I’ve been completely natural for a little over 1 year and transitioned for a full year prior to that and let me tell ya it aint been easy. First was the ever so awkward transition period when I had thin relaxed ends but the rest was thick and kinky hair. Next came the “big chop” and getting used to my TWA (teeny weeny afro) all the while trying to figure out what products worked best on my hair. Along the way I read as many natural hair blogs and watched as many videos as my eyes could stand. I was over loaded with natural hair care information but I learned what was best for my hair by trial and error. Recently I attended a natural hair event, which was also full of great information. I learned a few new tricks but also realized I retained a lot of information from my days as a hair stylist which feels like a lifetime ago. Without further ado here are my need to know tips for healthy natural hair.
Protective Styling is Key
A protective style is any hairstyle that keeps your ends protected and tucked away. The main use of a protective style is to keep you from having to do and redo your hair. It’s a style that needs little to no manipulation. My favorite protective styles are halo braids and Marley twists.
Keep Your Scalp Clean
When you have a protective style such as box braids or Marley Twists it can be a little troublesome to wash them on a regular basis and they take forever to dry. Instead of going through all of that hassle try cleaning your scalp with witch hazel and a cotton ball. Your scalp will remain clean and healthy and you don’t have to worry about the whole bothersome washing process.
To Comb or Not to Comb
I’ll be honest, unless I’m doing a protective style on my hair and not rocking my big fro I only comb my hair once a week. That’s right! I comb my hair out with a wide toothcomb once a week but other than that I finger detangles all the other days. It’s just a personal preference and I have seen a difference in length since I stopped raking a comb through my hair every day.
If you’re not familiar with this term co-washing is simply using conditioner to wash your hair instead of shampoo. A lot of naturals swear by co-washing but you still need to clean your scalp so shampooing is still important. If you choose to co-wash your hair all week by the weekend you’re definitely going to need to wash with a clarifying shampoo. By using nothing but conditioner and hair products all there is going to be a lot of build up in your hair and a good clarifying shampoo is going to get it all out so you can start over fresh.
Don’t be a Product Junkie
This one is easier said than done. I myself have been guilty of buying every kind of curly hair product I can get my hands on but it can get costly and a lot of the products I’ve gotten have been a waste of money. What’s important is what the products are made of. If you know a product with shea butter works wonders for your hair than make sure what ever you buy has shea butter listed as one of the first three ingredients in it. The first three ingredients are what are mostly in the product you’re buying. Knowing what works in your hair and what is in the products you’re buying will help you save some money.
It May Work for Them but Not You
I mainly became a product junkie because I saw all of the girls on YouTube with beautiful, elongated spring like curls and I wanted my hair to look like theirs. News flash… I don’t have the same hair texture as all of those girls in the videos! Once I realized my hair was different I stopped getting discouraged when I didn’t achieve the look that they were able to using what they used. You have to use what works for you. It may take some trying but you’ll find your perfect product soon enough.
Embrace Your Hair
I’ve gone my entire life envying girls with gorgeous curly hair. I always wanted to rock curly hair but I was afraid to because growing up I was told I didn’t have “good hair” and that stuck with me for a long time. Now I couldn’t be happier that I decided to ditch the relaxers and go back to my natural hair. Sure I have bad hair days but you can have those no matter what you do to your hair. No matter what your curl pattern is, no matter how long or short your hair is, own it! It’s your hair and it is beautiful because it is different.
I hope these tips help you whether you’re transitioning, natural or thinking about going natural. Just remember it’s your hair and its your choice what you do to it. Do what makes you look and feel good.