After spending the day with your gorgeous curls out and about, you get home tired, ready to cook, eat & relax (or whatever your evening routine consists of). But there’s just one problem, your hair is out. You need a night time hair care routine. Any naturalista, new or old school, knows that going to bed with your hair all wild and free is a bad idea for the following reasons:
- The style, you probably spent several hours achieving, will be ruined.
- Your hair will get tangled.
- You will probably experience a lot of breakage.
- Your hair will dry out, etc.
Your probably trying to avoid all these issues, so the best thing to do, is a night time hair care routine. There are several steps you can add to your routine to keep your hair nice and healthy. You can decide which one works with your schedule and the amount of energy you can spare (cause you will probably have several other routines you need to do).
Depending on how hot it was during your day & your hair porosity, your hair may or may not be dry. Going to bed with dry, crunchy hair is a recipe for breakage, and losing all your inches after so many months/years of hard work is heart breaking. So, the following are ways you can moisturise your hair whether it’s dry or still moisturised enough.
1. Your Hair Is Still Moisturised & Happy.
If your hair didn’t get dried out too much, then simply coat your hands with a little oil/ natural butter (like Shea Butter) & gently rub into your curls. Don’t put too much, as you may make your hair greasy, and you would want all that leaking on to your face.
By doing this you’re increasing the amount of time your hair can stay moisturised, ie reducing the time in which your hair dries out. Meaning you won’t have to go all out in moisturising too soon.
2. Your Hair Feels Like Dry Grass.
When your hair feels like straw, it’s time to properly moisturise. You can’t jus apply oil, because oils seal in whatever state your hair is in. So if your hair is dry, you are sealing in the dryness into your strands. If you hair is moistened (with water or water based products), you are sealing in that moisture. And natural hair loves moisture. You can moisturise your hair by:
- STEP 1: separating your hair into sections (if it’s long enough to be separated).
- STEP 2: Misting your hair with water to dampen it.
- STEP 3: applying your moisturiser. E.g D&L au naturale platting pudding, aloe Vera gel or dax hair grower.
- STEP 4: Sealing the moisture with an oil or natural butter. E.g olive oil, castor oil or Shea Butter.
- STEP 5: detangling (removing the tangles from) your hair with either your fingers (preferably), a wide tooth comb or a brush.
- STEP 6: Style as desired after completing your hair care routine.
Preserving The Curls.
After moisturising, it’s best to put a hair up in such a way that reduces matting. In method 2 of moisturising, it’s fairly easy, since you are basically styling your hair from scratch. But in method 1, there are several ways you can preserve you curls / afro for as long as possible, while reducing the amount of tangles/ knots.
- Loosly styling your hair in a chunky & messy way. So if you were wearing a twist out, you can twist your hair in bigger, loose twist. Or if you had done mabhanzi, then thread bigger sections more loosely than before. But this way can be a bit tedious.
- Pineappling: A pineapple is the term which describes loosely tying your natural hair on the top of your head. It’s similar to a puff, but it’s not slicked or brushed down nor is it tied as securely. The idea is that because your sides & back will be loosely slicked up, you won’t end up smooshing your curls too much. If your hair is not long enough to do one giant pineapple, you could always do many little pineapples.
- Bandining: Banding is a way that’s similar to African threading (mabhanzi), however, instead of thread you are using hair elastics (not rubber bands) to loosely tie your hair up. Another differentce, is that there doesn’t have to be small gaps between the elastics, intact, the gaps can be as large or as short as you want them to.
After putting your hair in the style that you want, to preserve your curls or completely restyle your hair, it’s time for you to take care of your edges. Your edges are the most fragile part of your entire head of hair & it is also the thinnest. In addition to this, it is much harder to regrow them if you lose them. Thus, it’s best to take care of them before they are gone. The following are ways you can treat your edges as part of your hair care routine.
- Rinse off gel/ any residue. Gel can be extremely drying, so leaving it on your edges for 3-4 days may cause the hair to get dry & more brittle, & eventually fall off. Gel (or any residue) can clog/blockthe pores of your scalp. So by rinsing your edges, u will be removing build up from your scalp, allowing it to breath, & therefore, allowing your hair to grow.
- Dampening your hair line with water. Water is necessary for hair to grow, your hair line is no exception. If you haven’t rinse out residue or gel from your edges (because you probably had none), then dampening your scalp with water is essential. Although, it’s only necessary every 2 days or so.
- Treating your edges. If you have a hair growth oil or scalp treatment, this would be the perfect time to apply it. If you don’t have any of that, then simply placing regular castor oil on your scalp will be fine. You can do this after either:
- the gel/ residue is rinsed awa.
- dampening your scalp, or
- having an adequately moisturised scalp.
- Massage your scalp. Massaging your scalp creates blood flow which stimulates the hair growth in that specific area. Simply place the pads of your fingers (the part that has finger prints) firmly & move the skin (not the hair) in circular motion, for about 5-10 minutes.
- Tie down your edges, loosely yet securely, with a scarf. Try not to use anything that will rough up your edges too much, while you sleep. If your scarf moves too much, best to leave it out altogether.
Once you have decided that your ready for bed, it’s time to cover up your hair for the night. This is so that your hair stays protected while you sleep. I know we have all used a doek or do-rag/durag to tie our hair up at night, but those materials tend to absorb the moisture & oils from natutural hair, leaving the hair to dry out. The fibres of those materials may also snag your hair strads while you sleep, between their weaving, & either pull out the strands from the root or breaks a strand off, making it much shorter.
The best material to use, to avoid losing strands & breakage is silk. Silk has a sleek, slippery feel to it, so it isn’t rough on your hair. Silk weaving is also too small to snag your hair strands. However, silk can be quite pricey, so an alternative to silk is satin. Satin is not as effective as silk, however, it is good enough to get the job done. The following items can protect your hair, reducing your strands from drying out & breaking:
- A silk/ satin scarf.
- A silk/ satin bonnet.
- A silk/ satin pillow case.
Keep in mind that silk & satin are very slippery. So choose whichever garment you feel will be secure while you sleep.
Most importantly, try not to put your bonnet/ scarfdirectly on your edges. While satin/ silk is safer & reduces friction, friction is not totally eliminated. So while you sleep the scarf/ bonnet may be moving back & fourth while you sleep. So either place the bonnet/ scarf on your forehead or behind your hair line (about 1-2 cm back).
This is your simple night time hair care routine!