3 Things Every Natural Should Know About Their Hair
I often get asked a variety of questions around hair care, but I really do believe that sometimes we just need to keep things simple when it comes to caring for our hair, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it is sometimes perceived to be. I believe that there are some simple pieces of advice and information that will set you in good stead for creating a natural hair care routine that will work for you.
With that being said, I have put together 3 simple things I think every natural should know and follow on their natural hair journey that will help you to achieve a better hair care routine.
**Disclaimer: I am not a hair care professional. All my posts are based on personal experience, preference and things I have learnt from reading and researching. If you have serious concerns about your hair please consult a professional**
- The Characteristics of Your Hair
There can often be a lot of focus on ‘hair type’ in the natural hair space; I have had a number of people ask me about the best ways to find their hair type as they felt this knowledge would automatically help them to care for their hair in a more effective way. While it may be useful to understand your hair type, we have to take into consideration that many of us have more than one curl pattern on our head, so focusing solely on hair type will not enable you to fully understand your hair.
I personally think it is better to focus on the characteristics of your hair as this will help you to create a bespoke hair care routine for your specific head of curls and coils. Think about your hairs’ thickness (how thick individual strands are i.e. fine to medium or medium to thick), hair density (think of the volume or your hair), level of dryness (take into account porosity) and your hair’s breaking point (the points of your hair that are usually quite fragile before they pass a new length milestone) as a good starting place to note your hairs’ characteristics.
When you take these things into consideration you can start to select better practices that suit your curls. You can also begin to select products that are more suitable for your hair’s needs and select styles that will aid in moisture retention, protection and low manipulation giving scope for retaining more of the length when your hair grows.
Now this can be a tricky one because there is always going to be an element of trial and error when beginning and developing your natural hair journey; however there are some general things you can look out for that should work well for curls and coils.
The first thing I would say is that every natural needs a good shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, leave in conditioner and natural oil, plus a spray bottle to add moisture. Once you have those basics, you are good to go. The next thing is to look out for key ingredients that are going to be good for your curls.
Look out for water, aqua, distilled water, rose water and Aloe Vera
Humectants & Emollients
Humectants are ingredients that bond with water helping to draw water into the hair strands and emollients help to seal in that moisture.
Some commonly used Humectants are: Some commonly used Emollients are:
Propylene Glycol Soya Bean Oil (lighter emollient)
Butylene Glycol Argan Oil (lighter emollient)
Collagen Sweet Almond Oil (lighter emollient)
Keratin Dimethicone (lighter emollient/silicone)
Panthenol Jojoba Oil (heavier emollient)
Sodium PCA Coconut Oil (heavier Emollient)
Hyaluronic Acid Cocoa Butter (heavier emollient)
Silk Shea Butter (heavier emollient)
As a general guideline if you have fine to medium hair your curls may fair better with lighter emollients as these will not weigh the hair down too much. If you have medium to thick hair you may want to opt for the heavier emollients to coat your strands. Most of us can get away with using a mixture of both light and heavy emollients but the name of the game is trial and error.
I would describe myself as having fine to medium strands and have found that lighter creams work much better for my hair than heavy butters which weight my curls down and build up on my strands. I do however, use a homemade natural oil mix to seal my ends which contains a mixture of light and heavy oils and it works fine on my strands. So you have to try different products out and see what works best for you and you can even try to create your own as I sometimes do. Be sure to follow the instructions as to how to apply the products to your hair correctly, so that you get the maximum benefit out of the products you are using.
When looking at product ingredients remember that ingredients are listed in order of quantity, meaning that the higher up an ingredient is on the ingredient list the larger the proportion of that ingredient is in the products. Remember to avoid products that are harsh on your hair such as sulfates and parebens that can strip the hair of moisture.
- How To Minimise Breakage
I think knowing how to minimise breakage is something very important that every natural should know, simply because our curls and coils are much more prone to breakage. Curly hair is weaker at each point that the hair bends and curls and when our hair is dry, it is even more fragile and prone to breakage. So I have 2 key words for this one ‘be gentle’. Handle your hair with care, no rough tugging and pulling, instead gently finger detangle your hair and then use a wide tooth comb. Add a little moisture or leave in conditioner when detangling and styling so that you hair is softer and more malleable.
Be gentle with your hair when it is soaking wet as well because it is at a very fragile state when soaking wet. Use low manipulation hairstyles that have low tension. Protect you hair when you are sleeping with a silk or satin pillowcase, hair bonnet or head scarf. Reduce the amount of times that your hands are in your hair, as this can lead to over manipulation and mechanical damage. Keep your hair well moisturised and be sure to trim your hair regularly to get rid of knots and split ends, otherwise these can cause further damage and breakage.
So there you have it, 3 simple principles/practices that I think every natural should know. These will help you to create and build a robust hair care routine that will see you achieving your hair goals and feeling more confident about your natural hair.
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