Natural Hair, Please Care
When I first went natural for good, I must admit that I didn’t really know what the blank I was doing. My mother who is and has been a hair dresser since I can remember, was of little help. I still love her though! The second wave of the natural hair movement had not yet began, and she was used to working with relaxed hair. Needless to say, I had to learn through trial and error, but you don’t have to suffer the same fate. This guide will put you on the path to healthy kinks, coils, and curls.
Top 10 Don’ts
1. Trying to comb through your hair
If your hair is curly or coily, you would do well to learn the art of a wash ‘n go. A wash ‘n go can get you through a week without a comb. If your hair is kinky, learn how to do a twist out or just spot-pick your hair. Reserve combing you hair for wash days. Be sure to use a good detangler or conditioner and a wide-tooth comb. If you don’t take heed, you could end up looking like this epic fail. Straight up from the 1970’s!
2. Not training your hair
Natural hair, just like permed hair, has to be trained. Remember when you used to wrap your hair every night? That was training. If your hair is already long enough to put in a pineapple (a very loose ponytail situated on the top of your head), then use a satin scarf to tie around your head. This will keep your hair in place while conserving your hair’s moisture level vs cotton which will reduce your hair’s moisture. Once you take your scarf off in the morning, all you should have to do is take your hair down, finger-style it, and lay down your edges. If you did the big chop, you probably have a TWA (teeny weeny afro), so using a scarf will flatten your hair. In this case, I suggest either using a satin bonnet or buying a satin pillowcase. That brings me to the next don’t.
3. Wetting or washing your hair everyday
Instead of completely wetting your hair, try using a spray bottle of water to dampen your hair. I use a salon-quality continuous spray 10 oz. Flairosol water bottle that I purchased from Cosmo Pro. They can also be purchased through this link on eBay. Dampening hair is a good trick to use before applying product to refresh your hair. The more that you get your daily routine down pat, the less product you will have to use in between wash days. I’ve gotten to the point that I only spray my edges and gel them down; no need to re-apply product to my whole head every day.
4. Using the same products you used with your relaxed hair
The needs of natural hair are very different from the needs of relaxed hair, therefore, you should not use the same products. I am not exactly the most brand-loyal person, but these are a few of my natural hair mainstays:
- SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Reparative Leave-In Conditioner – 16 oz
- ECO STYLER OLIVE OIL STYLING HAIR GEL MAXIMUM HOLD 16 OZ.
- NOW Foods 100% Natural Castor Skin Oil 16 oz Bottle
- Jamaican Mango – Lime Black Castor Oil Original, 4 oz
5. Failing to deep condition and steam
Deep conditioning coupled with steaming allows your hair to take on moisture. Check out this post on hair steaming. What you do with the moisture is on you, which brings me to the next don’t.
6. Not Sealing your hair
After you have gotten all of that good ole’ moisture into your hair, you have to lock it in. Use a sealing oil to do the trick. Click here to read a post that teaches you which oils to seal with.
7. Drying your hair with a towel
A major no-no! Use an old t-shirt instead. The tiny loops on towels will pull your hair, rough up the cuticle (making it more prone to breakage), and dry your hair before you have a chance to seal in the moisture. The use of a t-shirt is much more gentle on your natural hair, and it also gives you a chance to recycle at the same time!
8. Using direct heat more than a few (3-4) times a year
You know the reason that your hair grew so long and healthy when you were a little girl? Your mom only put heat to it every once in a while! Not using direct heat (flat ironing, hot curling, and blow drying without a diffuser) can be a challenge for a girl accustomed to relaxers. New naturals, may think that using direct heat a couple of times of month instead of daily is okay, but hardcore naturals have been known to go several months without using any direct heat. They reserve its use for length checks and hair trims.
9. Not ever getting your hair trimmed
Speaking of trims, trimming hair helps to prevent split ends from traveling up the shaft of the hair, which in turn means less damaged hair. There is nothing sadder than a head full of split ends; except for the girl who doesn’t want to let them go! Long hair is not the same as healthy hair, and wasn’t healthy hair one of the reasons that you ditched the creamy crack in the first place?
10. Wearing weaves or braids
Respect your edges!!!!!!! I do NOT understand why a girl would go natural, and then put synthetic weave in her hair or too-tight cornrows to facilitate the use of human hair! I know that this is a personal choice, but again, a major component of going natural is health. Not that I have anything against braids or weaves. I’ve seen some absolutely gorgeous ones, but I have also seen some ate-out edges and tension-damaged hair and scalps. That’s soul crushing to a woman. If you put in the time to get to know and work with your hair, you will find that it is beautiful and healthy enough to stand alone; just like you!