We are living in the age of the ever-evolving world of hair and the new-found appreciation for the natural curls. For all my darker sisters out there, hair is symbolic, it is tribal, it is identity. Most people are shifting from the Eurocentric and Americentric hair straightening and embracing naturalism. So, for those considering the Big Chop to start afresh, or thinking of transitioning as well as those who are already growing out their natural hair, here are a few of my own tips to consider as you partake on this journey.
1. Knowing your hair type. Hair type ranges from 1A to 4C, 1A being the straightest and 4C being dense with coils. Knowing your hair type will help you know what works best for your hair and the products you need. Most people have more than one hair type, so for example, you find that the hair by your hairline is finer compared to the hair at the back of your head, or the hair in the middle is not as coiled up as the hair at the back. Find out what most of your hair is and work with it accordingly.
2. Moisture is vital and the most affordable and most effective moisturizer happens to be water! Keep a spray bottle of clean water and spray your hair before you sleep. After spraying, simply secure your hair with a headscarf to keep the moisture locked in. During the day to conceal the moisture, there are various products that can protect your hair, including cocoa butter. It is easy on the scalp, softens your hair and smells fantastic. If you’d like to add another layer of protection you can tie a colorful headscarf when you go out!
3. Protein treatments. I prefer to use my own homemade protein pre-poo packs to grow my hair out. With the help of YouTube and some Instagram hair bloggers you can come up with a convenient protein treatment to apply to your hair to keep it looking healthy. These not only help with hair growth but are also equipped with essential oils that keep moisture locked in give your hair that glossy sheen. After the protein pack simply use your favorite shampoo to wash it all out and have your hair styled as you please. NB if you use egg in your homemade protein treatment please ensure that you wash your hair with cold water.
4. When it comes to styling, a protective style is meant to protect your hair ends from damage. Selecting a lasting protective style should be done carefully, because though some do protect the ends, the strands and curls themselves are pulled excessively. Make sure your hair line isn’t manipulated too much because the teasing and pulling does cause major breakage along the hairline. Hair styles such as box braids and fish tail are heavy on the head. And as much as we love tightened high buns, we must be aware of the strain on the finer hairs on the sides. Tying your hair up time and again doesn’t do any damage, but if the style is done too often the hair suffers. There are some protective styles such as crotched braids which mean less time sitting down, a protected head and a stylish look! For those of us running on a busy schedule, don’t worry! Simply get your hair done in cornrows and buy yourself a realistic wig to cover it up when you go out to work or a fun time with friends.
5. Trimming. Yes, trimming is a necessity. As much as we hate to see some of our hard-earned length go, we must. Trimming is done according to how fast your hair grows and your hair type. For my hair specifically, I try to get it trimmed every three months. Trimming removes the dead, split, damaged ends of your hair cuticles to ensure that all the hair on your head is healthy and growing well.
6. Lastly, heat is ultimately the enemy of good hair. It thins out your hair making it prone to breakage. Applying heat once in a while is not a problem, but the frequent use of it is not advisable if you would like to grow out your hair and give it volume.
These are just a few tips to help you on your journey to fabulous healthy hair. However, it is up to you what you decide to do with your hair; keep it natural, cut it all off or relax it. Do what works for you! Your hair is gorgeous on you as long as you care for it well.