Going natural is all fun and games until you realize you have no idea what on earth you are doing. That was my testimony three years ago when I began this hair journey of mine…and I know many of you if not all can relate. Today I just want to share some basic guidelines for natural hair that will make maintaining your hair and keeping it healthy much easier…in the long run. (You’ll understand why I say this as we go on…) These basics are non-negotiable. Things you must do. So, after you read this and you realize you haven’t been doing them…Get to it as soon as you can. Here goes:
- REGULAR WASHING
Sweetheart, your hair, like the rest of your body needs to be clean, and your scalp even more so. Actually, washing your hair should never really be washing your hair as much as it is cleaning your scalp. And on that note, could we pleases stop wringing and scrubbing our hair strands as if they are clothes that have been rolled in mud. (Hint to all those hairdressers who do this…) Your hair strands do not need scrubbing, trust me on his one. In fact, neither does your scalp. If we washed the rest of our skin the way we wash our scalps, with violent scratching of the nails and vigorous scrubbing (Again, hint to all those fingernail happy hairdressers), we would all walk around with scars and bruising. So, wash gently please. As a general rule, don’t let your hair go ten days without having what we naturals call Wash Day. Washing your hair regularly helps control and minimize, if not eliminate scalp build up as well as stimulate hair growth. If you’re one of those people whose been washing their hair once a month, or after you take out the weave you had in for God knows how long, you know what you need to do.
- DEEP CONDITIONING
Every single time you wash your hair, deep condition. For those who may be new to the term, here’s what it means: To allow an oil or treatment to stay on the hair for a long period of time, to allow the oil or treatment to penetrate the hair shaft. This process is usually improved by heat, so you’ll often put your hair with the treatment under a plastic cap or a Deep Conditioning Cap and use other body heat, or the sun, or a dryer to generate heat and help the treatment penetrate the strands. You can deep condition before you wash your hair, this is called a “pre-poo” (pre-shampoo) or after you wash. Some overachievers do both, I on the other hand, do not have that time. Deep conditioning has so many benefits and is helpful in restoring the hair when it has been traumatized, as is the case with a lot of us. However, it’s important to do it right and we’ll talk more about this in a later post. So, stay tuned. But until that later post: If you have never deep conditioned, get yourself some coconut oil, or olive oil, or mix the two. Spray your hair with water, just to dampen it, slather on that coconut goodness, put on your shower cap, and leave it on for twenty to thirty minutes before rinsing it out. Your hair will thank you for it.
This is perhaps the most important basic thing you need to do, because people out there are walking with hair so dry you hear it crackle. I promise you can hear it. Boo!! Obey your hair’s thirst and MOISTURIZE!!! I can hear some of you mumbling how you already moisturize, referring to that oil you bought from the store that says “moisturizer” on it. Now, listen to me, honey and listen well: If it ain’t water, it ain’t moisture. It’s just that simple. Put water on your hair. Every natural should invest in a spray bottle that they can fill with water. Of course, you can turn plain old water into super water, which is where the recipes I’ll be sharing soon come in. (Stay tuned for that.) The normal people word for super water is leave in conditioner, because you don’t rinse it out, and it conditions your hair. As I said, there’ll be more on this later. For now, if you hear your hair crackling at random points in the day or it makes a sound when you comb it (which it shouldn’t by the way) walk over to the nearest sink, shower, and if it’s raining where you are, ditch the umbrella and get some water on your hair that’s about to become the Sahara Desert if you’re not careful.
Once you have the moisture in, you have to have a way to keep it in there. You see water is a tricky devil, it evaporates. So, you have to slow down the process, because you can’t really stop it. If you could stop water from evaporating from your hair, there would be no need to moisturize regularly. How does one seal in moisture, you ask? Well, you use oils and butters such as coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, etc. This is because, the oil will sit on the water and give it a hard time. I know you wanted a scientific explanation and I have one, but, do you really want me to bore you about how water molecules and oil molecules….blah blah blah… Just know this, the oils and butters help to keep the water in. Again, more on this later.
- GET A CURE
Yup!! You heard me right. Get a cure, a cure for that Hand-In-Hair disease I know we all have. If it’s not your hands in your hair, it’s your friends’ hands, or your hairdresser and her ruthless noisy combing. Please, please, please!! Get the cure…and here it is: Leave your hair alone. Yes. Learn to leave your hair alone and just let it be. Just think about it this way: how would you feel if people were always touching you. Constantly. Incessantly. Forcefully. Mercilessly. Not so nice, right? Well, now you know how your hair feels. Get your hands out of your hair and the next time someone seems to want to touch your hair find a way to leave no doubt in their mind that the hair is not to be touched, preferably a non-violent way. It will be hard at first, but, you will get used to it and your hair will appreciate it. Oh, and by the way, burn all those fine tooth combs you have lying around. They are part of the Devil’s plan to make you bald.
When I started, I mentioned that all this would be pay off in the long run. It takes a while to get the hang of things and you WILL make mistakes, however, unlike me, you have a reference point. So be patient, follow through and trust the process. You’ll get results.
So, there you have it. A few tips to help you get started. My best wishes as you get started and keep going . Go Natural. Stay Natural. Thrive Natural.
Until next time: STAY NAPPY! BE HAPPY! AND LOVE YOUR ‘FRO!!