As we celebrate Black History month, we pause to reminisce on the achievements and celebration of blacks throughout history. We cannot help but notice one of the defining hairstyle which both black men and women of African descent have adopted over the years. History dates the dreadlock hairstyle to about 3,600 years ago. Likewise, as time progressed we have seen the acceptance of dreadlocks within many cultural and professional settings. However, due to the nature of dreadlocks it’s critical that hair is groomed and well maintained to preserve the integrity of the hairstyle. Many who carry the dreadlock hairstyle as their crown may encounter many challenges as it relates to a regular hair-care regime; but with the right hair products this job is made easy and managing one’s dreadlocks can become a breeze.
All hair is chemically composed of 45 % carbon, 28 % oxygen, 15 % nitrogen, 7 % hydrogen and 5 % sulphur with traces of mineral elements such as calcium, cadmium, chromium, copper, zinc, iron and silicon. Consequently, the organic nature of hair means that it requires nutrients and nourishment, the same way our bodies need food in order to stay vibrant and vitalized. Current research has linked the use of chemical products and ingredients found in conventional hair care products to many debilitating illnesses; such as toxic encephalopathy, Alzheimer's disease, migraine, brain tumors, and other neurological conditions. Transappendageal transfer via the hair’s keratin fibers facilitates the movement of harmful toxins found in hair products into our blood stream; therefore, making it critical that we select hair care products that will reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals and or ingredients.
Many consumers are now demanding clean green organic naturally derived products for skin and hair care. This demand has contributed significantly to leading hair product companies becoming more socially and environmentally responsible in their choice of ingredients used in product formulations. By selecting hair care products of vegan origin, consumers can contribute to the reduction of the carbon global foot print, while ensuring the sustainability of a global industry and most importantly, the preservation of one’s health.
Vegan based products are free from animal by-products, or ingredients that are of animal origin. Popular hair product ingredients such as beeswax, collagen, gelatin, honey, are of animal origin and are not used in vegan based hair products. Conversely, vegan hair care products rely on powerful amazing plant based, naturally occurring botanical ingredients like seaweed, tea tree oil, vitamin E, Aloe Vera, Chamomile, etc. to protect and nourish hair from the roots to shaft. Vegan haircare usually contain fewer ingredients, but the nutritional content far exceeds traditional products which contain chemicals and other synthetic manmade ingredients. Vegan Hair care products are formulated with only plant based materials like Candelilla Wax, Coconut Oil, Hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, vegetable glycerin and such like.
As you seek to create a vegan based healthy hair care regime that keeps your dreadlocks well maintain three things are crucial:
1. Keeping them clean
Regular use of a ph balanced shampoo bar that will not disrupt the natural pH levels of the scalp and hair will contribute to clean dreadlocks. Using these type bars once every 1-2 weeks will not only keep your hair moisturized, but consistent use will keep your hair strong, healthy, and vivacious. Herbal additives such as Aloe Vera, gooseberry, moringa, will also significantly reduce the incidence of flaking, itchiness, breakage, and thinning dreadlocks.
2. Keeping them moisturized
Natural oils and herbal infusions will keep your precious keratin fibers moisturized and healthy. The application of a dreadlocks holding product during twisting and retwisting to root of the lock will guarantee an adequate supply of nutrients that will add shine and hold while contributing to length retention. While dreadlocks are made of matted hair and vulnerable to buildup, plant based formulations produce lightweight effective products that reduce residual oils and potential buildup.
3. Keeping them healthy
Good scalp care is the foundation for a crown of healthy dreadlocks. Scalp care can be done with the application of an amazing combination of plant extracts and herbal infusions that will repair, hydrate, soothe and moisturize. The application of a regular hair tonic infused with herbs such as horsetail, rosemary, peppermint, and nettle can to a large extent reduce the incidence of some common dreadlock hair issues like thinning, itching, dandruff etc.
While we have not provided an extensive list of hair care activity, regular consistent use of natural hair products on your crown will ensure that your hair retains the correct amount of moisture, remain deeply conditioned while keeping and supplying the hair follicles with adequate nutrition. It’s essential to know that the journey of dreadlocks is one of patience and sacrifice. Consider your dreadlock crown like your finger print, the uniqueness of your hair sets you apart from everyone else. To all my kings and queens embrace your uniqueness and enjoy the journey, naturally.