Natural hair to most women is absolute perfection to their beauty. Some go the extra mile to have long glowing hair. Others find it tiring because of the requirements for keeping it healthy and so they crop it while others believe in an everyday braid. Most people have established faith in hair products such as shampoo, conditioner, oils and straightening machines. Others lose hope in keeping their natural hair as they face dandruff, breakages, retardation and many more challenges. But yet, in their lost hopes, they have in them buried wishes to have beautiful hair whenever they come across people who keep them.
The Bible in 1Corinthians chapter 11 verse 15 says that "But if a woman has long hair; it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering". With this, most women believe in their hair as glory. However, growing natural hair full and healthy does not depend on shampoo and strengtheners. As natural as it is, there are numerous natural ways to keep it growing and glowing. Having a good hair treatment is the key to effective hair growth while the use of shampoo and conditioner serve their purposes as accompaniments. For this purpose, there are three hair growth steps we will look at. These are Pre-pooing, Shampooing and Post-shampooing.
Pre-pooing is simply the treatment given to the hair before washing that is after unbraiding or keeping it for a while. Interviews conducted for this study revealed that about 80% of the women population in Ghana does not practice Pre-pooing. Meanwhile, this is the most essential part of the hair growth process. Many brands have produced several products for use before shampooing but there are several natural ways that work efficiently with low side effects. Let's look at a natural pre-poo recipe with five ingredients namely; fresh yoghurt without sweetening, neam leaves, aloe vera, green pepper and cloves. Below are the ways these ingredients help grow the hair.
The protein and lactic acid in yoghurt according to cultural traditions is a fast aid in hair growth. It is an ingredient that helps to cleanse the scalp, clearing away all dead skin cells and keeping the hair soft, strong and healthy.
NEAM leaves is said to have high content of fatty acids apart from its other medicinal purposes. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory characteristics embedded in it. Therefore it is an agent of hair growth.
Green pepper has a notable amount of Vitamin C. This helps the hair cells to absorb iron for effective hair growth. It also helps in preventing hair breakages.
Cloves are known to possess an excellent amount of antioxidants and a rich source of calcium, iron, sodium and many more minerals. It helps to prevent dandruff and is also a hair growth agent.
PREPARATION OF PRE-POO
The cloves are soaked in water for two to three days and strained. The neem leaves, green pepper and aloe vera is blended together with a little added water and strained as well. These two are mixed together and set aside in a spray bottle. For the pre-pooing, the hair is sectioned into five to ten parts. Fresh yoghurt is then applied to the hair section by section from the scalp to the hair length and the hair is twisted after each application. The mixture of the other ingredients is sprayed into the hair and massaged for ten minutes for penetration. Then with a shower cap on, the treatment is left for 30minutes to an hour before being washed.
For the natural hair, shampooing is also an important factor. This is simply washing the hair after Pre-pooing. For healthy hair, shampooing should be done from two weeks to a month. However, to avoid disturbing the hair, one should adapt to a particular shampoo he or she finds comfortable because a frequent change can negatively affect the hair. Because of the ingredients used in the pre-pooing process, it is advised to use warm water for washing. Treatment should be washed out of hair before applying shampoo, and then a gentle massage follows before a total rinse. A wash-out conditioner can be used to give the hair a silky smooth texture.
This is the treatment given to the hair after washing, all the way to when it is due to washing again. After washing, the hair should be given a low heat dry to prevent breakages. The hair is resectioned into five to ten parts as was done for the pre-pooing, then a natural leave-in conditioner is applied. There are several leave-in conditioners but for the sake of this study, we will stick to the hibiscus flower leave-in conditioner, also known as "sobolo leaf". The flowers of the hibiscus plant are also a hair growth agent. It is soaked in water like cloves for three days and strained into a spray bottle. After sectioning the hair, the leave-in conditioner is sprayed and massaged into the hair and sealed with shea butter to keep it moisturized. Then the hair is twisted or styled up. This can be done every two to three days in a week for an efficient outcome. Meanwhile, before bed, the hair cannot be left unattended. It should always be moisturized with this conditioner. A satin hair bonnet is advised to keep the moisture because cotton bonnets are capable of drying up the hair which will result in breakages.
The journey of keeping natural hair is not so simple a task. However most Ghanaian women find it an interesting lifestyle and so makes it easier when given much attention. The hair as part of the human body has its treatment being essential. Admiration of others' hair cannot continue when there are simple ways to have strong full hair. Adapt to natural measures and grow the hair with very little side effects.
University of Education, winneba
School of communication and media studies