There are plenty of reasons to love our natural hair and curls. Caring for natural hair can sometimes be frustrating if we do not do it properly. Read as Omolade Salami, founder of Hairducation shares tips on how to maintain and care for our natural hair.
Please introduce yourself
My name is Omolade Salami. I’m a Hair Care Consultant and founder of the hair care website, Hairducation.
I created Hairducation with the aim of helping black women understand the essential aspects of hair care. I later obtained a Diploma in Afro Hair Care and I have offered hair care consultation services to women and their daughters both nationally and internationally for over five years. Please see my Instagram page for some of my clients’ transformations.
I am also one of the partners of Hairitage salon which focuses on healthy hair care for all hair types. P.S, we do children’s hair too!! Healthy Hair Care is my passion and fortunately for me, it has become my full time career too.
What inspired you to become a haircare consultant?
Frankly, desperation to find a solution to my own hair loss and a genuine desire to help ladies avoid losing theirs.
Hair loss is so prevalent amongst black women and unfortunately, having damaged hair hidden under extensions is seen as normal.
I became a hair care consultant and blogger to help re-educate women on how to care for afro textured correctly; be it natural and relaxed. In doing this, I hope to prevent as many women as possible from experiencing self or salon-inflicted hair loss; caused by poor or incorrect hair care and styling choices and practices.
I hope to play a part in changing the narrative that our hair is a problem to be fixed or hidden away. Extensions should be a choice or an accessory even. It should never be a necessity due to hair loss from poor hair care or believing our own real hair is unattractive.
When did your journey to healthy hair care start and how has the journey been so far?
I was forced to begin my own healthy hair transformation journey about 10 years ago when I began experiencing severe amount of breakage and thinning. My hair seemed to crumble every single time I touched it. I decided to put the research skills gained whilst studying law to good usse. And I learnt that my hair woes were mostly caused by errors in my hair care practices.
It took about a year and half of consistent hair care to get my hair from damaged to healthy. After caring for my hair for 4 years, my hair had grown from shoulder length to waist length. I have maintained this length for the last 6years. I guess the journey has been worthwhile.
The best of part of my journey however has been the impact it has had on so many other women. In its own small way, I believe my hair journey has inspired many to take care of their own hair; rather than depend solely on extensions.
Does the weather or climate have any effect (negative or positive) on your hair?
My hair certainly thrives with the hot and humid Lagos weather. However, I ensure it is protected from excessive exposure to the sun as this tends to be damaging to hair.
How does one find out what types of products are best for their natural hair?
Being able to identify your hair type is always a good place to start. When you know your type (i.e, your texture – ranging from fine to coarse, density, porosity, processed or virgin etc); you can then learn more about the types of products suitable for your hair type.
For instance, if a lady has fine textured hair, it would thrive better with products that have a lighter consistency; as they will not weigh her hair down. Hair type will also dictate how often strengthening products should be used in conjunction with softening moisturising ones.
Are there any myths or misconceptions to maintaining healthy hair?
There are several, the most unfortunate one is that belief that healthy hair is down to genetics only. This stance has led to many women not making an attempt to care for their hair.
Without a doubt many aspects of our hair is determined by genes however without hair care, damage and breakage is usually inevitable. My own hair was always in a terrible state until I cared for it correctly. My genes now are the same genes I had when my hair was unhealthy. It is my hair care practices that changed and it is from this change that I learnt that I always had the genes to have long healthy hair.
Yes, there are some women whom I describe as unicorns, the ones whose hair thrives without any care. They may naturally have strong hair that withstands a lot of damage but imagine what these ladies’ hair would be like IF they actually took care of it.
What kind of protective hairstyles do you recommend
The thing about protective styling is that done correctly, they can help preserve our hair; but done in correctly they can be damaging. For example, a simple bun created with just your own hair can be protective but if made too tight or if excessive edge sleeking products and tools are used on a daily basis, you can kiss your edges goodbye.
Also one protective style may work great for one lady but may be harmful to others due to differences in their hair type or even lifestyles. For this reason, I prefer to advise on protective styling on a case by case basis.
A universal tip however is that a good protective style should hide the ends of your hair, ie your ends should not be exposed. This will reduce the risk of breakage from physical and environmental damage.
Can you share tips on what we should look out for when selecting hair care products
A good tip would be to avoid products that contains a high percentage of petroleum, petrolatum, mineral oil and paraffin liquidum. I like to call these junk ingredients. These ingredients tend to coat the hair making it look shiny but in reality have no real benefits for hair. Products rich with natural ingredients and none of the junk ingredients tends to work better.
Most people have issues with retaining length and volume. What do you advise – how did you get yours so long?
Learn how to care for your hair yourself or go to a healthy hair care salon that will work with you to maintain your hair so that it thrives. But please note that some amount of hair care is needed in between salon visits.
Having a healthy hair care regimen which is appropriate for your hair type and for lifestyle is necessary. With healthy hair care one size does not fit all. Some aspects of hair care are universal such as protective styling, regular cleansing, conditioning and moisturising however the finer details such as how often to complete these practices and what products and techniques to use vary from person to person.
I retain length because I care for relaxed hair correctly and I am consistent with my hair care regimen which is tailored to meet the specific needs of my hair. I also avoid hair styles and other practices which my hair cannot withstand.
How can mums encourage their children to stay natural and love their hair.
Mums attitudes to their children’s hair I find has a major impact to how the child feels about their hair. Avoid using derogative words and descriptions when talking to your child about her hair. Words of affirmation goes a long way.
Also, although it may be difficult, try to avoid showing frustration and losing patience when caring for and styling her hair.
Doing the above often results in the child believing her hair is a problem to be fixed rather than something to be nurtured. Try to make the process of hair care fun and inclusive by allowing the child pick the styles and accessories for the week (with reason of course).
Most importantly start by learning how to care for natural hair correctly to ensure the process isn’t painful for her. I’ve seen children who have developed a phobia for hair care because of the pain they have experienced when incorrect techniques were being used.
What is the best way to care for a child’s hair?
Regular washing, conditioning and moisturising are essential for scalp health and to help preserve the hair fibres. Correct techniques, such as detangling gently before combing and working in sections, using the right hair care products correctly, etc, are just as important. The best way to care for a child’s hair is to first learn what true hair care is and then being consistent with a hair care regimen that is suitable for your child’s hair type.
There are several posts on the Hairducation website which sets out how to care for hair.
If the option is open to you, you can take your child to a healthy hair salon for regular treatments and appropriate styling but please note that some at home maintenance is needed between salon visits.
Are there things to stay away from when caring for children’s hair? E.g. extensions, tight styles etc
Extensions and tight styles pose a risk for all women but certainly can be even more damaging to children’s hair and scalp as their hair fibres and hair follicles ( hair roots) are not as strong as those of adults.
Relaxers and regular use of high heat levels should also be avoided for the same reasons. Many mothers see relaxers as an easy option to make their daughters hair much more manageable but most do not realise that relaxed hair still requires the same amount of care that natural hair does and increases the risk of damage and breakage.
Whilst braids and relaxers ( used with the correct processes) may be okay for some older children, they should never be done for very young children or toddlers.
Can we contact you for more information or a consultation?
Definitely, for further information about healthy hair care please visit my website and my Instagram page @hairducation.
For further information and to book the consultation service please send an email to [email protected]
For professional and scientifically backed hair care, please visit Hairitage Salon. Please call 09082474331 for enquiries and bookings of the salon services.
The one misconception Nigerian women have about hair is…
Goodness, just one. We have sooooo many but a popular one is that oils, butters ( shea, avocado and mango butters) will moisturise their hair. Our hair needs to be moisturised several times a week to prevent dryness and reduce breakage. However, unless a product contains water/aqua as one of its main ingredients, it cannot moisturise hair.
Oils and hair butters will lubricate hair and some may even increase its flexibility but they can never impart moisture.
But don’t throw them away yet, natural plant oils and butters are still an essential part of healthy hair care when used as a sealant, i.e when applied after a moisturising product, they help keep hair feeling hydrated for longer. They can also be used a pre shampoo treatment.
Thank you!! There is definitely a lot to learn from this interview