If you are reading this, you have made or will be making the decision to begin a healthier path for the care of your natural African American hair.
So of course, just the thought of caring for natural hair can be very overwhelming, especially when you have to ask yourself:
So now what?
what’s my next step? what products do I need? where should I begin? Are just a few of the questions that will be swarming around in your head.
Well to give you a little more insight in the right direction I will be providing you with a few tips to help get you started:
Keep in mind the tips and advice being offered is based on the experience of myself and others, The same exact technique or product may not work specifically for you but will give you an idea of the types of products you should be focusing on in order to attain the success you are looking for. It is also going to be an opportunity for you to get to know your hair because no one is possibly going to know your hair better than you.
In order to be successful, especially being a beginner to the natural process, it is highly recommended that you choose a hair regimen that will work the best for you and your schedule. Be sure to focus on a regime that will be adaptable based on the many factors that may impact your hair on a day to day basis which could include (ex. humidity, temperatures, water, and even the products you use). It is going to be very important that you have the time and patience to be able to adapt to the everyday changes and the unique needs of your natural hair.
The key to your regimen working for you is going to be to know your hair and its tolerance. You are going to need to be the “Expert” when its comes to styling and maintenance of your hair. The better you know your hair the better results you are going to achieve.
So now let’s focus on the factors that are going to better serve you when choosing the products to include within your hair regimen. The two most important natural hair needs are going to mainly focus around “protein” and “moisture”. The hair needs protein to be healthy and strong, and moisture helps retain growth of the hair. Both playing a key role in the natural process. The sections below are going to briefly layout the products recommended for a suitable natural hair regimen that could work for you.
Moisturizing Shampoos– can be used once to twice a week, gentle cleansers should leave the hair feeling gentle and soft and should contain enough moisture elements to keep the hair hydrated.
Note: typically do not contain ammonium and sulfates (leaves the hair feeling tangled, stripped and rough to the touch).
Clarifying shampoos– can be used once or twice a month to strip the hair of any build-up, if you happen to frequent the use of heavy oils or grease.
Note:you may implement more than one type of shampoo into your regime at any time.
- Moisturizing Deep Conditioner– conditioning typically follow moisturizing shampoo, recommended once or twice a week for up to 20 minutes. Preferably with heat (hood dryer recommended)
Protein based treatments and Conditioners
Protein Treatments- Can be used for rebuilding the hair strands and works best when they are integrated into an already high moisture hair care routine.
Leave-in Conditioners– optional but recommended as it moisturizes dry hair, making it smooth, soft, and shiny. Serves as a detangler, as hair product, and a heat protectant.
Water based moisturizers and Natural oils
Water based moisturizers– Typically used for daily supplementation of moisture. The best water based moisturizers will contain aloe or water, emollient and humectant that draws moisture into hair to soften.
- Natural oils– are commonly used to “seal” in water based moisturizer products and to better enhance shine and pliability of hair. Recommended oils include (coconut oil, Shea butter, olive oil, castor oil and jojoba oil)
Note: To reduce loss of oils silk or satin scarves (bonnets) should be worn nightly.
Heat Reduction and Protective styling
Heat reduction is going to a highlighted key component when it comes to healthy hair. Heat can be very destructive to the hair and if used too often can eventually deplete the natural moisture content within the hair.
Protective Styling is a very important part of the process as well as they reduce a big part of the combing and manipulation that takes place of the hair. Protective styles kept the hair up, free of manipulation and breakage, and it cuts back tremendously on the use of heat. Recommended low manipulations styles include buns, braids and twist etc.
Just a little Food for thought: Even with all the information provided this is an experimenting process, so the key to building a healthy regimen that suits you may be trying a few products before finding the one that works the best for you.
So be sure to remember:
- wash hair properly
- shampooing at least once a weak
- use conditioner designed for curly hair
- never comb “wet hair”- more susceptible to breakage
- trim ends of hair
- give hair a break wear protective styles
- heat reduction
- wrap your hair nights (silk or satin scarves and/or bonnet)
As we take the time to reflect back all the tips of beginning the natural journey for our African American hair we have only covered the basics, but this is the first steps to getting you started and on your way (trust me you got this). Taking these steps as well as many others as you move forward is going to better assist you as you experiment and discover what works best for you. As you become more familiar with your hair spending a significant amount of time and money on hair products will be a thing of the past. I know in my eight years on this journey some less expensive products have worked the best for me, and rocking protective styles help better with my growth, but all this is just part of the process to getting to know what works for you and where you would like to be on this journey. At this point you should have an idea in place as to how you are going to be moving forward from here and what are going to be the best options for you and your hair.
–Natural By Popular Demand
If you like this post and have any questions or feedback, please feel free to reply in the comment section below. We look forward to hearing from you!
Please be sure to follow me on my hair journey on IG: @geekedtobenatural