As a natural based in Nigeria, I am constantly faced with sometimes unwanted natural phenomena such as:
- single stranded knots and splits
Nigeria is an African country situated in the tropical belt. The weather is for the most part hot and humid and the sun beats down mercilessly on my fine, type 4, highly porous natural hair.
Sometimes it gets my hair confused. On one hand, the humidity and heat act as a steamer for my hair, on the other hand, the midday sun dries it all up!
So, how do I cope with this?
Here are my personal tips for maintaining my natural hair in humidity.
1. Go with the flow!
Do not fight the shrinkage because if you really look at it, the last thing you need when the weather is hot and humid, is hair touching your body. Shrinkage is a blessing.
2. Shampoo the scalp, condition your hair.
With all the sweating and dirt, it's tempting to wash your hair everyday! I concentrate most on washing my scalp with African black soap (or a gentle cleansing conditioner). I put my hair in chunky braids/twists while washing. Then rinse off and use a conditioner down the length of my hair. Without getting out of the shower, I blot off excess water, apply a leave in and coat the hair with a light oil. This helps prevent dryness, frizziness and knots.
3. Use lighter oils, butters and moisturizers.
Unlike the cold and dry winter/harmattan season where you have to use a lot of heavy water-based moisturizes and heavy butters to keep your hair hydrated and sealed, when it's hot and humid your hair will really thank you for using light oils and butters, even if you have high porosity hair.
I usually prefer coconut oil or black palm kernel oil to help with moisture retention during the daytime then at night I use heavier butters and oils like cocoa butter, shea butter etc.
4. Deep conditioned hair is happy hair in humidity.
I noticed that when I deep condition my hair well, I can safely rock my afro without frizziness or dryness at the ends of my hair.
My favorite deep conditioner is locally sourced cow ghee which is called 'manshanu' in Nigeria.
In the absence of this, deep conditioning with a mix of aloe vera, milk and honey works beautifully. Also for days I'm too lazy to mix, I use store bought deep conditioners.
I think the reason for this is that when the hair is well saturated with moisture, it doesn't look to the environment for more moisture leading to less poofiness, frizziness and dryness.
5. Switch up your hairstyles.
Heat or tension straightened styles are really not a good idea for humid weather because it will more than likely revert. The best styles in my opinion to rock are:
- elegant cornrows
- mini twists / twistouts or braids/braidouts ( the smaller your natural curls, the smaller your sets should be. It will hold up in humidity).
- cowash, seal and go.
- big daddy 'fro!
In short any style that works with your natural texture!
6. Make sure to really moisturize and seal the ends of your hair. I've had success with applying aloe vera gel/juice to the ends of my hair and sealing in with a light oil. This helps prevent unwanted splits and knots.
7. Do not forget to protect your hair from the sun, from the salty sea and from the chlorine filled pools. There's a reason why most people in hot regions of the world favor a head covering! If like me you don't want to hide your natural hair from the sun, incorporating shea butter (with natural spf 8) into your night routine helps. You can also purchase hair products with sunscreen in them (usually for colored hair) and swimmer's shampoo/conditioners.
So there are my top tips for having fabulous hair in hot humid weather.
Lots of love from Nigeria