Hair Lessons I learned from Wanakee

Hair Maintenance

Years ago, while flipping through a stack of hair magazines at my local mega-bookstore, I came across an offer from this beautiful woman with a long head of healthy hair. The free offer was for a small booklet offering free tips on how to grow long healthy hair even if the hair was chemically treated. Weeks later I received my booklet in the mail and my hands trembled as I carefully opened and read what was inside.
Wanakee went into great detail to describe her self as a regular African-American woman not mixed with another ethnic group. This was to prove a point, that black women can grow long hair. If I remember correctly, her hair was at least waist length. She even included past pictures of her with shoulder length hair to show that she did not always have such long tresses. She detailed how she was able to achieve such amazing results with her eager readers.

I remember some of the specifics, but to be honest, the only thing that stuck in my mind was her advice on the use of protective styling. She even used a example that I will never forget. In her example, she explained how air has a very drying affect on our hair. Look at an ear of corn, the silk strands that remain within the husk remain soft and silky, yet the strands exposed to the air are dry and crispy. Our hair is the same way, the simple of act wearing our hair out(or down) works against what we are trying to accomplish. Imange that! I tested her theory the very next day and for a while thereafter. The results? The hair that was tucked away from the elements remained just as moist as it was in the morning when I moisturized it.

From that example we learned the number one rule of achieving healthy hair-The importance of retaining moisture. In my next post, I'll share with you another lesson I learned from Wanakee's little hair booklet.

Here's an excerpt from her brochure:

You’ll notice that after you trim your hair, the ends seem dry again almost immediately! You’d think it was because of too much heat or blow-drying or maybe a bad perm. Although these treatments can sometimes dry out your hair, they only happen occasionally. The process that happens everyday, drying out your hair is...exposure to the air!

Yes, something that simple can be sapping your hair of life. Think for a moment; air dries your laundry, it cracks your house paint, it chaps your lips, it ashes your skin; it’s a serious drying agent. And when you wear you hair down regularly, air dries out your hair too. The movement of your hair against your clothing can dry your ends even more; and when ends get dry, they break off.

Picture an ear of corn with the husk on it. Did you ever notice how awful the silk looks that’s hanging on the outside of husk? But if you peel the husk down, the silk is soft, shiny and in excellent condition. The only difference is that the top silk has been exposed to the air, while the silk inside the husk has not. Air can cause damage to your hair. WANAKEE Oil for the Hair is a light daily application of protection against dryness that adds a gorgeous shine and allows the hair to remain clean feeling. It’s nice.

Since the ends are the oldest part of your hair, they suffer the most from this constant exposure to air. You can end the breakage cycle and experience a healthy growth pattern by following these simple rules. They may not seem very significant at a glance, but they are the steps that restored my damaged strands to a full, healthy head of hair. Remember that you want to preserve the ends while the roots grow. Being consistent and patient every day is the key to your success.


  1. Air??? Who would've thought! And the whole time I'm just wondering why my hair is splitting for no reason. I assumed it was the hard water but I guess its the air too. Interesting.

  2. I remember getting the Wanakee booklet and marveling at her beautiful hair. I followed all her advice and my hair grew. After a few years, I stopped doing the protective styling and noticed my hair begin to break off. I have begun to use these very simple methods again and my hair is once again growing healthy and strong with much less breakage. I wish I still had that little booklet.


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