One question that arises often in natural hair care – especially when talking about hair care for kids – is that of is it indeed necessary to grease the scalp. By now we have all heard the story of how greasing the scalp came to be in black communities – that slaves used to put petroleum jelly, Crisco, bacon grease or any other thing they could find on their scalp to protect it from bugs, ringworm, lice and harsh weather conditions. While this is probably true, the fact also remains that our ancestors had ways of caring for hair and scalp before seeing these American shores and those things were used as replacements for the oils and other more natural ingredients they used in Africa.
The short answer is no. You do not have to grease your daughters’ scalp in the way that your grandmother or mother may have greased yours. The greasing of your scalp probably entailed parting hair and rubbing grease in the parts. While you do not have to do this – there have simply been no real benefits found to it and in some cases it causes more build-up than anything else – you should still be concerned about scalp health.
Instead of greasing the scalp with heavy hair greases, pre-poo with olive or grape seed oil to gently clean the scalp. Scalp health begins with wash day. Between washes apply an oil like coconut oil or Dark & Lovely’s Sheen Sealing Necatar to the scalp. If you use a product in a spray bottle you are able to better control the amount of oil you are using.
Another helpful hint is to be sure you are regularly checking the scalp for scratches (caused by hair accessories or styling) or any other abrasion. Identifying these before major styling such as braiding or twisting the hair can make styling more pleasant for you and your daughter and allows you to see problem areas of the scalp before you begin styling.