Welcome to Natural Hair 101 or You Probably Already Know This But..
It’s 2017 and I know what you’re thinking, Natural is THE THING now and has been some time now so... Why is this story relevant? I felt the same as you, until I hopped onto my brand new Reddit account(Yes I’m late)and saw whole subreddit communites devoted to haircare, natural hair and the like. Can you guess what questions were being posed here? Yep! All the questions that I thought EVERYONE just HAS to know by now. So I skipped from subbreddit to subreddit happily sprinkling answers about like glitter. Linking redditors to my old yet pertinent blog posts and it struck me. There’s still a need here. There’s a new natural every day and with each new natural or returning natural they have questions. Questions that need answers, and I, unlike Sway have the answers.
So here we are and here is where we begin. You ready B?
8 Key Things to know about Natural Hair.
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.
Now, while the skeleton 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. Be on the lookout for a dedicated post to this topic alone!
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?
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.) On the flip side of this 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.
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.
There you have it folks. A detailed breakdown of some Natural Hair Basics!
We will be opening up our Digital Hair Repair consultation option very soon!
It will be like having a hair bestie in your back pocket.
In the meantime, if you still have a question shoot me an email. I love hair questions!