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Sunday saw the coming together of naturals for a natural hair talk at Tanaz Salon in Sandton. To be honest, as the first event I attended I wasn’t too sure what to expect and I’ll admit nerves got the better of me in the beginning. However, as more naturals began to arrive I have to say I found myself getting more and more comfortable mostly because it was a safe space that encompassed dialogue about something which we all love and had in common – natural hair. The talk was hosted by Brian and Lynette Warfield of Areté of Hair, with a focus on preparing for winter. As you are now aware, winter is around the corner and for most naturals this can be the most trying time of the year where the hair is concerned.

Brian Warfield giving the talk
The one thing I especially loved about this event was meeting fellow naturals whom I’d previously only seen and/or spoken to via social media, sometimes I can’t help but marvel over how something as simple and beautiful as natural hair can bring together different people from various walks of life. Moreover, seeing and hearing the passion that both Brian and his wife, Lynette, have for natural hair as well as their aim to get women/men to really understand and wear their hair proudly was just inspiring on so many levels. I could honestly listen to them for hours on end. There were so many things I honestly didn’t know or never really thought about too deeply previously. Luckily, I recorded the majority of the talk on my phone and based on several questions and feedback, here are a few things you need to know to help you winterise your regimen based on questions posed by naturals during the talk.

Gorgeous Lavish Atelier beanies and do-rags on display
Natural hair=100% natural products?
Having natural hair does not necessarily mean forgoing formulated hair products for natural hair. As much as natural products have their benefits, technology isn’t our enemy and there are products that aren’t natural that may work better on our hair. The main aim is to understand which products work for you; review which products you are using now and whether or not they’re effective and how you can adjust or change them so that your products work for your hair with the best results. When it comes to natural hair strive for results rather than searching for something that is natural only.
Review lifestyle changes
What have you added to or detracted from your lifestyle? Things like diet, exercise or lack thereof, medication, pregnancy and even medical procedures have an impact on your system and ultimately your hair growth as well. If something is lacking it will have an effect on your hair so it’s
important to feed your body what it needs. Make it a point to make conscious decisions about what you eat and don’t just eat foods with no nutritional value just for the sake of filling your body. Once you’ve reviewed your lifestyle changes, either do more of what you are doing if it’s effective or change things if they’re not working.
Moisture treatment trumps conditioning
Of all the different aspects that were mentioned, this was one that stuck with me the most because it’s something I’m struggling with now that the season is changing. Moisture, moisture and moisture is key and even though water is great for our hair, it is ineffective in and of itself. There was much of an emphasis on moisture treatments as they seep straight into the strands of the hair whereas conditioners only really work on the surface of the hair and coats it. What I learned was that conditioners are designed for the detangling process, they add shine, make it easier to comb but they do not penetrate right to the cortex of the hair where everything takes place. Moisture treatments, on the other hand, are formulated to go into the hair shaft and stay there, which assists with maintaining softness.

Listening and soaking in the information
DIY protein conditioning
I personally don’t do protein treatments at all because of my low porosity hair, but even this one blew my mind. When it comes to protein treatments, particularly those that are DIY, what you need to ask yourself is whether the protein you get from such treatments is the same as the protein found and/or needed in the hair. Apparently natural hair doesn’t really need additional protein as long as the bonds in the hair are still intact…so, in other words, if it ain’t broke don’t “fix it”. As long as the protein in the hair is intact, a moisturising treatment is all you need. Do bear in mind that protein treatments cannot repair split ends, you’re best off letting go of those ends and snipping them off. Also remember that using a protein treatment on already dry hair will only make it even more dry.
Hair vitamins – yay or nay?
The truth is most of us are deficient in some or other nutrient or vitamin. Before taking hair vitamins, it’s important to be realistic and consider why you want to do so – is it to grow long hair? Is it to grow it fast? It’s important to remember hair growth varies from person to person and your genetic make up and hormones play a considerable role in how your hair grows. More often than not if you have a healthy diet that incorporates as much healthy foods as possible, there’s no need to take hair vitamins in any case. Another thing is, it’s not always the case, but more often than not if you purchase cheap hair vitamins, it’s probable that you will get what you pay for so keep that in mind when considering effective hair vitamins.

Newly rebranded Areté of Hair products on display
Working with drier or coarser textures
It’s not a secret that most naturals have various textures all on one head which can make moisture distribution a pain. Personally I have one spot at the crown of my head that I’ve recently noticed is coarser and drier than the rest of the hair on my head. I learnt that it’s important to make sure you apply products onto the roots all the way to the ends of the hair. The more coverage you can get, the better in terms of moisture and softness. It’s impossible for the hair to remain moisturised if you don’t start from the roots. Also, if certain sections of your hair are more prone to dryness make sure to focus more on those areas for optimum moisture.
So there you have it…preparing your hair for winter does not have to be as complicated as we make it to be. If anything, one main point I learned as a result of the talk is to question why we do certain things to our hair or use certain products. Being result-driven and finding the appropriate accompanying essentials is the best way to go about prepping your winter regimen.

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