It's understandable why natural hair is the trend right now… It's one of a kind, which explains why it easily stands out among other hair types. Besides, it's been shut out of public representation for so long due to racial discrimination that when it finally fought to the forefront, it became many ladies' identities. But natural hair isn't a trend. It's a lifestyle, meaning it's here to stay. As such, you can't be nonchalant about it. You must maintain your curls if you want your hair always to be beautiful. Whether you are just starting your natural hair care journey, want to switch up your hair care routine, or are simply curious about natural hair maintenance, stick around. You'll get all the information you need in this blog post. But first, don't forget this rule: Your curls aren't the same as others. No curl is created the same way. It's okay if your curls are completely different from others.
TIP 1: KNOW YOUR HAIR
Maintaining healthy natural hair starts with knowing your curl texture, porosity, and pattern. There's much more to hair than just the length or color of the hair. For instance, hair porosity deals with how well your hair can absorb and retain moisture. It determines how dry or oily your hair is. There are three types: low, medium, and high. Low porosity means your hair retains moisture quickly; as such, it's mostly oily. Medium porosity means your hair is balanced in retaining oil and water. Such a hair type needs little maintenance. High porosity means your hair struggles to retain moisture, making it very dry.
TIP 2: USE THE RIGHT HAIR PRODUCTS:
I told you the number one rule regarding natural hair care: no curl pattern is the same. Here's the second: not every hair product is meant for your hair. Your hair is like your stomach; not everything should go in. The way you select the foods you eat is the way you should choose your hair products. That's why the first tip is knowing your hair. When you know your hair, you'll make the right decision. Hair product manufacturers formulate these products based on different hair profiles and needs. For example, the products meant for straight hair differ from those meant to define curls. Asides these specific details, there are general things you should look out for when choosing hair products. First, read the ingredient list. Mineral oil and sulfates are bad for natural hair, so don't pick products that contain them. Then, place more value on hair products with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, tea tree oil, avocado oil, shea butter, etc. Chemical-based products strip your hair of its natural nutrients and may damage your scalp. Additionally, choose quality over price. Maintaining natural hair can be expensive, but it's always worth it. If you buy quality products, your hair will be better for it.
Your curl pattern can be straight, wavy, curly, and tightly curled. Hair texture is of three types - fine, medium, and coarse. If your hair strand is thinner than a line of thread, you have fine hair. If it's the same, your hair texture is medium. If it's thicker, your hair is coarse.
You might wonder, "what's the essence of this?"
Here's it: knowing your hair type will help you to choose the right hair products and follow the right practices.
TIP 3: DRINK ENOUGH WATER; MOISTURIZE YOUR HAIR
What does drinking water have to do with hair care? A lot. Your hair needs to stay hydrated and moisturized always. Water contains many of the minerals required for hair growth. As you drink water, your hair is drawing the nutrients it needs. Now, staying hydrated is one part; the other is regularly moisturizing your hair. You know how dry and unattractive your skin looks when you don't bathe for a few days? That happens to your scalp when you don't moisturize your hair. Your scalp is an extension of your skin, so it is subject to the conditions that affect your skin. Drink enough water and moisturize your hair. You can buy natural hair moisturizers from the local store or make one yourself.
TIP 4: WEAR PROTECTIVE STYLES REGULARLY
Protective styles are hairstyles in which the ends of your hair are tucked away to avoid pulling or breaking. They also protect your hair from manipulation from excessive combing or styling.
When hair is exposed to constant manipulation, it starts to break off or gets damaged. Protective styles include twists, weaves, knots, braids, buns, etc. You can also wear wigs or hair extensions as a protective style. Ensure the wigs fit the shape of your face and are comfortable. You can check out different types of wigs and hair extensions here.
TIP 5: TRIM YOUR HAIR REGULARLY
If you've always thought that trimming your hair would reduce its length and, as such, you don't do it, you need to stop. Trimming your hair is very helpful. When you do it, you are getting rid of the damaged ends of your hair that could further split downwards, thereby increasing the extent of the damage. If you see that the ends of your hair are looking dull, that's a pointer that your hair needs good trimming. How often should you trim your hair? It depends on how often you manipulate it. If you wear low-manipulation styles a lot, you can trim your hair every six to eight months. If not, do it quarterly. However, it's important to note that hair trimming, and hair cutting aren't the same. When you trim your hair, you only cut the ends, which are about ½ to one inch. But a haircut can be longer; it depends on you.
TIP 6: AVOID DIRECT HEAT
Maybe you wouldn't admire straight hair that much if you knew that direct heat damages your hair, especially if you don't have straight hair naturally. Exposing natural hair to direct heat from dryers, hot combs, straighteners, etc., does more harm than good, from excessive drying to heat damage. Heat damage is a condition in which your hair is dry, brittle, and dull in appearance. It is usually irreversible. As much as you can, avoid direct heat. If you can't, use it sparingly, like once every three months. And when at it, use a silicone heat protectant to prevent the tool from damaging your hair. Altogether, it's best to opt for indirect heat, such as deep conditioning with heating caps or hooded dryers. Ensure they are regulated to the lowest setting when used.
TIP 7: BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR HAIR CARE ROUTINE
One-offs will never work with natural hair. Only consistency does. No matter how quality your hair products are or how effective your hair care routine is, you'll see no lasting results if you do them once in a while. Natural hair maintenance is a day-by-day routine; you can't be on and off It might be tiring at first, but you'll get used to it. Also, make things easier for yourself. Know what works for your hair and stick to it. You don't have to try every product or every routine. Incorporate your hair care routine bit by bit into your daily schedule. That way, it'll be easier for you to stay consistent.