This post is to help anyone who has decided or are undecided on taking the step to “go natural”. First off, what does this mean?
Natural, by definition, is not made or caused by humankind. In regards to hair, it means the state of an individual’s hair without any man-made chemicals and/or products. Therefore, there are no “perms” or “relaxers” put onto the hair.
So to “go natural”, you can not put chemicals in your hair. Anything labeled with “texturizer” or “no-lye relaxer” anything labeled to make your hair “manageable”, “curl softner” is a form of a relaxer.
Many people are confused with the term “texturizer” and how it is different from a relaxer. A texturizer uses the same chemicals that are used in a relaxer. They are a under-processed formula, that are not as extreme as a relaxer. So for a natural to use a texturizer to help make their hair manageable, pretty much is the same thing as getting a relaxer. It is important that you know these things while natural and before deciding to become natural.
Now that we clarified the meaning of being natural. We can move on to tips to start and keep your hair healthy.
Tip 1 : Are you ready for the maintenance?
A lot of ladies love to see the beauty of natural hair, the curls, the coils and hairstyles. All of that comes with patience, drive, and MAINTENANCE. It is important that when deciding to go natural or maintaining healthy natural hair that you keep up the maintenance on the hair. As time goes on, you will know how often you need to do your hair. If you are not willing to be consistent with up-keep of the hair, it is best not to pursue the natural hair journey. Unless, you will be regularly going to a natural hair stylist.
Tip 2 : Doing your research.
While I hope that this blog will be helpful so you won’t have to do A LOT of research, you HAVE to do research. You have to read about products, whether this may be if they are organic or full of silicone and sulfates. Read reviews about products you’re interested in or never heard of. Although everyone is different, you can read about a product that gets multiple good reviews and try it for yourself.
Tip 3 : Patience
This tip everyone hates. I hate it myself. But it is a must. You have to be patient with the process. When it comes to your hair, you have to treat it like your baby. It needs a lot of love, care, and ATTENTION. Over time, it will shine so beautifully and your hard work will pay off. The patience comes in with growing your hair and patience with finding the right products for you. Just treat your hair right and you will be rewarded in time.
Tip 4 : Treatments
Our natural hair texture is one that is naturally coarse and drier than any other hair texture. Every naturalista face this issue at least once during their journey, if not all the time. I faced it while I was relaxed, and definitely now. Treatments for your hair become very essential when natural. You have to treat your hair often enough that it can maintain manageability. Different types of treatments are: Protein, Keratin, Deep Conditioning, and Hot Oil. Those are the most popular used. I personally use deep conditioning every week (sometimes along with an oil). I keep the conditioner in for either: 1) three to six hours, 2) overnight, or 3) two hours with one of those hours under a hooded hair dryer. This gives my hair an ultimate deep treatment and helps so much with detangling and softening of my hair. I also use protein treatments for those times when my hair needs strengthening. Whatever treatment you choose, make sure it works for your hair and that you maintain a regular treatment schedule.
Tip 5 : Cut it
Naturalistas hate the scissors. I’ve always hated cutting my hair. Stylists always say “Your ends need trimming”, and cut way more than they were suppose to. The statement “cutting your hair makes it grow” is also not true. Cutting your hair prevents further damage to your hair. If you have split ends, this can cause healthier parts of your hair to become those split ends if you wait too long. If you’re not sure when to cut or if you need to cut your ends, here are a few signs:
- When doing a protective styles, your ends won’t smooth together.
- Your ends are very dry, brittle, and rough feeling.
- Your styles don’t last. (This could be other reasons as well, but this is one reason.)
- Your ends are very raggedy and uneven.
- Its been longer than 6 months. Even if your hair does well without splitting, you should cut your ends at LEAST two times a year. I personally try to cut mine at least three times a year. This gets rid of any possible damaged hair.
- Your hair is very tangled.
Tip 6 : O-I-L
Ladies, OIL is your best friend. Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Black Castor Oil. Every oil has a significant purpose. I made a post about different oils and their purposes, you can check that out here. This will help you decide which oils you need to incorporate into your hair regime. My favorites are coconut and olive oil.
Tip 7 : Satin or Silk
When taking care of your hair and maintaining it, you have to protect it after you worked so hard to make it healthy. When its time to go to bed, we move in our sleep and friction against fabric like cotton causes breakage to our hair. It is important to have a silk/satin bonnet or silk/satin pillow case. This will allow the hair to slide against and not cause friction like cotton does.
Tip 8 : Microfiber or T-shirt
When washing our hair, we tend to reach for a towel that we use to dry our body off after a shower or bath. This is the worst way to dry the hair. Using a towel causes breakage to the hair. Towels also completely dry out the hair. We do not want to dry out the hair after putting products in to moisturize it. Some of that moisture needs to be retained. Instead of a towel, try using a microfiber towel or old t-shirt. This prevents breakage because of the non-abrasive material and retains moisture to the hair.
Tip 9 : Be careful
As you wash your hair, one big task is detangling. Detangling is the step every naturalista struggles with. Detangling should not be painful or too much of a hassle. Of course, it takes time and patience but it should not take you very long to detangle. If this is the case, your hair is in need of a trim or treatment. Be careful and take your time while detangling. This process can either make your life easier or worst. If you are not careful, this can lead to split ins, breakage, and rips of the hair. None of which we want. Remember to never start combing the hair from the root but from the ends and work up to the root. This is especially important to prevent breakage.
Tip 10 : Don’t be scared
One thing I have been asked a lot is the shedding of my hair. If you believe your hair is shedding too much, it may be due to your diet, any medicine you’re taken, or traumatic occurrences (stress) in your life. I normally don’t comb my hair thoroughly during the week. The only time I detangled is when I wash my hair. I recommend that you try to comb it regularly so that it doesn’t become too tangled. You should have small amounts of hair come out as daily shedding. If you wait until wash day to detangle and you have a larger amount, this is normal as long as it doesn’t get bigger than the cup of your hand.
Did this help you decide on the journey to go natural?
Are you a natural and learned something new?
Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading Curls!