One day, while peeking into the social media world to see what was going on, I was tickled when I saw a sistah post a brief exchange between her and her cat.
After I chuckled, it crossed my mind that while a lot of us do indeed rock wigs, we hadn't done an article on how to care for our natural hair while wearing one. Because whether you wear a wig like an accessory to your outfit, to grow your own hair out, or for any other reason, those fly looks are going to work against you if you're not making sure that your hair and scalp are handled with extreme care while you've got them on.
Now let me just give a heads up that, if you are a true wig connoisseur, then you already know that a topic like this really does deserve its own series. So, please just look at this as a CliffsNotes version; something that can, at least make you feel sure that, whenever you put a wig on, you can be confident that your hair is doing just fine until you take it back off again. And with that being said, let's get into the 10 tips that I've got, shall we?
Choose a Quality Wig
Before even getting how to take care of your natural hair, it's important that you put a quality wig on top of your head to begin with. As far as human hair wigs go, they do tend to look extremely natural however, they can also run you a few hundred dollars (at least). If money is tight, there are some synthetic ones that are much cheaper and are pretty impressive on the appearance tip too. If you opt for a monofilament wig, they really do look like the hair from your wig is literally growing from your scalp while a hand-tied is less dense and also look more natural than machine-wefted or stitched wigs. Just make sure to keep in mind that the less money you spend on a synthetic wig, the less likely you'll be able to use heat styling tools (because they will melt the hair). Also, please avoid wigs that have that crescent moon type of hairline; the more natural the hairline the better.
If you opt to go to an actual beauty supply store, the customer service agents there should be able to assist you with finding a wig that best fits your hair and personal style. But if you'd prefer to order a wig online, there are plenty of naturalista pros out in YouTube world who can totally help you out. Some videos worth checking out are located here, here, here, here and here.
Wash Your Hair and Scalp Regularly
What if you had a hat on, all day, every day, for days or weeks on end? Wouldn't that make you want to wash your hair on a consistent basis? This is the mindset you need to have when it comes to how to care for your hair and scalp when you're constantly wearing a wig. Because it's natural for your scalp to sweat when you're wearing a wig, not only can that lead to clogged hair follicles, but the dampness can also lead to your hair and wig not smelling very great. Plus, bacteria can start to form too. This is why, words cannot express enough, that it's super important to shampoo your hair and scalp, no less than every 10-14 days.
Also, while we're here, what's the point in keeping your hair and scalp clean if your wig is gonna be nasty? Isn't that a lot like putting dirty underwear on a clean body? Exactly. So, when it comes to how often your wig needs to be washed, every 30 wears or 4-6 weeks is a pretty steadfast rule.
You can wash a human hair wig with regular shampoo but a synthetic one? Eh. Either go with a synthetic shampoo or even a fabric softener like Downy. For tips on how to properly wash your wig, check out this video here.
Super Deep Condition Your Tresses
When I decided to get serious about length retention, it wasn't until I applied this particular tip that I started to make some real progress. So technically, this is a step that you should apply to your hair, no matter what. But when it comes to wig-wearing, you are going to REGRET IT (and yes, I am yelling that!) if you put yours on without deep conditioning your tresses first. Deep conditioning does everything from moisturize your hair and add some much-needed elasticity to it to smooth your cuticles and reduce your chances of getting split ends.
So, before you put your wig on, shampoo your hair, apply a deep conditioner, let it sit for no less than 30 minutes (a few hours is even better) and then rinse, dry and braid your hair before putting your wig on. It's a great way to keep extra moisture in your hair until your next wash day (which again, should be no less than 10 days later).
Oil Your Cornrows
If you want your wig to lay down as flat as possible and your hair is past the TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro) stage, it's best that you put it into cornrows. Not only will that help your wig to fit really closely to your scalp, but it's also a great way to protect your ends too. Just make sure that before you braid your hair that you apply a carrier oil like avocado, sweet almond, grapeseed, coconut or jojoba to your hair to keep your braids extra protected and your scalp well moisturized. Also, you might want to apply a little bit onto your braids, every time you take off your wig as well. In fact, if you want to keep your natural hair and your wig smelling nice, you can even add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your carrier oil of choice. Lavender, orange and jasmine oil all smell amazing.
"Baby" Your Hairline
There are many people who end up with bald edges because they skipped this point. There's no way around the fact that your edges (and nape) are probably the most fragile parts of your hair. And when you've got a wig on, the pressure from the wig can start to weigh down on your edge's follicles, potentially causing irreversible damage. That's why it's best to pull out some of your "baby hairs" before putting your wig on. Not only that, but make sure to baby your hairline too by gently massaging them with Jamaican black castor oil (which is loaded with nutrients), not using alcohol-based edge control gel (that can dry your edges and nape out) and making sure that your old toothbrush is wet before applying product to it or brushing your edges down; otherwise, the roughness of the brush can wreak havoc on your baby hairs too. By the way, if you're looking for a good edge control, one that I enjoy is by Arcani Coil Care. It's a sistah-owned company and the product is long-lasting.
Watch the Straps and the Combs
Two of the most underrated reasons why natural hair ends up being damaged, especially around the nape and edges, once we take our wigs off, is we don't adjust our wig straps or pay attention to how our combs fit on our head. While your wig straps need to be secure, make sure they aren't so tight that they cause friction on the most fragile parts of your hair (your hairline). As far as your wig combs go, make sure they have rounded ends and that you place them into your hair gently. It's also important to not put them exactly in the same place every time (that can result in breakage and, eventually balding). Oh, and it's a good idea to massage the areas where your straps and combs were when you take your wig off. It will bring blood to your scalp and nourish your hair follicles, so that those vulnerable areas won't cause your hair to become extremely vulnerable and damaged.
Take Your Wig Cap Off at Night
Whether or not you go with a wig cap that you choose yourself, you cut up an old pair of stockings or you opt to use the wig cap that came with your wig installation (because more and more wig companies are including those), it's imperative that you take off your wig cap every night. Remember that the reason why you wear them at all is so 1) your natural hair can get as flat as possible; 2) your natural hair can be protected from the potential snagging that could come from your wig and 3) so your wig looks as natural as it possibly can (which is why it's a good idea to go with a wig cap that is nude rather than black).
Sleeping with a wig cap on keeps your scalp from getting an opportunity to breathe and that is another way for bacteria to form and for our hair follicles to weaken over time.
Detox Your Scalp Once a Month
Earlier this year, I wrote an article for the site entitled, "Treat Your Scalp To A Little Bit Of Detoxing This Weekend". The reason why it's so important to detox your scalp is because it removes build-up and it can also rebalance the pH level of your scalp too. Your scalp is really going to need this if you're someone who wears a wig on a consistent basis, so make sure that a thorough scalp detox is a part of your monthly hair care routine.
Too much of a good thing can easily turn into a bad thing when there is no balance and moderation. Wigs aren't exempt from this fact. So, definitely make sure to take a break from your wigs from time to time. If you wear the kind that you can take off every day, consider going a weekend without one. If you opt for the kind that you can keep on for 4-6 weeks easily, give your natural hair at least a couple of weeks before installing a new one. Air, Vitamin D (from the sun) and the lack of stress and pressure that can come from wigs is necessary if you want your hair to be healthy and to thrive.
If It's a Lace Front...
Wash the Wig Right When You Take It Out of the Package
To tell you the truth, this particular tip should apply to any wig that you buy. The reason why you should wash your wig(s) before applying it/them is because you have no idea who handled the wig before you got it. Plus, not all wigs are packaged equally, and it would suck if there was dirt, debris or…whatever in the wig; especially since you probably plan on wearing your wig for at least a couple of weeks at a time.
As far as how to properly wash a lace front, put a mild shampoo (remember that it needs to be synthetic or some type of fabric softener if it's made out of synthetic hair) into your sink or a basin of water. Put the wig into the water and allow it to soak for about 10 minutes. Use your hands to gently massage the wig (do not use a comb or brush). Then rinse the wig in lukewarm water, lightly dry it with a T-shirt and then apply a spray that's made of half distilled water and half hair conditioner. Let that sit for about five minutes and thoroughly rinse it again with lukewarm water. Use a T-shirt to gently wring the excess water from your wig and allow your wig to air dry on a wig stand with the weft of the wig exposed to the air. Once your wig is completely dry, you can then gently comb or use a wig brush.
Use a Good Adhesive Brand
A bad lace front adhesive can be the absolute devil when it comes to damaging your natural hair. It's kind of a science class, trying to figure out which brand is best (especially if you're looking for a brand that is gentle on your hair but is also super long-lasting at the same time), but Oprah's site did an article on the best wig glues for lace fronts (you can check it out here) and this is another topic where the YouTube queens can definitely hold you do. Check out this video, this video and this video from some cool recommendations.
Give Lace Fronts No More Than 5-6 Weeks
I'll be the first one to say that some of these lace front wigs out here are absolutely mind-blowing when it comes to how real they look! But no matter how close to the real thing they might appear to be or how securely you're able to install yours, even the best of the best have an expiration date in the sense of how long you should wear them before it's time to take them off and take a break.
The standard? Somewhere around 5-6 weeks is when you need to remove it so that you can do all of the things that I just shared to your own hair and so that you can properly clean and condition your lace front too.
Again, while there is a lot more info that can be shared on wigs and wig maintenance, if you apply these suggestions, you can feel pretty confident that your own hair will thrive while you're out here being a baddie in your wig. And that truly is the best of both worlds when it comes to hairstyles—ain't it?
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
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Y’all, I ain’t got no lies to tell you. Personally, I am counting down the days until the obsession with resembling Mr. Snuffleupagus (the real ones know) goes away. Not that I don’t think there is something uber-feminine and sometimes even super glamorous about a long, lusty pair of eyelashes — but as one of my favorite quotes goes, “The excess of a virtue can be a vice,” and lashes are no exception. Lawd.
How To Grow Eyelashes Naturally
Besides, I wonder how many people who go overly long and thick on the extensions tip get that over time, that can do significant damage to their natural eyelashes — sometimes irreparably so. That’s why I think it’s important that, if you’re going to add lashes, you take the “less is more” approach. Oh, and if it’s because you wish that your own lashes were longer or fuller, you learn how to make that happen by taking a more holistic approach (while also being patient; it takes between 4-11 months for lashes to reach their fullest potential).
Starting with the following 10 tips on how to grow eyelashes naturally, you will be batting your natural lashes in no time, chile.
1. Take a Biotin and Collagen Supplement
It probably comes as no surprise to you that a supplement that’s associated with hair growth and thickness is the water-soluble form of vitamin B known as biotin. Skin rashes, brittle nails, and hair loss are all signs of having a biotin deficiency. If your lashes seem to be sparse or thinner than you would like, taking a biotin supplement certainly couldn’t hurt.
Speaking of supplements, you might want to add some collagen to your health regimen, too. Since collagen contains amino acids that help to build hair and can help to strengthen weak hair follicles — those are already solid enough reasons to take them for your lashes.
For the record, foods that are high in biotin include mushrooms, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, and broccoli. As far as collagen goes, foods that are high in it include bone broth, chicken, liver, berries, and aloe vera (bookmark that aloe vera point).
2. Keep Your Lashes Clean
So, here’s the thing about this particular point: Although you probably wash your face at least once a day (hopefully twice — once in the morning and again at night), if you’re not being intentional about cleaning your lashes, there could be some leftover mascara and other gunk on them that could end up weighing them down and/or drying them out. So, definitely wash them all on their own. Your best bet would be to use a super mild cleanser like baby shampoo so that your eyes don’t end up getting irritated in the process.
3. Condition Them with Aloe Vera
Since aloe vera is high in vitamins A, B12, C, E, and folic acid, that’s already a good reason to want to use it on your hair — and your lashes qualify. Plus, pure aloe vera gel is made up of almost 100 percent water, which makes it the ultimate conditioner for your lashes if you’re looking for something all-natural that will both soften and strengthen your lashes at the same time. To get the best results, a lot of women like to apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to their lashes before turning in at night and then wash the solution off in the morning.
4. Brush Your Lashes (No, Seriously)
Have you ever thought about what brushing your hair does for it? It removes tangles. It gets out debris. It evenly distributes natural oils. It reduces stress. It increases blood circulation. And for all of these reasons, it’s important that you brush your eyelashes on a daily basis. All you need to do is designate a clean wand for nothing but brushing your lashes. Then, whether it’s right when you wake up in the morning or right after washing your face, use the wand to GENTLY brush your lashes. First, do the top of them and then use the wand to lift them up. After a few weeks, you should notice your lashes appearing fuller. (You can check out a brief tutorial video here.)
5. Pay Attention to Shedding
Just like hair sheds on your head (50-100 hairs a day is considered normal), losing 1-5 eyelashes is the average amount to not worry too much about. However, if it happens to be more than that, lash extensions, leaving makeup longer than you should, or even relying on eyelash curlers too much can play a direct role in lash shedding. So, if you notice that your eyelashes are appearing thinner or parse, do a process of elimination first. If nothing changes, make an appointment with your doctor in order to rule out the possibility of other underlying health issues.
6. Apply a Castor Oil and Vitamin E Oil Blend at Your Lash Lines
I’m gonna be real: even though I know that medical experts have a resume to back up their claims, sometimes I will read articles on certain topics and still think they’re being haters. For instance, after reading that a dermatologist (via a Byrdie article) said that applying castor oil to your lash lines can hydrate your lashes, yet it won’t help them to grow, I have to admit that I rolled my eyes. I mean, if castor oil contains protein, antioxidants, nutrients, and fatty acids along with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and hair can benefit from all of these things, how could your lashes not, too?
And while you’re at it, break open one or two vitamin E capsules and add it to the castor oil. Vitamin E helps to reduce hair loss, increases shine, and helps to lock in hydration — all good stuff to know if you happen to use mascaras that contain some type of alcohol in the ingredients (and many of them do).
7. Put Tea Bags on Your Eyes
The herbs and tannins that are in herbal tea can do wonders for your eyes when it comes to doing everything from lightening the appearance of dark circles and reducing puffiness to speeding up the healing process of styes and even pink eye. So, what about when it comes to your eyelashes? Well, I’ve actually read a few places (like here and here) that green tea especially can do wonders for lash growth, in part due the caffeine that’s in it. Listen, some warm bags on tired eyes are the ultimate kind of low-maintenance pampering hack. Try it a couple of times a week. You’ll feel more relaxed, and your lashes could end up growing longer, too.
8. Have “Off Days”
No matter what you put on your lashes, it’s going to add a bit of “weight” to them — and anything that has weight will start to get worn out over time. That’s why it’s also a good idea to give your lashes “off days” from any kind of mascara, serum, or keratin-infused products. Sometimes, simply brushing your lashes and adding a bit of coconut oil (which adds protein) or lemon peel oil (which could accelerate lash growth) is all you need in order to pamper your lashes without the added stress and pressure of makeup. 1-2 days a week of this should be all that you need.
9. Use a Bit of Shea Butter at Night
Something that I’ve been getting into the habit of doing more and more at night is applying a thin coat of shea butter on my lips as well as on my eyelids. The fatty acids alone that are in the butter do wonders for my skin (especially when I use it consistently). Since shea butter has properties in it like linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids, as well as anti-inflammatory properties, your lashes can only benefit from the moisture that shea butter offers as well as its ability to increase collagen production (which, again, is great for hair growth and elasticity) and promote stronger hair.
10. Keep Your Mascara Current
It’s kind of crazy that it was five years ago when I wrote, “When Should You Replace Underwear, Make-Up, Bedding, Washcloths & Towels?” for the platform. Anyway, as far as mascara goes, if you’ve got a tube that has been in one of your bathroom drawers for over six months, it really is time to toss it. Why? Because you really aren’t supposed to use mascara for longer than three months before getting a new tube. That’s how you keep bacteria and germs down to a minimum and the solution from getting so thick that it ends up being heavier on your eyelashes than it should be.
Oh, and if you’re looking for the kind of mascara that will help your eyelashes to grow longer, make sure that keratin is listed in the ingredients, along with peptides, vitamin B, and water (water should actually lead the pack). That way, you can be confident that while your lashes are appearing thick and full, they are receiving just what they need to gain some length over time too. Now wink one time if you feel me. LOL. #wink
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