5 Tips to Help You on Your Natural Hair Journey

By Ashley Logan on March 26, 2018

Natural Hair is Beautiful

Curls can sometimes be associated with negative terms like nappy, unprofessional, and dirty. But in reality, natural curls are beautiful. It’s no secret that curly hair has a mind of its own. Waves, curls, kinks, and coils can be a true blessing, but sometimes a pain in the butt. I’ve been working with my naturally curly hair for almost a decade after trying out relaxers. In case you don’t know, a relaxer is a chemical process that relaxes your curls and turns them straight. Having a relaxer was once, and still kind of is, a big thing in the black community due to societal pressures that made us feel ashamed of our hair.

Around the early 2010′s, the natural hair movement really came in like a wrecking ball, crushing all of those preconceived ideas. The movement involved many women cutting all of their hair off  (a big chop) and starting from the beginning, growing their hair without chemical manipulation. With my newfound curls, I wasn’t quite sure how to manage it myself. Like always, YouTube was an excellent source of knowledge for my new hair journey. Natural hair gurus on YouTube like Naptural85, Bri Hall, and Mo Knows Hair, really helped along the way and could definitely help you too! Over these past eight years, I’ve accumulated some knowledge that may be helpful to others. Here are some tips to help maintain your curls and make them healthy!

(via Pixabay)

1. Be Gentle!

Detangling can be a chore. It gets stressful trying to do so to the point where sometimes you just want the process to be over. I know it’s annoying, but take your time when detangling your hair. It’s a great idea to use a wide-tooth comb for this process, and/or a brush made for curly hair. Paddle brushes and rat tail combs should not be used during this process. If you’re feeling extra patient, you could try out finger detangling. Putting your hair into equal-sized sections can make this process easier. Tension and stress on the hairline from buns, braids, and other styles can be really damaging on your edges. Laying your edges with gel on a consistent basis can also be a contributing factor to being edgeless.

P.S. Detangling helps with breakage and styling.

P.P.S. Don’t Lose Your Edges

2. Condition, Condition, and Condition Again

This might be the most important thing to do if you have curly hair. Because curls aren’t straight, the natural sebum produced from our scalps do not allow the moisture to travel down each strand. Sebum is our hair’s natural defense to dryness but still not that effective. You can feel the sebum when doing scalp massages as this helps produce those oils. It is a major key to keep those curls as moisturized as possible. You’re going to need a ton of conditioner, moisturizers (creams), and oils.

Recommended Items:

Aussie Moist ($3)

Lotta Body Conditioner ($4)

Pantene Gold Series Repairing Mask ($8)

As I Am Leave-In Conditioner ($11)

3. Shampoo/Co-Wash

You’ll hear many naturals saying that sulfates are awful for your hair, which is true. However, sulfate shampoos should be used in moderation to deeply cleanse your scalp. I personally shampoo once a month and co-wash whenever my hair needs a refresher. Co-Washing is a less damaging, and less drying alternative to washing your hair with shampoo. Those sulfates I mentioned earlier strip your hair of all moisture which is why co-washing is preferred by many. Co-washing keeps your hair moisturized and moderately clean.

Recommended Products:

LottaBody Co-Wash ($4)

Yes to Tee Tree Oil & Sage Shampoo ($8)

Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Co-Wash ($12)

Photo by Tom Cochereau on Unsplash

4. Protective Styles

Protective styles allow your hair to take a break from manipulation like twist outs and braid outs. There are many protective styles that allow curly girls to change up their look while maintaining their natural hair. Many popular protective styles include box braids, yarn braids, Marley twists, wigs and weaves, faux locs, and cornrows. You can explore the land of crochet styles to make box braids and other styles a little easier.

Tutorials:

Jumbo Box Braids (Gentle Method)

How to Install Yarn Braids

Crochet Box Braids

5. Low Manipulation

Manipulation can include anything that alters your natural hair pattern including braid outs, twist outs, and blow drying. This goes back to the be gentle section that discusses how manipulation can be detrimental to your hairline and can cause breakage. However, twist outs and braid outs are low manipulation styles meaning that they do not require much tugging and pulling. On the opposite end of the spectrum, blow drying and any use of direct heat can be very damaging and cause heat damage. Heat damage occurs during the use of high heat on your hair, flat ironing, and any use of a hot tool. Heat damage can happen easily and the only way to treat this is through protein treatments, or just cutting it off.

These tips should send you on the right track for a healthier hair care journey. Learning your hair texture is the first step to finding out what products your hair likes and what products that don’t do much of anything. It took me about six years to actually find the right products for my hair and what type of love that it needs. I couldn’t fit every tip that I could think of in this post, but I’m considering making this a continued series.

By Ashley Logan

Uloop Writer
My name is Ashley Logan and I'm a Communications/ Journalism major studying at Albright College. I'll be graduating in 2018 and I'm so excited to enter the workforce and put all my ideas to use. I love writing about music, fashion, inclusivity, and whatever has been on my mind lately.

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