What’s your daily hair routine?

I moisturise my hair every morning. On days that it is particularly dry, I moisturise it again in the evening. I have several different moisturisers which I alternate.

What do you do on a weekly basis? 

I deep condition my hair once or twice a week using a moisturising conditioner. After I have applied it I cover the hair with a plastic showercap for a few hours, sometimes leaving the treatment on overnight.

When I have the time, I sit under a steamer for 20 minutes. I also have a dome dryer which I use once in a while, for 20 minutes, with my hair covered by a plastic cap.

And monthly?

Once a month I do a protein treatment to strengthen my hair. Relaxed hair needs some protein to balance out the damaging effects of the chemicals. I deep-condition in the same way as I do weekly, except that I use a protein-based deep conditioner.

How often do you relax your hair, and why do you choose that time interval?

I relax my hair every 12 weeks. I recently went for an 18-month stretch between relaxers while I was pregnant and breastfeeding. The experience made me realise that I can actually stretch it out longer than 12 weeks. I will be trying for 16 weeks with my future relaxers.

The reason I stretch it out for this long is because relaxers are chemicals and as such can be damaging to the hair. Hair tends to be healthier if relaxers are used less frequently.

Stretching the time between relaxers also helps to prevent overlapping of relaxer cream onto previously relaxed hair. The longer you go between relaxers, the more new growth you will have, making it easier to apply the relaxer cream onto the new growth.

Back view of Tendayi’s relaxed hair.

Do you feel that salon treatments are essential for healthy hair? (The argument is that professional products offer more intensive results)

I feel that salon treatments are great as a treat for the hair but they are not essential for healthy hair. I believe that as long as the hair is deep-conditioned at home it can be healthy. It is also possible to purchase some professional products to use at home.

Which five products/tools can you not live without?

• ORS Replenishing Conditioner – It’s a great moisturising conditioner. It also comes in packs which are great for travelling.
• Coconut oil
• A mild sulphate-free shampoo
• Plastic shower caps
• A wide-tooth comb

Anything else to remember?
• I use a clarifying shampoo occasionally to get rid of product buildup since I use mild shampoo most of the time.
• I get braids two to three times a year. The braids help me with length retention as long as I make sure to take care of my hair  When in braids I wash the hair weekly and moisturise it daily with braid spray. I also lightly apply an oil to my scalp, usually a mix of coconut and castor oil.
• When I get braids I ensure that they are not too tight, especially along the hairline where potential for thinning is greatest.
• When I get a relaxer, I do not relax the hair on the hairline each time. This hair is already fine and will often blend well with the relaxed hair. This will ensure that the relaxer does not thin my hairline because of over-processing, since it is very difficult to apply relaxer only to new growth along the hairline.

For information on the products that Tendayi uses and great haircare tips, check out her blog africanhairblog.com