Quarantine Hair Plan: Top 5 Tips To Keep Your Crowning Glory Gorgeous
Look like a queen during Covid-19
As some of us approach our 2nd month of quarantine, reality is beginning to set in and we need a Black Hair Plan -more than ever! For most women, but especially Black women — our hair isn’t just about vanity — it’s a social and political statement. The length, style and texture can have a positive or negative impact on our personal and professional lives. Therefore, hair care and maintenance are serious time consuming and costly investments. The average Black woman spends countless hours and $100’s of dollars a month getting our hair done or buying products to shampoo, condition, moisturize and color our hair. I suggest we take this time to reflect and regroup.
So what do you do if you can’t go to the hairdresser because of the quarantine, can’t afford it or want/need some other options?
Well, don’t stress about your tresses -never fear — GFC is here to help you through this potential ethnic hair crisis. Here are some tips to help you make a plan that’s best for you:
1. Get your mind right!
First, let’s mentally wash those negative thoughts about Black hair out of our heads! Whether you have Black hair or just wonder about — let’s declare: We LOVE Black Hair! Black hair is beautiful!
Now, most of these tips are for women of African descent with natural hair — but if you have a weave or extensions (like me) — it’s all love — we can start this step and may have to wait to implement some of the others. At the end of the day, it’s about what makes YOU feel comfortable…
We need to be gentle with ourselves and others by understanding that our love/hate relationship with our hair is a side effect of colonization, internalized racism, colorism and our lack of representation in professional settings, entertainment and some communities. We need a resurgence of and permanent Black pride and Black is Beautiful movement and it starts with US. Look in the mirror and again, declare, ME AND MY BLACK HAIR IS BEAUTIFUL!
2. H. M. C.
Hydrate — Drink plenty of water (see Hydration Tips by iWrite)
Moisturize your hair and scalp if it isn’t going to destroy your hairstyle
Cover your head with a silk or satin scarf, bonnet or smooth, breathable fabric. Avoid cotton as it will dry your hair out and only use a shower cap if you’re trying to trap moisture or deep conditioning
3. Fall in love with your locs
Get to know and embrace your hair and scalp. My scalp loves Indian hemp and coconut oil, but flakes up with shea (the rest of my body loves my body butters -click the link for recipe).
I have medium length hair. On average my hair is 8–10 inches all around — the back maybe longer. However, when I wash my hair, my hair shrinks to 2–4 inches. This use to be embarrassing because I was shamed and rejected by both white and stylists of color who were intimidated or showed their disgust for my tightly coiled hair -if I hadn’t detangled and pre-stretched my hair. I strongly suggest this becomes a routine and best practice for Black women when they go to a new stylist — not for the stylist’s comfort — but for yours and for them to see your hair before it’s washed.
Many people of color have multiple hair textures or curl patterns. I have 3 different textures. The top is thick, densely curled and dries quickly, but the middle of my head is really kinky and holds a lot of water. The back of my head has loose curls, grows faster and dries the quickest. I naturally have a Black girl mullet and stylists hate blow drying my hair. Just when they think my whole head is dry, I have to remind them that the middle is still damp… This has caused more than a few arguments and steam burns because only I can feel how wet my scalp is - although my hair seems dry.
Knowing your hair helps you have confidence when working with your stylist and helps you develop the best care routine and products for you.
4. Find what makes your hair happy
Everything isn’t for everybody. What works from somebody else’s strands may not work for you and all the products in a line may not work either. For example, I use Aphogee 2 Step Protein treatment and I love it, but their Two Minute Reconstructor doesn’t work well in my hair.
I love cowash (conditioner based hair cleanser), but I prefer to use, ACV (apple cider vinegar) and a tea tree clarifying shampoo first because my scalp is often dry and itchy. I also deep condition, steam and get my ends clipped every 2 months…
Here is a list of natural hair must-haves and Black-owned hair care products:
Cowash or Sulfate-free Moisturizing Shampoo
Moisturizing Conditioner and Leave-In Conditioner
Plastic and Metalic Shower Caps
Hair Oil of your choice: Olive, Coconut Oil, Argan, Jojoba or a blend
I keep my hair in protective styles like faux locs, braids, cornrows or natural ponytails with hair added most of the year. Now that my hair is longer — I love to put my hair back in a ponytail, slather on leave-in conditioner and rock a bun. But thanks to so many talented sistas on Youtube, the possibilities are endless. Here is a new hairstyle I’m playing with:
There is no reason why styles like this shouldn’t be accepted at work. The more women feel empowered to wear our natural hair — the more it will become commonplace.
Straight talk about transitioning
If you’re going to transition from chemically treated to natural hair — I would advise you to consult a licensed cosmetologist who specializes in natural hair. Think about the investment of time, money and the potential personal and professional impact. Will your new look cost your relationship or job? These are real and important questions…
Having this extended time away from work gives you time to think, research and make a transition plan. Once again, there are tons of tutorials on Youtube, but keep in mind like our skin color our hair textures are just as varied and what works for some may not work for you. Either way — it will be a journey of trial and error — finding different products and different stylists….
Here are some other Black hair care resources for some No Heat Helpers.
Now is the time to take control of our image. No one should tell Black or brown women that our natural hair is unprofessional, ugly or unkept and that includes all the myriad ways we style our natural hair — including twists, braids and locs. As long as our hair clean — neatness should not be based on Eurocentric standards.
My “neat” hair is nappy, kinky, curly, big and bold and it does not have any impact on my intellectual or cognitive abilities, my work ethic or my moral fiber or ethical standards, the quality of work or the value and experience I bring to my job.
As a matter of fact, I feel more confident and empowered when I can bring my authentic self to work. When I can truly be me, 100% with my hair fully expressed, untouched — untethered by or reminded of unrealistic standards — I can be free, unbothered and focused to bring the best and most efficient and effective self to work.
A note for allies
Real allies support representation without unnecessary or unwanted commentary, or product suggestions or advice (unless you’re an experienced natural hairstylist) and attempts to touch our hair. All of these things overstep personal, professional and cultural boundaries and show a lack of awareness and cultural competency. Translation: Just because your one Black friend from college lets you touch her hair and speaks openly about Black or brown issues doesn’t mean I will… Friends and colleagues are totally different lanes and have different rules of engagement…
Think — if you wouldn’t like me to start touching your hair as I ask if that’s your real hair color — please don’t ask me, “Is your hair is real?”
If I come on Monday with short hair and have long hair on Tuesday — consider it Black Girl Magic and focus on the task at hand. In the midst of the epidemic, everyone is a little on edge so courtesy, kindness, and consideration would be appreciated.
My Covid-19 Black Hair Plan is faux Goddess locs. I keep them in a scarf at night and spray my scalp with a mixture of water, tea tree and other oils. Then I alternate oiling my scalp every other night with Bronner Brothers Super Grow and various liquid oils.
I’ll take them out after 3 weeks, I take them out, wash, condition and reinstall or my hair will actually loc -
I hope this has been helpful and would love to hear about your plans!