Care of Ethnic Hair

Care of Ethnic Hair
I spoke recently with Victoria Durnell, multi-cultural stylist.
  • I asked Victoria her thoughts on the basic differences between ethnic hair and Caucasian hair.
    She told me that hair that is overly curly – not just very curly - and high density – coarse and very thick – is ethnic hair.
  • I asked what types of products she uses on ethnic hair.
    Good products are hard to find. It’s hard to find products that offer enough control without flaking or becoming crunchy in the hair. Victoria’s three current favorite brands are the Design Essential line, Mizani and Avalon products.

At the salon, I was able to watch Victoria in action dealing with a problem that is becoming more and more common.

This little girl was adopted by a mother who had not been informed as to how to care for her daughter’s difficult ethnic hair. Her hair is coarse and overly curly. When tangles appeared, her hair was never combed completely through. Tangles quickly became mats at the scalp. In effect, it was dread locked. With dread locks, the normal hair growth and motion of the body cause the hair to continue to mat closer and closer to the scalp.

Her hair was shampoo’d each time she showered. The “dread’s” didn’t allow for thorough cleansing or rinsing of her hair and scalp. Soap scum was still lodged in the hair. Victoria advice would normally have been to cut her hair off and start fresh, but this little girl was at an age where this extreme measure would have been devastating.
    So, in the salon, Victoria began the long and painful process of saving her hair.
  • First was the detangling. Conditioner was applied and pulling and picking at the mats with combs and her fingers, slowly started loosening them. This process had to be divided into two sessions because of the girl’s sore scalp and Victoria’s tired arms.
  • Finally, the mats were removed. Victoria applied a ‘re-arranger’ to soften the hair. This is not a relaxer but is a chemical process that softens the hair and acts as a very mild relaxer. It does not straighten the hair.
  • This was followed by a conditioning treatment for the benefit of both the girl’s hair and scalp.
  • Finally, the torturous process was complete.
  • Victoria massaged Design Essentials Nutrimen RX into the scalp and applied Design Essential Silk Essentials to her ends.
  • These were left in while Victoria dried, ironed and styled her hair.
    The girl and her mother were sent home with instructions for the best care of her ethnic hair.
  • Her hair must be brushed through – scalp to ends – every day.
  • She will only shampoo about once every two weeks because she does not have natural oil in her hair and scalp.
  • She will divide her hair and apply oil to her scalp once a week.
  • For styling, after she shampoos her hair, she can put it into pony tails or visit a salon to have it styled.

Victoria Durnell, is a multi-cultural stylist and barber at at Salon Concepts in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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