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Working with a textured mane naturally comes with a lot of patience, since it can be difficult to handle on wash days and with every day maintenance. While there are plenty of natural hair bloggers and stylists that share advice on everything from growing out your hair to trimming your mane at home, some hair care issues require the attention of a specialist. And the is where a trichologist comes in handy.

Since we’re all about helping you reach your haircare goals, we’ve decided to tap in with trichologist and founder of Alodia Hair Care Dr. Isfahan Chambers-Harris.

Dr. Isfahan shared the 4-1-1 on how to properly moisturize your strands, the right way to approach protective styles, retaining length and more. If you’re tired of struggling to care for your mane the right way, these tips will go a long way with your haircare efforts. Without further ado, check out the eight best hair care tips from Dr.Isfahan below.

1. Limit your heat usage to once a month.

Heat-styling is one area where you should tread lightly. Simply put, applying heat-styling tools incorrectly (flat-ironing, curling irons, etc) can cause your strands can leave you with super-dry and brittle hair. “If you’re someone that doesn’t have color in their hair and is consistently washing and deep conditioning, then you can straighten it once a month,” Dr.Isfahan explains. “You can also opt for heat usage every five to six weeks. I wouldn’t say every single week because that will diminish the moisture in your hair strands.”

2. Stay away from traditional hair grease products.

There are plenty of beauty rituals that have been passed down from generation to generation and using hair grease lands high on the list. However, it’s actually not the best product for moisturizing your hair. “The ones that we use—Dax and Blue Magic—are filled with ingredients such as petroleum, which is a derivative of gasoline, she shares. “They’re also filled with other oils that will clog the hair follicle and prevents your healthy natural hair from coming through that follicle.”

That’s why Dr.Isfahan recommends using natural lightweight oils instead. “Jojoba, avocado oil and sweet almond which are all lightweight breathable oils can actually help with a dry scalp,” she says. “They can also nourish the follicle without clogging it.”

3. Layering your haircare products is key for moisture and length retention.

We can all agree that moisture is key for helping your mane look and feel it’s very best. But sometimes it can be difficult to keep black hair moisturized, hence why layering is an absolute must. “Using one product is just not good enough for textured hair types,” she explains. “Layering with a water-based conditioning product and a lightweight oil will help lock in moisture. “If you’re consistent with washing, deep conditioning, moisturizing, and sealing in your hair every week, the more you do it, the more moisturized your hair is and the more length you’re going to retain.”

4. Always remember that oils are NOT moisturizers.

Oils are a great addition to help maintain moisture, but they are not moisturizers themselves. “Anything with water in its first or second ingredient is something that we would scientifically think of as a moisturizer,” she shares. “Oil doesn’t have water. So, it’s actually something that’s more towards a sealant.”

5. Wash and condition your hair when wearing protective styles.

Whether you’re working with braids, twists, or wigs, it’s always a smart idea to wash and condition your hair regularly—once every two weeks. This help to maintain a healthy scalp, which leads to hair growth. “You always want to use at least two products, even if you’re wearing a protective style, she recommends. “This will allow you to layer and seal in moisture. A lightweight shampoo like the Nourish & Heal Organic Black Soap Wash ($18.00, alodiahaircare.com), and a liquid leave-in topped with lightweight oil, such as the Nourish & Grow Healthy Hair & Scalp Oil ($20.00, alodiahaircare.com) is key.”

6. Wigs are your best friend.

Protective styles come in major clutch when installed and cared for correctly, but wigs always reign supreme. “Clueless and comb-less wigs are a low-tension style that gives you access to wash and condition your hair freely, which works in your favor to maintain a healthy head of hair,” she shares. “You can take them out and allow your scalp to breathe. You can moisturize your hair at night, it’s the best thing.”

7. Review your hair-care products to ensure they’re not made with moisture-blocking ingredients.

It’s easy to think that your hair will remain healthy and grow stronger with the right haircare regimen, but the products you use can get in the way. “Some harmful ingredients such as petroleum, mineral oil, silicones can prevent your main from retaining moisture,” she explains. “It’s also important to not that some ingredients like silicones can be disguised or named differently on packaging. So it’s important to review your products before use.”

8. Always use a deep conditioning mask before straightening your hair.

Setting the tone for your wash day with a sulfate-free shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner and lightweight oil should be standard practice. However, if you’re straightening your hair, you’ll need to step it up on the moisture front. “You’ll want to follow up with a deep conditioning mask post-shampoo to apply   intense moisture to your strands,” she shares.

Not to mention, applying heat without a thoroughly moisturized mane can wreak havoc on your mane. “In order to straighten your hair, heat burns off some of the internal moisture in the hairs cortex,” Dr.Isfahan explains. “So, it actually will burn that off. So, if you don’t have a reserve of moisture, or if your hair is not moisturized, basically water in the hair strand, you will burn off your hair. And that’s when heat damage occurs. So you have to start with a healthy head of hair.”

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