HOW TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY AFRO WITH EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

By: Ofentse Sefolo

Hair. It’s essential to most women; African women spend a lot of time and money to maintain their hair. Marketing firms have valued the African haircare industry at millions. That’s a lot of deep conditioner and bobby pins, even if I have to say so myself.

As an African woman raising an African daughter, one thing I know for sure is that we, African women, take our hair very seriously. While other races can have straight, wavy, or curly strands, most African people have varying degrees of tightly curled strands. It may come in spirals, coils, loops, zig-zags, or other curves. This is why it tends to grow up rather than down and can make gravity-defying shapes like afros and puffs.

Regardless of the type of hair, our African hair has one vital need to make sure it remains healthy. African hair needs moisture to survive – no, I’m not being dramatic! Without the right humidity, African hair tends to look dull, dry, and can be painful to comb. There are thousands of products out there, all promising moisture and glow. The biggest problem with most of these products is that they also contain chemicals that can later be harmful to the hair and scalp.

What if I told you that you can have healthy hair using one product that won’t put a dent in your pocket? Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), a common household cooking ingredient, also serves as an all-purpose skin and hair conditioner. Everyone, regardless of hair type or texture, can use EVOO to condition their hair or treat specific scalp, skin, and hair conditions. However, due to African hair’s constant need for deep conditioning, EVOO is most often associated with African hair care.

Unlike other homemade deep-conditioning treatments, EVOO  is easy to apply and rinses cleanly away without much effort. The oil immediately transforms hair, making it healthier-looking and easier to manage.

In addition to acting as a deep-conditioning treatment, a small amount of EVOO serves as a daily leave-in conditioner and style aid for infants, children, and adults with African hair. EVOO smooths dry, frizzy hair, and can be used to treat dandruff and dry scalp. The oil instantly conditions hair and smooths the outer protective layer of the hair, which is responsible for a shiny, smooth appearance. When used as a deep conditioner, EVOO leaves hair looking healthier for several weeks after the treatment. When a small amount is used as a leave-in conditioner, the oil removes static and frizz.

As if that’s not enough, EVOO is also gentle enough to use on children. Children can be very fussy, and we don’t really have the time to run around after a crying toddler with an afro comb. I found that using EVOO on my daughter’s hair left her hair soft and manageable. Hairstyling no longer leads to tears, and her hair is growing very well.

Now that we have discussed all the benefits, we can now dive into how EVOO can be used to maintain healthy hair.

EVOO is applied in several ways.

  • As a leave-in serum:

Two or three drops of oil will suffice. Pour the drops of oil into your hands, rub your hands together to distribute the oil over the palms and run your hands through your hair, paying particular attention to the scalp and ends.

  • As a scalp treatment:

Massage the oil directly into the scalp. Wait two to three hours, then rinse with a mild conditioning shampoo.

  • As a deep-conditioning or lice treatment:

Apply a liberal amount of the oil to the scalp, hair shaft and ends until all of the hair is thoroughly saturated. Put on a shower cap, and leave the oil on overnight or for three to four hours. Shampoo with a mild conditioning shampoo to remove the oil.

So now that you know the secret, go get yourself a bottle of Willow Creek Extra Virgin Olive Oil and give your food and hair the love it deserves.

#TIP: With winter creeping in, deep condition your hair with EVOO before protective styling (braids, cornrows, etc.). Keep your scalp moisturized by applying the oil to your scalp during protective styles.