As beautiful as natural hair is, it can be a handful or two since it comes in different textures and everyone’s hair is different. From nappy to wavy, kinky to coily, natural hair differs in looks, textures, and products. To understand how to best manage your natural hair, you need to pay attention to three big factors.
Your Hair Type
If you’re new to the natural world, start off by finding your type of hair. Take a look at the chart and find your hair type. You should only use this chart as a way to see what your hair type is; it’s a guide, not the end all be all! If you don’t see your exact hair type, that’s okay. I’m between 4A and 4B. Now that you’ve figured out a semi-accurate hair type, you need to find out what your hair can take.My sister and I have the same type of hair, yet her hair holds moisture better than mine. So when we transition from cold to warm weather, her hair shrinks more. Let’s discuss what can factor into affecting your hair.
First test out your porosity (how your hair holds moisture), take a couple strands of your normal hair(no products) and drop them in a clear cup of room temperature water. Watch the hair from 2–4 minutes. If it sinks quickly, you have a high porosity and your hair absorbs nutrients quick. If it slowly sinks you have normal porosity, and if it sits on the water for more than 4 minutes, you have low porosity.
With low porosity hair, you’ll need to keep it moisturized. With my hair, I moisturize twice daily. My favorite hair care products are the OGX line, Shea Moisture, and Aunt Jackie’s. When washing your hair, be sure to wash it with cold water. Cold water will lock in moisture better than warm will. Never skip a deep conditioning treatment! Always use a deep conditioning treatment once or twice a week. Moisture is key to growth.
No matter what kind of porosity, moisturizing is always key to growth and shine. So even with normal porosity, you still need to moisturize, just not as much.
While high porosity hair locks moisture in better, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to forget about moisture. It just means you can get away with skipping a few hair masques.
Your Hair Products
As mentioned earlier, not all hair products will work for every hair type. When deciding what hair products to use, always keep a look out for what ingredients are used in each one. Take the time to read the label and watch out for:
- Sulfates (sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate)
- Parabens (propylparaben, benzylparaben
- Alcohol (sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate)
This list is by no means exhaustive but these ingredients are the biggest ones to cause damage to your hair. These ingredients can strip your hair of essential oils while causing frizziness and drying out the strands in the long run.
Caring for your hair doesn’t stop at moisturizing and cleansing it. It goes above and beyond that. When growing out your hair, keep in mind the power of protective styles. Braids, faux locs, and wigs help to protect your ends as long as you take care of it and use the products that are safe for it. At night, use a satin hair bonnet or cap to keep your hair protected from frizz and damage. Twist outs are always a good style to use when protecting your ends and helping to get your hair used to a new pattern.
Remember, The better you look after your hair, the better the results.