General Things to Keep in Mind as a Natural
- Never compare your hair to anyone else's. I understand that at times it can be hard to stand out and be different, especially when you stand out for reasons other than the norm or what is widely accepted. If we continue to compare our hair texture to others, we are just as good people who can't accept those who wear their natural hair and think they should "do something with it" all the time. Take the time to learn your hair, what it likes and what it needs, and learn to fall in love with what you were given and accept it for what it is. If you are in a growing stage, whether you just recently chopped or have been growing for a while, take the time to love your hair at each stage and length. Enjoy the rewards of being able to do new styles you couldn't do before as your hair grows to different lengths. Chances are, if you try loving your hair, you will!
- Moisture is a girl's best friend! Moisture includes water, essential oils, conditioners (leave-in and wash out), and whatever other moisturizers of your choice, just make sure you use em!
- Just because you read about a product or it worked great for someone one else, does not mean it will do the same for you. Take the time to research and try new products and be sure to listen to your hair. It'll let you know what it likes =)
- For transitioners to natural hair, don't expect that all the products you used for years on your relaxed hair will work on your natural hair, you may need to switch up your product stash as well as your regimen. Don't be afraid to fully accept the change and learn your hair. - Sites like YouTube, google, and the many different hair forums and blogs will be your best friend!!! Anything you want to know, search it! I can almost guarantee you will find what you're looking for or at least something that will help you.
- DO NOT be afraid of product!! Learn what products and conditioners are best for you. My advice, try and stick with Natural and Organic products as they seem to be the best amongst many, your hair will tell you too. You may need to use more than one conditioner, more than one hair moisturizer, more than one shampoo even. Just learn what products are best for your needs and don't be afraid to learn to mix!
Many naturals have different routines and feel the need to wash at different times and for different reasons. Some chose to wash as often as everyday, while others can have up to a biweekly washing regimen.
- Co-washing is a Natural's best friend. Co-washing is when someone washes their hair with conditioner only, no shampoo. This may seem odd at first, but for curly haired girls, moisture is essential and shampoo can strip the hair of it's natural moisture. While it is still necessary to cleanse your hair, using shampoo or other remedies for cleansing, shampooing curly hair too often can be more harmful than helpful, so co-washing is a great alternative for those quick washes in between shampoo days or for those who love to wash and wear their hair on a regular basis.
- Shampoo, used for hair and scalp cleansing, is still important when washing natural hair but it is important to find the right shampoo for you. Try to stick to organic shampoos without too many chemicals and things like sulfates and parabens, as these things are no good for your hair.
- If you are a swimmer or someone who works out and sweats a lot, it is possible you may need a clarifying shampoo to remove the harsh salts from sweat and chlorine in pool water. Always be sure to find the right shampoo for your needs.
- Conditioner, usually a rinse out moisturizer but have others that are leave-in or can be used as leave-in. No matter what, conditioner is one of the most important things when it comes to natural hair for moisturizing, washing, and detangling. No matter what, even if you don't use shampoo, be sure to always condition. Deep conditioners are also very important and can help to restore dry, damaged hair and keep healthy hair healthy. Deep conditioning should be done at least on a weekly to biweekly basis.
Moisturizing & Detangling
- Dry hair can be your worst enemy! If your hair feels dry, its probably because it is. I have had many people come to me thinking they have coarse dry hair, to only later learn that they actually have very soft manageable hair and that it is just lacking moisture. Dry hair is very brittle and will break easily. If you are trying to retain length, this will definitely keep you from your goals. Never be afraid to deep condition, co-wash, add in your favorite cream, oil, butter, whatever makes your hair happy!
- Never detangle dry, brittle hair! If detangling during a weekly routine, you will learn that for naturals it may be best to detangle while the hair is wet and with a slippery conditioner, making the process a lot easier and also causing less stress/breakage/damage to the hair. Many people don't know, but they can cause their own hair extreme damage by just detangling improperly.
- If you have a much bigger detangling job, you may need to make sure to section the hair off first. If you have had your hair in styles like weaves or braids for a long period of time, it is important to detangle before washing to remove all of the shed hairs or this can lead to much matting and knots. Use a moisturizer/detangler to detangle dry hair, you can once again detangle wet with conditioner once all shed hairs are removed.
- ALWAYS detangle from the ends first, working your way up to the roots. NEVER rip through knots! Instead, start at the bottom and detangle up, use your fingers to separate gently if needed. You will find that once you fully detangle from tip to root, it will then be extremely easy to comb through your hair from root to tip.
Trimming is a very important factor in maintaining healthy hair, be it long or short. It is important to trim away pesky split, dry, damaged, see through ends and knots. Many who are afraid to trim away damaged ends don't realize that they are only causing themselves more damage. For those who are looking to gain length and are afraid of trimming, know that it is okay to trim, and length can still be obtained with a healthy hair and trimming regimen.
I have found that many naturals have a lot of split ends and it can be the reason why their hair is feeling coarser than usual and may be hard to comb through. It can also play a big role in the way your hair curls up if your ends are split and dry. Naturals who wear a fro especially should want to trim because their ends are constantly being exposed to damage from the elements of styling and everyday life. Also, women who get knots in their hair should trim these knots away if they can't be detangled, instead of ripping through them. Here is some more trimming info from an earlier post that touches on a lot more about trimming.
- Don't forget about your natural hair that is growing in. You can cause damage to your natural hair growing in with constant flat ironing and chemical processing, such as color and/or bleach, etc.
- Learn new low heat, low manipulation styles to help with your transition. There are a million ways to style your hair and you can trim slowly if you are afraid to loose too much length.
- There will come a time when you will need to part with you relaxed ends, each person feels differently about when this time is. Some even choose to transition for a long time and decide that they'd rather chop sooner than later. Whether you transition for 3 months or 3 years, learn to love your natural hair and have confidence within yourself. Remember that no matter what you do to your hair you will always have the same face. Who needs long hair with a beautiful face? lol Don't be afraid to step outside the box and try something new like a short haircut, you may realize you love it. If not, don't forget, hair grows back =D
I hope these were some good little tips! If you have any questions please feel free to send em over or leave them in a comment .
Until next time....