BLACK BALD WOMEN: KNOW YOUR HAIRCARE
Women have grown up being told that their hair is their crowing glory. But an increasing number of black bald women are choosing to use their heads, not their hair, as their ultimate expression of their natural beauty.
Women shaving their heads is nothing new, although society’s perception of it has changed over the years. Having short hair was seen as masculine or even butch, a departure from women’s natural femininity.
Yet, if you look to the women of the African Maasai tribe, we see the complete opposite. Their shaved heads, often smeared with read ochre, are seen as signs of feminine beauty, which along with ornate jewellery and body decoration, enhance their naturally tall elegance.
One of the main reasons to take the chop is to give the hair a complete rest from chemical processes, and to go back to its natural state. Those with shaved heads also notice a large saving on hair products, and the time taken to style the head is much reduced or almost non-existent.
Some women crop their hair due to hair loss or thinning. This can disguise the problem and, with careful treatment, can be a good starting point to improve the condition.
The decision to crop your hair short, or shave it completely, is a big step as once it is gone, there is no going back. Not for a long while. If you have long hair, you may wish to first try a short crop to adjust to the feeling of ‘bareness’.
Avoid shaving if there are any moles, irritations or inflammations, as it will aggravate the problem.
How to Crop Your Hair
Wash the hair to remove excess oils, and then cut when dry. If cropping for the first time, start by cutting the hair down to a day’s growth with scissors or clippers.
To crop your hair closely after cutting, an electric clipper is used. Attachments are fitted over the blades to alter the closeness of the cut, holding the blades away from the scalp and cutting the hair at a distance.
The attachments are available in different sizes, graded by numbers from 1 to 8, with a number 1 being the closet cut. For the best results, it is very important to keep your clippers clean. Before and after use, the blades should be brushed so that cut hair does not clog them up, and lubricating oil used to keep them sharp.
Apart from a simple one level cut, variations with the attachments can be made, creating fades and even free-hand patterns.
Most clippers come with at least four attachments, comb, scissors, cleaning brush and lubricating oil. When choosing a clipper, look for one that fits comfortably in the hand, and is not too heavy or too light, enabling you to control it fully.
There are many good clipper sets available, prices starting at £15, depending on the size and the number of attachments such as Remington Colour Cut Hair clipper, £14.99, Amazon.
For a good quality machine, expect to spend about £30, the heavier the clippers the better. Try Hatteker Professional Cordless Hair Clipper, £33.99, Amazon.
If you prefer to shave your head, rather than use electric clippers, soften the skin with warm water and wash. Cover with moisturising cream and then shaving cream.
Lather up and start to shave from the forehead going back in small stages, following the contour of the head. Be very gentle and work slowly, rinsing the razor after each stroke. Repeat the process and go over until clean. Rinse the head and moisturise again.
Once the cut is finished, rinse your head to remove hair and then slightly moisturise and style.
Maintaining Your Cut
If you shave completely, it is more important to maintain the condition of the skin on your scalp – just as you would for the rest of your body.
Even when your hair is short, it is still essential to keep it in good condition.
Use a good low-suds shampoo that will not dry and strip moisture, together with a gentle conditioner.
Apply a light oil or hair dress, but go easy as too much on the scalp can cause irritation.
For slightly longer lengths, a mild texturiser can be applied to create small curls and waves, or if you want to avoid chemicals try Dax Wave and Groom hair dress to enhance the waves and curls of your natural texture.
To promote shine, use a few drops of serum.
Hair as a natural barrier, so if your scalp is more exposed take extra care to protect it from the elements.
In summer, use a sunscreen. In winter, keep the head well moisturised, as the cold and the dry heat of central heating can promote dry scalp problems such as dandruff.
When possible, cover the head with a scarf.
Although it is fairly easy to maintain an ultra short cut yourself, it is a good idea to get it done professionally. A barber often works out to be cheaper for black bald women than a regular hair salon.