Let’s face it- taking care of natural African hair is already an extreme sport. You have to pre-poo, clarify, deep-condition, moisturize and keep in protective styling. While you may think it ends there, you are reminded to sleep in a bonnet every night and somehow still remember to take care of it the morning after- it is a lot!

Hair care during summer
Source: @sharonkmwangi on Instagram

Now, imagine having to live in a place where you sweat on a daily because of the natural summery vibe. In addition to that, it is dusty, making it certain for dust particles to settle on your freshly washed hair. The sun is also not helping with the moisture stripping off your hair strands. This has been my reality for a few months now ever since I moved to Turkana County, Kenya. Gladly, over time, I have been able to figure out what works out and what does not in this climate. If you are planning to visit an arid location, please take note of these tips beforehand:

You will need more ‘rinse’ days

With sweating being the order of the day, your hair will definitely need a wash in between the actual wash days. I call these rinse days because I don’t get to go through all the steps of a true wash day. On days when sweat, dirt and dust have clogged my hair strands and pores, I love to ease that by doing a co-wash. This way, I get to clean my hair even with protective styling such as braids being in.

How I do my rinse days:

  • On damp hair, apply your conditioner, paying more attention to the scalp that on the tips.
    In a circular motion, massage the conditioner to your scalp to loosen all the dirt and sweat build-up. Follow through the body and tips of your braids since it is equally dirty.

Read: Braid care with Vaseline EA

  • If you have hair tea rinses such as rosemary and chamomile tea, they can be perfect for use at this point.

Read: How to do tea rinses and its amazing benefits for natural hair.

  • Slightly air dry then apply your favorite leave in conditioner.
  • Spray rose water on your scalp then follow up with your oil and cream of choice.
  • Style as you like.

Go easy on products

Using a lot of heavy products such as oils and creams on your hair greatly contributes to build-up. To avoid this, opt for lighter oils and creams.

Do not forget to seal in moisture

In hot areas, moisturizing your hair without sealing in the moisture is a waste of time. Since the wind and heat are both stripping moisture off your hair strands, it only makes sense for you to apply an oil or cream sealant immediately after moisturizing. I use shea butter as sealant oil. Failure to do this leaves you with dry hair that is prone to breakage.

Shield your hair from sun damage

Hair care during summer
Source: @aunty_nimu on Instagram

Since the heat is extreme for your skin, it goes with no doubt that it is also extreme for your hair. Cop hair products that have SPF to give you protection from sun damage. In addition, get scarves and hats that you can use to cover your hair when you are out in the sun.

Feed in fewer braids when doing protective styles

I have come to realize that the more braids I feed into my hair, the more I tend to sweat. To avoid this, I now use as fewer braids as possible where I even space them out on my scalp. This way, there is aeration on my scalp, ensuring that I sweat less and ultimately, there is less build-up.

Read: 5 Budget-friendly protective hairstyles for African hair.

Embrace your shrinkage

Source: @findingpaola on Instagram

Shrinkage is one thing that afro babies have to embrace. Hair tends to shrink more in hot and windy areas since it is a message that your hair is trying to keep hold of as much moisture as possible. However, I have come to realize that leaving my hair out does not work in this climate, hence why I keep my hair in protective styling like twists, lines and braids at all times. I have learnt to love my hair in all its forms and that is the beauty of type 4 hair.

Read: How to grow African hair faster and longer.

Raisa Ichalut
Raisa Ichalut is a wellness- nichéd Content Curator who seeks to use this website as a tool that informs, empowers, and enlightens people on topics around self- discovery, development, and love, general wellness, positivism, energy, healing, and mindfulness.

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