Diane Hall is the author of ‘How I Grew it Long Naturally’ and ’65 Tips to Healthy Hair Growth.’ She is also the owner of D’Naturals – a hair salon that specialises in natural hair care, and the co-founder of Natural Hair Week: the largest natural hair event in the UK. Here, Diane reveals her curly hair tips and how to get healthy hair when you're at the coiler end of the curl pattern chart.
Over the past few years, we have seen an influx of women embracing their natural hair. There is currently a movement of caring for ourselves in more natural ways, which reinforces the desire to accept yourself as you were born into this world, and it’s so exciting to be a part of it!
My aim is to support, encourage, inspire, and educate women going on their own natural hair growth journeys.
The ‘Big Chop’
My personal hair journey consisted of a transitional process whereby my natural hair had grown whilst wearing braids, wigs and extensions. However, there was little length to my hair, it was thin and the ends were not in the best of conditions. I made the decision to avoid extensions and took to learning to care for my own hair.
A growing trend in the Natural Hair scene is to ‘Big Chop'. This is where all the chemically-treated hair is cut off leaving only the natural hair (however long this may be!) Many women cut all of their hair right down to a Grade 1 and start from fresh with the regrowth.
For many women, there is a deeper meaning to this process and it marks the beginning of a new chapter which can be quite liberating!
It is important to remember that structure of all hair is the same – the most important thing to recognise is that Afro hair types (type 4 hair) grows at the same rate as any other type. However, it also breaks more easily than any other type when mistreated.
My hair regime consists of lots of deep conditioning to keep the hair hydrated and prevent breakage, protective styling to prevent split ends, and daily moisturising to prevent drying out and help maintain elasticity.
Co-washing & Shampooing
There are many myths surrounding washing Afro hair and how often it should be washed. It is important to shampoo the hair regularly (i.e. once a week) due to the build-up of product or through excessive sweating due to exercise which can block the hair follicles and stunt hair growth.
For those who are more active through sports, a conditioner-wash or co-wash can be performed in-between shampoo days.
Co-washing is similar to a shampoo but using a conditioner instead of a shampoo. This is done because shampoo can strip the hair of its natural oils if used too regularly. Co-washing avoids this and prevents the hair from drying out, which ultimately helps prevent breakage by helping to maintain the elasticity of the hair.
Tips for healthy hair
Protective styling is a key factor to retaining length and preventing split ends. Avoid wearing your hair down when wearing cotton or wool mix tops because the dry brushing on the ends of your hair can encourage split ends with these materials. Silk or satin top or bare shoulders are recommended when wearing the hair out!
Always use a silk/satin scarf or pillowcase at night. This will help the hair retain its moisture. Cotton pillowcases and clothing absorbs moisture from your hair, which will cause dryness and brittle hair.
Type 4 hair has fewer cuticle layers than any other hair type and needs added hydration daily to avoid breakage and encourage suppleness and elasticity. Keeping the hair well moisturised is key to healthy hair growth. Afro hair will flourish when nourished and well moisturised. This will also prevent the hair from drying out and becoming brittle, preventing breakage.
Diet & Health
Foods containing fatty acids, vitamins B-6, B12, folic acid and protein are all great for the hair. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise with lots of water is essential and the key to health and wellbeing. A good hair care routine will only complement this.
Remember that beauty and acceptance come from within. Take care of you on the inside and you will shine on the outside!
By applying my hair techniques, many of my clients & followers have achieved a noticeable improvement in not only the length of their hair but also in the volume and health of the hair.
Author - Diane Hall
Find your Lush Afro hair routine here or go behind the scenes of the Afro hair range with Lush Afro hair specialist Sarah Sango