Your natural hair is a gift. A beautiful gift that should be nurtured, cared for and tended to. That doesn’t mean the nurturing, tending to and caring for will be free from trial and error.
Many a nights during my transitional stages I stared in my mirror, frustrated at the lack of progress I was making. I loved my hair, but it got on my nerves to no end.
But after close to nine years, in the natural hair game, I’ve learned a thing or two about hair care. One of the most important things you can do for your hair’s growth and strength is to develop a sure-fire hair regime. The challenging part is actually figuring out what works. (Go fig!) Take a gander at this list we’ve developed and see if some of our suggestions help make a difference.
Shampooing your hair is uber important. What shampoo does is it lifts the environmental dust, dirt, and the natural oil our hair produces on its own. The shampoo then breaks it up, allowing it to travel down the actual hair follicle. Now, when your hair is relaxed, it’s a lot easier for the shampoo to work. But when your hair is naturally curly, thick or has texture, it takes longer for the dirt to escape. So the next time you cleanse your hair, focus on the scalp. Scrub the shampoo into the scalp and the shampoo will begin to lather. The lather will be the taxi for the dirt to make its way to the hair follicle and potentially down your shower drain. Be mindful to not use shampoos that are harsh and contain sodium lauryl sulfates that dry out the hair. Again, you should be shampooing your hair at least 7-10 days a week, and we highly recommend using all natural shampoos or baby shampoos that don’t contain the harsh and dangerous ingredients found in most commercial shampoos available at your local beauty supply.
Conditioner is the peanut butter to shampoo’s jelly. They go hand in hand. After you’ve shampooed your scalp, apply your conditioner. What this does is close up the actual follicle and makes your hair easier to manage. It coats the hair strand. Remember conditioners can also be used to cleanse your hair from minimal dirt build up as well. If you workout everyday, you can use your conditioner as your cleanser if you’re feeling a little lazy or if you’re in a hurry.
#3 Go Deep
Whether its summer, fall, winter or spring, you should be deep conditioning your hair on a regular basis. Period! If you can, try and deep condition your hair weekly. Your goal should be to add moisture to your tresses as often as possible. For added positive affects, apply a deep conditioner to damp hair and cover with a shower cap or plastic wrap just before bedtime. The deep conditioner will soak in over night and make your mane that more soft.
We can’t stress this enough. Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize! Just like your body needs water, so does your hair. Spritzing your hair with water daily is a great way to keep your hair soft and supple, but you should also be using a light oil or moisturizer to help lock in the moisture.
and doesn’t go anywhere.
#5 A Hot Oil Treatment
Now this isn’t something you should add to your hair regime on a regular basis, but every now and then, every six weeks or so, give your hair a little special attention. The hot oil treatment gives your hair the same effect as a deep conditioner, but it just adds a little umph. It’s like taking your hair to the spa.
When you go natural, you’ll find your hair will grow to much longer lengths, because it is more eleastic as a result of not being damaged by the chemicals found a chemical relaxer. Although your natural ends may be in better shape, it’s always good to give them a good trim every two to three months because your ends can become dried and frayed, which makes combing/styling your hair difficult. Your hair will also start to look dry and extra brassy if your ends are not trimmed regularly. Trimming your ends can make combing your hair easier. Some naturals even report that cutting off 1-2”of their relaxed ends helped their natural hair to grow faster. You can opt to trim hair at home, or you can go to a salon and have it done. I prefer to go to a salon, since they can blow dry and flat iron my hair, which helps you to get a much more precise cut. Checking in at a salon every so often is also a great way to get a second opinion about the health and overall quality of your hair.
So there you have it ladies. I know. I know. This sounds like a lot, especially with the demands of life. But if you want to look fabulous, this is what we have to do. Trust me, as you continue to do your regime, it’ll get easier and you’ll get much quicker at it. So run along now ladies. Chop Chop! (Insert British accent)
For more on caring for your natural hair, pick up a copy of my new book Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Maintaining Natural Hair now available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and www.tginstore.com.