Having rocked everything from close cropped fades to large Afros, twist outs, protective styles, and locs—for 11 years and counting— it’s safe to say that Sammy LaCombe knows a thing or two about natural hair. She is the mastermind behind Fashion Bomb Daily blogger Claire Summers' signature platinum blonde locs and she's here to give our EBONY naturalistas a piece of her mind when it comes to basic hair 'dos' and 'don'ts.'
EBONY: You’ve been in the hair styling business for over a decade now. What are some common, basic natural hair maintenance mistakes you find women continue to make?
Sammy LaCombe: People with natural hair, especially thick coarse hair, tend to over moisturize. When you lather a layer of grease on your scalp, that isn't allowing your hair to breathe and grow through the follicles. Over moisturizing causes hair strands to become very weak and eventually snap off. When you get your hair that soft, it's easily breakable. I try to balance for women who over moisturize with protein treatments.
Another issues I’m seeing women battle is the over usage of protective hairstyles. A protective style is meant to give you at maximum, a three-month break. When you leave them in too long or constantly get them back-to-back, you start to be at risk for cicatricial alopecia along the hairline. Depending on the type of protective style, edges also start to thin out. Especially protective styles that you are using additional hair with, like extensions, braiding techniques, and weaving.
EBONY: You mentioned natural women over moisturizing their hair. Can you let readers know how often we should get hydrating treatments?
SL: I know it may sound crazy for a lot of Black girls, but you should wash your hair every 10 days. There are so many different elements affecting your hair: car emissions, debris, pollution and other bacteria from daily activities. Even adding shea moisture and other styling ingredients to your hair can start to wear your hair down. Giving your hair a deep penetrating moisturizing treatment twice or three times a month at most, offers your strands a good balance.
EBONY: How do you feel about women using protective styles to transition to natural hair?
SL: There are so many ways to transition without keeping your hair in protective styles. The first step is embracing your hair. If you’re deciding to return natural, don’t be afraid to rock the short cut or the Afro. If neither of those styles appeals to you, there are styles that can handle two textures of transitioning hair, such as rod sets and keratin treatments. Keratin treatments help give your new growth a smoother texture if you want to wear it straight while transitioning.
EBONY: How often should women with locs retwist their new growth?
SL: It depends on how you want your hair to look and the density of your hair. Some people with locks are perfectly fine with free forming. If your hair is really fine, you obviously shouldn’t retwist it that often. But, if your hair is very course and thick and can handle that tension applied on a regular basis, I would say every time you wash your hair, you should attempt to retwist your locs.
EBONY: What are some of your go-to products?
SL: There are so many products on the market now that it's hard to just pick a few. I love products that don’t have drying agents because they also wont flake and affect your hair health if it’s color treated. Products that have natural ingredients, such as olive oil, Moroccan oil, Shea Moisture, and argan oil, are usually best.