Welcome to Natural Hair 101 affectionately known as "You Probably Already Know This But.."
I know what you’re thinking, Natural is THE THING now and has been some time. So why is this blog post relevant?
I completely understand but what I have realized as a professional hairstylist and now even more as an owner a natural hair care product line is that there’s still a need for answers and education. There’s a new natural literally every day and with each new natural or returning natural they have questions. Questions that need answers, and I, unlike Sway have the answers. There is an abundance of information out there in the internet streets and even more MISINFORMATION. I feel a duty to help you comb through the tangled up misinformation that's out there.
So here we are and here is where we begin. You ready B? I'm going to break this down into digestible snippets so that you can take what you learn and apply today!
8 Key Things to know about
Combing: This is not Nike ma’am. Please don’t just do it. Be gentle, be kind. Always remember, ends first then work your way up.
Detangling: A semi-necessary evil. You know some things aren’t for every head of naps. Constantly detangling is one. Regular detangling does not have to mean every doggone day. Just choose which works for you. Complete detangling, detangling just enough style and get by, or just detangling with wash sessions.
Shampooing: It’s not the devil and not all are strippers(of essential hair oils). Don’t fall prey to all of the greenwashing!
Co-washing: Consider this an enhancement, not a substitute. It’s great when your strands need a mid-week pick-me-up.
Pre-Pooing: An extra step BUT the benefits are bountiful! Great to add to a monthly hair spa day.
Protective Styling: It’s all about your scalp and your ends. Protect and love them and they shall flourish. Long term protective styles shouldn’t be installed longer than 3 months, and that’s pushing it. Don’t get lazy sis.
Stretching: Good for your body, even better for your hair(especially the coarser your hair is.) Sometimes detangling can seem time-consuming and ineffective, but paired with stretching, it’s the bomb!
Teas and Herbs: Not only good for a cuppa, it’s an extra dose of love for your strands. Try out a rinse tea or an infused oil rinse. The benefits are plentiful.
Hair Regimens, Hair Wash Days, Hair Typing, Hair Styling, Hair Products, Hairdos, Hairdonts, Hairfails, Curlygirl Method, No Poo, Low Poo. #distewmuch
Newsflash, it doesn’t have to be this complicated. Natural hair shouldn't be adding any stress to your life!
Now, while this mock-up of a hair regimen can help those new to the game, it’s not something set in stone nor does it have to be followed to a T. I like to think of it as a game plan that will help you on your healthy hair journey. Required? No. Helpful? Yes.
The most important thing to do for your hair is listen to it and decide what works best for you.
A Basic Hair Care Regimen should consists of a WHAT/WHEN/HOW. That is to mean WHAT are you doing, WHEN are you doing something, and HOW are you doing it.
The main components of a Hair Care Regimen are Cleansing, Conditioning, Treating, and Retaining. All you need is a dedicated wash schedule and the the answers to your WHAT/WHEN/HOW. Take the bare bones Regimen below and adapt to your needs!
Cleansing and Conditioning- Weekly/every 2 weeks (shampoos, or clay washes)
- Clarifying at least one time a month if you're a heavy product user.
- Co-washing to rebalance moisture level if hair is severely dry and detangle if necessary.
Treating- Deep Condition every 4 weeks (add in a pre-poo, tea rinses, or hot oil treatments if you’re feeling fancy)
Retaining- Protective style or Low Manipulation, Scalp Stimulation Ends Maintenence.
BOOM. Dassit. Let me Break it down even more!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Your hair is a plant and plants need water, this is why oils don’t hydrate your hair. Oils will nourish your and give it certain nutrients, but only water and water based products will keep your hair nice and hydrated. There's more on this on our Facebook page. Plus check out The Thirst is Real blog post as it really breaks down the importance of hydration and your natural hair.
Product Choices, Product Uses, Product Junkies.
There are an abundance of natural hair products avaible for curlies on the market now. It is literally boomin’ yall. So what is a curly to do? What about all the ingredient nasties and fillers? How do you know what to choose and what to leave on the shelf?
As an ingredient nerd who has a passion for Cosmetic Chemistry, I say this to you. Don’t fall prey to the greenwashing. Yes there are some ingredients that some people don’t like, or irritate their hair, or doesn’t work for their hair. That’s why you should always choose what works for you. For instance, silicones. Now some methods and regimens will tell you to steer clear of them, for reasons like theyre hard to rinse out of your hair, it’s a filler item, etc. I won’t. Some naturals see film forming and silicones as dirty words but they aren’t. Silicones be harder to wash out but that’s just because they are good at doing their job. That’s where a clarifying shampoo will come in handy! On the other hand, when you want to straighten your hair to see dat hang time a form filming silicone based heat serum is your best friend! See? It’s not a dirty word. Neither is chemical(because literally everything is a chemical.) It's also important to remember that just because an ingredient is touted as natural and safe doesn’t mean it is. An essential oil, which falls under that category if used improperly can be very dangerous.
Growth and Healthy Hair
I will always and forever be a proponent of healthy hair versus long hair. What is long beautiful natural hair if it’s not healthy? Just remember that along with taking care of your hair and scalp, you also need to make sure you are eating your way to healthy hair. Toss in a hair vitamin or daily vitamin if you want! Just know that you might go through a hair struggle or two. Be patient, be consistent. It can be frustrating but just know that we are here to help with posts like these and more. Click here for a quick tip on our Facebook page. I can't forget about shrinkage either! Some naturals hate and some love it. Read this if you want to love your shrinkage!
So You Want to Go Natural?
To all the curlfriends transitioning from relaxed hair to natural. Here are some key points to keep in mind if you’re transitioning. (also, the cosmetologist in me has to say it. issa relaxer not a perm.) A relaxer relaxes your natural hair pattern and chemically changes it to be straighter. A perm is done also with chemicals and rollers(in simplest terms) and chemically changes and sets your hair to be curly. ISSA RELAXER NOT A PERM.
Ok. Moving on.
Big Chop- If you’re ready go ahead and chop off those dead ends! Embrace your naps!
Longer Transition- Maybe you’re not ready to chop just yet. Or maybe you’ll do mini-chops. That’s cool. Be mindful of breakage. It can sometimes be inevitable when dealing with two very different types of textures.
It’s okay to love another natural’s curls/coils/kinks, it’s not okay to covet them. Be in love with your hair ! It’s your crowning glory, especially made for you.
Get a Transitioning Kit- They weren’t around for a lot of our journeys to natural but are readily available now. Try one out, it comes with mostly everything you would need when first transitioning.
Protective Styles and Blending Styles are your friends. Don’t want to Big Chop or deal with two textures? Toss in a protective style and keep it moving. Braids, Wigs, Sew-ins. Blending styles with curlformers, perm rods, and flexirods are also great ways to blend your two textures and get to know what your hair likes.
Have a plan of action. Figure out your hair care regimen and be dedicated about it. Your hair will thank you for it. ( Want a uniquely curated plan of action just for you? Send me an message!)
The fastest breakdown of Natural Hair Basics ever is complete. How do you feel? Do you have more questions? If so a Digital Hair Repair consultation is the best option for you!
It will be like having a hair bestie in your back pocket.