A Helpful Guide to Achieving and Caring For Your Afro

In recent years, we have seen a trend towards natural black hair. More and more women are embracing their natural locks in all its curly, kinky and coiled glory. The natural hair movement has definitely picked up steam, with everyone from local and international celebrities like Boity to social media influencers and everyday women in the workplace rocking the look they were born with. 

Natural hair is a massive talking point, but what exactly does it mean to go natural? Is it a smooth journey or one that requires hard work and patience?  Simply put, natural hair means wearing your hair in a natural state, using products that are chemical-free and designed to protect the natural health of your hair and avoiding any forms of heat styling. 

The afro, in particular, is a highly desirable look and natural hairstyle for black women. Our advice is, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”. These days, the bigger the hair, the better, so why not rock this cool, chic and popular natural look and get heads turning. 

Reasons to Embrace Your Natural Hair

Going natural is certainly a journey, but if you’re on the fence, here are some reasons why you should give it a chance.

Natural hair is empowering – Your hair is your crown. It is a representation of who you are, and it creates a lasting impression. By wearing your natural hair, you’re not only accepting your crowning glory in its natural form, but you’re helping to change beauty standards around the world. There is nothing more empowering than embracing who you are, which is why movements like body positive and natural hair have taken off in recent times. It’s all about embracing what makes you unique.  

Natural hair is healthier – By going natural, your hair will be healthier, which is reason enough to embark on a natural hair journey. Using products like relaxers or hair dye causes damage to your hair and scalp, which can result in scalp irritation, stunted hair growth and breakage.

Natural hair is beautiful – You have to admit; there is nothing more glorious than a head of natural, healthy hair. By going natural, you tick both of these boxes.

At Halo Heritage, our focus is on giving black women the confidence (and tools) to embrace their natural hair in the best, healthiest way possible. Our haircare products are packed with the finest ingredients that are health and earth-friendly, cruelty-free, vegan friendly and paraben and sulphate-free. We offer products that will not damage your hair, your health or the environment.

According to Vanessa Collington, a stylist at Mizu Hair Salon in New York, using a shampoo and conditioner that are paraben and sulphate-free keeps natural hair much more manageable. With a myriad of top-class products available for all natural hair types, working your natural hair magic will be easier than you thought. View our Halo Heritage Hair Products.

So, you’re ready to rock some natural hairstyles for black women, but not sure how to start. Here, we will cover some tips about how to take care of your natural hair, embrace that funky ‘fro and get back to your roots.

How to Look After Your Afro

The first step in afro hair care is creating a routine that works with your schedule. Having a regular hair care routine will make it easy to know what works for you and what doesn’t. In reality, it’s much easier to have a simple regular routine that fits around your day-to-day life. If your routine is easy and convenient, then you’re more likely to stick to it. Typically, a regular hair care routine should include cleansing, moisturising and styling.

Natural Hair Cleanse

Scalp health is important to the overall health of your hair as it can stimulate hair growth and prevent breakage and dandruff. An unhealthy or unclean scalp can cause a myriad of hair problems, including dandruff, stunted hair growth and even fungal infections, to name a few. 

It is recommended that you wash your scalp once a week if you can, although washing it every seven to ten days is also an option. Be sure to use a gentle, sulphate and paraben-free shampoo, like the Royal Cleanse Shampoo from Halo Heritage. This is a delicate moisturising and softening shampoo that has nourishing ingredients to reduce inflammation, stimulate hair growth, strengthen and hydrate the hair, control frizz, reduce shrinkage and offer protection against styling damage. 

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise

Once your afro hair is clean and dry, it’s time to add some moisture. While your shampoo should have moisturising benefits, it is important to give it an extra boost to make sure your hair stays hydrated. Since afro hair is prone to dryness and breakage, you need to take special care to keep it moisturised and easy to style and maintain. The longer your ‘fro, the more care must be taken to ensure it remains in optimal condition for both hair condition and styling. To protect your hair from drying out and breakage, moisture is key. Have a look at our Royal Repair Conditioner. 

Natural Hair Styling

When it comes to styling your afro, this is really based on personal preference, but protective styling and low manipulation natural hairstyles for black women are recommended for afro hair care. Protective natural hairstyles are styles where the ends of your hair are tucked away, such as braids, twists, or cornrows. Low manipulation looks are those that require little maintenance or fuss, like buns or twists. These keep tangles and knots at bay and also do not require you to handle your hair too much. With any of these looks, it is recommended that you wrap your hair in a protective bonnet at night, like the super chic Halo Heritage Regal Glam Bonnet, which helps tame the frizz and lock in the moisture of your hair. 

When styling afro hair, you should always work with your natural curls or coils. Afro hair can be manageable if you treat it well and keep it natural. Try to avoid straightening and stretching your hair with heat or chemicals and soon you will have a healthy and natural afro you can be proud of. 

Repeat the Process

Once you have your basic routine down, you can make adjustments throughout the week to reflect a changing mood, weather or overall vibe. The key is to keep your routine the same and only make minor changes as you go until you have a routine that suits your hair and your lifestyle. Once that is done, you can start thinking about ways to save time while still properly caring for your afro hair. Remember, the natural hair journey is a process, but once you know what works for your hair, maintaining your look will become easier.

Foods that can damage your hair and scalp

To stimulate healthy hair growth, you should also consider your diet as eating habits play a huge role in achieving healthy and shiny hair. Some foods to avoid are fish high in mercury, as mercury poisoning can lead to hair loss. Sugar is generally considered bad news but also hinders protein, which is important for your hair. High glycemic foods like pasta, white bread and cake should also be avoided as they can cause serious follicle shrinkage and hair loss. 

 

Common hair problems and why they occur

While rocking the ultimate ‘fro is a dream for many, it is important to know about common hair problems for black women, and why they occur, so you can treat them and prevent issues in the future. Let’s take a closer look at some common hair problems for black women and how to fix them.

Breakage

Afro hair, like other types of hair, grows about 15cm a year, but since this type of hair is prone to dryness, it often breaks off as fast as it grows. Afro hair has a reputation for being weak, short and brittle, but it can be as strong as any type of hair if it is well maintained. Because of the curly structure of afro hair, sebum produced by the scalp has trouble reaching the ends of the hair, making them dry, brittle and prone to breakage. Other common causes of breakage include heat styling, products like relaxers and bleach with harsh chemicals, and dryness and friction caused by rough handling, cotton pillowcases, and wool hats and scarfs. 

How to fix the problem

The best way to tackle breakage is to ensure that the ends of your hair are moisturised and tucked away regularly in a protective or low maintenance natural hairstyle. At night, tuck your hair in a bonnet or silk scarf or sleep on a silk pillowcase as cotton sucks the moisture from your hair, leading to breakage. 

Also, be sure to handle your hair with care as breakage can happen through pulling, tugging, and hard brushing, so gently finger comb or use a wide-toothed comb instead. Heat styling and harsh chemicals should also be avoided. Instead, opt for products that are chemical-free, like the Halo Heritage range, which features gentle yet effective products that contain no parabens and sulphates and are cruelty-free.

Dandruff

There are numerous causes of dandruff. Using harsh products can cause scalp irritation, dandruff and severe flakes. Another cause of dandruff is an overgrowth of microbial fungus, which can lead to serious dandruff if left untreated.  Dandruff is further caused by a build-up of sebum, which is naturally produced by your scalp. If you do not wash your scalp regularly, this sebum builds up and combined with skin flakes and product build-up, can leave your scalp itchy and irritated. Finally, dandruff is common if you have a dry scalp. 

How to fix the problem

To prevent dandruff, you need to eliminate all the causes of dandruff and take good care of your scalp as it is the key to healthy hair. It is recommended that you wash your hair regularly and invest in a good shampoo like the Royal Cleanse from Halo Heritage. It keeps your scalp nice and moisturised while being gentle on your hair and the environment. 

We also recommend using the Halo Heritage Illustrious Scalp Spray for a soothing and relieving scalp treatment. Featuring ingredients like black seed oil and tea tree oil, it is designed to reduce inflammation, stimulate hair growth, reduce scalp flakiness and sensitivity, soothe irritated and itchy scalps, reduce dandruff and flakiness, prevent excess oil production, balance the ph level of the scalp, and promotes strong and healthy hair. 

Hair Loss

Hair loss is common in black hair, especially when wearing tight braids or extensions, a condition known as traction alopecia. It can also be caused by rough handling, using the wrong tools (like brushes with rough bristles or fine-tooth combs) and the use of harsh chemicals like relaxers and hair dye. Stress is also a major contributor to sudden hair loss. Long term damage to your hair and can lead to bald patches and permanent hair loss. 

How to fix the problem

Avoid tight braids and extensions where you can, as well as products like relaxers and hair dye. Ideally, use braids no smaller than the size of a regular pencil or larger. What’s more, take some time to yourself, invest in a self-care routine and keep stress at bay to avoid sudden hair loss or thinning of your afro hair. 

Again, choosing the right products will also help your hair on the road to recovery. The Halo Heritage Sovereign Repair Serum is a good option as it boasts ingredients like black seed oil, shea butter and jojoba oil, all of which offer incredible benefits to the hair and scalp. Black seed oil is known for reducing inflammation, stimulating hair growth, and reducing scalp flakiness and sensitivity. 

Shea butter has properties that strengthens hair while moisturising a dry and damaged scalp, controls frizz, reduces shrinkage and balances moisture in hair. Jojoba oil assists in moisturising the scalp, preventing dandruff, nourishing and strengthening hair, preventing hair loss and promoting hair thickness. 

Finest Ingredients for Hair Health

When choosing the right hair products for your afro hair, go for brands that are known for their dedication to providing the best products for natural black hair. Halo Heritage offers a wide range of products to treat and care for your hair, including the Royal Cleanse Moisturising and Softening Shampoo, the Royal Repair Ultra Intensive Conditioner, the Supreme Leave-in Conditioner, Illustrious Scalp Spray, Empress Smoothing Gel and Elite Hair Perfume. These products are packed with nourishing ingredients that are good for the health of your hair, including:

Shea butter - Strengthens hair while moisturising a dry and damaged scalp, helps control frizz, reduces shrinkage and balances moisture in the hair. 

Argan oil - Keeps hair moisturised and protects against styling damage, which results in less breakage and hair loss.

Coconut oil - Promotes a healthy scalp, moisturises hair and prevents breakage and split ends. It also adds lustre and shine to hair.

Jojoba oil - Moisturises the scalp, prevents dandruff, nourishes and strengthens hair, prevents hair loss and promotes hair thickness.

It is important to look after your natural hair, especially if you want to embrace it the way it was meant to. Why not give your hair a break from the braids and weaves and instead rock natural hairstyles for black women. While it’s trendy now to show off your natural hair, embracing your roots is about much more than a fashion statement. It’s about changing beauty standards, one curl, kink and coil at a time. 

View the Haircare range here: Halo Heritage Haircare.