Achieving healthy natural hair does not have to be difficult. While everyone’s hair is different, there are a few basic guidelines and tips you can follow and implement into your hair care regimen to help you attain healthier hair. Listed below are 10 natural hair do’s and don’ts for healthy strands:
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1) DO: Know your hair’s porosity
To simplify your hair care regimen, it helps to know your hair’s porosity. Knowing the porosity of your hair, or how well it is able to hold and absorb moisture, can help you attain healthier strands. There is high porosity, low porosity, and medium / normal porosity hair. In addition, there are certain traits that come with each porosity type. You can find out what your hair’s porosity is by doing a water test. Simply take one of your hair strands and place it in a cup of water.
If your hair strand sinks to the bottom of the cup, you have high porosity hair. If your hair strand stays floating near the top of the cup, you have low porosity hair. Finally, if your hair strand stays floating in the middle, you have medium / normal porosity hair. Highly porous hair absorbs moisture easily as a result of the hair cuticle being raised, but also loses moisture quickly because the hair cuticle has difficulty laying flat, often due to damage. Therefore, if you find that you have high porosity hair, you may have to use thicker / heavier products in order to retain moisture.
With low porosity hair, the hair cuticle is more sealed yet has difficulty absorbing moisture. This is why many naturals with low porosity strands find that their hair takes a while to dry. To maintain healthy low porosity hair, you may have to tweak a few steps in your hair care regimen to better cater to your hair’s needs. Moisture is an integral part to achieving healthy natural hair. So, knowing what your hair’s porosity is is definitely one of the natural hair do’s.
2) DON’T: Rush through detangling
Detangling, whether you prefer to finger detangle or use a detangling tool, is a necessary task for natural hair. Leaving your hair tangled can lead to matted, locked hair and breakage. However, the detangling process can hurt the health of your hair if you are not careful. It is important that you are gentle when detangling. Work in small sections starting from your ends and working your way upwards.
Additionally, it helps to use a leave-in conditioning product with slip, such as the Kinky-Curly Knot Today, to help loosen tangles and ease the process. Rushing through the detangling process can interfere with length retention and cause mid shaft splits and tears throughout your strands.
3) DO: Moisturize your hair regularly if not daily
As mentioned previously, one of the most important parts to attaining and maintaining healthy natural hair is moisture. To add to the list of natural hair do’s and don’ts for healthy hair, it is essential that you make the effort to moisturize your hair regularly if not daily. You can moisturize your hair with products such as leave-in conditioners and seal in the moisture with your choice of an oil or butter.
To add, you can follow the L.C.O. or L.O.C. methods to moisturize your hair and retain as much moisture as possible. These methods consist of applying a leave-in, oil, and cream, in the order of your choosing. Keeping your strands moisturized will promote easier manageability, growth, as well as stronger strands. The more frequently you moisturize your hair, the better in return.
4) DON’T: Compare your hair journey to others
With social media right at our fingertips, it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing our hair journey to someone else’s. Even when watching hair tutorials, we may expect our hairstyle to turn out looking exactly like the person’s in the video when that is not always the case. It is important to remember that no two heads of hair are the same.
Someone may have the same hair type as you, but may have a different porosity or texture – so on and so fourth. Through trial and error and a little research, you can find out what products, techniques, or styles work best for your hair. Regardless of hair type, texture, length, etc., your natural hair is unique in its own way.
5) DO: Deep condition weekly
To upkeep healthy, strong strands, deep conditioning can be of great benefit. Deep conditioners feature a combination of hydrating and strengthening ingredients such as protein, oils, and other natural extracts. When used with a hooded hair dryer and shower cap, the deep conditioner is able to more thoroughly absorb into your hair strands and produce better results. Deep conditioning weekly can improve the overall health of your hair including bettering moisture retention.
Click here to see our favorite deep conditioners for natural hair:
6) DON’T: Forget to protect your hair at night
Good hair care shouldn’t just stop after styling. Preserving the health of your hair can and should continue into your nighttime routine. One way to protect your strands and encourage healthier hair is to wrap your hair up at night. Satin or silk is a preferred material to protect your strands with as these materials can help prevent breakage. You can use a satin scarf or bonnet and either pineapple or twist your hair up. If you don’t protect your hair at night and leave it out, this can lead to tangles, breakage, and matted hair, especially with the use of a cotton pillowcase.
7) DO: Monthly protein treatments
Continuing the list of natural hair do’s and don’ts for healthy strands, monthly protein treatments are a highly beneficial addition to your hair care regimen. For one, our hair is made of a protein known as keratin. It is what gives your hair strands their strength and structure.
Too little protein, whether in your diet or applied directly to your hair, can create weak strands that are more susceptible to breakage from daily wear and tear. Completing a monthly protein treatment can help to fill in any cracks and gaps throughout the hair cuticle and improve the health and strength of your strands.
8) DON’T: Go without protective styling
Daily wear and tear can eventually start to deteriorate the health of your strands and lead to various issues if you are not gentle with your hair. It is important that you give your hair a break from time to time. Protective styling is a great way to do so. Protective styles like box braids, twists, cornrows, etc., can be very beneficial for your hair when done with care. For one, protective styles lessen the amount of manipulation (e.g. combing) done to your hair.
This in turn can help you retain length as less breakage will be produced. However, to get the best results with your protective styles, try to avoid braiding your styles too tightly or sleeking / pulling back your styles too tight. This can create excess tension on the hair follicles and cause breakage and thinning.
9) DO: Scalp massages
The health of your scalp is an integral part to maintaining good hair health overall. Hair growth begins at the root so it is important that you set a healthy foundation. Regular scalp massages help to boost blood flow circulation at the roots and stimulate hair growth. Using an oil during your scalp massages can provide even more benefits as the oils deliver a range of nutrients.
10) DON’T: Neglect your hair
While we may all have those times where we do not feel like doing our hair, it is imperative that you do not fall into the habit of neglecting your hair. This means not going days without moisturizing your hair in some way. It also means not leaving your hair tangled and matted up for days on end without washing it.
It helps to come up with a hair care regimen to follow that can help you maintain a routine. Select a day or two out of the week to set as your “wash day” where you shampoo, condition / deep condition, etc., along with a nighttime care routine or styling regimen. Regularly neglecting your hair can lead to breakage, thinning, product build-up, and other problems.
Do you have any other natural hair do’s and don’ts you’d like to add? Share it in the comments down below!