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Love your Fro, says LadyXSize

JUST KEEP SWIMMING: Wearing a swimming cap will help stop your hair coming into contact with harsh

WHEN I was young, I wanted the type of hair that blew in the wind. I cursed my hair type continuously, wishing that it would flow naturally in the breeze. I would even wear skirts on my head to experience the feeling of flowing tresses across my shoulders.

Once I discovered single plaits, I was hooked, and I spent much of my teens through to my early 20s in them. I wouldn’t even allow partners to see my natural hair when I would redo it. I wasn’t giving my hair a break, but it was saving me the embarrassment of having to show my real hair.

Years were spent trying to hide away my natural Afro. To be honest, I hadn’t a clue what to do with it. So, after plaits, I processed it in any and every way I could. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the cane rows. With no real treatments in between and little under- standing of how fragile my hair was, it fell out. Mind you, this had happened once before, but it always grew back.

The first time it fell out, I was 14 and had just had it straightened for the first time. The second time it fell out, however, was far more distressing. It didn’t fall out evenly as it had in
the past – it actually fell out on the top. It was extremely difficult to hide. It was at that point that I realised how lucky I had been, and I began to finally appreciate and cherish my hair.

As a fitness expert and trainer, my hair goes through a workout as well, so I am constantly looking for new styles and great products to care for it and accommodate my workout lifestyle.
This is difficult, because water and sweat can really mess things up. I recently participated in Swim London, an initiative to get adults swimming, set up by the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association).

CHALLENGE

Swimming has always been one of my biggest fitness bugbears. My hair actually prevented me from doing it, that and the fact that I didn’t have a clue how. Always up for a challenge, however, I consulted Victoria Akuagwu, owner of Ziuzo Hair and Beauty, an award-winning salon in Lewisham.


Mizani's Purifying Shampoo

After visiting her salon she gave me a treatment, set my hair up ready for the challenge ahead and gave me some great haircare tips and advice...

1. To protect your ‘exercise hair’, ensure it is tied out of the way, or in a way that reduces stress on it, taking off any attachments. If swimming, invest in a decent swimming cap.

2. For relaxed hair, non-chemically processed hair, coloured hair and hair that is not in extensions, after your workout, rinse your hair thoroughly. If you are swimming, do this as early as possible with lukewarm water.

Then shampoo twice to remove all traces of chlorine. Mizani’s Purifying Shampoo (RRP £8.25) gives an intense cleanse without stripping the hair and Keracare’s first lather shampoo (RRP £4.65) is great for removing build up and impurities.

3. Apply conditioner. Mizani’s Moistur-fusion Silk Cream Conditioner (RRP £10.95) contains milk of almond and coconut oil, to help prevent the hair from becoming dehydrated. Leave on for five to 10 minutes before rinsing.

4. Use a leave-in conditioner before blow drying on medium heat, or apply it and leave to dry naturally in the style you usually wear. Syntonics leave-in strengthening serum (RRP £9.95) is great for this.

5. With hair in extensions, i.e. weave or single plaits, shampoo your hair twice and allow it to dry naturally or with medium heat.


UNDER CONTROL:A monthly treatment helps restore your hair

Then apply a light oil to your scalp, such as a blend of almond oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil to moisturise. Visit your salon twice a month for a deep cleanse and conditioning treatments. If you struggle to manage your hair, visit your stylist for tips and advice. A big tip is to always keep your scalp moisturised using light oils to prevent excessive dryness.

Mizani’s Supreme Oil (RRP £11.44), pictured left, is very light and moisturising helps to replenish natural goodness, especially after a swim. If the hair looks dull, gloss over with a sheen or a finishing serum like You Pro Silken spray with botanicals RRP £7.98). Using the above tips, I have been able to care for my hair, look natural and appreciate my ‘fro.

I have even found the most amazing Afro hair extensions. Using HerGivenHair, you can to add length and body to your fro and wear the hair confidently when doing sporting activities. Usually, Afro hair extensions don’t last long – they tend to get knotted and puff out. HerGivenHair extensions are very different.

I have found this to be the best fitness hair of all. Admittedly, It’s not the cheapest (£100 - £150 per bunch), but it does last.

After all the different treatments, going natural has actually been the easiest thing to do. Yes, I still wear wigs, but the natural feel look is the inspiration for my LadyXsize fitness brand. My logo is me with an Afro. I have finally found freedom with my hair and it’s great to see so many others doing the same.

Don’t let your hair put you off exercising!

For a chance to win some great fitness outfits, follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @LadyXsize

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