If you have natural hair (meaning not chemically straightened and often coarse and highly textured), you may struggle with such hair care issues as shrinkage, breakage or loss, dullness and lack of moisture. Our friends at StyleList asked expert stylist Johnny Wright, who is responsible for First Lady Michelle Obama’s tresses, for his natural hair care tips, do’s, don’ts and hairstyling inspiration.
StyleList: What are your top five dos and don’ts when it comes to styling and maintaining natural hair?
Johnny Wright: 1. Comb hair thoroughly with conditioners, not just the outside perimeter of the hair. If you do not comb conditioners thoroughly through the hair, you can cause matting and tangling, which results in breakage.
2. Do not use excessive heat-styling. When blow-drying hair, use a Denman brush. Work in sections by dividing hair into manageable 2- to 3-inch segments, starting at the nape of the neck working your way toward the front of the head.
3. When silkening, flatironing or blow-drying, always use a thermal-protecting serum like SoftSheen-Carson Roots of Nature Remedies Thermal Smoothing Serum.
4. When wearing braids or extensions, avoid tension around the hairline.
5. Use products that have more natural ingredients. The SoftSheen-Carson Roots of Nature Remedies line is perfect for natural hair. They’re made with natural ingredients such as mango oil, Brazilian cupuaçu butter and sweet-almond oil to help promote strong, growing hair.
StyleList: What are some winter natural-hair-care tips that every woman should know in order to brave the cold-weather temps. Do you have any hairstyle suggestions for the winter?
J.W.: Add an extra dose of moisture. Your hair will benefit from an extra surge of moisturization in the winter months. Keeping your hair and scalp regularly moisturized will ensure that it stays healthy, strong and protected from the cold.
For dry scalp: If your scalp is dry or feels tight, use a lightweight scalp oil to moisturize and soothe, without weighing the hair down. I recommend SoftSheen-Carson’s Roots of Nature Stimulating Scalp Oil, which uses natural shea butter and green tea to improve scalp condition and promote microcirculation.
For dry hair: Boost hair’s resistance to breakage and split ends by restoring your hair and scalp’s moisture balance using a hair moisturizer. Massage SoftSheen-Carson’s Roots of Nature Strengthening Oil Moisturizer into hair and scalp for long-lasting moisturization and conditioning.
Be yourself, wear your hair however you want all year round — whether in a ponytail, twists or straight. Always remember, nourishing your hair at night and conditioning weekly will keep your hair looking healthy and combat winter dryness and promote strong, healthy-growing hair.
StyleList: There’s a lot of hair talk surrounding shampooing versus co-washing (cleansing hair with conditioner). What is your expert opinion on the topic?
J.W.: I think it’s a matter of preference. I suggest using a shampoo that is both cleansing and nourishing to the hair, like the SoftSheen-Carson Roots of Nature Nurturing Repair Shampoo. This shampoo is enhanced with shea butter and green tea that intensely bathes and treats hair at the root of the problem, purifies the scalp, and penetrates to cleanse and nurture damaged hair.
StyleList: What are the benefits for women with natural hair when using styling products from the Roots of Nature Remedies for Natural Hair line? What makes them different from others on the market? How can women at home use each of the products to care for and style their natural tresses?
J.W.: This line of styling products was formulated specifically for natural-hair textures. The products are all infused with natural ingredients, such as mango oil, Brazilian cupuaçu butter and sweet-almond oil, which provide intense curl definition, plus superior moisture and shine to all types and textures of natural hair. They are also free of drying alcohol, mineral oil, petrolatum and parabens and are fortified with natural ingredients to feed the health of your hair.