Natural hair, also known as “Afro-textured” hair, possesses unique characteristics that can present care and styling challenges. Moreover, “natural” can refer to Afro-textured hair untouched by heat styling or chemical processes like relaxing.
Understanding your hair’s inherent traits and embracing them rather than fighting against them will simplify your hair care routine. This natural hair journey provides an overview of maintaining and nurturing natural hair to keep it healthy hair, strong hair, and radiant hair.
1. Understanding Your Natural Hair
What’s your hair type?
Four different hair types:
The structure of your hair also contributes to defining your hair type:
spiral curls (A)
kinky curls (B)
coily curls (C)
Combine the number and letter to find your answer. For instance, if you have curly and coily hair, your hair type is classified as 3C.
What’s your porosity and density?
Porosity refers to how success your hair absorbs and retains moisture, while density pertains to the thickness (or thinness) of your strands. Depending on your hair type, both factors can be categorized as low, medium, or high.
What are your specific needs?
Common hair issues include dry hair, frizzy hair, breakage, and hair loss. You can also consider addressing these specific needs based on whether you have relaxed, color-treated, or heat-damaged hair.
You can effectively fill the gaps with the appropriate products by identifying your hair’s deficiencies.
2. Cleansing Your Natural Hair
Detangle before you wash your hair
Managing natural hair can be challenging due to its tendency to tangle and knot. It’s important to avoid washing tangled hair as it could lead to damage.
Incorporating moisturizers and utilizing a more detangling brush or wide-tooth comb can effectively remove knots, tangles, and shed hairs to address this.
Mix one part oil (coconut or olive) with three parts warm water in a spray bottle. Spray your hair until it’s thoroughly wet.
Apply moisturizing conditioner evenly on wet hair. Conditioners often contain oils and waxes, making hair slippery and easier to comb without breakage.
Use fingers to go through your hair, feeling for knots and tangles. This will prevent them from getting caught in the comb later. Gently separate the knots with your fingers.
Divide your hair into sections. Loosely twist or clip the sections not in use for easy handling.
Use a detangling comb to work through each section, starting from the ends.
Avoid harsh shampoos
Numerous shampoos include chemicals like ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, or sodium lauryl sulfate. While these substances create a luxurious lather when washing your hair, they can also lead to dryness and breakage.
Seek out labeled “sulfate-free shampoos” to ensure gentler care for your hair. You can also use sulfate-free shampoo cleansing products like “cleansing deep conditioner.”
Cleansing products don’t foam like regular clarifying shampoo but are gentler on your hair. You can find them at most drug stores and beauty supply stores.
Avoid over-washing your hair
Natural hair tends to be naturally dry, and overwashing can strip hair away its moisture. Generally, a wash day routine keeps your hair healthy, but remember washing your hair once a week is sufficient to maintain its health and hydration.
To combat excessive oiliness, consider using a dry shampoo. These sprayable, powder-based cleansers absorb excess oil without causing damage to the hair follicle.
Please don’t overdo it. Dry shampoos are typically removed by brushing, which can also damage natural hair growth.
Deep condition your hair weekly
You can create DIY deep-conditioning masks using everyday household items like natural oil such as olive oil, avocado oil, argan oil, honey, banana, and even mayonnaise. They can effectively strengthen and replenish your hair.
Squeeze your hair dry.
Gently remove excess moisture from your hair using a soft old t-shirt or a microfiber towel. Avoid rubbing your hair forcefully with a towel, as it can roughen the hair cuticle, leading to frizz and breakage.
3. Preparing Your Natural Hair for Styling
Use leave-in moisturizers
Natural hair needs more natural moisture than other hair types to stay healthy. You don’t need to spend much on leave-in conditioners to maintain moisture.
Olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter are all great moisturizers that can be left in your hair shaft after washing and conditioning.
Avoid heat styling whenever you can
Let your hair air dry as a substitute for a hair dryer, as blow-drying wet natural hair combines high heat and pulling with a styling brush. Curling irons, hot rollers, and hair straighteners are also harsh on your dry hair too.
You can try heavy-duty moisturizing to achieve straighter hair, but avoid heat styling whenever possible to prevent breakage.
Prevent frizz with hair’s moisture
Counterintuitively, well-hydrated hair is less prone to frizz as it doesn’t absorb environmental or natural moisture. Natural oils, such as olive oil and coconut oil, are effective frizz-fighters.
Additionally, various anti-frizz products are available for purchase. Silicone-based products are great for smoothing hair and fighting frizz.
However, they can sometimes leave hair feeling crunchy. Experiment to see if you like the results.
Sleep on satin to keep tangles away
Indulge in the luxurious touch of a smooth satin pillowcase or the gentle embrace of a silk scarf as you prepare for a night routine to preserve your hair overnight. This little act of pampering brings a touch of elegance and serves the practical purpose of preventing hair from tangling while you slumber.
4. Styling Your Natural Hair
Apply styling products in layers
Using hair gels and serums can help you achieve the desired hairstyle, but excessive use can make your hair appear greasy or stiff. Remember, it’s easier to add more products than to remove them!
Use rollers to straighten and set your hair.
Roller-setting your hair can straighten and smooth it with less heat than curling irons or straighteners. Prioritize using a heavy conditioner and thoroughly detangling before applying rollers.
Magnetic and satin-covered foam rollers are gentler on natural hair than other types.
Avoid Velcro or mesh rollers to prevent hair tangling and breakage.
Consider protective styles
Protective styles like box braids, twists, and knots keep hair secure, reducing styling time and relieving pressure on fragile ends. Online tutorials simplify these styles with easy DIY steps.
Braids, like other protective styles, require professional hairstylist expertise and can take hours to complete. On the other hand, buns and twists can be quickly done at home.
Moisturize your hairstyle daily
To maintain the freshness of all styles, spritz them daily with a blend of water, leave-in deep conditioner, and moisturizing oils like olive oil or coconut oil. This simple routine will keep your styles looking fabulous day after day.
Take out a style after three months
It is important to note that even protective styles like braids and twists should not be kept in for more than 12 weeks. After removing a style, remember to take deep conditioner and seal your hair for optimal care and health.
5. Keep in Mind
Use a leave-in with Sun Protection Factor or SPF
Using SPF on your scalp and hair is as important as using it on your skin. Sunscreen is a crucial step in skincare but is also vital for hair growth and hair care.
There are many products with SPF, like rinse-out shampoos, conditioners, and leave-in conditioners. Using a leave-in conditioner with SPF for easy reapplication every few hours in the sun. Like sunscreen, SPF must be reapplied to hair, which is difficult with rinse-out products used every few days.
Consider your diet
Ensuring that your diet is abundant in the proper nutrients can profoundly impact the health of your hair, skin, and nails. Incorporating the following foods, which are replete with essential fatty acids like omega-3s, into your daily intake can significantly benefit you.
Here are some foods you should strive to include as much as possible in your diet.
Fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and other fatty varieties are excellent choices for a nutritious diet.
Include these oils in your diet: flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and canola oil.
Soy: the versatile legume that brings us soybeans and tofu.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, ensure you find sources of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid. These nutrients are typically present in animal products, so intentional dietary choices are necessary to meet your daily requirements.
Purge old hair products
Don’t hesitate to spring clean your hair care products when reevaluating your hair care routine. They have an expiration date and can’t last forever! Here’s a quick list to help you determine when it’s time to bid farewell to your expired products:
The product has an unpleasant odor.
The product’s texture has changed.
The product looks funny and shows signs of being rancid.
The product is almost depleted.
The product no longer suits your hair type or addresses your concerns.
Avoid heat styling when possible
Excessive use of heat tools is often blamed for split ends and hair damage. Consider minimizing heat exposure by air-drying your hair whenever possible.
When heat styling is necessary, protect your hair using a heat protectant and set the tool to the lowest temperature.
Invest in a salon visit
Get care of your hair questions answered by a professional. Book an appointment at a salon specializing in natural hair and learn how they’ll work with your hair regularly.
It’s important to communicate with your stylist to establish the foundation openly – how often you need a cut, deep treatment frequency based on condition, and the best styling products for your hair type. Keep your hair healthy between salon visits by moisturizing and avoiding excessive heat.
This minimizes the need for deep treatments or excessive cuts the next time you see your stylist, as your hair won’t be damaged.
Taking care of natural hair requires patience, consistency, and understanding. Celebrate its uniqueness, and remember that natural hair can be a vibrant expression of individuality and beauty with the proper care and attention.
Avoid overwhelming yourself by obsessively ticking off every item on your checklist. Remember, your journey is a continuous process of growth and change.
Stay mindful of your hair’s transformations and remain adaptable to your routine.
Looking for hair care products? Check out Vitamins Revive for our selection of natural hair care products! With a wide range of shampoos, and conditioners, we can help you find the perfect ingredients to keep your mane looking its best. Shop now and give your locks the nourishment they deserve!