For close to 30 years, Taliah Waajid has been at the forefront of the natural hair business. In 1988, she opened her first natural hair salon in Harlem, New York and a second one followed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1991. In 1996, Taliah’s budding empire expanded into the product sector with the launch of Black Earth Products, a healthier hairline “that catered to the specific needs of chemical free hair.” Since then, she’s created additional hair lines Kinky, Wavy, Natural for kids and Curls, Waves and Naturals for adults.
We sat down with the self-proclaimed “queen of natural, curly, coily hair” for an in-depth look at all things natural hair.
The Lady Loves Couture: You’ve been in the natural hair business for over 25 years; that’s quite a journey. From all of that experience, what is the biggest secret you’ve discovered about how to maintain strong and healthy natural hair?
Taliah Waajid: I have found that using products that are tailored to your specific strand type, hair texture, and hair density are key to maintaining healthy hair. A good hair regimen that includes a great softening leave-in conditioner and a very light coat of a penetrating oil (an oil with penetrating ingredients such as coconut oil or almond oil) is vital to maintaining healthy curly hair, infusing moisture, and avoiding breakage to curly hair strands. Clipping your ends every 6 to 8 weeks reduces and can stop split ends. Monthly hot oil treatments or hair masques are a must unless your hair is in a long-term protective style.
To maintain healthy natural hair while wearing a protective style, it is important to use a professional stylist that will apply the style according to your hair’s condition while using techniques that will not be too tight or cause damage to the scalp and to the hairline. Again, it is important to adopt and regularly practice a healthy hair regimen which includes cleansing and fortifying the scalp, as well as the use of a daily leave-in conditioner and a penetrating oil like my Protective Styles Gro Hair Gro Bamboo And Coconut Oil Growth Oil ($11).
The biggest secret is to start by refraining from causing damage to your hair. Once you do that, it is much easier to maintain than to repair your hair and keep your hair strong and healthy.
TLLC: What is the natural hair look to rock right now?
TW: Right now, as the weather is cooler and tends to be harder on natural hair, a beautiful style to protect the hair would be a smooth up-do with cascading extension hair styled into braids, twists, or faux locks. This can be achieved by placing most of the hair into a bun or tucked ponytail while applying extensions to the cascading portion of the hair and styling as desired.
TLLC: What products do you recommend every woman uses for a healthy daily regimen?
TW: I can’t stress enough the importance of a great daily leave-in conditioner and a penetrating oil year-round. During colder months, a heavier hair oil such as my Pure & Natural Monoi Oil ($10) can be used. Use an oil that penetrates hair strands or has ingredients that penetrate hair strands.
TLLC: What is the one product that is an absolute must-have from your collection and why?
TW: The Bamboo and Coconut Milk Protective Styles Daily Leave-In Conditioner ($12). I love this product because it can be used for pre-styling prep, heat styling, daily conditioning for curly, coily, wavy hair, braids, and styles with extensions. Bamboo is the strongest plant on the planet and contains properties that strengthen your hair strands as you use this product. This product works great for maintaining healthy, strong hair under a protective style, as well as for styling hair that is not in a protective style.
TLLC: Do you have any DIY recipes for saving winter-parched hair?
TW: To treat winter-parched curly hair, apply a small amount of Protective Styles Gro Hair Gro Bamboo and Coconut Oil Growth Oil ($11) along with my Healthy Hair Under There Bamboo, Avocado and Peppermint Conditioning & Restoring Serum ($10) to hair strands and ends. Cover with a plastic cap for 15 minutes – you may sit under the dryer if you choose — and then proceed to style hair.
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