SuburbanBushBabe, a fellow blogger, NC.com member, and long time curly friend shares her tips on growing healthy, hypercurly, natural hair.
Acceptance and Clarity – Take off the “mental wig.” Once I accepted that I would never have Botticelli curls, I began to see that my hair could be even more beautiful. To actually see my hair, I need to look at photos. Mental distortion can occur when I look in the mirror, but the camera doesn’t lie.
Understanding – Observe your hair under different circumstances, different climates. Learn to understand what your hair does, not what you want it to do and build on that. Look inward at your own hair, not outward at someone else’s.
Look, listen and learn – It’s a given that other naturals know more than I do, especially if their hair is thick and long and beautiful, right? I’m so teachable!
Protection: At night, protect the hairline with a silk head wrap, guard against friction with a silk pillowcase. Anchor the hair in a loose puff or large twists so it doesn’t shift or rub against itself. During the day, I wear my hair out 95% of the time. Protection means the right products applied to each strand and a soft, aloe-vera based gel for hold. And no touching! (that one is hard.)
Know your hair’s width and porosity – More important than knowing if your curl type is 3c, 4a or 4b is knowing whether your strands are fine, medium or coarse and how porous they are. Fine and coarse refers to the diameter of your hair strand, not the feel of your hair. Porous refers to how open or smoothed (closed) the surface (cuticle) of your hair is. Fine, porous hair reacts differently to products and the environment than does coarse, non-porous hair. It also needs to be handled differently. Each hair type has its own issues. Fine, porous hair tends to need more moisturizing and strengthening products. Coarse, smooth hair can be subject to quicker product build up.
Layers of moisture – This means water. Moisturizing shampoos like shampoo bars or cleansing creams or a gentle castile soap (they aren’t all equal). And liberal doses of conditioners with great slip, moisture and a little of the right protein for my hair. A little butter or oil. More conditioner. And those aloe-vera based gels. Dirt-based deep treatments (Rhassoul clay, sisyphus spina christi) year round, moisturizing deep treatments in the winter.
Gentle detangling – if my cleanser is cleansing without stripping and my conditioner is loaded with slip and moisture, then I can finger detangle easily. A little KBB Hair Milk added to conditioner boosts its detangling ability. I do this at most twice a week.
Regular trims – I get ends trimmed and shape adjusted 3 times a year. My hair is easiest to style a month after a cut.
Low manipulation – After I style my hair wet, I leave it alone for up to 3 days, except to gather it into a pony puff at night, let it down in the morning and scrunch a little Set it Free and butter into it. No combing or brushing. When I dry twist at night, I use my fingers only to separate, and a little more product to smooth.
Forget about growth, learn how to retain length —
If you’re healthy, growth is a given. Retaining length is the hard part. Transitioning to gray showed me just how fast my hair grows — and how fast the ends break. By babying my ends and boosting moisture to keep them hydrated, smooth and soft, I help my fragile ends stay put instead of snapping off like dry twigs. If I’m doing dry twists, a moisturizing custard or lotion gets smoothed on the ends of those twists. If I’m bunning, the ends get moisturized with a lotion and a little baobab oil. On the second and third day of my wash and go I scrunch a moisture lock lotion and a little butter onto my ends. When my ends stay soft, my hair retains length.
Celebrate each success, and learn from the challenges.
For more SuburbanBushBabe, check out her blog, Starry Eleven Twins!
Your hair's "porosity" pretty much determines how much moisture your hair hold. My hair used to be extremely dry and wouldn't hold moisture to save my life >_<. Now I use Roux Porosity Control Conditioner every other week. I only use it this often because i just recently added it to my hair regimen. I've used it three times thus far and can feel the difference in my hair. I think I will lessen my usage to about once a month once my hair is where i'd like it to be.
I learned about this product from one of my fav bloggers, Mop Top Maven. http://moptopmaven.blogspot.com/2010/07/tried-every-moisturizing-product-under.html
I hope this helps!
Great tips!Very helpful.
@NAmun its not that u are slow, u just have to read more on it to understand the whole porosity issue. its a problem that lots of curlies are facing including myself, and no one is really explaining what it really is so dont worry u will get it. maybe i will try to post something up about that since i have been trying to understand it inorder to cure my own hair dryness.
How can I tell how porous my hair is?
Very informative article. Thank you.
SSB, great article!!! Your hair color looks beautiful
Thanks for the advice. I need to do a better job protecting my hair at night. My hair looks great the day I wash it and then it looks nappy the rest of the week. I've got to try harder if I want hair that looks like yours!
very good information thanks!
Thank you SuburbanBushBabe for your insight. The low maniupulation part is hard for me! Not sure why. I always feel like I need to style it somehow, by twisting, braid outs. I haven't mastered the wash n go method yet, probably because I don't want to go outside with wet hair. Maybe I can start doing puffs.
GREAT information! I definitely can do better w/moisturizing my ends. In my 1st year, I also had 3 trims. I don't do much manipulation so I don't really get split ends.
I'm confused. Some people say trim 2-3 times a year, yet when I do, I lose all my progress and length. Others say trim once a year or every 2-3 years! When I did this, my ends were thin and scraggly. It's all so confusing. I'm learning to bun and protect my ends, but how often is too often to trim and how often is good enough to maintain length and health?
Ok, I'm having trouble understanding the hair porosity thing. I think I'm just slow when it comes to this part. . . but I'll keep at it. Also, keeping my hands out of my hair is just not working for me. Since it's short, I play and twirl my curls all the time. The only thing that will help me in this area is protective styles.