A little of over a year ago I made a big hair decision and decided to go natural. If you missed that story you can read about it in my past blog post HERE. I've learned so much about my hair during this time and I had to change my entire hair routine. I'm shocked that I actually survived it. Here are 5 tips that I've learned that will help you survive too!
Wash your Hair Frequently
When I first went natural I got a lot of advice. One of the things I heard the most was don't wash your hair as often as you used to when it was relaxed. Well I quickly learned that did not work for my hair. I actually wash it more now than I ever did before-- about every 5 days. My hair is so much more manageable when I wash it regularly. My hair sheds a lot! I have an autoimmune disease that causes hair shedding so there is nothing I can do about it. Washing my hair regularly allows me to get rid of all the shed hair. I'll share more in a future post about my autoimmune disease. By the way, there is a difference between broken hair and shed hair. When your hair sheds you lose the entire strand at the root. Damage hair brakes off from the hair shaft. So washing my hair frequently works best for me. I also use a clarifying shampoo every time I wash it. I know this is a big No-No in the natural hair world, but I'll explain below when I talk about porosity.
Figure out what Products Work for You (don’t become a product junkie!)
When I first went natural I went out and purchased every hair product I could find. I literally had both of the cabinets under my sinks filled to the brim with everything from gel to deep conditioner, and everything in between. What I quickly found out (and hundreds of dollars later!) was that not all products work on my hair. In fact most products do not work on my hair. I literally only use 3 types of products now. Read my previous post to find out what they are. Start off with just a few products and ask around for recommendations-- watch a lot of YouTube videos until you find out what works for you. Honestly, a lot of it is trial and error.
Determine your hair porosity - yes, there is science behind this!
This is my most important tip and it explains everything I've shared so far. So to make a long, complex story short, different hair types absorb moisture (water) differently. Either your hair does not absorb moisture (low-porosity) or it absorb all of it (high-porosity) or you fall somewhere in between. If you want to read more about it and test your hair porosity, Naturally Curly explains it very well. My hair has very low porosity. It absorbs very little moisture. This is important to know because that means that my hair does not really absorb most products. As a result, things like creams just dry on top of my hair, cake up, and then flake. So I can not use them. This is also why I have to use a clarifying shampoo because I need to ensure that I wash out all the product that I use out of my hair. Figuring this out (which was only 3 months ago!) has made the world of difference in how I care for my hair.
Learn how to do protective styles
This was a hard one for me because I can not do a cornrow braid! I can only braid in a french-braid style (over, not under). I also can not do a flat twist!!! Which I am dying to learn. However, I can do a serious 2-strand twist and finger coils. These style are very easy (although they take forever) and they last a long time. Protective styles are important because they give your hair a break from being manipulated and protective styles give your hair a break. I am admittedly a lazy curly girl-- I mostly do wash and go's, so my hair gets a much needed break with a protective style.
Trim your hair regularly
Shrinkage is a struggle! Cutting your hair as a curly girl is hard because it makes you feel like it is never growing. Your ends will get dry quickly and your ends are the oldest part of your hair so it is important to keep them moisturized and trimmed. I get mine trimmed at least every 8-12 weeks. Sometimes I do it myself and sometimes I go the the salon. I have been able to tell the difference and it keeps my ends soft and healthy!
Everyone's hair is different and these tips may not work for you. Get to know your own hair and what it requires. I hope my experience and these tips work for you!
What was the one thing that helped you survive the first year of natural hair?
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