Beginner’s Guide to Caring for Natural Hair Daily

how to take care of natural hair

Caring for natural hair may seem like a bit of a chore but when you systemize it by having the right processes and procedures (aka hair routines) in place, it becomes second nature. Below you’ll discover all of my natural hair tips for beginners. I’ve been caring for my own hair in its natural state for 20 years as of the writing of this article. These tips will teach you how to take care of natural hair daily.

How one person goes about caring for their natural hair daily may vary from another. As a natural fine hair type, I approach daily hair care with these goals in mind:

  • Keeping hair moisturized
  • Protecting my hair
  • Minimizing the need to do my hair daily

In order to achieve each of these goals for my fine curly hair strands, I have to prep my hair starting on wash day.

Simple Areas of Focus to Daily Care for Natural Hair

how to care for natural hair daily

To keep the tips for how to take care of natural hair daily simple, the four areas to focus on are:

  • Knowing Your Hair Type
  • Hair Products You Need
  • Hair Tools You Need
  • Healthy Hair Habits

Having an exhaustive knowledge of each of these topics will help you to reach and exceed the hair goals I mentioned above. Lets’s examine them.

Knowing Your Hair Type

When it comes to knowing your hair type, it’s much less about your hair texture, curl pattern or curl definition. Curl types don’t even matter. That’s good news because there’s a lot of texture discrimination (especially in the natural hair community).

It’s this discrimination that sets up roadblocks for those of us with naturally kinky hair to absorb solid information.

The first step to knowing how to take care of natural hair daily and also the MOST IMPORTANT thing to now about your hair type is its porosity level. Porosity is your true hair type indicator for how you should care for your natural hair.

The porosity of your hair can be defined as low porosity, high porosity or medium (normal) porosity hair. In layman’s terms, here’s a definition for each:

Low porosity hair

Hair whose cuticle is so tight that it’s difficult for moisture to enter the hair strand. Hair gets wet on the outside but it’s not easy for water to penetrate the hair strand. However, when moisture does enter the hair strand, it does not easily escape.

High porosity hair

Basically, the opposite of low porosity hair. The hair cuticle is very loose and while moisture can easily enter the hair strand, it just as easily escapes. It can be challenging for those with high porosity hair to retain moisture for a significant period of time.

Often times, those with high porosity hair have a damaged cuticle layer due to chemical treatments.This isn’t always the case though.

Medium porosity hair

Those with this porosity type have beautifully balanced porosity levels. Hair gets into the hair shaft relatively easy and doesn’t escape too easily.

Once you know your hair’s porosity, it’s easier for you to identify the products and techniques you need for the care of your hair. This is how you get the best results with your daily hair care.

natural hair type

Hair Products Needed for Daily Hair Care

Regardless of your hair’s porosity, there are certain types of hair products that we all need. Here are the basics needed to take care of natural hair daily:

A leave-in conditioner

While you won’t use a leave in conditioner daily, unlike a deep conditioner which is used only on wash day, leave-in treatments can be used mid week to help with refreshing your hairstyles.

Natural oils

Oils like olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, castor oil. These oils can be used to make a hair oil for daily use. For example, to massage your scalp and oil your hair at night.

A hair butter

Hair butters are used to keep your protective styles moisturized for longer so you don’t end up with dry hair. Shea butter and mango butter are go to’s. You can even mix them together and whip them into a hair cream. I wouldn’t use the hair butters in their solid state on loose hair if you have fine strands. Yet, they are great for protective styles that won’t be redone daily.

Essential oils

Essentials oils can be mixed with the natural oils and hair butters.

Night time hair mask

If you struggle with retaining moisture in your hair due to high porosity levels, you can find hair masks to apply to your hair nightly a few times a week to help.

Other products you’ll need (just not for daily use):

  • Sulfate-free shampoo
  • Cleansing conditioner
  • Deep conditioning hair mask
  • Protein treatment
  • Scalp scrub

The last hair product you will need to take care of natural hair daily is a good heat protectant.

Now, this is only if you’re someone who likes to have straight hair from time to time.

While you won’t heat style your hair daily (unless you want heat damage), a heat protectant is a vital product to have. It’s needed even if you only straighten your hair once a year.

Now that you know the right products you’ll need to take care of natural hair daily (and at other times), let’s look at the hair tools to have on hand.

Hair Tools You’ll Need

While you’ll need basic hair products, it’s also a good idea to have black hair care essentials at your disposal.

These items will help to protect your natural hair while bathing, showering, grooming yourself and sleeping:

  • a spray bottle or 2
  • wide-tooth comb
  • an extra long shower cap
  • a silk or satin bonnet
  • an absorbable head band
  • silk or satin scarf (including a scarf just for your edges)

You will use each of these hair tools either daily or many days throughout the week. So, because you’ll use them so often, you want to buy really good quality.

Purchasing quality hair tools are way more important and cost effective than purchasing many cheap hair tools.

Healthy Hair Habits for Daily Natural Hair Care

Once you know your hair type and the specific hair products & tools needed to maintain healthy hair, it’s time to build upon that knowledge and develop some healthy natural hair habits.

The first habit you want to work on is building a natural hair regimen that becomes so intuitive you don’t even need to think about what you have to do. This takes some time. As I mentioned, I’ve been at this for about 20 years.

In this post written a while back, I wrote about 10 healthy hair habits.

While your hair habits aren’t your hair regimen, building solid hair care habits will help you to build the ROUTINES that make up your hair regimen.

So, Hair Habits > Hair Routines = Hair Regimen

Now, let’s move on to some healthy hair tips. These are similar to hair habits and can be connected to them but they aren’t the same.

My Top 5 Healthy Hair Tips

1. Hair Loss and Hair Growth

To counteract hair loss right down to the hair follicles, there are some very specific things you can do. These things help to stimulate hair growth and/or to put a stop to excessive hair shedding.

To grow healthy natural hair, try the following tips. These are my best hair tips for preventing hair loss and stimulating hair growth.

Tips for Preventing Hair Loss

hair loss tips

Hair loss can occur for a number of reasons:

  • Traction alopecia caused by extreme pulling on the hair. To counteract this, wear your hair in styles that don’t put stress at the root
  • Medical conditions. Seek a doctor’s help, including a dermatologist.
  • Hormonal changes. Consulting a doctor can help with balancing hormones. Also, there are homeopathic remedies available that help with hair loss.
  • Stress. This is the 2nd easiest thing to change next to how you style your hair. Choosing to eliminate known stressors from your life is a form of self care that will quickly stop stress induced hair loss.
  • Certain medications. If medication is causing your hair loss, weigh the pros of taking the medication against the con of hair loss. Often times, there is an alternative medication which can be used to treat certain conditions. Check with your physician to see if this is an option.

Best Way to Stimulate Hair Growth

As we know, all hair grows barring a medical condition. Yet, sometimes hair needs a little boost. Especially if you are a slow grower.

So, the best way to stimulate hair growth is actually four fold:

  • Keep your scalp clean. Ensure your scalp is free of dirt and product build up.
  • Massage your scalp with a natural oil that’s been infused with growth promoting herbs like henna, amla and fenugreek.
  • Invert your head down toward the floor while massaging an oil blend into your scalp for about 5 minutes. You scalp should be adequately covered with the oil pushed deep into the scalp with the massaging action. You can use an electric scalp massager but it’s not necessary. It does feel good though. So, perhaps make that part of your self care.

Here’s one that’s just amazing:

  • Hydrate your body. This includes eating water rich fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water and watering your hair almost like you would a plant. However, your porosity levels should determine how much water is needed. High porosity hair will need watering like a Boston fern. While, low porosity hair can be watered like a succulent. OK, maybe not that infrequent but I think you get the picture.

If you want more in depth info on growing black hair, check out: 7 Hair Growth Secrets for Black Hair.

2. Retaining the Length You Grow

Hair growth is just the first step to longer hair, if that’s a goal of yours. You have to actually retain most of what you grow and that can only happen by protecting your ends. This includes preventing split ends from regularly occurring.

Yes, split ends will still happen. Especially if you have tightly coiled 4 C hair that’s also fine. However, you can cut down on the instances of splitting with these tips:

  • Neglect heat styling as much as possible. 1-2x a year on special occasions is more than enough.
  • Keep your hair stretched. By doing so, you’ll prevent excess tangling that leads to hair breakage.
  • Protective Styling. Wearing your hair in styles that protect your ends from premature wear and tear is a great way to help you retain more length.
  • Keep your ends smooth, moisturized and sealed using a layer process like:
    Moisturizing gel* > a heavy oil like Jamaican Black Castor Oil (in that order). This process is what I call double sealing. I discuss it in this video here:

Retaining those inches is what will help you to grow your hair past shoulder length. In fact, I share some strategies here: How to Grow Black Hair Past Shoulder Length

*Camille Rose Naturals CurlMaker or Flaxseed Gel are the 2 moisturizing gels I recommend for this double sealing technique.

3. Mid-Week Moisture Tip

When misting your hair mid-week for an added boost of moisture, do so with warm water. This will help the water to better penetrate the hair shaft.

In fact, if you spritz your hair with warm water AND use a hair steamer, this will definitely help with not only moisturizing your hair but hydrating it deep within.

Just spritzing low porosity hair with water isn’t enough to moisturize it well. It will wet the outer surface of your hair but it takes more to get moisture into the inner layer. Hence, steaming.

Check out this article out: Why Steaming Should Be Part of Your Natural Hair Regimen

4. Achieving Protein/Moisture Balance

To grow healthier hair and maintain hair health, you have to achieve a balance of moisture and protein. Too much moisture and your hair will be lifeless. Too much protein and your hair will break.

A good monthly haircare routine for keeping your hair balanced with moisture and strength when you wash weekly is after cleansing your hair:

Week 1: Deep condition (no protein)

Week 2: Deep condition (no protein)

Week 3: Protein treatment (I recommend using a balanced silk protein treatment as it leaves the hair feeling very soft, omitting the need to condition afterward)

Week 4: Deep condition (no protein)

Protein-Moisture Balance Routine for Less Frequent Washing

If you have fine natural hair and wash less frequently like I do, I recommend:

Week 1: Deep condition

Week 3: Protein treatment

Week 5: Deep condition

Week 7: Deep condition

Week 9: Protein treatment

Notice over a 2 month/1 week period, I wash my hair about 5 times versus 9.

Cutting back on how often I wash my fine natural hair has also helped with length retention because there’s less manipulation. Plus, my hair isn’t actually dirty after 1 week.

When I exercised more frequently and used more styling products, I needed to wash on a weekly basis. So, the key is to discover how often you need to wash your hair. Then, build in using a protein treatment at least every 3 wash days.

The type of protein treatment you use definitely matters as well. There is no such thing as protein sensitivity. If you are having problems with protein treatments, it’s because of protein overload. Your hair either doesn’t need it at the time or you’re using the wrong type of protein.

Heavy duty protein treatments (ex: full strength keratin treatments) are not for maintenance and should only be used if your hair is severely damaged and breaking. These intense protein treatments are for when you need to quickly put a stop to hair breakage.

Otherwise, a light protein treatment is good for the maintenance of fragile hair. This includes hydrolyzed vegetable protein, milk protein and wheat protein.

Check out this article on Naturally Curly for more on which type of protein your hair may need: Guide to The Best Protein Treatment for Your Hair

5. Styling with Moisture Retention in Mind

two strand twists

One of the easiest ways to get your hair to retain moisture is to twist (or braid) it after doing the LCO method:

L = Water

C = Cream (can be your leave in conditioner)

O = Oil

After you’ve either washed your hair or applied water to it (steamed, if low porosity), you’ll then go in and apply a cream followed by sealing it all with an oil.

When you twist your hair or braid it after that layering process, it causes the hair to be “cocooned.” helping it to hold on to moisture for a longer period of time.

This is why you’ll find scores of videos on Youtube about how women grew their hair in twists. Yes, it’s the lower manipulation since you don’t have to retwist daily but it’s also the locking of moisture and oils into the hair shaft.

Helpful Hair Resources

For further help taking care of your natural hair, check out these resources:

Guide to Fine Hair Routines: guide for how to do the four most important hair routines

Master Your Hair Manual: a complete guide for hair care that will help you to build hair routines and solidify your hair regimen

Where to Next?

Now that you know all about how to care for natural hair daily, let’s move on to weekly hair care.

Read this article next: How to Create a Weekly Natural Hair Care Routine

how to take care of natural hair daily

FAQs

What should I do to my natural hair daily?

Daily hair care doesn’t have to be complex. The basics include moisturizing (high porosity only), grooming/refreshing and protecting. Save the detangling for wash day. Protection happens when you sleep by how you cover and/or put your hair up. It also occurs throughout your day.

What is a good daily hair care routine?

The short answer is the one you have time for. The more in depth answer is to know what your hair goals are and to do whatever it takes on a daily basis to reach those goals. As you can see, it’s not a cut and dry answer.

If you’re struggling to build a good regimen, this article can help:

How to Develop a Hair Regimen When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Is it OK to wash natural hair every day?

It’s not necessary to wash natural hair daily. In fact, doing so will dry afro-textured hair out. Our hair needs much moisture and while it may seem intuitive to wash it often in order to give your hair that moisture, doing so will also strip your hair of its natural oils which also help keep it lubricated and naturally moisturized.

If you sweat a lot in your scalp due to working out frequently, you can use a damp cloth to wipe your scalp and freshen it up between wash days.

What about hair products I need for weekly care?

In addition to the daily hair products, the following products should be used weekly on wash day: a deep conditioner and/or protein treatment, an appropriate cleanser (shampoo or clay washes for build up and cleansing conditioner for gentle cleansing).

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Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

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