The natural hair journey is not as difficult as it is made out to be. I remember as a child being told to relax my natural hair because it would make it more manageable and me like a sheep went and did it.
16 years ready to start college and I thought there was no way I would make any new friends with my nappy frizzy crown. Therefore against the wishes of my mother I went ahead and relaxed it. At the time she was furious!! “You’ve ruined your hair” she exclaimed. I thought ok mum it is not that serious, but man was she right.
They say mothers know best and I had a lot to learn. My hair broke out numerous times due to the relaxer. Now I know there is such a thing called overprocessing a relaxer but my friends and I believed the longer we left the relaxer in our hair, the straighter and longer it will become. Wrong we were, I suffered scalp burns, dry hair and split ends. Still I believed this to be better than styling my natural hair everyday.
Fast forward to 2013 I became aware of the natural hair movement slowly emerging on social media. Now I permed my hair in 2006, that’s nearly 10 years of relaxer and hair extensions, yet my hair still hadn’t grown past my shoulders and was always dry. I saw young black women beginning to embrace their frizzy crown of hair. The black hair market also opened up with a lot more products catering to natural hair particularly with keeping it moist which was what I most struggled with. At this time I mainly worn my hair in braids and had pretty much stopped relaxing it so decided I would transition to natural hair as best I could using braids or weaves. It worked well and I was impressed with how well my roots were growing out, however I knew eventually I would have to do what is considered as the “big chop.”
I’ve seen many people do the big chop but it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t picture myself rocking a small afro. But if you know what it is like washing natural roots with permed ends, you would know it leaves your hair in a tangled mess that takes a lot of patience. So I gradually begun to trim the ends,until one day they were all gone. I then quickly bundled my hair back into a weave.
I would say it was a scary thing to take my weaves out but I knew I had to learn to love my hair. This is the hair God allows to grow from my scalp everyday and I believe you are not given more than you can handle. The same hair I was ridiculed in school for, I thought you know what “I’m black! I’m proud to be black, and I will show the world what it looks like to be a proud black women.” Since then I never looked back. It took me a while to get myself a routine but now I have the natural hair formula, I feel as if I can conquer anything.
Here are my top tips how to managing your natural hair better.
- Always sleep with a satin scarf or pillow. This prevents friction between your hair and a surface, whilst ensuring your hair doesn’t become dry as the grease gets rubbed away on whatever you are laying on.
- Wash your hair twice a month, alternating between a shampoo wash and co-wash. The shampoo wash is very drying, but needed to clean the scalp. Therefore doing another wash with a co-wash in the middle of the month is a good way to keep the scalp clean but also the co-wash adds more moisture, which was potentially stripped at the shampoo wash.
- When washing your hair wash in four sections. This makes it easier to wash all areas of your scalp evenly. Even when conditioning, condition each section individually.
- Shampoo your scalp not your hair.
- Smoother conditioner all other the ends of your hair. Covering the hair with a plastic cap for at least 10 minutes is also very beneficial.
- Using a heating tool to dry your hair, is not as damaging if you use a leave in conditioner or heat protective lotion.
- Moisture your ends daily with a leave in conditioner or coconut oil.
- Invest in your styling tools, i.e. A good brush and comb. I recommend the Denman Brush as perfect styling choice.
You may be doing the above already or you might even have something to add to make my top tips better. Just leave a comment below and share your ideas.