At the beginning of every year folks make new year’s resolutions. Many ladies will decide to no longer put chemicals in their hair, ditch the relaxed hair and start embracing their natural texture. The useful information you find in this blog post will help you to avoid natural hair overwhelm if you are transitioning OR simply overwhelmed by your natural hair.
It doesn’t matter if you are entering a new year looking to make some changes or if going natural has just been a long time coming. Perhaps you’ve experienced hair loss. Maybe you’re curious about the natural hair movement and want a new style.
You’ve seen ladies with long hair all over social media. Maybe it was a curly girl with long hair that’s flourishing with her natural curl pattern.
When deciding to go natural you may start scouring magazines, books and the internet for information on how to make the task less daunting. You’ll read tons of information and some of it will be conflicting advice from the different sources.
How Can a Former Straight Hair Girl Avoid Natural Hair Overwhelm?
While much of the information you find will be on point, it may not necessarily apply to your hair or lifestyle. It can be difficult to know what to do.
It may difficult to know things like:
- what products will work best for your hair in its natural state
- do you trim or not trim? if trim, when?
- what your hair type is
- do you have to do protective styles?
- should you big chop?
- to use protein or not
- what are the best hair products to use (leave-in conditioner? deep conditioner? sulfate-free shampoo?? oh my!)
All of the natural hair talk can seem like noise to a lady who’s transitioning or has just come in to her natural curls.
As if black women or other women of color don’t have enough to worry about. It can all seem so overwhelming.
Well, not to fret, below you’ll find actionable tips so you can develop a healthy hair regimen and greatly improve the health of your hair.
Below are 7 tips to help you avoid natural hair overwhelm cut through the natural hair noise so that you can go about your natural hair journey with more ease.
Understand your porosity
If I only had one tip to share it would be this. Understand your hair’s porosity level.
This can be tricky but once you understand your hair’s porosity, you’ll know exactly what your hair routines should be and how to carry out doing them. You’ll also know what ingredients to look for in your hair products.
Here’s a simple explanation for hair porosity:
Low porosity hair has a tight cuticle layer and it’s difficult to get moisture in but once it’s in, this porosity type maintains moisture for longer periods of time.
High porosity hair has a very loose cuticle layer and while it’s easy to get moisture in to the hair strand, the moisture is quite easily lost as well.
Medium porosity hair is a happy medium. No pun intended.
Note: If you have a lot of relaxed hair still remaining, 99% chance you have high porosity hair due to the chemical changes that have taken place in your hair shaft.
Don’t jump on bandwagons
Resist trying all the different methods and products because everyone else says so. In other words, don’t give birth to a product junkie. Your hair and your wallet will thank you.
Instead, focus on these things:
- Finding the right products for YOUR hair so you can give
- Focusing on a a simple style that you can do most of the time. For example, two-strand twists, box braids or an easy curly hairstyle
- Spend much time on building your hair care routines. For example, your wash day routines (This hair care planner will greatly help you to define all of your routines)
Keep a natural hair journal
Keeping a hair journal is a good thing to do and is extremely useful for someone just starting their transition or a new natural.
The reason a natural hair journal is so helpful is it can help you to see what you need to do to your hair on a regular basis. It will also help you to keep track of different styles you may want to try and also keep track of your favorite products.
You can track what works and doesn’t work for your hair (New Products and Methods) while you are either transitioning or just learning your hair. Remember, it’s a journey not a sprint to the finish.
Consider your information source
Unless the source of hair “information” has a significant amount of hair retained on her (or his) own head, keep it moving.
That’s not to say that people with short hair can’t retain length. Some ladies prefer to maintain short hair. However, if you notice someone is struggling with their own hair care regimen, that person is probably not a good source to learn from.
Find a few reliable sources
If you are seeking information to help you on your natural hair journey, find a few reliable sources that provide information on natural hair care and stick with those. For example, Fine Natural Hair and Faith is on YouTube – you’ll find videos created typically for those with fine natural hair.
PRO TIP: Even reliable sources contain information that don’t not jive with your personal natural hair journey. As my grandma would say, “Eat the meat and throw away the bones.”
Focus on one condition at a time to avoid natural hair overwhelm
While on your quest to optimal hair care, focus on one condition at a time – starting with the most urgent.
For example, if you have problems with breakage, limp hair and styling, focus on getting to the root of your breakage first. Olaplex for curly hair products can help.
For example, you may need to learn about how to incorporate using a particular hair mask into your regimen so that your hair stays moisturized.
Once you’ve addressed particular hair concerns then, you can research styling techniques.
Trying to combat all of your hair problems at once can be mind boggling.
Set hair goals
When you are focused on YOUR hair, you’ll be less focused on others. Everyone’s hair grows at different rates.
By setting your own realistic goals, you can focus on what you need to do for your hair. This takes the focus off what everyone else is doing with their hair and ultimately reduces a big cause of natural hair overwhelm – COMPARISON.
There you have it…my top seven tips to help you transition to natural hair or simply, avoid natural hair overwhelm. Yes, a lot of it is noise. It’s noise that comes from:
- articles that preach a one size fits all method
- comments on natural hair blogs from clearly uninformed or ignorant women who haven’t even figured out their own natural hair journey yet
Below are some additional pointers to keep in mind. You’ll want to file these in the back of your mind (or pin this article for later).
These tips can further aid you in preventing natural hair overwhelm.
Dealing with New Growth
When you decide to go natural or rather return to natural, you will have to deal with two different textures of hair. This is a result of your new growth.
If you have been struggling with your transition because you have a bunch of new growth that is starkly different from your relaxed hair, here are some things to keep in mind:
- The demarcation line between your relaxed and natural hair is the weakest point of your hair.
- To avoid breakage at the demarcation line, keep the two textures blended.
You can keep relaxed hair and natural hair blended in two ways:
- Using a blow dryer to manually “stretch” your hair. The RevAir is revolutionary and IMHO, the best hair dryer for black natural hair. It’s a curly girl’s best hair tool because it uses a reverse air drying technology.
- Sit under a dryer with rollers after wash and deep conditioning your hair.
Both of these methods are in fact, great ways to make it through the transitioning process with less breakage. That’s because they smooth out and blend your natural and relaxed hairs together.
Natural Resources to Keep on Hand
Aside from your regular store bought hair products like shampoo and a specialty treatment, here are a few natural resources you should always keep on hand:
- Shea Butter
- Olive Oil
- Aloe Vera (juice and gel)
- Certain Essential Oils
These resources from nature can be used in a pinch when you have run out of your favorite hair products or need to improve other hair products that you don’t want to toss.
Related: Best Essential Oils for Curly Hair
I did not list coconut oil which I’m sure you’ve heard of being used quite popularly in the natural hair community.
The reason is, unless you are quite experienced with using coconut oil in your hair, you can become discouraged by it.
Here’s all you need to know about using coconut oil in your hair:
How to Use Coconut Oil for Curly Hair
Heat Damage and Black Hair
Should you choose to straighten your hair with heat, use a heat protectant product. Yet, make no mistake. Straightening even with heat protectants, does not cut out the risk of getting heat damage. It only lessons the risk.
While you are learning your newly natural hair, it’s best to avoid heat for at least the first year. That’s just my opinion
I speak as someone with finer hair that’s more fragile but I think it’s beneficial to avoid using heat until you have mastered your hair regimen.
Once you are a little bit more in tune with what your hair needs, you can straighten sparingly.
If you have short natural hair and are looking to grow longer hair, you should go months without straightening your hair before doing so again. Just stick with short styles that don’t add stress to your hair.
This doesn’t include a blow dryer which doesn’t give you direct contact with the heat source. I’m referring to heat tools like flat irons, curling irons and hot rollers.
Using a warm dryer is key to reducing knots and tangles that lead to hair breakage. The RevAir is my go-to no heat damage dryer.
Related: How to Do a Wavy Twist Out
To See a Hair Stylist or Not?
Deciding to see a hair stylist is a personal decision that should not be taking lightly. Not everyone with the title actually knows what they’re doing.
If you would prefer to see a stylist for help or even just regular trims, try to find someone by referral.
Even if you do choose to see a hairstylist, in order to prevent natural hair overwhelm, you’ll still want to do the work needed to learn about your personal hair texture, porosity, and the best way to care for it.
Where to Next?
If you have medium length hair that you want to take longer, check out this resource: Caring for Medium Length Natural Hair