Lessons of discovery – natural hair and what makes/keeps it healthy
January is all about new beginnings and what better way to start the year off than to reflect on what you learned from the previous year? Since this is a beauty blog, let’s start with hair! Before I get into it, check out this fun review of my natural hair throughout last year:
2013 was one heck of a year. If you have been on a hair journey for as long as I have (over 10 years….I’m no longer counting), it’s tempting to think you’ve got this whole natural hair care thing down to a science. And while it is sort of scientific, a lot of caring for your natural hair is intuitive.
I’ve learned some very specific things about my natural hair last year – things that can make or break a healthy regimen including hair growth and length retention. Now, for my little disclaimer…
What I’m about to share you may not exactly agree with. Remember though, this post is all about what I learned about MY natural hair LOL
While much of what I have learned comes from the trial and error of using multiple hair products, some of what I learned comes from trying specific hair care techniques. I guess you can call them the nuts and bolts of hair care. OK. Let’s get to what I learned (I’m going to list them out to make it all plain ya see!)
- Being a product junky is not productive. While it may be fun to experiment with different brands, (especially those that smell so good! B.A.S.K. ring a bell? LOL!) using a bunch of products when you don’t really know what your hair takes to, does not help you get any closer to your hair goals. If you are using 30 different conditioners and 17 different stylers on a rotational basis, which one (or two) is best for your hair? There’s no way to really know until you narrow them down. And, narrow them down I have.
- Why cutting your hair has nothing to do with hair growth. Now, this one I’ve known for quite some time now but it was further reinforced last year after doing several trims. Hair grows from the root. The health of your scalp has more to do with hair growth than the ends of your hair. Sure, split ends can leave your hair looking raggedy. There’s also an increase in tangling when there are a lot of split ends. However, split end or no split end, you can still grow your hair down your back without ever trimming it. And, when you eliminate heat styling and rough handling, you’ll find you don’t need to trim as often. I’ve discovered that I can simply trim off the pesky SSKs (single strand knots), and keep my ends relatively healthy. It’s sort of like the SnD (search and destroy) method only I’m not searching for splits. My hair is so darn fine, I can’t see them anyway! Instead, I feel for tiny little knots. When I find them, I snip them off. Simple.
- Whoever said washing your hair weekly was the rule? For years, I washed my hair once a week because that’s what I thought everyone else did (Well, except those chicks who wash daily. Who has time for that?!) On the contrary, I found that washing my hair bi-weekly is way better. Now, this may change as my hair gets longer or if I choose to switch my products up but for now, bi-weeky washings it is.
- My scalp does not like JBCO (Jamaican Black Castor Oil). I know a lot of ladies swear by the use of JBCO, how it stimulates hair growth and such. It never worked for me. Not only that, it made my scalp itch like crazy. The whole time I thought I just had itchy scalp but when I eliminated JBCO from my hair care regimen, my scalp was fine.
- Silicones are a God-send. I know. I know. So many naturals say that silicones are evil, build up on your hair and doesn’t allow it to breathe. The Curly Girl Method is the only way for naturally curly hair. Blah Blah Blah. The fact of the matter is with hair like mine that tends to frizz, silicones are my friend. They help keep my hair smooth and free of fly-aways. As far as build up, I never have moisture retention problems and one apple cider vinegar rinse takes care of any build up (however slight).
- Protective styling only works sometimes. Braids and mini twists take a lot of manipulation to install and while I don’t add hair, I find that too much manipulation on my fine strands causes breakage. The only way it would be worth it is if I kept them in for at least a month and there’s no way that’s happening (#HairADD LOL)! The most effective protective styles are those that I don’t need to re-do daily (ex; side buns tied down at night, large twists that I can pin up ) and/or don’t require much handling. That’s why I looooove my banana clip. I don’t have to detangle my hair to style with it.
- Ouchless elastic bands aren’t really ouchless. I may be special but my hair still gets tangled when removing Ouchless elastic bands. The Ouchless ribbon bands work much better and never get stuck in my hair. When doing a ponytail of some sort, it’s best to use either the ribbon band or a satin scrunchy.
I told you what I learned about my hair may not be what works for everyone. The great thing about having natural hair is YOU get to discover whatever it is that works for your hair. If you haven’t quite figured it all out yet, maybe some of what I’ve shared may help 🙂
What have you discovered about your natural hair in the past year(s)?