I stopped relaxing my hair in 2006 and continued to nourish and care for it in its natural state for a number of years. Until I got bored and relaxed it again. Less than a year after, although I took care of it meticulously, I was unhappy with its limpness and unhealthy feel. I chopped it off and started again. There was no turning back.
I strongly believe that people should do whatever they want with their hair. Lord knows I have tried quite a number of experiments. I’m no hair police nor am I here to create a debate on whether people should tamper with the natural state of their hair or not. I am simply here today to give some insight on how I care for my hair and how you can grow healthy natural hair. I pay close attention to my hair and I think it’s healthy and has an amazing growth rate.
People tend to say that brown peoples’ hair don’t grow. That’s a bit stupid if you ask me because hair growth is determined by various factors. It’s not simply based on race and ethnicity. Hair growth depends on your eating habits, hair hygiene, taking extra vitamins and minerals and a myriad of other things.
With natural hair, everyones’ is different. We have different textures, growth patterns, live in different climates and practice different levels of care. I think it is imperative that we preface all advice on hair with the fact that everyone has to test and learn their hair in order to figure out what works for them. What may work for me, may or may not work for you.
Here are a couple things that has helped my hair to grow and stay healthy over the years. Again, make sure to take with a pinch of salt and add the rest as you go along.
Do not comb
Yes you heard me, refrain from combing as much as you can. Black hair as we know is quite fragile and needs a gentle hand. I’ve found the less I manipulate and interfere with my hair, the more it flourishes.
I’m not telling you to grow locks either. To keep my hair free of knots and tangles, I wash once a week and in that wash, I section my hair and finger comb while the conditioner is in. The result is soft and plump, tangle free hair. Should you choose to comb when it’s dried, there will be no tugging and bursting. Add product and two strand twist it right after the wash so that little air passes through and it remains light and fluffy.
Extra Vitamins and Minerals Can Help
The two that I use are Biotin and Hair Skin and Nails. I used biotin before and in addition to my other practices, my hair always felt strong and healthy. I moved on to Hair Skin and Nails to tackle all of those ares in one shot. These are not necessary but do help with maintenance of hair strength and growth.
Natural hair loves natural treatments
I have tried many pre-made hair treatments and while some do amazing work, I always get better results from natural homemade treatments. I mostly make treatments for moisture as my hair tends to be on the drier side. The good thing is that there are many recipes online for numerous areas of concern and more times than not, you already have the ingredients in your kitchen.
For moisture I use a blend of avocado, peeled aloe leaf, honey, coconut oil and glycerin. The good thing is that you can make whatever mix you want with concentrations to your liking. I either use a heated steam cap or just a plastic cap while I do stuff around the house. Make sure to blend well as you don’t want remnants of fruit/plants in your hair. I do these fortnightly or once per month, depending on the state of my hair.
Manage product use and know your products
This is major. I always thought the more product I used, the better off I’d be. Wrong. Information on the internet is overwhelming, which I’m not complaining about as the over abundance of natural hair information is a blessing. But I implore you to be careful with what you take as gospel.
I’m no science buff so I tend to stick to homemade stuff but I do know some of the ingredients that I want to stay away from. I look for products that are paraben, silicone and sulphate free, especially shampoos. They get rid of dirt and grime but also strip your hair of its natural oils as well. Not good for natural hair. We need all the moisture we can get.
Brands are becoming more conscious of this and are stepping up and producing healthier products for our hair. As a result, you can find them in your local supply store without much effort. Of course this depends on where you live. They’re available online if you can’t find them locally. My favorites for overall care are: Cantu Leave-In Conditioner, Lotta Body Hair Styling Milk, and this shampoo and conditioner. Pro tip: use shampoo and conditioner for color treated hair. It has extra properties to keep your hair moisturized. I also make my own hair creme with oils and raw shea butter.
I will say that I have decreased the amount of product I use due to them attracting dirt and weighing my hair down. Coconut oil was a favorite for my scalp but that no longer works and leaves me with an itchy scalp. As such, I use most of the products on the hair itself, and mostly to the ends. Again, you need to play around to see which method and products benefit you. Oils are a Godsend but most don’t work for me. So I stick with just one.
Practice care when sleeping
Keeping your hair ends moisturized and away from open air is key. I always two strand twist or bantu knot mine and keep it tied with a scarf. Some people use silk or satin pillowcases. Anything that keeps your hair from being pulled and dried out during the night will work.
Be careful with protective styling
Protective styling for natural hair can work wonders, but it can also do major damage if not done with care. My choice of protective styling is braiding. I do protective styling once a year, and even then my hair becomes weak and brittle. Some people use wigs, extensions, cornrow and other methods, but it’s up to you and what makes you comfortable.
I have found that people I know who keep their hair in protective styling a lot, often suffer from baldness and weakened hair around certain areas (hairline, middle of the head) due to the constant stress the hair is put under. I notice with braids, that because dirt collects at the roots, along with the weight of the extra hair, my hairline needs a bit of restorative care when it’s removed. So again, monitor your hairs’ progress and work to suit.
I hope these tips come in handy!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on maintaining healthy natural hair. What has been working for you?
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S ~ 7 WOC Blogs To Follow For Style and Beauty and Best Foundation: 7 For Flawless Brown Skin
Published: October 30, 2017 9:30 AM