Ever since I made the post about my natural hair, I have gotten some questions regarding products and stuff I do to my hair. To be honest and like I said in my last hair post, I am quite lazy when it comes to my Natural hair but I do have some tips and tricks in care of natural hair. I am going to try to keep it very short. Read my last hair post here
A little back story
I have always had a lot of hair. Ever since I was a kid. In fact, I have it all over. Since my mama bore me, the first time I had my hair cut was the time I found myself in a boarding house, as tiny 9 year old girl, with no clue on how to take care of hair. For the first term, I had the hair, but I guess anytime my folks came visiting, they saw me looking like an abandoned child. Before the next term, I had to let go of my precious mane. I remained with a cut for the 3 years I was in and immediately I left, I started growing out my hair.
Going from relaxed to natural
I succumbed to the use of the creamy crack also known as relaxers at some point, because I wanted that slick straight hair I always admired on people around me. Even then, I still never achieved that look past the first week. I continuously relaxed my hair until the end of 2015. By this time, I had been exposed to a ton of information about natural hair from hundreds of YouTube videos and was eager to start practicing all I had learnt. My last relaxer date was sometime in November 2015.
I wasn’t ready to do the big chop, and since my hair was mostly always in braids then, I figured I could get away with allowing the hair to grow to a certain length, before cutting off the relaxed ends. So every time I took out my braids, I cut off a little inch of hair. This is called transitioning in the natural hair world. I finally got all the relaxed portion out in 2017. Since then, we have been matching forward.
Know your hair type
For me, I believe this is the first step to dealing with your natural hair. There is a lot of debate in the natural hair community on the significance of hair typing. Truth is, we all have different hair textures. What may work for one hair texture may not work on the other. We have natural hair types ranging from 2A to 4c.
2A, 2B and 2C are classified as wavy hair
3A, 3B and 3C are classified as Curly hair
4A, 4B and 4C are classified as Coily hair
I classify myself as having 4C hair type, which is basically kinky hair that is tightly coiled and has less definition to it. My hair is quite thick and when I was younger it broke a lot of combs because the hairdressers had a lot of trouble trying to comb it. Thankfully, because my mama was always there they tried to be nice.
This is how well your hair absorbs or holds in moisture. I see my hair as having low porosity. My hair takes a longer time for moisture to get in and when it does, it also takes a longer time to dry out. Determining your hair porosity guides you in making good product choices. There is high porosity, low porosity and Normal/meduim porosity.
Low porosity: Hair cuticles are tight and resistant to receiving moisture. Also cannot easily absorb products. Prone to product buildup.
Normal/meduim porosity: Hair cuticles are not tightly bound. Receives and retains moisture for a normal period of time
High porosity: Hair receives moisture quite fast and loses it just as fast. This is because this type of hair cuticle has a lot of space that allows moisture to sink into and leave. You can use products containing oils and butter to seal in moisture.
To determine which category you fall into, carry out a porosity test.
Porosity test: Drop a stand of your hair into a glass of water. Hair strand should be clean and not coated with products. If the strand sinks to the bottom of the glass, then your hair has high porosity. If it drops and stays at the middle of the glass, you hair is of Normal porosity. Hair strands that floats at the top of the glass indicates low porosity.
Note: Hair porosity can always change. Blow drying, straightening, use of harsh products, heat damage can affect the porosity of your hair
A good product can be the thin line between having a good hair day or a bad hair day. Since this post is basically me telling you more about my hair, I would only talk about the type of products I find useful. I find that Shea butter and hair products containing Shea butter work well on my hair. Raw Shea butter has a characteristic smell, unpleasant to some, which I don’t mind for myself, but since I don’t exist only for myself on an island, I try to mix it with other products that have great smell. If you decide to use raw Shea butter be informed that it has a smell.
Conditioners are a naturalist best friend. Other products include shampoo, moisturizing hair lotions, leave-in-conditioner and deep treatment masque for days when I am feeling extra boujee.
When buying products, I always check the ingredients.
I try to avoid products that contain sulfates as they tend to strip hair of its natural oils.
Also water has to be one of the two first ingredients listed. The trick is, the further down the list any ingredient is listed, the less it is contained in a product. I go for products that place emphasis on adding moisture.
Washing and Styling
I wash my hair anytime I take out my braids and make sure to always have it in twists immediately after washing, while it is still dripping wet. I detangle in the shower while the hair is saturated with conditioner.
Many times I skip using a leave-in conditioner, because I want to avoid weighing my hair down with products. I make use of whatever styling lotion I have, mixed with Shea butter while the hair is still wet.
Some naturals advocate making your last rinse out while washing a cold water rinse, because it leaves you hair looking shiny. Unfortunately, this does not work well for my hair so I don’t. I use warm water so products can get into my hair strands afterwards. Sometimes, I boil black tea and use it as my last rinse.
I leave my hair in those twists, until I am able to have it braided. If I do have to be somewhere I consider important, like Church, I will style it by gathering all the hair with my precious shoe lace into a huge ponytail on the top of my head.
I am not really a fan of DIY products when it comes to my hair only because I am lazy. I rather have a product in a container I can just use instead of blending and mixing things.
Also, If I could find someone who would do my hair as gently as I would love and all I had to do was sit and pay, I would gladly do so. Unfortunately, my pocket and environment does not seem to agree with my wants.
Nevertheless, there are some lovely DIY product I have seen that work well on natural hair. E.g Avocado, Rice water. If its good enough to eat, then it is good enough for your hair.
Protective styles are my go to. Box braids to be exact. They helped me a lot when I was transitioning because it was not easy maintaining two hair textures. When protective styling with extensions, always be conscious of your edges. They can pull at your hair if done tightly and you will end up having bald spots. If I have the time, I wash the hair extensions before I use them, to protect my head from itching.
Benefits of protective styling include:
*Helps hair growth and protects your hair ends.
*Its low maintenance.
*Its saves time. I love having to spend less time getting ready, when I have to be out.
Other points to bear in mind
*For you to be natural, its a choice. Chemicals in relaxers are not very good, but trust me I have seen a lot of relaxed people with great hair
*Bear in mind that it requires a little more effort than relaxed hair. Or else you will be returning to the creamy crack in no time at the first sign of discomfort.
*Hair does not grow at the same rate. Be patient and trust your journey. Comparison is the thief of Joy.