Alisha : My Best-Kept Secrets for Natural Hair Care
I’ve had natural hair my whole life. I still remember sitting in-between my mother’s legs, my arms angrily crossed and eyes puffy from incessant crying as she blow-dried my hair, pulling my head in every direction.
My father would sit across the room, scissors in hand, every now and then warning me; “Give your mother a hard time and I will cut it all off.”
Needless to say, my hair was work; it was a daylong affair during my childhood. When I was joining university the natural hair movement was at an all time high – products became more accessible and YouTube was the Holy Grail when it came to what to use and how. It was baptism by fire in the best way.
Finding a good natural hair regime is all about learning your hair and what works for you, specifically.
My hair type is a 3c/4a meaning it follows an “S” shaped natural curl pattern. My hair also has low porosity, which means that it does not absorb or retain moisture easily (Not sure what your hair type is? Use this Natural hair quiz to find out!
Though it took me a while to figure out, here is the routine that works best for me;
Wash day (once a week)
Step 1: Apply a detangler of choice and comb through.
Step 2: Shampoo – Use a sulfate-free shampoo! Sulfates tend to strip your hair of its natural nutrients leaving it dry and dull.
Step 3: Condition! – Conditioning imparts moisture; helps reduce breakage and split ends. Overall, it helps improve the health of your hair. Again, a sulfate-free conditioner is preferred.
Step 4: Lightly dry with a t-shirt – Yes, I said a t-shirt! The standard towel can absorb too much moisture and rough up your hair cuticles, which can cause unwanted fizz. Instead, use an old, unimportant t-shirt (we all have one) to dry your hair. The t-shirt’s texture will keep your curls protected from the damaging dryness that standard towels can cause.
Step 5: Apply a leave-in conditioner – I prefer to use a water-based product for extra moisture!
Step 6: Lock – Seal in the moisture from your leave-in with an oil of your choice e.g. coconut oil, avocado oil, argan oil etc. Make sure the oil is as natural and unrefined as possible!
Step 7: Twist – Depending on the look I am going for, I will twist or braid my hair next. For my hair, twisting usually gives my hair a more tight and fuller look while braiding leaves my hair with a looser and more stretched curl pattern. Usually, I twist using a styling gel.
Throughout the week, I do the following;
- Twist: Ideally, I twist/braid my hair every night. But, if I’m too lazy, (which is more often than not) I grab a satin scarp and put my hair up in a pineapple before bed. (Pineapple method → https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hza3u60uaXI)
- Moisture, Moisture, Moisture! The trick to strong hair is moisture, both externally and internally. Every other day I spray my hair with a combination of avocado, argan and coconut oil. I also make sure I drink TONS of water – it’s truly the secret weapon to healthy hair!
Let no one lie to you, natural hair is WORK. If you’re a natural newbie, or have been for a while but your hair hasn’t grown past that length, or you’re simply contemplating making the transition; patience is key. Some things won’t work and some will take forever to see results. My biggest encouragement is to be ready to take the time to get it, be gentle to your hair and believe the process. Trust me sis, your hair will thank you!
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