HEALTHY BRAIDS: Ruth-Anne Joseph sprays the hair with a light oil-sheen spray.

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Taking care of your crowning glory

By Kimoy Leon Sing

There is an old adage which states a woman's hair is her crowning glory. But as most women can attest, if you do not care for your hair properly it can become like a thorn in the side which for some can be too much resulting in them cutting their hair off completely.

As Carnival season rolls on, braids, dreadlocks and twisted hairstyles are a common phenomenon on both men and women no matter where you look. And while these hairstyles are fun to try if you are seeking to take your hairstyle up a notch, loctician Ruth-Anne Joseph explains the advantages if you are leaning towards a more natural looking hairstyle and the importance of caring for your hair.

Joseph, a loctician for the past seven years, is the owner of Vigorous Natural Hair Care in Chaguanas and has seen many pitfalls when it comes to improper hair care. From bad chemical services to the misuse of hair appliances; hair loss, thinning hair and breakage are the most common hair disorders people complain about, she said.

"No matter how much weave, wigs and other hair extensions they have out there on the market, caring for your own hair is essential when it comes to your overall appearance," Joseph said.

"I think people have forgotten that their own hair can be just as beautiful and done in whatever hairstyle they so choose. If you have young children and dislike the idea of putting chemicals in their hair at such a young age try going to the hair salon and get your child's hair braided instead," she said.

Joseph herself has long dreadlocks that go down to her waist and delights in the fact she is able to do a wide variety of hairstyles.

During a recent interview at Express House, Joseph explained what it takes to have healthy, vibrant hair.

"With any natural hairstyle such as braids, dreadlocks or twist just by simply caring for your hair helps to maintain your style longer. Caring for braids requires cleansing the scalp, moisturising the scalp and braids, applying product, and sometimes re-braiding the edges to keep the style looking fresh. What style of braids you choose to wear will determine the amount of maintenance necessary," she said.

"For people who do not have much time in the morning, braids, deadlocks or corn rows can be very convenient since it takes next to nothing to style. Another advantage of having a natural hair style is that you do not have to worry about harsh chemicals; your hairstyles usually last longer and cost-wise it is usually a lot cheaper to maintain than a person having to do a relaxer or jerry curl every six to eight weeks," she said.

According to Joseph, the maintenance of braids and dreadlocks are very similar and gave the following steps when it comes to caring for natural hair and natural hairstyles. Joseph can be contacted at 744-9380.

Washing Braids

Wash your braids just as you would your normal hair. Keep Senegalese twists can be referred as individual braids. When individual braids are fresh, the parts are clear. When new growth comes in, the hair can look matted. When this happens, you need a touch up. To touch up, remove the braids around the edges of your hairline, comb the natural hair out, and re-braid. Because edges are the first braids to show, it gives the illusion that the entire head was re-braided.

Touching up protects the little hairs around your edges. When your braids start to grow out; the weight of the braid pulls on the hair. Touching up your edges will prevent this from happening and help your fine hairs stay strong.

Managing Frizz

Styles such as locks or individual braids eventually start to frizz. You can manage this by applying mousse, braid spray, different hair balms or gels. Apply a minimal amount and gently stroke the products through the style.

When braiding hair with synthetic hair, sometimes hairs will stick out of the braid. This is because synthetic hair does not have the flexibility that human hair has. You can apply gel or wax to help the hair to lie better, or simply cut off the frays. When going to bed, tie your hair up with a scarf, hair wrap or covering.

Joseph said, "Seeing as we are in a tropical climate many people tend to suffer from dry hair and/or dry scalp. It is essential to keep your body hydrated and apart from your regular shampoo and conditioner try using a deep conditioner once or twice a month depending on the condition of your hair for added moisture and strength."

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