Honestly, working with natural hair isn’t easy! I know so many people who are transitioning or doing a big chop who just DON’T KNOW what to do. You won’t find black hair care in the magazines or in mainstream beauty content. Luckily for me, I was trained by a mom who took very good care of my hair. But every day of wearing kinky-coily hair, I learn something different! Some things you just figure out about your personal strands, but there is some general information that can be beneficial to everyone! Here’s a beginner’s guide to the basics of natural hair!
Shampooing: Curly hair generally doesn’t need to be shampooed as often as straight hair. Basically,oils and minerals travel more easily through straighter hair than coily hair. This causes build-up to happen more frequently on straight hair. So while mainstream beauty content advises daily or tri-weekly shampoos, this ends up stripping natural hair of essential nutrients. Most naturalistas shampoo about every two weeks.
Sometimes, though, I do want to cleanse my hair without stripping it with a harsh shampoo. This is where clarifying products fit in! Clarifying products and conditioners gently cleanse the hair while moisturizing. Apple cider vinegar is also a great, natural product that cleanses your hair and scalp.
The ingredients that are in your shampoo matter as well! Sulfates and silicones can be a big problem because they create an artificial coating over the hair shaft that gives the impression of shine, but actually prevents moisture from entering. Therefore, to keep moisturized, healthy hair, stay away from shampoos with sulfates and silicones and properly schedule your wash days so you aren’t stripping your curls.
Conditioning: Conditioning is a big must! It is the main way your hair gets the moisture and nutrients it needs. There are several forms of conditioners. There are the regular conditioners that come with your shampoo and then there are deep conditioners and leave-in conditioners. Regular conditioners are great, but deep conditioners are stocked with nutrients designed to thoroughly penetrate the hair shaft with the aid of time or heat. For naturals, deep conditioning is mandatory, and I personally do it at bimonthly. Leave-in conditioners are special because they don’t need to be rinsed out. While regular and deep conditioning can be an entire process, leave-in conditioning should be a quick, daily practice that supplies your hair with a constant supply of the moisture and vitamins it craves. Your pH level also influences how your hair accepts moisture, and to learn more, go here! Here are some conditioning products my sisters and I like:
Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Deep Conditioner
Wen Cleansing Conditioner
For a DIY conditioner, go here!
Detangling: The dreaded d-word in natural hair! Natural hair tangles easily because you have so many individual, tiny coils curling around each other, creating big knots and big hassles. However, there are ways to simplify the detangling process. For an ultimate guide, go here. A few basic tips is to detangle with water and conditioner. I have also found that oils like olive oil and coconut oil really soften my hair, producing an easier detangling process. A detangling product I like is:
Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Extra-Moisture Detangler
For a detangler DIY, go here!
Styling: There are sooooo many ways you can style natural hair! Wash-n-gos,twist-outs, braid-outs, rod sets, updos, puff-balls, buns, you name it! If you are struggling to find a style for your length or hair texture, comment and we can give you some great suggestions and even write some articles to help you! Something that all naturals should try are protective styles. These looks protect our hair ends, the most delicate part of the strand, from the elements, general damage, and breakage. If you want healthy ends and longer hair, protective styles like buns, extensions, or twists are what you need! One of my favorite styling products is:
Olive Oil Smooth-n-Hold Pudding: it moisturizes AND smooths!
I hope this information gave you some ideas on how to start or perfect your natural hair journey! As always, find what works for YOU!! If you have questions on how to work with your specific type of hair, please comment below. Also, comment if any of this has worked for you or if you want to give these tips a try. :)
The Kamau Sisters
Hi! We're Nia, Jada, and Bailey Kamau. We laugh, sing, read, and have Narnia marathons probably more than we should. Thanks so much for checking out our blog!
"Sisters by chance, friends by choice."
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