It’s over. You’ve done it! You’re FINALLY natural. Your Pinterest board and Tumblr are popping with all of the styles you can’t wait to try. You’ve watched every Naptural85 video she’s ever made, and you’ve unknowingly hoarded an impressive amount of hair products under your sink. If you’re a newbie in the natural scene, don’t worry.
We’ve all been in your shoes- ready to twirl on our haters but can’t find a style that seems to flatter your face. While everyone’s tips are tricks are generally specific, there are definitely some basics to keep in mind as you embark on your newly-natural journey. With that being said, here are 5 pointers that every new natural needs to know…
Find What Works For You
So, you see ItsMyRaeRae reviewing this magical elixir of a product that left her with some banging ringlets and you decide to try it on your hair. Unfortunately, you and ItsMyRaeRae aren’t the same hair type and don’t have the same porosity, so it doesn’t work for you. This is probably one of the most common misconceptions that women in the natural community when it comes to hair and hair products and, unfortunately, it leaves some women feeling hopeless about their hair.
What you need to do is find what works for YOUR hair, not somebody else’s. Do the porosity test and do some research on what products would work best for you. Do some trial and error runs with some products, tools, detangling processes, wash day recipes, etc. and develop your own personalized regimen instead of trying to follow someone else’s.
If you follow someone on social media with similar hair to your own, it’s okay to look to them for guidance, but it’s best to pay attention to how your own hair reacts to certain things. The more time you take to understand your hair and how it behaves, the easier it will be to care for it.
I know it’s hard. I know you have 98123469273 different styles in queue on your Pinterest board and I know your fingers are itching to do and try everything you see, but don’t. Don’t do it. Obsessing over your hair will drive you to resent it if it doesn’t turn out the way someone else’s did or have you buying a ton of products to try that will send your scalp and strands into shock. This obsession has led many newly naturals into hating their hair or even worse...regretting ever making the decision to go natural.
Be on your Solange flow and chill. Let it flourish without manipulation, if possible. I mean, who’s gonna check you?
Don’t Be Afraid to Trim
After all the cutting you’ve been doing throughout your transition are we really telling you that you have to cut MORE?! Yes. Yes, we are.
You’ll notice that even though you’ve cut out all of your relaxer that some of your ends will still be straight, your hair’s gonna grow in uneven, and you may even have patches that grow in slightly straight at first…and that’s okay. Your scalp is still pretty much regulating itself to the fact that you’re not processing anymore, so once all of that is settled, you should be good to go! Don’t chop away at your hair all of the time unless you plan on keeping it short; trimming at least twice a year is more than enough if you do not use heat or manipulate your strands a lot.
Warm Up Your Conditioner
This has got to be one of the best hacks I’ve ever come across in terms of detangling and overall conditioning. When I first read about it, it was pretty much a “DUH, why haven’t you been doing this?” moment.
Before applying your conditioner, let the bottle/tub sit in a bowl of hot water for about 10-15 minutes until the conditioner is heated through (do NOT warm the conditioner in the microwave or else you’ll destroy the properties of the conditioner).
Apply to your hair as usual and you will IMMEDIATELY feel it working. The heat causes the cuticle to lift so that the product penetrates and conditions the hair shaft faster and more effectively, leaving you with soft, pliable hair that is easy to detangle! I honestly don’t understand why they don’t put this tip on conditioner bottles…
Maintaining Moisture/Protein Balance is Key
Too much protein will result in hard, rough hair that is hard to detangle, prone to damage and difficult to manage. On the contrary, too much moisture will result in soft, mushy hair that is also prone to breakage (also known as hygral fatigue).
When searching for a deep conditioner, find one that will both strengthen and moisturize. Look for ingredients such as keratin, collagen, or any other type of hydrolyzed protein if you need that extra boost. Maintaining a proper balance between the two is one of the keys to reducing breakage and repairing wear and tear.
If you find that your hair reacts badly to protein (protein sensitive), look for products that don’t contain any traces of protein or try a different type of protein as there are several.