When I researched the best way to care for my hair, I soon became aware of the mistakes was making and why I had problems managing it. I didn’t even comb my hair correctly!
Not being able to put a fine tooth comb through my hair from root to tip led me to believe my hair was flawed. However, kinky, coily, Afro-textured hair should be combed with a wide tooth comb, ideally when damp.
There are many examples of misconceptions related to detangling, moisturizing and styling natural hair.
If you think your hair is “too tough” to go natural, do your research before concluding this.
Not understanding your hair makes it hard to manage. Here are some important facts about natural hair…
Moisturizing natural hair
- Water moisturizes the hair, not oil (oil seals in the moisture).
- Water is your friend, not your enemy so don’t avoid it.
- A leave-in conditioner should be water-based and full of natural ingredients.
- Washing and deep conditioning the hair weekly helps to keep it moisturized during the week.
- Natural oils and butters are great for sealing.
- Many old-school black hair care products have sulfates, silicones, petroleum and mineral oil. These clog and dry out the hair over time.
Detangling natural hair
- Natural hair must be detangled regularly and shed hair should be removed in the process.
- Finger combing reduces breakage and helps maintain hair thickness.
- Afro-textured hair is actually quite delicate and must be handled with care to avoid breakage.
- Hair can be detangled in the shower to save time.
- Oil can also be used to help finger detangle the hair. Kinkier hair textures may find this method more beneficial.
- Shrinkage is good! It shows your hair is healthy and able to revert back to its natural curl pattern when wet (unlike heat damaged hair).
- Shrinkage demonstrates your hair’s elasticity, which is important for strength and vibrancy.
- Natural hair can be stretched without using heat, simply putting your hair in large braids, twists or bantu-knots will stretch it out and make it more manageable for styling.
- African threading is also a great way to achieve a heatless blowout.
- Natural hair is very diverse and has many styling options appropriate for all occasions. Check out the posts: The versatility of natural hair part 1 and 2
- There are many styles you can do after washing your hair to stretch it for the following day. These styles allow you to get on with your day too. Check out the post: Stretching and Styling Your Hair After Washing.
Maintaining your hair
- Rather than tough, natural hair is delicate and prone to breaking off at the ends. Protective styles – where your ends are tucked away – help to retain length.
- Sleeping on a satin pillowcase or covering your hair with a satin scarf will help to retain moisture while you sleep.
- Manage your hair in sections (usually 4-6 sections); don’t just rake a comb through your hair. A small section of hair is less daunting than dealing with a full head of hair.
- Putting your hair into 4 or 5 big twists or braids at night will help maintain the style.
There is much more information about natural hair relating to: products, hair types, styling and even how diet affects the hair. Do your homework and you will feel more confident about going natural. Everyone’s hair is different, so adapt the information to suit you. No two heads of Afro hair is the same. That’s what wonderful about natural hair.
Saying you can’t go natural because your hair is too tough, is like saying you can’t drive because it’s too complicated.
Experienced drivers never say driving is too difficult because they have learned how to work a car and deal with the roads. Your hair isn’t too tough; you just haven’t learned how to manage it, yet.
What do you wish someone told you before going natural?