The other day I removed my braids, I got such a large volume of curl definition that I kept my hair unwashed for as long as a week. I rocked the curls so well that folks began to ask how to transition.
You bet, I was spilling natural hair talk all week. You know, your hairstylist rarely mentions these things – proper transitioning, hair care tips, best products, do’s and don’ts. In short, you might be dealing with a stylist who knows so little about natural hair.
I compiled these tips to help you get more comfortable with your natural hair, explore it and have fun styling and discovering.
Natural hair tips for beginners
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1. Go tap into YouTube
Like I said earlier, I won’t ever downplay the challenges of keeping your hair natural. It can be stressful and time-consuming. Sometimes I am just lost with no hair inspiration.
Go to YouTube and watch specific videos to tend to your unique natural hair problems. There is always a Naturalista with your type of hair texture. Learn from how she takes care of her hair, styles it and the products she uses.
2. Detangle Properly
We can be very impatient with the knots and tangles but I suggest that when you don’t have the time or can’t get around properly detangling your natural hair, leave it until when you can. So much of hair breakage is as a result of rough handling. First, invest in a good wide-tooth comb and natural hair detangling becomes easier.
3. Moisturizing is king
I don’t have to mention this again. Y’all been experiencing natural hair dryness already. I have a water-based solution I use. It’s a mixture of water (more than 75%), coconut oil and a protein-based liquid moisturizer.
When I am not on a protective hairstyle, I use this frequently during the day to keep my hair moisturized and alive. The dullness not only affects your scalp but also the appearance.
4. Master your go-to style
I basically wrap my hair with a beautiful hairband and allow the curls to come out in their full splendor. You have to learn that comfortable style you can rock the minute you are thinking of exposing your hair.
Updos are great styles if you have full hair. If you can pull them off, why not try? The key is that you are comfortable with it as the first style you think of when you are leaving your hair bare. Some Naturalistas just basically pack to the back or make into a bun. Whatever works for you.
5. Tone down the heat
Okay, natural hair takes longer to dry when wet than relaxed hair. It’s just impulsive to pick up the hairdryer and switch to a full high. While this may not be totally unavoidable, especially on days when you are in a hurry, why not reduce the frequency.
Your hair strands need more fresh hair than hot hair. Air drying your hair naturally is the best way to keep a healthy natural hair. Leave space in between washing and styling so that you let your hair dry on its own. It’s about planing.
Plan for your hair the way you do for your meals. Your hairstylist is going to want to rush things up so prepare for your hair.
6. Find the best products
Here is why people perceive natural hair to be expensive – expensive products! In my opinion, the best products don’t have to be the most expensive on the store rack. You may spend a fortune doing trials and testing what works best for you but as soon as you find the best combination of shampoo, conditioner, etc., stick with them.
If the quality ones are expensive, you might consider investing in them. If they aren’t expensive, be free to use them judiciously. Your moisturizer doesn’t have to drain your purse, it only has to work for your hair type. You don’t have to pick up the latest expensive product your hair stylist is vouching for, you don’t.
7. Give your hair the chance to grow
So that you know, I have also been caught in the web of obsessing over the length and wondering what I have to do to get it to twice its current in a day. I learned something about leaving your head upside down for some time every day to let gravity pull out the roots. I was doing that until I calmed into patience.
As soon as I learnt about the power of massaging and its stimulating effect on the hair follicles (and scalp) for growth, I was all about on that too. Inasmuch as there are tips and tricks to increasing the speed of growth, you still need to allow your hair. Be lovingly patient with your natural hair.
8. Now, stop comparing
‘Her hair is denser than mine’, ‘she’s got more curls than I have got’, ‘Oh see her hair colour. What do I have to do to move from here to there?’
Oh c’mon. Did you know that every woman’s hair is as unique as her skin type? Treat your hair like your signature. A woman with a super straight hair is going to learn how to be confident in it. It goes for the woman with an overly curly, difficult natural hair. Work with what you’ve got now.
9. You may have to do the big chop
Let’s face it, it is difficult to manage two different hair textures. If you are on the biracial hair, lol, you will agree with me that it’s one hell of a task to get your strands to behave properly. Why not do the big chop?
Don’t listen to the endurance pep talk your hairstylist has for you. This isn’t endurance, it’s unnecessary suffering. There are lots of wigs and extensions to help you conceal your hair information. Transitioning doesn’t have to be as painful as maintaining two hair textures.
Okay, I should give it a period here. You’ve got some more tips? Any natural hair challenge we should talk about? I would really really reaaaaaaaally love to hear from you in the comments section.