Black women are going natural every day and their new natural hair journey can be centered around a few things. Working on hair growth, learning new natural hair styles or just trying to get away from relaxed hair. Whatever your goal for your hair, congrats on joining millions of happy women!
Hair Damage? Your Hair Cuticle May Be The Problem!
This new natural hair journey can be scary but we’ve got some tips on how to do it right along with making it simplified so you stay the course. While not every woman takes follow these tips, the most successful natural hair wearers made sure to follow a few pointers to make it easy, happy and worthwhile. Check out these 7 steps the most successful natural hair women have used for amazing hair growth and health.
Don’t know it till you try it is the first thing I can say about this step. Documenting when you started, when you got trims, what products you tried (hated, loved, etc.) allows you to see your progress and figure out what is working and what’s not. I really wish I would have done this as my first two years were pretty chaotic and this step would have helped me figure things out a bit.
A simple journal, notebook or even on your phone would work so don’t break the bank on fancy stuff when all you need is something basic. Stick to it for at least a year and look back to see how far you’ve gone and where you want to take this amazing journey in the next year. Even if you don’t do this step put in your calendar when you get trims, washdays and length checks so you stay in the know. Believe me, relying on just memory when you have the rest of the world on your shoulders will only leave you forgetting important details you wish you hadn’t!
Just like your skin, one’s hair can give clues to your inside health and all the hair vitamins and hair products cannot encourage healthy hair growth like eating correctly and drinking plenty of water. You need a balanced diet while on your natural hair journey and some of the best foods for healthy hair is protein, iron, Biotin, Omega-3 and 6, Vitamins A, C, and E and zinc. Many foods that have these nutrients are fish, grains, meat, beans and soy.
Healthy foods will properly nourish your hair follicles and aid in stronger strands. It also wards off some illnesses that can harm the body and hair. Simply put, a poor diet can contribute to thinning hair or breakage. Steer clear of crash diets as they also harm hair and can cause thinning or hair fall. Eat right and see your hair improve!
Too many naturals overlook the importance of deep conditioning and how they should be firmly tied to your washday. Deep conditioning is simply applying a penetrating conditioner to your hair shaft that adds moisture, maintains elasticity, and strengthens the hair. Penetrating the hair shaft is their magical purpose and they impart moisture back into the hair. It is best to deep condition once a week for 20-60 minutes depending on your preference and what works for you but if you just deep condition on every wash day you will be fine.
HEAT is our best friend when deep conditioning. You can use a steamer, hot towel, thermal deep conditioning cap or a plastic bag. The heat allows for better penetration because the hair shaft swells open so that the nutrients from the deep conditioner bond to the hair cuticles. This keep the hair ends fully moisturized in the days after styling. Also, the heat allows for better elasticity as well.
Many of us have ditched shampoos all together as many are harsh on our strands but we actually need some shampoo to properly cleanse our hair. They may not be needed for every wash but when hair needs that extra cleaning, it’s time to pull out the big guns and that means a clarifying shampoo.
A clarifying shampoo is a ultra-cleansing shampoo that remove all traces of dirt, product build-up and needed for removing hard water deposits and chlorine. If you don’t remove all the gunk that’s in your hair you may see dullness, styles not being achieved, scalp ailments an over coated hair. Clarifying shampoos are just deep cleaning shampoos that work extra hard to rid hair of all the bad stuff. Naturals who know this and use clarifying shampoos when needed keep scalp and hair healthier.
I’ve been saying this for years and I’m not sure many understand what I mean when I say “listen to your hair”. What I mean is, your hair tells you what it needs, what it likes, loves, hates and what you REALLY need to stop using. Ever tried a brand new product, followed the instructions to the letter and your hair came out awful? Your hair was probably telling you there was an ingredient in it that it didn’t like or it it was either to heavy, to light or too SOMETHING for it to be used again!
Hair falling out? Time to evaluate what you are eating, stressing, doing or not doing. Hair brittle as straw? Are you coloring too often, using too much heat, need some moisture or a deep conditioner? Your hair also tells you it loves what you are doing too so watch for the signs and you will begin to understand what your hair needs and what will make it happy.
Moisture vs. Protein balance is crucial to healthy hair. Natural hair needs moisture to stay elastic and hydrated and that leads to less damage. Hair is made up of a hard protein called Keratin and protein helps to strengthen our strands. There is a fine balance between the two. Too much moisture and hair becomes limp and can suffer from hygral fatigue (strand to weaken and eventually break). Too much protein and you can make hair brittle and cause breakage.
Either extreme can and will cause breakage so keep that balance equal and you will find your length retaining, having perfect hair without frizz or dryness and properly hydrated. I use a protein treatment around every other month but if you use color, heat or some other damaging techniques you probably need to do them monthly.
Do you have any tips you think are necessary for a happy & healthy natural hair journey? Share below!