There have been many requests for help in developing a good, healthy hair regimen. A lot of people want to go natural but just don't know the exact things that they need to do because they may not have been natural since they were young or just never knew how to maintain it. Here is a list of 10 natural hair suggestions to help with making your customized regimen...
1. Moisturize your hair. Making sure that it is moisturized daily even if you don't have to put anything on it on a particular day is really important, especially in dry winter months. Using water is important. Get a spray bottle and before you go to bed or when you're able at home just mist it before you put anything else on it. After that put whatever leaves in the conditioner you want on it. Just make sure there is little to no alcohol in it (The fatty alcohols don't really count. They can actually be very moisturizing). Remember the ingredients are listed from the most to the least so leave it alone if it's in the first five ingredients.
2. Seal in the moisture. Use an oil on your ends especially because you want to take care of the oldest part of your hair. A little goes a long way unless you're doing a hot oil treatment. Then use some type of cream or butter like Shea butter or whatever cream you're going to use to style it so that you are protecting your hair from the harsh winter weather. You should do this in the summer too but tweak the amount that you use so you don't end up looking like an extra greased human.
3. Use shampoo sparingly. When you do use it put a little on your scalp and just let it drain down your hair when you rinse. Your hair is dry enough. I don't shampoo at all because it dries my hair out so much. Using a conditioner to wash your hair is actually an excellent way to keep your hair moisturized all through your wash day. Make sure you massage your scalp without scratching it so that you can loosen dirt or build-up. You can if you like clarify your scalp with a mixture of one part apple cider vinegar to ten parts water or 1 to 3 (whatever you think your hair needs). It can also make your hair soft. I like the organic kind because it's more pure and strong. Make sure you look at your ingredients. Alcohols aren't always our friends. If you do wash with conditioner, anywhere from once to three times a week is good for your hair.
4. Detangling is very crucial to our hair. You can use a wide-tooth comb to do this. Throw away your tail comb unless you're just using it for parting your hair because those teeth will rip your hair out! I do use a medium-width tooth comb for detangling my ends when I'm twisting or whatever to make it smoother but that's it. Finger combing is a great technique for detangling because it's more gentle on your hair than a tool. Make sure you never ever comb it when it is dry. If you do, then in the sink there won't be just shed hairs but broken ones too. And always comb from tip to root gently.
5. Styling is crucial, especially in the winter. You don't want to have your hair too exposed out in the wind and snow. If you don't want to twist it or do styles like twist-outs or braid out where you set the hair in those styles that night and take them out in the morning then you need to at least make sure it stays moisturized. You can put a plastic cap or silk scarf on your hair before putting your hat on to make sure that your moisture isn't being sucked out by that cotton in your hat. Oh and make sure that your protective styles which are very important to growing your hair aren't tight to your scalp like some braids that use extensions. You can get braids but just make sure that whoever is installing them isn't braiding your edges or nape of your neck too tight or at all. Also, wigs and weaves without the net cap are ok. Just remember to keep your hair moisturized underneath. Styling with heat is your choice. I rarely ever do it. Just make sure whatever styling tool you have is not too hot and you're only doing 1-2 passes. Tell your stylist that too. If not it will burn the mess out of your hair.
6. Deep conditioning along with hot oil treatments are also crucial. They further help with moisturizing your hair. I would do either one at least once a month. Make sure you set each one of these with some type of heat source. I use my body heat with a towel over my plastic cap for at least 45 min or a heat cap for at least 30 min. Also, pay attention to whether your hair feels too soft. You may need to balance that moisture with protein treatments.
7. Trimming your hair is important but not necessary to the every 6-8 week rule like when we had a relaxer. I usually trim mine twice a year. Just watch out for single strand knots, split ends, and the ends looking too dry and raggedy. Those are good indicators of a needed trim. Trimming too often will just be getting rid of your healthy growing hair. It wouldn't hurt to get a professional who knows natural hair.
8. Eat right, exercise, and drink lots of water. Your hair is made of protein so make sure you get that in. Exercise helps with circulation. Water is good for moisturizing. Also, throw in some multivitamins preferably women's.
9. Be patient. Do your hair without ripping at it or getting frustrated. That could end in disaster. Don't do length checks every week. If you do want to do them. Do them every six months to yearly or so. This will help you not to be discouraged. TLC is important when it comes to your hair because our hair type is the weakest.
10. Don't worry about what others think or say. It's your hair and that's why you went natural.