Saturday, July 3, 2010

Making Kinky Hair Irresistably Soft on the Cheap!

Often times, whether due to humidity(or lack thereof), diet, regime, or even genetics, kinky hair can be chronically dry. Hair is a crown of glory, and kinky hair is always the best accesory, but if that accesory is dry and brittle, there's nothing cute about that. And its not just looks; hair that can't retain moisture also can't reatin length and for any of you kinky queens whose goal is to achieve Rapunzel length tresses, chronic dryness will defeat you. Here are a few staples in my stash that I guarantee the soften the coarsest locks!


Castor oil: Castor oil (I use the unrefined version from Home Health, available at the Vitamin Shoppe, but Jamaican black works as well) is a thick oil that serves the purpose of sealing in moisture and not letting it escape. Castor oil also strengthens hair, making it less prone to damage and breakage from combing, brushing (which should be done sparingly) and (if you must...) flat ironing. Castor oil has also been proven to thicken and even speed up hair growth. Many women with thinning hair and edges, or naturally fine strands apply castor oil directly to the scalp and massage for 1-2 minutes daily. This has been shown to speed up a growth of thicker, stronger, more lustrous hair.

Coconut oil: Now I'll be honest. I can't stand coconut oil on my hair. I gave it a few tries on several different occasions, but I didn't see what all the hype was about. I ended up using along side my shea butter for my skin and the combo cleared up my stretch marks, but that's another story. Anyway, many naturals (especially those who find castor oil too heavy or greasy) absolutely love and swear by coconut oil and I have witnessed its moisturizing powers on their hair, so I suggest that anyone at least give it a try. Make sure to get the unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil.


Shea butter: I had tried shea butter and shea-containing leave-ins (like the very much despised Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In) on my hair with mixed results. The regular shea butter gave inconsistent results and the Cantu, which had been wonderful at first, quickly turned my hair into a hard, dry mess once I gained more length.
After some web searching, I discover pure, unrefined, organic, imported African shea butter- at an amazingly affordable price! A few sites I found were www.butters-n-bars.com, www.Back2Africa.com, www.sheabutterhut.com, and the site I ordered from, www.AfrikanRepublic.com. The shea butter came quickly and it was hand-packed in Ghana (and fair trade!) so it was already smooth, not gritty. I took a dab, rubbed my hands together for 2 seconds, and it instantly melted! This shea butter was the truth! I ordered the 16 0z. tub and whipped some of it (mixed with castor oil) for my hair and used the rest (whipped with coconut oil) for my skin. I can honestly say that both have never looked healthier!


Vegetable glycerin: Vegetable glycerin is a plant extract and natural sweetner. Its food grade and we all know that if something is safe enough to eat, its safe enough for hair. Glycerin can also be derived from other means, mostly pigs' hooves, so vegetable glycerin is the only kind I'll ever recommend for food or hair. The moisturizing benefits of vegetable glycerin have long been known in the cosmetics industry and it has been added to hair products, makeup, skin care items, and other toiletries. Many naturals (self included) swear by vegetable glycerin's power to INSTANTLY soften even the driest desert of hair into a feast for eyes and curious hands.
Glycerin is incredibly thick. Using it straight out of the bottle is a big no-no. It will make your hair TOO soft! Yes, such a thing exists! When hair is too soft (much like when it is too dry) it is fragile and more prone to breakage. Many naturals simply mix glycerin and water (or rosewater, or cooled herbal tea, and/or natural oils) in a spray bottle and spritz and few times on their hair. Finding the right glycerin to water ratio can be difficult and varies from head to head. For me, about equal parts water and vegetable glycerin did the trick. for those who enjoy braid and and twist out styles, don't use too much glycerin without gel because the softening power of the glycerin will ruin your definition. When I want maximum glycerin softness, I either rock my large and in charge afro or a bun. Remember, though, glycerin is a humectant, it draws moisture fom around itself, in the air (which is why mixing it with water is such a great idea, and its awesome for people living in humid environments), but it can't create moisture where none exists. Use it mixed with water and/or after applying a leave-in for best results.
Glycerin can often be hard to find; after days of searching, I found an 8 oz. bottle at the CVS pharmacy but it is available at some Vitamin Shoppes, Whole Foods, and Walgreens pharmcies as well. If you're shy or unsure of making your own vegetable glycerin mix or you just can't find it but want to try it out anyway, try some Sta-Sof-Fro, a staple of mine which has tons of it and is super-softening!

1 comment:

  1. Wow!very helpful indeed.thanks a lot Nubian.

    www.styltix.com

    ReplyDelete

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