Maintenance for natural African American hair is important. We take pride in our hair, and the best way to show how much we love our natural locs is to develop some type of hair maintenance routine. Now, we can search Google all day and watch many YouTube natural hair gurus break down their hair regimen; however, I’ve learned over the years that what works for some may not work for most, so it may take some trial and error to get a maintenance routine that works best for you. No matter the methods and products you use to maintain your healthy locs, the heart of every loc maintenance routine begins with moisture.
Remember, our natural hair is a kinky garden, and with any garden you have to keep the roots moisturized. The methods in which you choose to keep your hair moisturized is completely up to you. Our hair doesn’t have to be washed everyday; however, you can retain hydration by simply keeping your scalp lubricated using your favorite natural hair friendly essential oils and conditioners. Because I’m a low maintenance kind of guy, my go-to hair pick me up is a combo of a few essential oils mixed with purified water in a spray bottle. My little concoction allows me to hydrate my scalp, all while working in my favorite oils to condition my locs. If you must wash your natural hair in between appointments, you could try co-washing..
Co-washing means to wash your hair using conditioner instead of shampoo. Co-washing your hair allows you to keep your hair clean without stripping your natural hair of the good oils that keep your locs feeling healthy and soft. Make sure to use conditioners that are natural hair-friendly and free of any ingredients that add to the build up you’re trying to lessen while cleansing your locs. Most conditioners are detanglers, so you have to be careful using conditioners with ingredients that aid in detangling your locs. Another route is to wet your scalp and locs, then saturate your head with a few essential oils, such as coconut, put your hair up in an insulating shower cap, wait for about 45 minutes to an hour, then wash as much oil out as you can. This way, your scalp is lubricated and your locs have been penetrated with enough oil; all you’re doing is washing out the excess oils. To finish off your loc maintenance is the fun step of styling, specifically protective styling.
So, you’ve gone through your tried and true hair regimen, but you’re in between appointments or you just don’t feel like trying to retwist all of your locs, what can you do? Well, there are many things you can do! Your hair is feeling lovely, clean, and soft, so you have a kinky playground to do as you wish. For me, I usually just ponytail it, then wrap it all into a tight awesome ball, then tie a durag or scarf around the rest of my dome. No fuss, no muss. I’m good to go to sleep, go to the gym, go to the store, etc. If you’re feeling inventive, go for some Bantu Knots or do a few hanging braids. Really, protective styling is all about keeping your natural hair protected from the perils of Mother Nature when you just don’t feel like letting your locs flow free, especially during those colder months. If you should want your natural locs to flow, but have some new growth that needs tending to, only re-twist the more noticeable locs, leaving the the rest as is.
Maintaining healthy locs can be simple and fun. A few key things to remember is to keep your scalp moisturized and your locs hydrated. Make sure to use essential oils or natural hair-friendly conditioners to aid in moisture retention. Keeping your hair styled in a protective manner will reduce any type of damage due to weather as well as lessen the amount of debris that may accumulate within your locs. Finally be proud that you have developed a personalized maintenance routine that suits your needs and your hair just fine.
– Kevin L. Tarver
Nyesha Samuel, Publisher/Master Loctician for healthylocsblog.com