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Quarantine Beauty: How To Keep Natural Hair Healthy At Home

By CARA HUNT

Tribune Features Writer

cbrennen@tribunemedia.net

For many Bahamian women, the weeks of quarantine have not only meant a loss of socialising and moving about freely, but also the loss of their natural hair care maintenance routines.

Social media is filled with memes and posts from women complaining about their appearances. Of course, as beauty salons are not considered to be essential services they remain closed for the time being.

“It is definitely rough in these isolation streets,” said Tiffany. “I am one of those girls who hates washing my own hair and detangling it. In fact, I honestly didn’t even have any shampoo at my house because I usually go to the salon at least every other week, but I had to dash out and buy some, and trust me, washing my hair was an all-day ordeal; I hated it.”

Shana told Tribune Woman she regrets getting her natural hair bleached right before the health pandemic hit the Bahamas.

“I got my hair bleached at the beginning of March and the last thing my hairdresser told me was to make sure I come every two weeks to get hot oil treatments so that the bleach doesn’t damage my hair. I never even got to go to the first treatment,” she said. “I am soaking my hair as often as I can with coconut oil and just trying to take as good care of it as possible.”

Meanwhile, Christy says she regrets not getting her and her daughter’s hair braided before the curfews and restrictions were implemented.

“Looking back, honestly, I would have sent my husband to the grocery store and me and the girls would have gotten our hair braided. It would have just made being at home easier. I wouldn’t have to be fighting to comb hair every day and we would just look a lot nicer which would make us feel better. Now my daughters running around like troll dolls,” she joked.

Tribune Woman also spoke to Shantell Da Braider, a natural hair stylist, who encourages all the ladies out there to use this down time when you don’t have to style your hair every day for work to practice healthy hair habits.

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Rice water rinses are a centuries-old beauty secret.

“If you can, try to do twists in you hair; wash it, condition it, and then put it into small sections and twists...or you can use the time to try to some kind of braid, or plaits that are protective styles,” she said.

Shantell also recommends making sure that your hair is properly conditioned.

“This is a great opportunity to treat your hair to some at-home pampering,” she said.

This can include making your own hot oil treatments using coconut or olive oil, or as she suggests, using rice water which can function line a conditioner and detangler.

Her suggestion is a rice water rinse.

“When you wash your hair in rice water it makes it grow faster thicker and stronger. It will also make your hair shinier,” she explained.

Using rice water to achieve luxurious tresses is not new. There are reports that Asian women washed their hair in rice water from as early as the sixth century. Rice water contains amino acids B and E vitamins, as well as minerals and antioxidants.

Here is how to make rice water at home. There are two ways you can prepare the rice and it boils down to a matter of preference (no pun intended).

You can either use water you have cooked or soaked rice in, or you can ferment water which has rice in it. The choice is really determined by which method an individual feels they see the most results from.

Directions

Rinse a half cup of rice and place in 2 to 3 cups of water. You may either boil the rice or soak the rice for at least 30 minutes until the water becomes cloudy and then strain the rice into a clean bowl.

You can go one step further and let your rice water ferment. After you strain the rice, place it in a sealed jar and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours and then refrigerate until ready for use. (Note, it will be very potent and will need to be diluted by adding a cup of warm water. It will also smell quite pungent):

How to use rice water

• Wash hair

• Pour rice water onto hair and massage it into the hair

• Leave on hair for up to 20 minutes

• Rinse from hair using warm water

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