Whether you are just beginning your natural hair journey or are a couple of months or even years in, it is a learning and growing process that comes with ups and downs throughout. While everyone experiences certain setbacks on their natural hair journey, caring for and maintaining your natural hair does not have to be a pain. Listed below are 15 natural hair journey tips you should know for simple, healthy hair care:
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1) LET THIN, BRITTLE ENDS GO
It is not that uncommon for some individuals to start off their natural hair journey with hair that has been damaged in some way (e.g. heat damage, relaxers, etc.). The ends of your hair can often reflect the overall health of your strands. Thin, brittle ends can signal weak and damaged hair that has accumulated multiple split ends that have begun to travel upwards.
Thin ends can also be the result of harsh detangling and of course, a lack of regular, much-needed hair trims. So, in the effort to attain healthy natural hair, it is best to let thin, brittle ends go. In the end, you will be left with much healthier, thicker looking hair.
2) TEST NEW PRODUCTS WITH SAMPLE OR TRAVEL SIZES
Along your natural hair journey, there will be a lot of trial and error when it comes to finding the right products that work for your hair. Natural hair products can without a doubt get expensive. To avoid breaking the bank, a good tip is to try ordering sample or travel sizes of hair products to test out before buying the full-size version. By doing so, you will be able to see if the new products work on your hair instead of buying products that don’t end up working for you and wasting your money.
3) FIND OUT YOUR HAIR’S POROSITY
Knowing what your hair’s porosity is can help you better tweak your hair care regimen and in turn improve the overall health and manageability of your hair. What is hair porosity? Hair porosity is how your strands absorb and hold moisture. You may have low porosity, medium porosity, or high porosity hair.
Knowing what your hair’s porosity is will help you find better products and improve moisture retention throughout your strands. Moisture is an integral part to achieving healthy hair. So, knowing your hair’s porosity can help you attain and maintain healthy natural hair throughout your journey.
4) MOISTURIZE YOUR HAIR REGULARLY IF NOT DAILY
One of the most crucial keys to maintaining healthy natural hair is moisture. Naturally coily, kinky, and curly hair is drier in property and can quickly become excessively dry without proper hydration. Excessively dry hair can become brittle and wind up breaking off. So, it is fundamental that you have a moisturizing regimen in place to keep your hair hydrated. For the best results, you should moisturize your hair regularly if not daily.
5) COME UP WITH A HAIR CARE REGIMEN AND STICK WITH IT
When it comes to maintaining healthy natural hair, consistency is key. One way to stay consistent and continue healthy hair care is to come up with a regimen and stick with it. Pick a day that you want to designate as your “wash day” where you cleanse your hair and deep condition if desired. You may also want to give your hair a mid-week refresh from time to time by co-washing, re-styling, etc. This is something you can also add to your hair care regimen.
6) CONSUME A NUTRIENT-DENSE DIET
While what you do to and put on your hair externally can impact your hair’s health, your hair can also be affected by your internal state. It is essential that your diet consists of primarily nutrient-dense, healthful foods. When it comes to attaining healthy natural hair, your water intake can additionally play a big role. Hydration, both on the inside and out, is crucial to maintaining healthy, strong strands.
To add, protein is another important nutrient in your diet. Your hair strands are made of keratin, also a protein. Protein gives your hair its strength and structure. A protein-rich diet will give your strands the nutrients they need to continue to thrive. Certain nutrient deficiencies may cause hair loss / thinning. Speak with your health professional for a detailed nutrition plan.
7) DON’T RUSH THROUGH DETANGLING
If you are in search of natural hair journey tips, detangling will without a doubt become a regular part of your hair care routine. Detangling is important as if you don’t detangle your hair regularly, your strands may intertwine with each other, loc up and / or become matted. However, it is fundamental that you are always gentle during the detangling process and don’t rush through it. Rushing through this process can create snags and snarls throughout your hair and cause you to tear through them and lead to breakage.
8) DEEP CONDITION WEEKLY IF YOU CAN
To achieve healthy natural hair, it is of great benefit to incorporate deep conditioning into your hair care regimen. Deep conditioners consist of a combination of strengthening, hydrating ingredients such as protein, butters, oils, and other natural extracts.
They serve to replenish and nourish your strands with intense hydration and can overtime improve moisture retention throughout your hair. This process is even more beneficial if you deep condition weekly. By doing so will help your strands become accustomed to the treatments and again, help to increase moisture retention overall.
9) TRY FINGER DETANGLING
While using some sort of tool (e.g. the Denman Brush) to detangle your hair may be quicker, finger detangling can be very beneficial for the overall health of your hair throughout your natural hair journey. Finger detangling is just that – detangling your strands with your fingers.
It is a little more time consuming but the benefits are worth it. Finger detangling can help to reduce breakage as you are carefully feeling throughout your strands for any prominent tangles instead of just combing through and possibly tearing through tangles, creating that “snapping” sound and breakage.
10) PROTECT YOUR HAIR AT NIGHT
Another natural hair care essential is wrapping / protecting your hair at night before bed. A satin scarf or bonnet will protect your hair strands and help to preserve moisture. Cotton pillowcases can draw out moisture from your hair and cause breakage, so satin / silk hair wraps and pillowcases are a good aim.
11) REVIEW YOUR HAIR PRODUCT INGREDIENTS
To add to the list of natural hair journey tips, start reviewing the ingredients label on your hair products. Sometimes you can be doing everything right with your hair products as far as technique, but still don’t get your desired results. Often times, it is the product you are using where the ingredients simply aren’t compatible with your strands.
Some ingredients also aren’t good for your hair and can actually be detrimental to your strands overtime. Some hair care ingredients that are best to be avoided include silicones, parabens, formaldehydes, etc.
12) INCORPORATE SCALP MASSAGES INTO YOUR HAIR CARE REGIMEN
Good scalp health is integral to maintaining good hair health overall. Hair growth starts at the root so it is important that you set a healthy foundation. There are various ways you can upkeep good scalp health. One effective way to promote good scalp health and hair growth is with scalp massages. Scalp massages encourage blood flow at the roots which in turn boosts hair growth. Use an oil during your scalp massage for even more gain. The nutrients from the oil will be delivered right to your scalp.
13) USE THE L.C.O. OR L.O.C. METHOD TO MOISTURIZE YOUR HAIR
An effective way to moisturize your strands and keep them moisturized is with the L.C.O. or L.O.C. methods. Each letter stands for: “L = Leave-In”, “C = Cream”, “O = Oil”. These methods allow you to add multiple layers of moisture to your hair and seal it all in.
14) AVOID COMPARING YOUR HAIR JOURNEY TO OTHERS
Regardless of where you are at in your natural hair journey, it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing your hair journey to others. It is important to keep in mind that what works for someone else, no matter how similar of a hair type they may have, may not work for you. No two heads of hair are the same. It is all a matter of trial and error and finding out what works best for your hair.
15) PROTECTIVE STYLE, PROTECTIVE STYLE!
Box braids, twists, cornrows, and other protective styles, can be very beneficial when done / worn properly. Protective styles help protect the ends of your hair and reduce manipulation. In turn, you are able to retain more length and lessen stress on your hair. So, when in search of natural hair journey tips, protective styling on occasion can be highly favorable.
Do you have any other natural hair journey tips you’d like to add that could help other naturals along their hair journey? Share it in the comments down below!