Although we love our afro/coily tresses, creating the perfect healthy hair care routine can be challenging. And unfortunately, most of the hair care guides out there are for looser textures and don’t provide the useful tips we need.
That’s where Qhemet comes in. We’ll be breaking down the ways you can change your hair care routine to better care for your hair and offering 10 useful tips to help it thrive.
But before we get into that, we need to look at exactly how your hair grows.
The stages and cycles of hair growth
For most of us, it seems like our hair is either growing or it's shedding, but actually, the cycle of hair growth is a lot more complicated than that. It’s a four-stage process, with the stages being:
Anagen: The growing phase
This is the first stage of the hair growth cycle. The anagen phase is also the longest, lasting for up to five years on average, although it can last as long as 7 years for some people.
During this stage, your hair follicles are pushing out hair that will continue to grow until you cut it or it reaches the end of its natural life. Understanding the anagen phase is critical, as, at any one time, 90% of the hairs on your head are in the anagen phase.
Catagen: The transition phase
At the end of the anagen phase, you have the catagen phase, also known as the transition phase. The reason it's called the transition phase is because this is the point when the hair separates from the follicle, the follicle shrinks, and the hair stops growing. Hairs at this stage only represent around 5% of the hairs on your head.
Telogen: The resting phase
The shortest phase, at around 3 months, hairs in the telogen phase make up around 10% to 15% of your scalp hairs. Hairs in the telogen phase are neither growing nor falling out, but the follicles that shrank in the catagen phase are now growing new hairs beneath them.
Exogen: The shedding phase
In the shedding phase, the new hairs growing in the follicle start to move into the anagen phase, and the old hair falls out to make room for the new hair. You lose, on average, around 50 to 100 hairs per day as your hair cycle renews itself.
While this might all seem a bit scientific, what we can draw from it is that 90% of your hair is always in the process of growing. Which is a good thing, because there are many steps you can take to support your growth during this phase.
How to support your hair during all four stages
Now that we have a better understanding of the various stages of hair growth, let's look into the ways that you can change your lifestyle to support your hair growth.
Diet is a huge factor in making sure your hair stays healthy, strong, and firmly on your head. Because hair is mostly composed of proteins, consuming certain foods can help to strengthen your hair. These foods include:
- Lean meats
- Low-fat dairy products
Making sure you are getting the right nutrients in your diet is also critical. According to a 2019 study in the journal, Dermatology and Therapy, the required vitamins associated with healthy hair growth include:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Iron (this is especially true for women)
Making sure that you have a well-balanced, protein-rich diet with good vitamin intake is critical for healthy, shiny hair. For those who need a little extra help in ensuring their hair gets all the nutrients it needs to thrive, we created the MSM + BIOTIN | Hair Nutrients Blend. This research backed, delicious tasting hair growth drink mix contains a high concentration of both MSM and Biotin, two powerhouse ingredients needed for volume, density and overall hair health. Learn more here.*
We’ve all heard the phrase “tearing your hair out” associated with stress, but high-stress levels can also have an impact on your ability to grow and keep your hair. Hair loss conditions associated with stress include Telogen effluvium, which can triple daily hair loss, and Alopecia areata, which causes your own immune system to attack your hair follicles.
Making time in your life to destress through taking time off, socializing, stretching, meditation, and other relaxing activities can actually have a huge impact on your hair health.
Correct hair care:
Styling afro/coily hair can subject it to a wide range of potentially damaging tools and practices. To keep your hair looking healthy, use minimal heat when styling and always apply a heat styling aid like our Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee beforehand. If you can avoid using chemical relaxers or dyes, then that's even better.
10 quick tips to avoid excessive shedding, breakage and traction alopecia:
While changes to your care regimen, lifestyle, and diet can take time to manifest in your hair, below are 10 quick tips that you can start applying immediately to get and keep your scalp and hair in tip-top shape. The key is to avoid the damaging practices that lead to the prevalence of hair loss in the Black community.
- Nourish your scalp with hair-healthy herbs - Healthy hair begins at the scalp and is directly linked to scalp health. Afro-Ayurvedic herbs and oils like Amla and Castor, used in our Castor & Amla Nourishing Pomade are excellent for nourishing the scalp and promoting healthy hair growth. Herbal essential oils, like those used in our Tea Tree & Lavender Therapeutic Pomade, can also keep the scalp healthy, soothe irritation and itching and keep the flakes at bay.
- Keep your ends and edges soft and supple to avoid breakage and retain length - The ends and edges of your hair tend to be exposed to the harshest styling and lose the greatest amount of elasticity and moisture. To keep them soft and supple and reduce breakage, use a rich, nutrient-dense moisturizer like our Amla & Olive Heavy Cream. Applying a moisturizing oil treatment like our Coconut & Green Tea Softening Serum prior to styling is also a great way to protect the ends from heat damage.
- Avoid damaging hair treatments like chemical relaxers and dyes - Chemical relaxers and dyes can be harsh on your hair, stripping it of its natural oils and breaking down the bonds that keep it strong. If you must dye or relax your hair, make sure to use the least harshest option and always use a rich, moisturizing conditioner afterwards to restore lost moisture.
- Take a nutritional supplement that includes both MSM and Biotin - Biotin, along with MSM, are important nutrients for growth, to reduce shedding and to keep the hair strong and healthy. Some foods like eggs, onions and nuts contain trace amounts of MSM but to ensure that your receive a daily, therapeutic dose, you need to take a high quality hair growth supplement like our MSM + BIOTIN | Hair Nutrients Blend. This product contains the highest amount of MSM in any hair growth supplement currently on the market. Many of our hair care products contain MSM as well which is why 93% reported that Qhemet products grew their hair. The key to having long, healthy hair is to nourish it from the inside and outside with ingredients clinically shown to work which we've made possible with Qhemet. To read more about the remarkable benefits of MSM, click here.*
- Avoid damaging hairstyles that pull the hair too tight, like braids, cornrows, ponytails and ponypuffs - Traction alopecia is one of the most common issues associated with hair loss among Black women and is caused by tight hairstyles that pull the hair too taut. If your hair style causes pain and tenderness, it's too tight and will eventually lead to patchy balding. Avoiding these styles can help you retain your edges and using products that keep your hair and scalp healthy while wearing these styles can go a long way. So although a snatched hair line may temporarily look "neat", the long term damage isn't worth it.
- Avoid damaging products like edge gels that sculpt and fix the hair into a hard, stiff style that becomes dry and leads to breakage - Edge gels are a popular product among many folks with afro/coily hair as they make sculpting easier and help the style remain in place longer. However, they are also very damaging. The longer and more often you use edge gels, the more hairline breakage you'll experience.
- Use super moisturizing, herb-infused hair products that add moisture, nourishment and slip to your hair - Regularly using high quality, plant-based products can help keep your beautiful crown looking and feeling exceptional. Qhemet products are specifically formulated for the tightest, driest hair, especially 4C, to add the essential moisture, nutrients and slip it needs. Our products contain many of the same tried & true herbs and oils our ancestors used in their hair care rituals to keep it healthy, growing and strong!*
- Use gentle hair styling tools like wide tooth combs & avoid hard bristle brushes - A wide tooth comb and a soft bristle brush are great tools to gently detangle and smooth hair without causing excessive pulling or breakage.
- Keep hair in protective styles like braids and twists to cut down on daily manipulation - Tight braids and twists are a no-no but these styles can also be installed loosely to avoid excessive pulling and tugging and will last long enough to give your hair a much needed break from daily manipulation. The quickest and easiest route to long, healthy afro/coily hair is to leave it alone for as long as possible while keeping it continuously moisturized. Our Moisture Collections provide the continuous moisture and nutrients your scalp and hair needs to stay strong and soft and prevent needless breakage, brittleness, shedding and balding.
Let your kinks & coils be great:
Afro hair is beautiful and even moreso when you treat it gently, avoid damaging tools, techniques and styles and use the best of the best to care for it. Our mission is to incorporate rich, texture appropriate ancestral ingredients into our products and reinforce that effort with our MSM + BIOTIN | Hair Nutrients Blend to give your hair everything it needs to flourish and grow.*
Over 93% said Qhemet products boosted their moisture AND growth!