It’s a universally known fact that whenever we hear the term “going natural,” Black women know that it means something different than just saying “not straightening anymore.” To us, we know that going natural is a process; besides no heat, it means giving up the “creamy crack,” doing deep conditioning treatments, and testing out all the latest and greatest hair products for naturals among other things.
Be forewarned, going natural is not for the faint of heart; you’ll have to do a lot of research on what works best for you and have to have the dedication to spend the time getting to know your hair. So whether you are already a naturalista or have been thinking about it but need more convincing to take the plunge, here are a list of do’s and don’ts to make that transition a little easier.
- Wash your hair only with conditioner or Co wash: Listen I need you to forget everything you’ve ever been taught about cleansing your hair from now on. Yes, occasionally washing your hair with shampoo won’t do major damage but if you want to bring out your hair’s curls and avoid stripping your hair’s natural oils, you’ll need to cleanse your hair with a conditioner or a deep moisturizing co-wash (basically a conditioner that works as a shampoo). Wash hair with shampoo only between co washes (when the hair has enough dirt built up).
- Keep your ends trimmed- Yeah you thought you would be able to forgo this huh? Well sorry ladies but whether your hair is straight or curly, having split ends does major damage to your hair’s integrity and thus, stunts its growth. Always follow your hair’s natural curl pattern and only trim dead ends 6-8 weeks.
- Drink more water- Sounds like a strange tip for hair doesn’t it? It may seem like staying hydrated has no correlation to having healthy, hydrated hair but in reality, it does. Drinking water hydrates the hair from the inside out and prevents your hair from breakage.
- ALWAYS Rinse Cold- If you’re anything like me, no matter how good the product is, the frizz takes over. I used to rinse my hair in luke warm water because it was much better than feeling like I was being submerged in the Artic. It may feel uncomfortable, but rinsing your hair in cold water not only eliminates the frizz, it also gives your hair an extra shine.
- Vitamins Will Save Your Life- It’s great to do your best to eat healthy but sometimes life happens and you soon find yourself lagging in the nutrients area; it happens to the best of us. A way to help keep your body and hair in tip top shape, is taking vitamins rich in Vitamin A, E, and Biotin. If you’re consistent and take them 1-2 times a day, you will see less hair breakage, a subtle glow in your skin, and more energy among many other benefits. Trust me, just take your vitamins.
- Keep a Hair Diary- This is the perfect way to keep track of what works and what doesn’t for your hair. This helps you figure out what products worked the best, what treatments or mixtures did its job, and what hair styles looked bomb. The worst thing you can do as a naturalista is lose track of what is working for your hair and as a result, could end up with even more damage than before. So when in doubt, write it out.
- Use One Hair Product at a Time- When you get new products for your hair, I know how exciting it can be. You feel like a kid on Christmas morning wanting to try everything but, if you go this route, you will almost never be able to tell what really worked for your hair and what didn’t. Plus, mixing a lot of hair products at once can sometimes cancel out each product, limiting its effectiveness. Long story short, one at a time.
- Know Your Hair Type- Everyone is different and unique so your hair is no exception. Every curly haired human has one curl pattern and texture (or in me and other people’s cases, a mix of multiple hair patterns). The main curl patterns or types commonly found in Black hair are:
2A-2C Wavy: The hair is in between straight and curly hair types. This type tends to have a more natural shine to the hair. Those with this hair pattern will most likely have to combat the frizz. Although all wavy patterns can style the hair, type A is able to easily achieve a style change.
Picture courtesy of womanhairpict.com
3A-3C Curls: The hair is a mixed pattern of loops, “s” shaped patterns, and ringlets (or either one). Type 3c hair will have a ringlet or “corkscrew” shape. As compared to other type 3 curls, 3c hair has more density, volume, and tend to become frizzy in humid weather.
Picture courtesy of naturallycurly.com
4A-4C Kinky to Coily: The hair is tightly coiled with an “s” shape pattern. The actual curls can be dense and fine. Hair is usually very fragile. It is amongst the driest of all the curl types and is more likely to have breakage than other hair types.
Author: Imani H.