Happy New Year to all my Curlies!!
I hope you have all gorged yourself silly during the Christmas and New Year festivities! I tried not to, but the chicken just looked too good haha. Just like millions of people all around he world, one of my main resolutions is to eat healthily and lose some of that darn tummy weight.
A few friends of mine have decided that the new year marks a new chapter of the hair journey, signified by a big chop. Most of them have transitioned for a few months or weeks and so have a cute lil fro, that isn’t hard to manage, but they have no idea how to care for. A lot of us have grownup with an African mentality when it comes to our hair, especially in regards to wash frequency, products used and de-tangling methods. By following these methods, we succeeded in making our hair low maintenance and ‘pretty looking’ but ultimately very unhealthy. This unhealthiness is a major reason a lot of us have decided to go natural, and so i’d like to shed some light on how to completely overhaul your journey and make your hair ‘easier to manage’.
Moisture is Key!
The first thing people say when they go natural is how ‘hard’ their hair is. Maybe they’re expecting soft baby curls or something but HELLO! African hair is naturally dry and the only way to soften it and make it behave the way you want to is by moisturising. Moisturising does not mean slathering various oils and creams and the like, NO it means using specific products (water based) to put the moisture in you hair, and then to keep the moisture in your hair, sealing the hair with an oil or butter. Things like oils and silicones sit on top of your hair, keeping moisture from getting out, but also stopping moisture getting in. So it’s important you ensure your hair is getting the moisture it needs and that it stays moisturised.
Be patient with de-tangling!
It’s tempting to be in a rush whilst de-tangling. Just whip a comb out and drag it through your strands until there are no tangles (or hair) left. If you think about it, if you see huge balls of hair on the floor every time you de-tangle, how exactly are you expecting your hair to grow? The first thing you need to know is, the more patient you are, the less hair you lose, no matter which way you de-tangle. Then thee are other things, like never combing your hair dry. at least there should be some sort of product to aid the process. Never rip tangles out, it’ better to snip the hairs leading to the tangle because ripping just cause more split ends and more tangles. There are various methods you can use, such as finger de-tangling, de-tangling with a wide comb, conditioner de-tangling, oil de-tangling or even a combination of the three.
Treatments shouldn’t be a treat!
A deep conditioning treatment is usually thought of as a fix for dry breaking hair, and used by most as a restorative method, or twice a year as a hair treat. Realistically, treatments are needed much more frequently, as much as twice a month, less if you do more than one. Things such as moisturising deep conditioning, and oil rinsing/hot oil treatment should be done very often, as they can provide your hair with much needed moisture. Others, such as protein treatments and henna, are more suited to be done on a monthly or less frequent basis. The crux of the matter is, our hair needs to be pampered a lot more often than we were brought up thinking, and though you don’t have to do every kind of treatment out there, i’m sure that there are one or two your hair could really benefit from.
Being a Product Junkie can be fun but expensive
A lot of people in my area complain that going natural has put them out of pocket, or is taking a bit more of their budget than they had initially planned. It is possible that this is the case, but with everything in life, you tend to get more out, the more you put in. Technically, everyone who has hair needs the following things: Shampoo, conditioner/deep conditioner, leave-in, oil/butter. Thats it! Everything else is a matter of your own feelings. Some people combine two to make something else, like conditioner+oil to make a deep conditioner. It only becomes expensive if you make a hobby out of it and start purchasing every miracle product on the market. I say look for a product that does well for you, once you find it, stick to it. You can then either swap your unused products for other people’s or buy only sample sizes of other products. I’ve mentioned ways to find out which products are working for you here.
Don’t jump on every fad
One thing rampant in the natural hair community is the sheer number or methods or regimens that people, follow. There are some very famous ones like the Curly Girl ethod, Tighly Curly method, Max Hydration etc. You just have to take all of these with a pinch of salt. Some are obvious time wasters, the idea behind it may not be bad, but you know yourself, if you are allergic coconut oil and the method says slather it on every night, i’m guessing it won’t end too well for you. Look at a method, study it for an hour or so listing the pros and cons. After taking time to deliberate, you may find a good reason why you should or shouldn’t follow the method. Some may be expensive, or wasteful or even downright dangerous, but the blame will fall on you if you recklessly try everything you see.
Products can be deceptive
I’m the biggest advocate of checking the ingredients of every product that goes in your hair. You could easily be allergic to an ingredient not obviously advertised on the bottle or you may be surprised to find that the ‘main ingredient’ is actually way down on the ingredients list, which means its not presentin a large amount. A lot of commercial brands use thing like mineral oils which are cheap fillers, shampoos and some conditioners may have Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate or other variations, which are meant to clean dirt off, but do too good a job at it, stripping your hair of its natural oils. This is a major reason why your hair can feel dry. There are other ingredients to look at such as silicones, which are said to give the hair a smooth look, but require harsher ingredients to wash out. but ultimately some people don’t care as much as others.
There you have it, a long, if not very detailed list of things to know when you just big chopped. I think i’ll follow this post up with a more in-depth update in the near future.