Let’s be honest taking care of natural hair is hard work it requires patience, a lot of patience. It also requires a lot of research to understand what your hair likes and what it doesn’t like but there is also another aspect that people overlook. Love. Your natural curls need to feel loved and appreciated, and you can do that through moisturising, washing and braiding it.
The following advice is based on my personal experience after stopping using heat and relaxers. All my life my hair was relaxed as it is very hard to take care of in its natural form, which extremely damaged my natural texture and it’s been hard to get it back ever since.
Here are some tips to care for your natural hair:
1. Stop using heat or relaxers
Heat is bad for your hair. It disrupts the texture, especially if you aim to get back your natural wave and texture. Instead, try to let your hair air dry after you wash it. Relaxers are not there to maintain your curls but rather to straighten your hair so it can be longer. But remember with curls the length isn’t important but they shrink, so your hair might be long but in its natural form doesn’t look like it.
2. Research to determine your hair type
According to Healthline there are four types of hair: Straight, wavy, curly and coily.
Determining your type of hair means that you will know how to take care of it, under the four types there are different categories as well. For example, my hair is Coily type 4B, which is the type of curl that zigzags. Even though its thick in texture it’s quite fragile, which is why I don’t comb it or use a lot of products.
3. Have a washday routine
We all dread washday, depending on your type of hair it may take all day. I wash my hair every two weeks, some people wash it every day and some people wash it every week. It depends on what your hair can handle.
Every Saturday after two weeks I wash my hair, I use a shampoo, conditioner, rice water, an afro comb and water.
If you are on a budget and can’t afford most of the products used out there, what is listed above are just the essentials you need for your hair.
On the rice water you, you take raw rice, can be half a cup and even less. Make sure the water is filling the cup, then for the smell, (it’s horrible) I cut and add oranges. Leave it for overnight or even more than that, some people leave it for even a week.
I prepare the rice water on a Thursday so it can have time to sit, on washday I spray the water I have drained from the rice on my hair. I then leave it in for about 30 minutes with a plastic bag on my hair.
After 30 minutes, I wash it off and shampoo my hair, then condition my hair for about three to five minutes. Then wash off the conditioner and braid my hair while its wet, then let it air dry by itself.
4. Protective styles and hair gear
Protective styles are very important, especially for an afro as it shrinks and braiding it makes sure it keeps its length and its curls. It also leaves little room for your hair to get damaged, especially if you wear wigs most of the time. Unless I have styled it, my hair is always in mini braids and that has really helped it grow.
Hair gear is what type of hair scarf you use to sleep in and even your pillowcase. One word: silk, silk and more silk! I used to have such dry hair and I couldn’t understand why, when it was the scarf I was using. It was draining the little moisture my hair had leaving it looking dry and unwashed.
Someone recommended a silk scarf and according to a website called Celestial Silk, the slippery and smooth texture of silk helps prevent frizz, tangles and breakage, promoting shiny and soft hair. And of course the scarf might fall off at night, that’s why it’s important to have a silk pillowcase too.
5. Budgeting for your hair products
Hair products are expensive, so always budget your money wisely. I don’t use a lot of products and you really don’t need to either, just buy essentials like a shampoo, conditioner and hair oil. Do your research to find out which brand best suits you.
Don’t try to keep up with trends or feel pressured to use what everyone is using, just use what you have at your disposal. Be creative and always remember that all the love your hair needs start from the inside. Embrace your curls and take care of them.
Want to know how to diet cost-effectively? Read more here.
Tell us: How do you take care of your hair?