When you begin your natural hair journey it can get overwhelming as you try to soak in all the different information available online.You will easily come across different techniques, products, and ideas that are supposed to make your natural hair journey successful.
When I first made the transition from chemical relaxers to rocking my hair in its natural state many “natural hair gurus” would tell me about different techniques, products, and ideas that were supposed to make my transition journey a successful one. However, none of those techniques, tips, or products did nothing for me until I learned and understood how to properly take care of my natural mane on a daily basis.
Developing a solid natural hair care routine will almost guarantee you get the beautiful and long curly hair you envisioned for yourself when you decided to go natural. To develop this daily routine of caring for your hair you need to first learn some of the basics. Without learning the basics of natural hair care you’ll probably make a few of these mistakes below like most first time naturals tend to make:
Using too many different hair products: The manageability problems that come with our natural hair texture can be too much to handle even for the women who have been natural for years.So just imagine if you are new to sporting your natural mane. You’ll most likely panic and out of frustration run to the nearest store and buy a bunch of different hair care products and throw them all in at once and hope something works.This approach never works and will actually cause more problems like weighing your hair down and making it look too greasy.
Washing your hair too often: This is a mistake I myself made in the beginning. You think since it’s your natural hair you can wash it as many times as you want without any consequences. However, because of the nature of our hair texture washing it too often will dry it out and cause problems like hair breakage.
Not moisturizing your hair properly: The driest of all hair types is our curly hair. So keeping it properly moisturized all day long is very important. You not only need to know how to add moisture to your hair, but you also need to know how to retain moisture so your hair stays hydrated and soft all day long.
This is a concept many newly naturals have a hard time understanding in the beginning.
The 3 Natural Hair Care Basics
As you can see, understanding how to care for your hair the right way precedes everything else. Once you understand you will have a solid foundation to build upon. You will be able to create a natural hair regimen that’s successful long-term and makes you love yourself in your natural state even more.
This, of course, leads to you being increasingly happy, self-confident, and comfortable in your own skin. A wonderful state of mind to be in I may add.
Here are the 3 basic natural hair care tips to maintain and grow healthy natural hair:
Adding and Retaining Moisture
When you make the decision to transition from a relaxed girl to a natural you’re going to quickly realize your hair needs moisture… and a lot of it.
Learning how to properly moisturize your hair and retain moisture that moisture you add to it will undoubtedly be the most challenging (but also the most rewarding) part of your natural hair journey. This is because kinky hair gets dry very easily and doesn’t hold moisture in on its own very well. How dry your hair gets will depend on the texture of your hair or how thick and curly it is.
Neglecting to keep your hair properly moisturized will make your natural hair transition a tough one. You will constantly be frustrated as you find yourself battling hair breakage, tangles & knots, frizz, and other hair problems. You also won’t experience any hair growth because your hair won’t be able to retain any length. This is why adding and retaining moisture is the first and most important thing you need to grasp when it comes to natural hair care.
One of the best things you can do to keep your natural hair moisturized is to use oils like castor oil in your deep conditioners. Jamaican castor oil is the best type of castor oil to use in your deep conditioner to get more moisture in your hair. Also, if you find your hair is having problems retaining length the moisturizing properties in castor oil can promote natural hair growth.
Three other oils that are good to add in your deep conditioner to get more moisturizing benefits include:
- Coconut Oil – Along with being able to help your hair retain more moisture, coconut oil will also help protect your hair from heat, repair breakage, treat and nourish your scalp, and more.
- Argan Oil – The moisturizing properties in this oil helps make your hair less brittle and dry. Adding a few drops of this oil in your deep conditioner will also help your hair be more soft and manageable
- Jojoba Oil – Jojoba oil is one of my favorites because it is made up of the same chemical composition of the oil our scalp naturally produces. Using this oil in your deep conditioner will not only help hydrate your roots and hair follicles better, but it also has the ability to treat and get rid of scalp problems like dandruff.
What a lot of women don’t realize is that water is a great moisturizer and the best part is it is easily available. All you have to do is wet your hair with water to add moisture to it and stop it from being dry.
However, adding moisture to your natural tresses is only half the battle. In order to keep our hair moisturized and hydrated throughout the day, we have to lock in the moisture we’ve put in our hair. A great way to lock that moisture in after a nice shampoo session is to use some shea butter. Shea butter is a great sealant thanks to the smooth and rich properties it naturally contains. It works by forming a coat around your hair strands so none of that wonderful moisture you worked so hard to put in has a chance to evaporate and leave your hair looking dry, brittle, and dull.
Personally, the brand I like using is Life-Flo Organic Pure Shea Butter to seal in moisture. It leaves my curls feeling and looking soft and it doesn’t leave behind any residue.
However, any raw or 100% unrefined shea butter product that doesn’t contain any other additives will do just fine at giving your hair the retention benefits it needs. You can also encourage more moisture in your curly hair is by using satin pillowcases and scarves when you go to sleep at night. The smooth material of the satin helps keep prevent dryness and keep moisture in your hair while you sleep.
Also, try to gather your hair up and put it one place instead of having it loose and all over the place as you sleep. Sleeping with your hair loose is one of the easiest ways for it become dry and begin knotting and tangling up.
Practicing Good Hair Styling Techniques
Practicing good hair styling techniques that don’t put a lot of stress on your hair is definitely one of the basics of natural hair care you must learn and understand. Since our hair by nature is dry any hairstyle or hair accessory that puts too much stress on our strands will cause weakened or damaged hair. This is one of the main reasons a lot of naturals experience hair breakage so often. On a daily basis, you should be mindful of the techniques you’re using to style your hair so you can avoid issues like split ends, dryness, brittleness, even worse hair loss.
Hairstyle Practices to Avoid
Some of the styling techniques and hairstyles you should avoid when maintaining healthy natural hair include:
- Flat irons
- Hair steamers
- Hot appliances
- Tight hairstyles like ponytails
- Harsh hair chemical treatments
Good Hairstyle Practices
Some good hair styling practices for naturals include:
- Lowering the heating temperature before you sit under the blow dryer.
- Don’t do anything that will chemically process your hair.
- Avoid wearing hairstyles that are too tight and will place a lot of pressure or stress on your hair.
- Use care and gentleness when handling your hair – Your natural hair is very fragile and even simple things like combing, brushing, or pulling on it too roughly can cause breakage. So always be gentle with it.
The moment you made the decision to wear your hair in its natural state you made a commitment to wearing your hair in brand new styles you’ve never done in the past. Keep that commitment to yourself and adapt to the texture of your natural hair.
Eating The Right Foods
Last but not least you have to eat the right foods. Eating nutritious foods is an important and fundamental part of your natural hair care routine because it gives your hair the nutrients it needs from the inside so it can become more moisturized, stronger, and healthier. Eating the wrong type of foods too often can cause your natural hair to become damaged, dry, and dull much easier. The type of foods you should be eating more of include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat protein. There are vitamin supplements you can be taking as well to maintain good natural hair. However, it is far more beneficial if you focus on eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet first.
Society wants us to believe that straight hair is better than kinky and coily hair. However, when I truly started to feel beautiful and happy with myself is when I began rocking my naturally curly hair. And sticking to these 3 natural hair care basics on a daily basis makes sure it stays that way. What basics would you recommend newly naturals should stick to when they first begin their natural hair journey?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Beauty that walks as a whole.
Author Bio: Ashley loves to read and write about anything to do with beauty and fashion. She really enjoys connecting with other women who are a part of this natural hair movement. She writes for a few other blogs regularly as a guest contributor. You can find more of her articles on hair over at http://hairisthemanetopic.com.