In the spirit of keeping it real, I confess I never stop learning my about my natural hair. Sure, I may know what types of products my hair generally likes and I may even know the best hairstyles for my fine natural hair. Yet, just when I think I know it ALL, there always seems to be something new I learn about my hair! It’s fascinating actually.
It’s been 15 years since I ditched the creamy crack and began embracing my God given natural texture. How my hair grows from my scalp is how I let it do what it do (“does” but I’m speaking in my Ebonics voice here!). While 15 years is a long time off the “stuff,” I still recall what my hair used to look like and how it would never grow past a certain point.
Over the years, I learned some things about my fine hair that I had no clue of when it was being relaxed. Most of these learnings may seem like common sense but when I relaxed my hair with chemicals, I didn’t care much about it and didn’t put in the effort to learn. Now that I’m more in tune with “me,” I thought it would be cool to share some of my major discoveries with you.
Here they are in no particular order:
- My natural curls are beautiful! I never thought I’d be able to wash my hair, add a little conditioner and just go outside. The beauty of these curls is they are actually low maintenance. If you had told me I’d be able to do a “wash and go,” when I first returned to natural hair, I would have never believed it. All I could picture was a hot-mess once I spent a few minutes outdoors. But it ain’t so!
- A consistent hair care regimen is a major key to maintaining healthy hair. By consistent, I mean washing, conditioning, moisturizing and giving your hair maintenance treatments with some schedule of regularity. For my fine hair, wash day (with deep conditioning) needs to occur weekly, protein treatments -bi-weekly and moisturizing -daily.
- Hair can be trimmed far less often when you aren’t damaging it as much. I used to get my hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks regardless of if it looked damaged or not. That’s what the “professionals said to do.” It’s no wonder my hair would stay the same length! Trimming that often should only be done when you want to maintain the length you are at.
- Moisturizing can be done prophylactically. In other words, you don’t have to wait for your hair to get dry to moisturize it. Maintain the level of moisture by moisturizing your hair even when it doesn’t feel dry. A little moisture every night helps prevent it from getting dry.
- Protein treatments are not optional. No matter what is being said in the natural hair circles, protein is necessary for strong, healthy hair. I believe this idea about “protein sensitivity” was birthed and spread by people who don’t know how to properly incorporate protein into their hair care regimens.The need to know is two fold: How often you should protein treat your hair (more often if you use chemicals and heat; less often if not) AND what type of protein should be used in your hair. Here’s a great article on the types of protein available:
DOES YOUR HAIR NEED PROTEIN? HERE ARE 9 DIFFERENT TYPES OF PROTEIN FOUND IN HAIR PRODUCTS
- Never comb your hair when it’s completely dry. I remember combing my straight hair and incurring breakage. I couldn’t understand why even moisturized hair would break on me. I’ve since ditched combs but have learned that even finger combing hair that has been spritzed with moisture or has conditioner and/or oil applied to it, makes it more pliable for manipulating. This virtually eliminates breakage.
- Using your fingers is the most gentle way to comb your hair and remove tangles. Some people think it takes a lot of time to finger detangle. Based on the amount of hair you have, I will agree. However, if it’s your goal to maintain as much of your hair as possible, finger detangling will greatly help with that.
- Rinsing my edges of gel each night allows me to slick my edges without that gunky white buildup every single day🙂
- Henna is an excellent all natural choice for covering up my stubborn greys! I discovered just how effective this all natural agent was when I started using it to strengthen my hair. I hadn’t expected total grey coverage but that’s exactly what happened and it’s the only method for coloring I now use.
- Using the search and destroy method helps keep my ends neat between trims, and simultaneously helps me retain more length. I never heard of this method until I began traveling in natural hair circles.
- Coconut oil is best for pre-pooing. Using it in any other way (ex: sealing) leaves my hair feeling dry and crunchy. However, when used as a pre-poo alone or combined with oil, it is the best thing ever. I retain much of my natural moisture and tensile strength when I use coconut oil in my pre-poo regimen.
- Twists done on soaking wet hair helps with moisture retention. I used to only put my hair in twists to prep for a twist out. Now, I sometimes like to set my hair in twists on wash day simply because it lengthens the time between needing to re-moisturize it. After wearing my twists for 3 days, my hair is still very moisturized (even if I don’t add moisture to it at night).
- Goat’s milk leaves makes my hair stronger than any store bought protein treatment. I’m still very amazed at how well this DIY goat’s milk conditioner recipe works at maintaining the strength of my hair. While breakage occurs naturally, my hair breakage is very minimal and sometimes non-existent.
- Natural oils reduce tangles. When I first started styling my hair in a wash and go, it would tangle fiercely. The simple practice of smoothing a lightweight oil like Jojoba or Almond oil along my nape, sides and top of my hair (without disturbing the curls) greatly cut down the amount of tangling.
- Stretching my curls with bands is a blessing and a “curse.” I don’t really like using the word “curse” because no type of curse belongs to me (I’ll save that for another post). I’ll loosely use it for lack of a better word. Bands do a great job stretching the hair and thereby reducing tangles. However, banding my fine natural curls also virtually eliminates them. To appreciate the beauty of my curls without stretching them too much, the pineapple (high, loosely banded ponytail) works better.
Regardless of if you have natural or relaxed hair, you’re bound to learn something new about it. Especially, if you are on a growth journey.
What have you learned about your hair over the years?