Most of us believe in the value of a good thorough hair wash with soap or shampoo. But soap and shampoo are alkaline and that leaves Afro hair off-balance and vulnerable. Remember that hair in its natural healthy state loves a little bit of acid in the environment. This means any type of soap or shampoo is a form of harsh treatment and must quickly be followed by a neutralizing conditioner, treatment, or rinse with a slightly acid substance -even dilute juice from half a lemon will do.
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Consider washing your hair without soap! This is much gentler on the hair. You can use natural smoothing and oily substances such as the pulp of a whole avocado fruit mashed up and spread generously through the hair. (Be careful to pass the pulp through a sieve to remove most of the natural fibers otherwise these will be difficult to get out of your hair when you rinse). Add a teaspoon of coconut oil or safflower oil to the avocado pulp if your hair is dry. You can also use regular milk. Or mix your own cleaning solution of two teaspoons of coconut oil, one spoon of lemon juice and a cup of water shaken together and applied section by section as to sections of the hair. Then rinse thoroughly with slightly warm water! Much gentler on the hair.
Getting the Afro hair condition right
Conditioning has many purposes but four of them are key. The first is to put moisture back into the hair. Secondly, conditioning also coats the hair with substances that can help strengthen the hair. Thirdly, conditioning returns the hair environment to a state that is as near natural as possible and finally the process of conditioning covers each hair strand with a thin protective layer to reduce moisture loss. Comparing this to traditional processes the most critical is to seal and protect the hair as often as possible. It is impossible to list all the products that are good for your hair but a few are provided in the next section of this chapter just for your interest.
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