Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hair Care in a Desert Climate

            I have been in the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia “the Kingdom” since September 2011. I knew I would be faced with several challenges (i.e. culture, language barriers) but the thought had not closed my mind that one of those challenges I would be confronted with is hair care.  I have been wearing Sisterlocks (length; 20 inches) for 14 years. Sisterlocks is tiny uniform woven locks/dreads of hair. This technique was founded by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell who is a Professor at San Diego State University in California.
          After a few months in this dry desert climate, my locks went from shiny and healthy to dry and brittle. After some internet research, I found that it was not only the sun, heat and dust that was causing the lack of lustre and breakage in my hair (in some cases, from the root) but also the desalinated water (removal of salt from seawater), the chlorine in it and air conditioning (removes moisture from the hair) was contributing factor as well. In severe cases, it can also cause hair loss. Saudi Arabia, followed by United Arab Emirates and Kuwait uses the largest amounts of desalinated water. 

           The Gulf climate is harsh so extra measures must be taken to care for the hair.  To be proactive and defeat the damages caused by a dry climate it is advisable to avoid over-drying with hot appliances. Let your hair dry naturally and try to wash less often. Use hot oil or moisturizing treatments with a plastic cap. Drink plenty of water and take a good multivitamin (i.e. Vitamin A, B-Complex, Biotin, C,D,and E). Try to avoid the use of chemicals such as haircolor and relaxers. Although expats in most places are not required to cover the hair, it is not a bad idea to do so with a cotton scarf, hat or cap. I protect my hair with Betmar New York hats. They are SPF 50 and they come in several designs. 
            I am regularly asked through my blog whether I know someone who does braiding in the Kingdom. Braids and corn rolls are a great styling option as long as they are not left in for weeks at a time. I recently received contact information (thanks, Annette) for those of you who reside in Riyadh. Her name is Monica and her mobile is +966560293597. Please give her a call for pricing and availability.    

           If any of you know any other braiders or Sisterlock technicians in the Riyadh area....please drop me a line so I can pass it on.
All the best.....
Hair and all,


  1. That was informative. So glad I read that while still here in the US so I can get some products. Going to the beauty supply on Wednesday. And it's good to know someone who braids there. My friend/co-worker knows someone as well. If its a different lady, I will get her info and pass it on.

  2. I am glad I could help. Thanks for reading!

  3. I enjoy your positive attitude and wealth of information. I am going to Almultaka Woman Spa, Riyadh Saudi Arabia this week for the first time for color and conditioning. As an African American originally from Brooklyn most recently from Colorado my hair has become dry and I had to cut it this summer after wearing braids for a few years. I appreciate the braid information if this does not work. After one year in Riyadh my hair has taken a toll with the water, and sun also.

  4. Hello Elizabeth!
    I hope you enjoy your Almultaka experience. I will be there myself next week for my bi-weekly manicure and pedicure. Thanks for reading! GMarie