Lockdown Hair Diaries: Maintaining Your Natural Hair During Lockdown

February 16, 2021

One thing Covid-19 has taught many of us is to become multi-talented and take up new skills or hobbies. Due to the lockdown, businesses have been forced to close operations in accordance with government’s regulations. This has left many of us with the job of learning how to do things we would normally have gone to our service providers for. One of these – doing our own hair!

Since salons have been closed and most traveling restricted because of lockdown, many of us, who probably have never done any real styling to our hair before have felt somewhat stuck as to where we can even start. What is the solution to this problem, especially for those of us with natural hair?

We spoke to Thandiwe Mpala, a Harare based natural hair blogger on Instagram who has learnt to perfect the craft of maintaining her hair especially during lockdown. This was her experience:

 

 

“Ever since I started my hair journey in 2017, I have been experimenting with my hair, trying different natural hair products and hairstyles. When lockdown happened, I had more time to work on my skills and styles than I did before. I have spent this time getting to know my hair and what works for it. I have faced a few challenges, like when I ran out of hair products and it was difficult accessing the ones I wanted to try out because of the restrictions. During these periods, I kept my hair wrapped in a scarf majority of the time. I would wash my hair with shampoo and conditioner and then keep it wrapped. When I ran out of conditioner, I used coconut oil as a substitute as well as a moisturiser. I also experimented with olive oil and glycerine to condition and moisturise my hair and it worked. To curb my no product issues, I would also do cornrows which were perfect as a way of protecting my hair.”

This is what I have learnt so far during lockdown:

  1. Making a DIY hair mask using egg, mayonnaise, avocado, banana, coconut oil and olive oil,
  2. Different headscarf styles which came in handy when my hair was not presentable,
  3. Curly hairstyles that helped perfect my braiding skills,
  4. YouTube is your friend. You are on the internet more than usual during lockdown. I have spent my time watching natural hair bloggers on YouTube do tutorials on hairstyles, headscarf styles, deep conditioning methods as well as the best products to use,
  5. Follow as many natural hair bloggers on social media as you can. This way you can learn, for example, go-to hairstyles for situations where you need to look presentable for a Zoom meeting, for work or for meet and greet sessions with friends,
  6. Depending on your hair type, you should add gel and curl cream to perfect your styles. For my hair I prefer Eco styler hair gel and Aunt Jackie’s curl cream.

 

My Favourite Styles for all hair types

1.High Puffs / Space puffs /Messy buns

 

2.Finger coils

 

3.Half up and half down

 

4.Sleek buns

 

5.Natural hair headscarves

 

6.Quick short hair hairstyles – like bush locks or curled styles using hair oil, hair mousse, hair gel/ curly control gel, edge tamer, a hair brush sponge and a Denman hair brush.

On my blog I mainly recommend natural hairstyles that protect your hair and make you look good at the same time. I am also in favour of natural hair ingredients or natural hair products. It might be costly finding the right product for your hair type but, trust me, it is worth it. We also need to research the products we use to avoid not only damaging our hair but our bodies too in the long run.

My followers have taught me that we should encourage others to love how they look with their natural hair and encourage them not try to fit into societal norms and standards that dictate how our hair should look. We should be our own people, with our own identities and be proud of the hair we were born with.”

Thandiwe Mpala Instagram: @anna_curlz, Twitter: @annacurlzzz

 

It is of utmost importance to know your hair type as a natural hair Goddess. It is also crucial for you to know exactly how to take care of your beautiful manes. Mildred Mutematsaka, owner and founder of HueMelanin, a local natural hair plant powered business gave us her five top tips that every woman with natural hair should follow in order to protect and maintain her hair during lockdown.

1.Get to know your hair

Women with natural hair need to learn and understand their hair. That way they will know what products to use for it. How can one get to know their hair?

  1. a) Take a look at your hair to identify your hair texture. Hair texture is how your hair looks and feels. This is determined by the curl type, thickness and density.

2.Handle your hair like fine silk

Natural hair, particularly type 4 hair needs patience and gentle handling. Due to its fragile nature textured hair is susceptible to tangles, matting, dryness and breakage. How you handle it will determine whether you retain length or it breaks off. Avoid doing your hair when you are in a hurry, you will most likely use too much force and cause it to break.

3.Practice good hair hygiene.

Shampoo and condition your hair at least every two weeks. Focus on your scalp when washing your hair and scalp. The health of your scalp can affect the health of the hair growing out of it.

4.Moisturize and seal in moisture.

People with textured hair are prone to dryness. In order to keep the ends of your hair moisturized, use the L.O.C. method: liquid, oil, cream.

Steps:

1) Spritz water onto your hair.

2) Seal in moisture with a natural oil or butter. Avoid petroleum oil.

3) Apply a leave-in conditioner to soften the hair.

5.Protective styling.

A protective hairstyle is any hairstyle that protects the ends of your hair. The ends of your hair need the most care for them to stay healthy. They are the oldest parts of your hair and require a bit more attention to prevent them from breaking. The longer your hair gets the more prone it is to matting, tangles, knots and split ends. To protect your ends, keep your hair in a protective hairstyle. Some hairstyles one could do include African threading, braids, cornrows/plaits or twists.

Lockdown Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s

  1. Keep your hair in a protective hair style.
  2. Moisturize your hair.
  3. Wrap your hair with a satin scarf or bonnet before bed. This will preserve your protective hairstyle, prevent your hair from drying out and prevent matting and tangles.
  4. Eat well and drink water. Take great care of yourself, especially during this pandemic. What you eat can affect your health, including the health of your hair. When your diet is deficient in nutrients your hair will be one of the first areas of your body to suffer. This is because your hair is not a vital organ or tissue. The body will not prioritise its nutritional needs.
  5. Virtual consultation. Consult with a hair expert if you need help.

Don’ts

  1. Avoid over manipulating your hair. If you’re not going anywhere, allow your hair to rest.
  2. Don’t neglect your hair.
  3. Avoid using harsh chemicals (bleach, relaxer, permanent colour).
  4. Don’t use heat.
  5. Don’t compare your hair journey to someone else’s. Be patient with your hair and enjoy your journey.

You can follow HueMelanin on Instagram: @Huemelanin

 

 

By Delyse Gimani

 

 

 

 

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