How to care for natural hair

Don’t hide your curls, embrace them! It’s time to show the world the beauty of being natural. But to have a satisfying natural hair journey, one must understand exactly what “natural hair” is.

Hair that hasn’t been altered by chemical straighteners, like relaxers and texturizers is considered natural hair.

Afro hairstyles are commonly referred to as natural hair, but natural black hair can be worn in a plethora of styles besides a ‘fro.

Photo by Jonathan Scott
Photo by Jonathan Scott

Throughout history, natural hair has gotten a lot of backlash, especially naturals of color. It’s been called unprofessional, wild and messy – all because it doesn’t comply with society’s stereotypical views of what a person’s hair should look like.

Natural hair has also been looked down upon by many cultures; women and young girls are raised to believe that long hair is better, straight hair means beauty. Thus, the uproar of extensions and weaves overtime.

Photo by Jonathan Scott
Photo by Jonathan Scott

Why play it safe with your hair styles? Why be boring and risk damaging your hair for the sake of societal views? Why not treat your hair as if you would treat the rest of your body? It seems a lot more women are asking themselves these questions as natural hair is now a major trend!

But, reviving your hair from its natural state can be a lengthy process and takes patience.

You have to go through a transitioning stage, which is where your new growth (unrelaxed or textured hair begins to grow) shows, along with your chemically altered hair.

Just imagine having the top of your hair super curly and the rest straight. Embarrassing, right? Thus, most naturals, cut their straight strands and ends of hair, to only display their new growth.

Photo by Jonathan Scott
Photo by Jonathan Scott

Once adjusted to your new growth, you can begin to experiment with tons of natural products. But don’t worry, it’s totally normal! To save you some time and money, here are some popular and inexpensive natural hair brands and products.

But have no fear, that’s what regimens are for! Building a good regimen is the key to healthy hair. To obtain natural hair you have to increase the amount of moisture in your hair, while simultaneously decreasing hair damage and breakage.

Wash Day:

Photo by Jonathan Scott
Photo by Jonathan Scott

Taking care of your natural hair is extremely important!

Washing your hair on Sunday evenings tend to be the easiest way to keep a routine, but wash day should happen once a week.

“I look forward to my wash days,” says Briana Gorbea, a sophomore at Florida Atlantic University who has been natural for two years. “I’m very consistent with my hair care, and I think that plays a huge role with my hair growth. I find it almost therapeutic when tending to my hair on a regular basis.”

Daily Maintenance:

Photo by Jonathan Scott
Photo by Jonathan Scott

Try your best to moisturize your hair once a day, not leaving a strand behind. For the weakest or driest parts of your hair, apply extra moisture such as coconut oil.

Mona Abdelwahab, an FAU junior who has been natural for almost two and half years, says, “Throughout my natural hair journey I’ve learned that sometimes my hair is weighed down by all of these products. A good way to avoid weighed down hair is to moisturize your hair at night, then by morning your hair is not damp nor weighed down.”

Another easy trick is to use the steam from morning showers to refresh your hair.

That way, if you’re in a rush, you don’t have to wet your hair. For newly washed hair, use this heightened moisture technique: use a liquid moisturizer, an oil, then finish off with a cream to seal everything.

Detangling:

Photo by Jonathan Scott
Photo by Jonathan Scott

This is the most frightening part of this natural hair journey. This step can make or – literally – break your hair because, if you’re not careful, you can end up losing a great deal of hair.

When detangling you should have some sort of moisture in your hair (as you can see moisture plays a big role). Detangling dry hair is a total nightmare. Most naturals like to detangle with only wet hair, but you don’t have to do this as long as you have a product (see sidebar for suggestions) in your hair that will give you some sort of slip you’re fine.

Photo by Jonathan Scott
Photo by Jonathan Scott

Also, when detangling it is crucial to know your hair texture.  For example, if you have fine hair you should avoid combs to detangle by finger combing instead to avoid breakage.

It’s imperative to detangle at a slow and steady pace, beginning at the ends of hair then and working your way up to the roots.

If you’re prone to forming knots, make a point to detangle at least once a week.

Protective Styles:

Photo by Jonathan Scott
Photo by Jonathan Scott

If your goal is to retain length but your texture is easily prone to breakage, protective styles are going to be your besties.  

Braids, twists and cornrows are a few of the myriad of protective hairstyles you can do.

The best part about protective styling is that you don’t have to style your hair daily, which prevents hair breakage and makes it easier when getting ready for the day.

Although it’s ideal for a natural to wear their hair out, wearing your natural hair out all the time is a lot of upkeep while protective styles require minimal work. Also, when these protective styles are taken aloose, they turn into another hairstyle altogether. It’s like a two-for-one deal!

When you take your protective style out, new funky curl patterns and textures are beautifully displayed amongst your head. And all these styles and techniques give you a nice change from basic hair-do’s.

 

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