Going Natural? 10 Tips You Need to Know
For varying reasons, a number of SoVAiN ladies have decided to grow out their relaxers and "go natural." Going natural can be exciting but it can also be daunting....I know women who haven't seen the natural texture of their hair since they were seven and have no idea how to care for it. On top of that, dealing with the "in-between" phase and having hair that is two totally different textures at once can be frustrating. We created ten tips that will help you on your road to going natural.
1. Deep condition your hair every 3-5 days. Deep conditioning hair is an important part of any natural hair routine. Naturally curly hair tends to be extremely dry. Dry hair is more susceptible to damage from normal day to day wear. Deep conditioning is critical to obtaining healthy, bouncy, shiny hair. How often you deep condition may vary during the course of your natural hair journey. If you have color-treated hair, hair that is naturally thick/course, or if you have naturally porous hair you my choose to deep condition more often. If, after a few months of deep conditioning hair every 5 days you notice that your hair is healthier, you may choose to deep condition every 7-10 days. However, when beginning your natural hair journey, it is a good idea to default to deep conditioning hair every 3-5 days in order to prevent dryness and damage. Be sure you are deep conditioning the proper way: with heat and for a minimum of 30-45 minutes.
2. Invest in a shower filter. Believe it or not, most unfiltered water can actually cause damage to our hair over time. It is estimated that at least 65% of Americans have hard water at home. The degree of hardness varies tremendously with geography, but those with extremely hard water know intimately the problems associated with it. Hard water can cause build up and leave curly hair dry and frizzy. Shower filters are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased at most hardware stores, Target, WalMart, etc.
3. Avoid direct heat. A heat source is great for deep conditioning, not so much for styling. Blow dryers, flat irons, pressing combs, etc. all cause heat damage making our already dry hair even more dry and frizzy. So many naturals believe their hair just won't grow and the reality is, their hair is breaking off as fast as it's growing (or faster) due to damage done by heat. Heat should be used sporadically, at best, to achieve the healthiest hair. If you are dead set on using heat, check out these tips on how to avoid heat damage.
4. Dry your hair w/ t-shirt. Sounds odd? We *swear* by it. Nothing makes you hair more frizzy, dry, and prone to breakage than regular terry cloth towels. Use a t-shirt an old, soft t-shirt to dry your hair instead. Hair will be more moisturized, less frizzy, and have less breakage.
5. Moisturize and seal like your life depends on it. When you're not deep conditioning your hair, its important to moisturize and seal your hair. Some naturals find that in order to retain moisture they have to moisturize and seal daily. Others find that moisturizing and sealing every couple of days works well for them. There are a number of ways to moisturize and seal. The most popular method is taking a water based moisturizer and applying it to small sections of hair. Next, follow up with a oil or butter based sealant. Voila. Some naturals prefer the LOC method to combat dry hair. This involves layering a liquid moisturizer, followed by an oil or butter sealant, and ending with a cream moisturizer. Moisturizing and sealing is an important part of any natural hair routine. It helps to prevent fairy knots, breakages, and overall angry hair!
6. Invest in a seamless, wide tooth comb. To prevent tangles and having half of your hair end up on the floor...just get the comb. Its worth it. Trust us. Whatever you do...stay away from brushes! Brushes will cause mid-shaft splits, split ends, and rip the hair out of your head. No bueno.
7. Not every natural has to rock a wash and go. Not every natural hair beauty will wear a wash and go...you shouldn't feel pressure to do so either. Bantu knots, twist outs, Curlformers, etc....there are a number of ways to achieve the curly hair look without risking pneumonia in the winter time.
9. BIG CHOP...only if you want to. There is a lot of talk about the "big chop." Should you or shouldn't you? Its a personal choice. It is most certainly not a requirement in going natural. However, you should note that some naturals experience difficulty in taking care of hair that has two very different textures. Often, the "line of demarcation" that separates the natural hair from the relaxed hair is prone to breakage from drying. Moisturizing, sealing, and protective styling is a great way to combat dryness.
10. Low manipulation styling is your friend. Don't pull too tightly on your hair when pulling your hair in ponytails, braids, etc. Keep your hair nice and loose to prevent damage to your hair follicles.
And one to grow on...
11. For the love of Tracee Ellis Ross, always have a satin bonnet/scarf/pillowcase. Satin pillowcases and bonnets prevent your hair losing all of that lovely moisture at night. Cotton sucks the moisture right out of natural hair and will leave second day hair dry as the Sahara desert. Find a good satin bonnet or pillowcase and buy an extra to keep in your luggage. You will never have to sleep on cotton again!
Happy healthy hair growing!