Beginning your natural hair journey can feel both liberating and daunting. My advice? Keep your regimen simple and the amount of products minimal. This will help you to figure out what works for you and makes getting the hang of caring for your hair much easier. Simplicity is the best foundation for beginners.
A simple natural hair care regimen to start with:
1. Wash and Condition (once a week or biweekly)
You will need
- Pre-shampoo treatment aka Pre-poo. This is a method of preconditioning the hair prior to cleansing. It helps to remove tangles, shed hairs and lubricate the strands. This can be done 30 mins before washing your hair. Many prefer to do this step for a few hrs or overnight. I like to use penetrating oils. A common one is unrefined coconut oil.
- A shampoo, cleansing conditioner or both. Alternate to figure out which works best for you and when it is most useful to use them. Generally cleansing conditioners are great if you do not have very dirty hair. If there is build up it is always a good idea to use a sulfate-free shampoo.
- Rinse out conditioner, deep conditioner or both.
- Protein treatment (optional): Begin with a light protein treatment when needed. Always follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner.
- Detangling tools such as a shower comb.
You will need
- A leave in conditioner aka moisturizer. Can be a cream or liquid. Depends on your preference and density of your hair. Finer strands tend to work well with liquid leave ins. More textured hair usually maintains moisture best with a creamy leave in.
- Hair oil, butter or both. Use the LOC or LCO method.
- Heat protectant (optional): If you plan to blow dry, flat iron or use any type of direct heat styling tool.
- Detangling tools like seamless combs, detangling brushes etc...
Do's & Don'ts for Natural Hair Care:
- Do keep tabs on which products work and don't work. No need to go broke trying new items. This will help you to see what actually works for your hair and what doesn't. It is always the best way to see trends in the products you tend to like best and which to avoid. This was super helpful to me during my 3+ years transitioning my hair from relaxed to natural.
- Don't buy every new product that comes along. You don't want to be a product junkie. It is easy to rush to buy the latest greatest things. Get trial sizes, travel sets or a regular 8 oz bottle to try. Don't rush out for the liter sizes of any product you have never used before. Trial and error can be both time consuming and costly but this will help you not to break the bank. Be sure to set a monthly budget.
- Do use heat protectants when using heat tools. Applying direct heat to your hair is very damaging and requires a silicone based heat protectant to create a barrier between the heat and your hair. Direct heat is applied by hand held blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons, etc...
- Don't comb dry hair. This usually can cause unnecessary breakage. It is much easier to comb hair when it is dampened or full of conditioner.
- Do wear protective or low manipulation styles. Some of my favs are buns, flexi-rod sets, twist outs and braid outs.
- Don't avoid regular trims. This makes it harder to retain length because it give split ends more time to travel up the length of your hair. Even just dusting the ends of your hair regularly makes a big difference in your overall hair health.
- Do embrace your natural hair texture and pattern. Don't become upset because your hair doesn't look how you originally thought it should. Your hair will flourish with time. Enjoy the journey at each stage. Rock that hair!