Whatever the style of hair we want, it is necessary to keep the hair clean. The best way is to wash the hair. Therefore, it is necessary to learn something about grooming and caring for the hair. Hair grooming involves shampooing the hair to dissolve the grease and remove any dirt in the hair. Styling, plaiting, curling and perming may also be regarded as some ways of maintaining, grooming and caring for the hair.
Steps to Follow in Shampooing the Hair
The following are some steps to follow when shampooing the hair.
1. Wet the hair with water and keep your fingers apart to allow water to sink into the scalp.
2. Apply shampoo and allow it to get down to the scalp. Your fingers should be kept apart and used to massage the hair. Do not scratch the hair too hard as this will injure the scalp; apply the shampoo thoroughly.
3. Rinse well with warm water. Clean the hair with a clean and dry towel and use an ideal conditioner for the hair.
With modern development, western hairstyles were introduced into the country. Based on this development, hair styles can be categorized into natural, plaiting, perming and curling.
Many Nigerian adults wear their hair in its natural style. This is most common among among men and youths who prefer cutting their hair short to suit the shape of the face. Most of these hair cuts are done in barbershops and hair dressing salons, where there are experts to cut the hair to shape and style. The main tools used are scissors and clippers.
There are two major types of plaiting the hair. We can hand-plait the hair (weaving) or thread-plait it. There are many styles in hair plaiting; some of which are traditional while some are foreign. Some of these styles are very simple while others are complex. The simple plaiting can be done at home or by friends while the stylish plaiting is usually done in hair dressing salons. In the salon, hair attachments of different lengths are used to increase the length of the hair
Hair attachments of different lengths are used to increase the length of the hair. Hair attachments should be cared for like natural hair in the following ways:
i. Tie each hair attachment into a long bundle
ii. Put it into about six knots with a thin strand of the hair piece
iii. Squeeze-wash it along its length with shampoo
iv. Rinse well like the natural hair; and
iv. Dry it naturally or with hair dryer
Beads and shells are associated with hair-plaiting. They are woven into plaited hair styles. This is seen as a means of adding beauty to the hair.
Steps in Hand-Plaiting the Hair
Good hand-plaiting usually requires somebody to do it for you. Simple thread-plaiting or weaving can be done by yourself. The following steps must be followed in thread-plaiting:
i. Plait the hair after a shampoo
ii. Start by slightly oiling the hair
iii. Comb hair well
iv. Divide the hair into sections based on the style you want
v. Weave the hair in sections
vi. For thread-plaiting; double or triple the black plaiting thread
vii. Knot it at one end after deciding on the length you need
viii. Take one section of hair at a time and wind the thread round it firmly and evenly from base to the tip.
Perming of Hair
There are two types of permed hair. There is tje temporary perm and the permanent perm.
The Temporary Perm
This type of perming involves relaxing the hair with a hot comb and putting the hair in curlers or rollers. If such hair is washed, it goes back to its natural form. This method of using a hot comb to perm the hair is usually called straightening the hair.
Steps in Straightening the Hair
The following are steps in straightening the hair:
i. Shampoo the hair
ii. Rinse well and apply hair conditioner and rinse again
iii. Dry up the hair with a towel
iv. Comb the hair out
v. Divide the hair into sections and rough-plait it
vi. Put the hot comb on an open fire to heat at a time and put a little hair oil on it
vii. Take a small section of the hair at a time and put a little hair oil on it
viii. Clean the comb with an old towel ans and make sure that itbis not too hot
ix. Run the hot comb through the section of the hair slowly, many times, to straighten out the hair. Stop when you get the type of relaxed hair you want.
Curling The Hair
After straightening the hair, it can be curled. Rollers or curling tongs heated over an open fire can be used. Electric curling tongs can also be used. The following steps can be followed when curling the hair:
i. Wet the hair with setting lotion and comb out;
ii. Break the hair into small sections;
iii. Comb the hair from base to tip;
iv. Hold the hair firmly and place the roller from whichever side you prefer starting from the tip of the section
v. Roll the hair firmly and steadily with each roller
vi. Hold the roller in place with a pin or with a curling clip on either side of the roiier;
vii. Dry the hair under a standing dryer or use a hand dryer;
viii. Remove the rollers one after the other and style the hair by brushing out each curl and putting it into shape with the tail of the styling comb; and
ix. Apply a final hair spray to hold the style of the hair in shape.
The Permanent Perm
This is called cold straightening because it does not use the hot comb. Instead, it makes use of chemicals. There are many types in this group, one of which is the jerry curl. When girls are older, they like to go to hairdressers and it is there you will find equipment like curling tongs, straightening combs, rinsing hoses and hair dryers.
It is better, however, for young girls to avoid straightening or perming their hair as this can spoil the hair. Many young girls have bald patches on their head due to careless straightening and perming of their hair. It is also very expensive and time consuming to perm the hair. It has to be reset every week which may cause breaking and splitting: Perming or jerry curl is not encouraged for young girls in secondary school.
Steps Involved In Permanent Perm
i. Choose a formula suitable for your hair from the available chemical products for relaxing the hair.
ii. Get all the equipment and products to be used ready.
iii. Wear a rubber glove on your hand, and a protective apron to prevent your dress from stains.
iv. Apply hair cream to the hair scalp starting from the forehead; always use rubber gloves when applying the chemical.
v. Divide the hair into small sections and apply chemical relaxer with a toothed comb.
vi. Rinse out all the chemicals when you observe that the required relaxation has been obtained. It can also be timed as prescribed by some relaxer manufacturers.
vii. Apply neutralizing shampoo to the hair.
viii. Massage the hair gently and rinse many times.
ix. Use a towel to absorb excess moisture.
x. Apply conditioner to the hair and massage it for a few minutes.
xi. Rinse and towel-dry the hair to absorb the excess moisture.
xii. Add setting lotion to the hair and comb it in sections from the scalp to the tip.
xiii. Use rubber rollers to set the hair sections to give the required style.
xiv. Cover the hair with a net and dry it under a hood hairdryer or a hand dryer.
xv. Remove the rollers after coming out of the dryer and put hair oil on the scalp beneath the hair.
xvi. Tease out the curls with the tail of the styling comb and brush them into the required style.
xvii. Spray the hair to hold it in shape.
Hair Problems and Control
People look very beautiful when their hair is well cared for. Sometimes our hair has problems. Some common problems of the hair are dandruff, falling hair, split hair, toughness, receding hair and lice infection.
Dandruff is the natural shedding of scales of dead cells from the scalp. When the hair is infected with dandruff, it becomes a problem (the dead cells look like white dirt and make the hair look dirty). Dandruff prevents the growth of the hair and makes it look dull, rough and neglected.
Use an antiseptic or medicated shampoo to wash the hair. Wash the hair regularly with the shampoo and if the dandruff continues, use oil or pomade on the hair after washing.
b. Falling hair
We lose hair from our heads almost every day. This can be observed as we comb the hair because some strands of hair fall off or hang on to the comb. When the hair is dirty or not well cared for, we lose more hair. Sickness can also make people lose their hair.
Regular washing and oiling of dry hair usually helps. A good diet will also keep the scalp healthy.
c. Split Hair
Dryness, splitting and breaking of the hair can occur while attempting to make the hair beautiful. Use of poor or wrong equipment and products can cause these problems. They can occur during perming, combing, plaiting and brushing. The action breaks down the hair cuticle by making it weak.
Use a good conditioning cream after every shampoo, use genuine materials for perming, combing and plaiting. Always visit a good hairdresser when perming your hair.
d. Hair Toughness
If the hair is very tough, it is very difficult to comb. When force is applied while combing this type of hair, it gives a lot of pain and the hair breaks. The hair becomes tangled as if it was neglected for a long time or when conditioners are not applied after shampoo. People with thick hair also have this problem.
Condition the hair regularly after shampooing and massage the hair with a suitable pomade or hair cream. Relaxing the hair at a good hairdresser’s saIon also helps.
e. Receding Hair
If hair is plaited or permed continuously or the hair is pulled too tightly at the roots, hair can be lost around the neck, ears and foreheads. lf wrong chemicals like caustic soda are used on the head, they may cause the hair to recede or fall off leading to temporary and sometimes permanent baldness.
When plaiting the hair or using rollers, do not pull the hair too hard. Always avoid pulling the short hairs along the neck, ear or forehead. You can comb or brush them after plaiting.
f. Lice Infection
A louse is an insect that invades the head. It is a blood-sucking insect which likes to live on the skin of its host.The hair of the skin shields it from sight. The louse can do a lot of damage to the scalp of the hair. It causes a lot of itching of the scalp and at the advanced stage of infection, it creates sores on the head. The scalp of the hair becomes very painful when touched and thus the hair cannot be washed, combed or brushed easily.
In case of very serious lice infection, hair is shaved off to help cure the sores on the scalp. Frequent use of antiseptic or medicated shampoo in washing the hair kills off the lice.