I was a guest speaker at “Can I Touch Your Hair”, which was hosted by IMANI, University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus, on Tuesday, February 3, 2015. I was joined by fellow guest speakers AfroLengths and Safiya’s House Of Kreations Salon & Spa. All three of us are hair stylists and in addition, myself and AfroLengths are YouTubers as well. This event was part of IMANI’s 42 Days Of Disruption, from January 25 – March 7, 2015.
There was a panel discussion, followed by a presentation or a storytelling of our hair journeys and hair care recommendations that we suggested to newbies and veterans in the room. We spoke of our humble beginnings—why we went natural? What prompted that choice for us? The panel discussion was great because we had an opportunity to discuss many of the misconceptions surrounding natural hair and hair care.
We provided tips and tricks for the following areas:
Transitioning – we discussed the pros and cons for transitioning and the BIG Chop.
Maintenance – we instilled in the audience that a routine is necessary for your hair health.
Protective Styling – we went over who is a good candidate for protective styling and the maintenance involved post installation of the style. I speak about this here.
Protein Or Moisture – knowing when your hair needs what.
Sometimes, in the Natural Hair Community, we are bombarded with so many varying opinions on the same topics and this can lead to confusion. Whenever, I hear that there is going to be a panel at one of these events, I always hope that the speakers do not confuse the audience. What I found to be great about this panel was that we had valid reasons for our practices and beliefs. So, at least the audience was provided with the information they needed if they wanted to follow a certain practice or belief regarding what we said regarding hair care regimens and routines. Having a routine was a common theme for us.
As we presented, we welcomed questions and covered many areas where confusion exists. One of the grey areas is how often should we be cleansing our hair and how. I wash my hair every 7-10 days in general, while another presenter suggested every 2-3 weeks. I just want to add that I have worked with non-Black hair stylists in the past, who have told me that they don’t over-wash either, as that is another misconception regarding hair cleansing. I am active, and I need to wash my hair that often. It really does depend on how my hair is styled. Blacks and non-Blacks, with curly or kinky hair aren’t supposed to cleanse their hair every day, as that will strip your hair of precious moisture. Also, our texture allows us to go for a longer period without cleansing because the oils we produce need more time to move down the hair shaft, as opposed to those same oils having to travel around a straighter hair shaft, making the hair greasy. The presenters did agree that co-washing (using conditioner in place of shampoo to cleanse) may not be the best way to cleanse your scalp on a regular basis. It is important that products are used for what they were intended for. Which led us to discuss the difference between clarifying and moisturizing shampoos and when each should be used.
The main point that we kept driving into the audience was making sure we are all taking care of our hair, from the inside first. Meaning, keeping a well-balanced diet, including monitoring your water intake. Our hair and skin tells the story of what is happening in the body. If you’re unhealthy on the inside, it will be reflected in those areas. Hair products are not supposed to carry all of the weight of healthy hair. Hair products are supposed to work together with our overall health, in order to achieve healthy hair.
Imani, University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus was a great host and for more information, please do check out their Facebook page for more information.
Hair By Glenna