I am in the middle of transitioning to natural hair and it has been a hell of a ride. On some days, I just feel like giving in and relaxing my hair, but then I stop and remember when I am transitioning in the first place and get on with it. The truth of the matter is caring for your natural afro/kinky hair is hard work. Don’t let any of these Youtubers/Bloggers that make it all look easy fool you. But I had to transition to natural hair because my hair was breaking seriously. After years of chemicals, heat and lack of care, my hair became very weak and unhealthy, I had no choice but to quit the relaxers and all.
The last time I relaxed my hair was well over a year ago now. I did texturised my hair some months ago, because I thought it would make it more manageable but it did nothing for my hair. So I have decided to go down the full natural hair route. I still rock my many wigs when I need to look fly (wink wink), since I am yet to master the art of styling natural hair but I am working on it. My daughter’s hair is natural but it is super curly and soft, so it is a lot easier to manage and style compared to mine. And my hair is still a bunch of different textures which makes it even more difficult to manage.
I am reluctant to do the ‘big chop’. I have been told I don’t have to bother thinking about that for now so I would just see how I get on with growing out my natural hair, and deal with the relaxed ends later.
Here are some ways I care for my natural hair:
Pre-poo simply means pre-shampoo treatment. I pre-poo my hair with olive oil and water before washing. I divide my hair into 4 sections and massage oil and water into each section and leave on under a shower cap while I carry on as normal. I usually leave it for about 5/6 hours to get the maximum effect before washing it out. This works beautifully on my hair. My hair is detangled, feels soft and looks shiny after a wash.
I wash my natural hair every week with a sulfate-free shampoo. I will be reviewing the exact shampoo and other natural hair products I use soon so watch this space.
It is very important to use the right kind of shampoo. The most ideal kind of shampoo for natural african hair is one that contains moisturizing agents. The reason is simple: African hair does not retain moisture easily. This is why afros are more prone to drying out. Extremely dry hair can cause your hair a lot of harm. So it’s a wise choice to start with something that will moisturize your hair, but make sure that you use light products that contain natural ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil or olive oil.
I know some ladies are against using shampoos in general or use only conditioners to wash the hair. I tried this once and my hair didn’t feel clean or feel right, so I don’t recommend this method.
I deep condition once a month. Deep Conditioning helps add the most needed moisture into your hair. Since our natural hair is more prone to drying out, deep conditioning helps moisturize our hair. Conditioning also makes your hair nice and soft.
Also, make sure you carry out the detangling process while you are conditioning your hair. One of the major problems with afros is dealing with tangles. Tangles may come about while washing your hair. If the hair is long, it’s more prone to tangles than short hair. All you have to do is use a wide-toothed comb or picker to pick through the tangles.
I leave my hair to air dry. Natural hair can dry out easily as they lose moisture faster than other hair types. So, using a blow dryer can strip your afro off moisture leaving it looking unhealthy, dull and lifeless. Instead of using a blow dryer, simply air dry. This will save your hair from any unnecessary loss of moisture and hair breakage. Just pat your hair dry with a towel every once in a while and let nature do the rest.
I comb my hair when it is damp. To tame your natural hair, you’ve got to comb it in place. Avoid combing your hair when it’s wet. That is when your hair is more prone to breakage.
There’s an art to combing your natural hair if you’d want to maintain the curls – comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb. This will help get rid of any knots or tangles that make your hair difficult to manage. Do not use any comb other than a wide-toothed comb as combing will make your afro frizzy and puffed up which will destroy the curly look you are going for. For brushing, I use the Tangle Teezer hair brush for thick, wavy, afro and curly hair. It is the best!
I moisturise my hair daily with oils and creams. One of the problems of curly natural hair is that it loses moisture really quickly. If gone unchecked it can cause hair breakage and make your hair look dull and lifeless. Apply a moisturizer after drying your hair, starting from the tips of your hair all the way to the scalp. To make sure that your hair retains moisture throughout the day, have a spray bottle with some water in it. Spray your hair every once in a while during the day to keep it moist. I have 3/4 water and 1/4 olive oil in my spray bottle and I spray my hair once or twice a day.
To maintain the round shape of the afro hair (if you have a fro), give your fro a nice trim. Trimming gets rid of the split ends and keeps the ends of your hair healthy. It also helps to enhance hair growth and keep the hair full and bouncy. The next thing to do, is to gently press your hair into that signature round shape.
I am looking forward to rocking this look once my hair grows out.
As you can see maintaining a natural hair is a lot of work. Our afro hair needs love, attention and care, so if you don’t have the time for your hair, I won’t recommend you go down this route. But if you do have the time, the rewards are plenty.
How do you care for your natural hair?