Dealing with your hair when sick

Hola! I know it’s been awhile.

I recently went to visit a sick friend in another state. Without going into specifics, her condition is chronic. It got me thinking about what happens to caring for your hair when you’re not 100 percent and I don’t mean when you have the cold or flu. Those illnesses last about a week. I mean if you have an illness of longer duration or is chronic and has no real end. Obviously, your health should be a top priority, but it can be complicated if you have highly textured hair because it has special needs. It needs to be moisturized more frequently as sebum, the hair’s natural oils, isn’t able to travel down the entire strand due to all the bends and coils in curly and kinky hair. It also needs to be detangled at regular intervals to prevent matting. So just how do you take care of highly textured hair when you’re sick for long periods?    

Some would say to get a protective style like braids or twists but you’re not likely to have the energy to invest 6+ hours of time to put them in yourself, nor to be able to have the energy to sit still for that long to have someone else put them in for you. If your hair is long enough, you could do buns, ponytails or puffs, all of which take about 5 minutes to do and won’t sap too much of your energy. However, if you have fragile edges like I do, you may not be able to wear those styles every day because your edges could get stressed and eventually thin and fall out. So if you want to retain your length, you might consider wigs, ensuring that your hair underneath is washed, conditioned and moisturized as often as your health allows. If you have medium or long hair and don’t care about retaining length, you could also consider cutting it into a TWA for some ease. You wouldn’t have to worry about putting it into a style. All you’d have to do is wash, condition and moisturize as often as your health allows and go.

Also, as far as wash day is concerned, if you’re the type that does pre-pooing, overnight deep treatments, henna treatments, etc,  you might need to simplify your routine or cut some things out of your regimen, as once again, it’s unlikely that you would have the energy to spend that much time lavishing your hair. If your condition makes it impossible to shampoo your hair or co-wash regularly, you may consider water washing. The term is just what it implies-you simply wash your hair using just water.  Many people think it’s strange and that your hair can’t possibly get clean with just water but there is a sizable segment of people in the natural hair community who swear by it who proclaim that the friction of massaging your hair and scalp under running water is enough to rid your head of debris and excess oil and that products marketed for washing your hair are unnecessary or harmful. I’ve never done water washing, so I can’t attest to these claims, but I’ve learned along my hair journey to not automatically knock something until I’ve tried it, so until that time, I won’t give an opinion. There are also some dry shampoos on the market that are marketed for those times where hair washing is impractical or impossible due to illness. With these, you don’t need water. You just spray the stuff in your hair, massage for a couple of minutes and go. However, I looked at the ingredients at a couple of them-Pantene Curly Hair Series Dry to Moisturized Shampoo and Oscar Blandi Pronto Invisible Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray and they both contained silicones, which are questionable ingredients for many naturals. If you don’t care about cones, then you’re set, but if you’re avoiding them, they may not be an option.

I hope this was beneficial. If you having any other tips, please share them in the comments.


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