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If you’re like me, I always wondered why my hair grew like wild fire in the summer.

But by winter my head always looked like this.

It turns out it was me. I was committing all kinds of Black girl hair crimes. I wore cotton scarfs. You know, the dollar ones from China that gangs fight over. Yes y’all. I sure did. I wore my hair in hair ties that pulled at my edges. That was when the wet and wave baby hairs was in. I used products with all kinds of alcohol and I even used products nonBlack folk used. They promised to make my hair healthy and shiny. Instead my hair felt like a rusty brillo pad. It looked like a hot mess with a few struggle strands that barely made it into a poor scrunchy that didn’t deserve the mistreatment. HA!! I’m going to be honest. These mistakes led to breakage, hair loss and mane horrors. I was embarrassed about the condition of my hair and I swear I’m lucky I don’t have alopecia. To those that do, cyber hugs sis.

You see no one taught me. I, like millions of other Black girls, was too busy being told to go to school, get good grades and if you bring a baby home you’re going to die so I had to figure this hair thing out on my own. After years of trial, error and beauty shop horrors (chile I’ll tell you about that later), I finally got it right. Now I have a healthy head of hair. I want you to learn from my lessons learned. I’m starting a campaign called “SAVE THE STRANDS and it begins with this post. So here’s seven mistakes you’re making that’s killing your hair and how to SAVE THE STRANDS!!

1. Keep your hair away from fabrics like wool and cotton on coats, shirts and hats. Why? Well the constant friction against our hair pulls at our ends and edges causes breakage. Learn some protective styles. Invest in a wig. Wigs give your hair a break and it will keep your head warm. They call them hair hats for a reason. Although the term hair hat isn’t good, in this instance it’s a good term.

Check out my wig videos. My hair is healthy for a reason. What’s my secret? I wore wigs and gave my hair a break.

2. If you have to wear a hat, put your hair in a silk scarf (like the one you wear to bed and if you don’t you better get one) and then put on your hat. Like I said earlier, fabrics like wool and cotton pull your hair and since it’s winter and we’re constantly putting on and taking off our hat. So we’re unknowingly pulling out our hair. Here’s a quick tip. After arriving. Take your butt to the bathroom, take off your hair and scarf and do your hair there. I did it for years.

3. Stop wrapping our hair in the same direction. I did this all the time because I’ll admit, I’m lazy. There I said it. It’s a great technique for easy styling, however wrapping puts pressure on our hair follicle by pulling our hair in one direction. When we do it in the same direction over and over again, because of the constant pulling, we’re encouraging hair loss. Switch up directions to prevent the thinning of your edges. This tip also goes for edge control products and gels too. I’ve seen too many women walk around with bumpy edges because they want straight ends. Let them get a little fuzzy sometimes. Some hair is better than no hair.

4. Cold dries out our skin and hair which also causes breakage. Be sure to moisturize and oil your skin and hair. Remember we’re not the same. Find products that work for you. Ask mama/sister/close relative with a healthy head of hair what she/he uses. Even better, create your own. Ashy skin and jagged ends aren’t cute.

5. I shouldn’t have to tell any grown adult this, but don’t share hats and scarfs. Dirty hats and scarfs build up germs, viruses, fungus, bugs and bacteria like ringworm, lice and other ugly things. These things also contribute to hair loss and it’s so damn nasty. Get your own hats and wash them frequently.

6. At night we have the heat on so we get hot. I know I do.  Sometimes this causes us to take off our silk scarfs or bonnets at night. Guess what happens? Well when our hair rubs against cotton sheets, pillow cases and comforters this causes friction and that friction from the pulling and tugging, may lead to hair loss. My remedy is to invest in a silk pillow case and/or sheet set.

7. Stop eating junk. OK maybe have a few, especially pie. Oh how I love pie. Trust me I know it’s tough during the winter. I always seem to expand from November to February. It’s because we’re bombarded with comfort foods, fizzy drinks (for my folks in Memphis “dranks”) and alcohol. Here’s a simple solution. Drink more water and eat more fruits and veggies. Healthy hair and skin is a reflection of what we put in our bodies. That’s unless you have an autoimmune disease, illness, skin condition, are on medication etc. If you do y’all ain’t suing me. Seek the advice of your doctor.

I hope these tips help you on your journey to healthy hair and SAVE THE STRANDS!! The only limit you have is the one you have placed on yourself. Think and be limitless.

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