Tuesday, August 27, 2013

15 Tips for Natural Hair Care

More and more you see women sporting their beautiful, natural curls. Whether, for you, it's a statement, acceptance, for convenience, or a fashion fad... proper care is essential.  With the proper care you'll notice drastic changes in texture, curl pattern, elasticity, color, and growth. At first, it may seem like a lot of maintenance, but after awhile you'll notice it's actually a lot easier than all the other stuff you used to do!

Nix shampoos with sulfates  
Sulfates strip the hair of needed moisture and natural oil, drying it out. You will notice an immediate difference in your hair by following this step alone. Sulfates play a huge role in that dry, knotty, hard to manage hair we've all experienced at one point. Get the right shampoo and get to a life of ease, seriously! Your hair will be so much easier to detangle and much more manageable just after a couple washes.  I HIGHLY recommend "Coconut & Hibiscus: Curl and Shine Shampoo" by Shea Moisture, they are sulfate-free and the ingredients are amazing with water, shea butter, and coconut oil as the first ingredients. 
Deep Condition 
Deep conditioning is so crucial for natural curly hair.  One thing that natural hair craves is moisture! By deep conditioning your hair at least once per week you are giving your locks the restorative moisture it needs to stay strong and prevent breakage. I typically deep condition with homemade hair masks and each hair mask is designed to add specific vitamins, protein and other benefits in addition to just moisturizing.

Keep Your Hair and Scalp Clean
Not often stressed but an essential step!  With your natural hair, you're more free to wash as often as you please. Unlike if you have processed hair. Whether you wash with sulfate-free shampoo or you co-wash (wash with conditioner only) it's important to figure out how often your hair needs to be washed. I wash my hair 1-2x per week or as needed. My scalp changes with the seasons. It's crucial to keep your scalp as clean as possible so it can remain healthy and easily grow hair. If your scalp pores are clogged, guess what? That means your hair is going to have a tougher time growing. We often tend to forget that the skin beneath our hair needs equal care and nourishment - just like the rest of it. Taking care of the scalp is very important for healthy hair growth.  In fact, your hair follicles depend heavily on the surrounding tissue for their blood supply to remain healthy. And you can help keep your scalp happy and healthy by keeping it clean. Plus, don't you just love the scent of your shampoo/conditioner when the wind blows your hair?

Get a Trim 

I know that sometimes when hair growth is the goal... the last thing you want to do is hear anything about using scissors! But believe it or not, a trim is a very important process in hair care. Keep up with your split and dead ends for a healthy head of hair.  I trim 1-2 times per year if necessary. However, the better care you take of your hair... the less likely it is that you'll need a trim.

No Microfiber or Towel Drying  
Contrary to popular belief, microfiber rips the hair out. It acts like velcro to our tresses! Towel drying frizzes the hair. Either air dry or use an old t-shirt. If you must use a towel to dry your hair, gently apply the towel to sections of your hair and squeeze the water out of your hair... do NOT do the scrunching and rubbing method as this causes breakage.

Refrigerate your Leave-in Conditioner
A cold leave in will help to seal your hair’s cuticle after washing. This is extremely helpful if you can’t take a cold water rinse. It will also increase the shine in your hair. 

Apply a light oil after Moisturizing
Oils work as sealants in most cases. I recommend, once you have all your moisturizing creams and leave-in conditioners in your hair. Lightly apply some oil over your hair, whether it's loose or twisted up. Just a light amount so your hair doesn't feel greasy. What this does is, it helps seals in all the moisture that you just applied to your hair so that your hair follicles can continue to absorb the moisture throughout the day. I always do this after a wash, the results typically last until my next wash. FOCUS ON YOUR ENDS! The ends of our hair is generally the weakest and most prone to drying out and then breaking off so make sure you are also moisturizing and sealing your ends.  Oils that I recommend for lightly sealing: Castor oil, Coconut oil, and Jojoba oil. Again- LIGHTLY oil, but enough to seal.

Massage your scalp to stimulate your hair follicles 2-3 times per week 
It is said that this stimulates hair growth by increasing blood flow to the scalp.  I'd recommend massaging some good ole castor oil into your scalp because castor oil is an awesome anti-fungal, anti-dandruff agent...and it's also known to encourage hair growth.
Take a Good Hair Vitamin and Eat a Balanced Diet 
Eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, for a list of foods that are great for hair care and growth- click here.  Taking a good hair vitamin can aid in hair growth if you have a hard time keeping a balanced diet that would normally provide the necessary nutrients.

Never sleep on your hair loose
It’s more prone to tangling and breakage. Tie it up and make satin your hair’s best friend. Sleeping in a satin scarf, bonnet or on a satin pillowcase prevents your hair’s moisture from being robbed. It also prevents unnecessary tangling and breakage.  I recommend twisting your hair up before bed. Spray light amount of water on each section before twisting so your hair can remain vibrant the next day!

Moisturize your hair as needed
Use your sense of touch to tell. Our hair is naturally prone to dryness... however, it is not meant to be dry. So if it feels dry... moisturize!

Find a routine that works for your hair and stick with it
Don't be a product junkie and don't make your hair care routine any more complex than it needs to be. Fact: Everyone's hair is different and everyone's hair responds differently to different products.  Find what works for you and just stick with it. Makes everything so much simpler, cheaper, and less time consuming. If your hair is fine with coconut oil there's no need to keep buying jojoba, almond, grapeseed- etc. etc. Unless it's apart of another process of your routine of course. Sometimes, you'll find that your hair stops responding to certain products... that's when it's time to try something different. Until then... worry less.
Stop heat styling your hair  
Air drying is the best thing you can do to keep your hair on your head. The second best, in my opinion, is sitting under a hooded dryer. Blow dryer's can be very harsh and are a very direct source of heat. Limit heat styling to rare, special occasions to avoid breakage and heat damage. Trust me, heat damage is something you do not want.

Always use a wide-toothed comb, never comb your hair when it's dry, and comb hair from the bottom up: When your hair is soaking wet and coated in conditioner, you can comb it with a large tooth comb or Denman brush to detangle. Do so carefully, working from the ends of your hair to the root (bottom up). Combing your hair while it's dry can cause a lot of friction that leads to breakage. Always at least dampen your hair before combing it. & remember, the best gentle detangler of all... is your fingers!

Use hair accessories with no hanging parts or exposed metal 
Banana clips, Satin Scrunchies, Goodie Flex Barrettes, Ouchless bobby pins & Ouchless elastic bands are the best for styling hair so that it does not get damaged. 

Go ahead... Fall in LOVE with your hair!

[photos: blackgirllonghair.com]


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I gotta try these things soon!

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