means to stretch your hair.
3. Skipping trims:
Trimming your hair regularly helps to prevent split ends, breakage, and tangling.
While some recommend that you trim your hair every 6-12 weeks, I say trim as needed, but this can be tricky advice because some of you are in denial about when you need a trim or how much you need to trim! Please do not avoid trimming your hair just because you're trying to grow it out. The bottom line is everyone will need a good trim from time to time! Because no matter how well you care for your hair, it will wither! The longer it gets, the older it gets, the older it gets, the more you have washed it, towel dried it, blow dried it, exposed it to the sun, wind, touched it and more! And all these things damage hair!
Eventually you will notice that it gets thinner at the ends - technically this is cuticle damage, split ends will present more tangles, and these damaged hairs can even compromise the healthy hair around them …. Sis, trim it!
Although trims don’t help your hair grow faster, It has been shown that trims can actually help your hair grow healthier and in turn longer because less tangles means it is less susceptible to breakage and easier to handle so you are not yanking it.
4. Not moisturising & conditioning enough:
I met a lovely lady in Lagos who doesn't use leave-in-conditioners! She goes straight from washing to deep conditioning and that’s it! Oh, she adds a little oil! Her hair actually looks good, but she complained of dryness! I made some recommendations which I know will help! Imagine what her hair would look and feel like if she introduced a leave-in -conditioner!! it would go from good to excellent! Add strong and supple to that list too!! And it would serve her hair health better in the long run.
Now, moisturising and conditioning are two terms that are often used interchangeably in hair care, but they mean different things entirely and if you aren’t careful, you will moisturise but not condition effectively. And that isn’t great at all for hair health!
It is the conditioning agents—not just moisture—that smooth your cuticle layer, leaving your hair feeling soft and supple. These conditioning agents are even capable of adding strength via a protective coating of film on your hair strands. And the best conditioning agents include penetrative ingredients that go beyond the cuticle layers right to the cortex (inner layer) to add strength!
I can hear someone shouting “so where does the moisture come from”? Remember the first ingredient of most leave-in-conditioners is water! Moisture also comes from washing your hair and if you use a hair mist like ours, you even have superior moisturizers e.g rose hydrosol ( not to be mistaken with the less qualified rose water).
The mistake I don’t want you to make is thinking spraying your hair with water alone is fine. It is not. A well formulated hair mist like ours will contain both moisture and conditioning agents, not heavy, but super effective and balanced to moisturise and condition.
5. Inappropriate hairstyles:
This is the killer of hair dreams!! inappropriately installed hairstyles like braids, weaves, and ponytails can put a lot of stress on your hair, causing breakage and damage.
If you must wear your hair in these “protective hairstyles”, try to do it only occasionally and for short periods of time. Give your hair a break in between styles to allow it to recover. And when you really want to get serious about taking your hair to the next level, abstain from these styles for at least six months, love on your hair with simple styles and watch it exceed your expectations!
Always keep our three E’s in mind –
Your chosen hair styles should be Easy on the scalp, Easy on the strands and Easy to take down!
Did we skip any common mistakes? Let us know in the comments!