Hey there, beautiful naturalista!
The fact that you are on this page shows that you are interested in how to care for natural hair.
Whether this is because you want to improve your beautiful natural hair or consider growing your hair natural or widen your knowledge, your quest must be commended.
Natural hair, also known as virgin hair, refers to hair grown without the use of chemicals to modify its texture or volume.
While some may have complaints about the ‘stress’ of going natural, natural hair is undeniably beautiful.
This article will be providing the best on how to care for natural hair, each point embedded with tips you can practice right there at home.
You could call it: a definitive guide on natural hair care.
Well, that’s for you to decide after reading.
Let’s get started!
- Best Ways to Care for Natural Hair at Home
- How to Care for Natural Hair When Not Styled
- When Washing
- When Styling
- Knowing Your Natural Hair Type
Best Ways to Care for Natural Hair at Home
To make it easier for you to practice, we have divided these ways into three parts; how to care for natural hair when not styled, when washing, and when styled.
How to Care for Natural Hair When Not Styled
- Water regularly
- Eat the right meals
- Extra Night Care
- Provide with moisture
- Provide with oil
- Deep condition
- Trim regularly
- Sleep well
- Extra care for extreme weather
1. Water Regularly
When it comes to natural hair, the importance of water cannot be overemphasized.
Regular water intake is necessary for healthy natural hair.
Due to its kinks and curls, natural hair is more prone to knotting and tangling; another reason why it needs water regularly.
Water helps to ease the detangling process and prevents the hair from breaking due to forced combing.
- Take at least six glasses of water daily
- Get a water bottle spray
- Regularly apply water to your hair
- Water your hair before detangling
2. Eat the Right Meals
Just as our body needs the proper meals to stay healthy and strong, your natural hair also needs the right meals for health and strength.
The right meals for your hair are those that are rich in protein, vitamins, iron, and omega-3.
Protein aids hair growth and improves your hair’s strength, vitamins help keep your hair hydrated, iron keeps your hair healthy, and omega-3 fatty acids enrich the scalp.
Now, this might seem like a whole lot of theory to store. I guess it is after all.
But you don’t necessarily have to cram all these; practice the following tips, and you can rest assured that you are eating the right meals for your hair.
- Include egg and poultry in your diet at least once a day
- Regularly purchase avocado or walnuts for consumption; they are rich in Omega-3
- Increase the number of onions in your meals
- Include vegetables in every possible meal
- Eat more sweet potatoes
3. Extra Night Care
How you leave your hair in bed can have a significant impact on your hair.
For example, sleeping with your natural hair loose and open can cause tangling and, in the long run, breakage.
Also, spending the night on a cotton pillowcase can cause hair damage due to friction between the pillow and your cuticles.
Here’s how to care for natural hair at night.
- Weave your hair, even if it is roughly, before going to bed
- Cover your hair with a satin/silk scarf or bonnet before sleeping
- Sleep on a satin pillowcase
- Use the pineapple trick; tie a headband loosely around your hair to keep it up
4. Provide with Moisture
Your care for natural hair cannot be complete without consistent moisturizing.
Natural curly hair tends to become dry quickly, and so if you don’t actively provide it with moisture, you are likely headed for hair dryness and eventual breakage.
- Include hair steaming in your hair routine
- Regularly apply leave-in moisturizers to your hair
- Mix your favorite hair oils with water and occasionally apply them to your hair
- Moisturize your hair each time before you style
5. Provide with Oil
Your natural hair needs oil almost as much as it needs moisture.
Hair oils help keep the hair healthy generally, seal in applied moisture in the hair, and can also provide moisture for the hair.
- Daily oil all parts of your natural hair, with extra focus on the ends
- Apply coconut oil, almond oil, or olive oil on your hair after applying a leave-in moisturizer
- Occasionally apply jojoba oil on hair
6. Deep Condition
Your natural hair should be deep conditioned at least once in three weeks.
This helps to provide moisture and nutrients to your hair, making it softer and healthier.
If you feel your hair’s look or texture could use some improvement, try deep conditioning regularly.
You can be sure to see some differences.
- Use a mineral oil-free conditioner.
- Mix natural ingredients such as olive oil, honey, or banana with your deep conditioner
- Deep condition at least once in three weeks
- Use a deep conditioner and rinse each time you shampoo your hair.
Pre-pooing (short for pre-shampooing) means applying a hair treatment to serve as a protective layer before shampooing your hair.
This process helps prevent the shampoo from sapping moisture from your hair as it would on the norm.
Pre-pooing also adds moisture to your natural hair, makes it softer and more comfortable to detangle, as well as enhances the work of conditioner on your hair.
- Use your favorite hair oils to pre-poo
- Prepare a personal pre-poo recipe using natural hair products
You can read more on how to pre-poo and the types of pre-poo to use here
8. Trim Regularly
As ironic as this may sound, one vital tip on how to care for natural hair is to make it a habit to trim regularly.
Split ends occur in most natural hair, and they are no good sign; they are indicators of hair damage.
When left untrimmed, your hair splits longer, leading to further damage.
You should contact a hairstylist to check your hair for split ends, and trim if necessary, at least once a month.
You may as well do it yourself, practicing the following steps.
- Cut out a small section of your hair (you might want to wet your hair ends before doing this for ease)
- Comb out thoroughly; you’ll likely need different combs for this
- Using sharp scissors (nothing less), cut a little above the hard, frizzy, split hair ends
9. Sleep Well
One of the best things you can passively do for your hair is to get enough sleep.
It is no news that physical stress can be a cause of hair loss.
When you sleep well, your body regenerates energy, and your hair follicles can retain their strength and quality.
- Ensure that you get about six to eight hours of sleep every night
- If possible, take naps during the day
10. Extra Care for Weather
During harsh weather such as the harmattan season, your natural hair needs extra care.
This is because extreme weather conditions strip moisture from your hair, making it frizzier and dryer than usual.
- Wear more head warmers, bandannas, or scarfs during harsh weather
- Ensure you have protective styles on
- Provide your hair with moisture
- Drink more water
- Wash right
- Right shampooing
- Comb correctly
- Keep scalp clean
11. Wash Right
When it comes to your natural hair, washing it right involves that you do not watch your hair too often, as this could lead to hair dryness and possible breakage.
Another possible mistake could be rubbing your hair dry after washing with a cotton towel; this roughens the cuticles and can cause breakage.
- Wash at most once a week; opt for dry shampoos if your hair needs to be cleaned more often than that.
- Use warm water for routine washing.
- Squeeze your hair after washing using your hands and dry with an old T-shirt or microfiber towel.
Co-washing, coined from conditioner washing, means washing your hair without using shampoo.
It is a great way to keep your natural hair neat and clean while avoiding the disadvantages of over-washing.
Especially if you have dry hair, co-washing will help you retain your natural oils and moisture.
- Buy a cleansing conditioner and use it weekly; you can easily purchase one at naturalhairavenue.com.
- Ensure that you thoroughly rinse your hair after co-washing.
Another essential tip on how to care for natural hair when washing is by detangling first.
Washing your hair while it is tangled could lead to unnecessary hair loss and breakage, which I am sure you do not want for your hair.
- Detangle your hair before you wash it.
- Start by using your fingers and then a wide-toothed comb.
- Wet your hair before detangling, either with water or moisturizers.
14. Right Shampooing
Most shampoos contain sulfate, and to be blunt, sulfate is terrible for your hair.
Sulfates remove oil and moisture from the hair more than is necessary, making the hair and scalp dry and unhealthy.
Given that natural hair is prone to dryness on its own, that’s a big deal.
- Use a sulfate-free shampoo. An example is the Tgin Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo for Natural Hair. Click here to buy now on Amazon.
- Alternatively, use the local black soap to wash your hair.
- Prepare a homemade hair shampoo for your personal use.
- Do not shampoo more than once weekly.
15. Keep Scalp Clean
A clean and healthy scalp helps to enhance hair growth; after all, new hair grows through pores in the scalp.
When your scalp pores are clogged by dirt, oils, and remnants from different hair products, it can lead to infections, slow hair growth, or unhealthy hair.
Hence, the need to focus not only on the hair when washing but also on the scalp.
- Ensure to massage your scalp gently when washing your hair
- Use the right shampoo
- Use your fingertips and not nails when washing your scalp
16. Deep Condition
As mentioned earlier, deep conditioning your hair leaves it softer and healthier.
A perfect opportunity for you to apply a deep conditioner on your hair is after washing.
Never miss the chance to deep condition your hair after washing.
- Apply deep conditioner for a few minutes after washing.
- Ensure to rinse out the conditioner thoroughly after use.
- Beware of heat
- Protective hairstyles
- Style right
17. Beware of Heat
Heat is not a good friend of your natural hair.
You should avoid heat and friction on your hair as much as possible to prevent hair damage.
Possible ways that your hair comes in contact with heat involve hair dryers, hair straighteners, and heat styling brushes.
Mostly when you use a dryer, your hair loses its surface moisture and water of hydration.
This makes your hair cuticles dry and brittle, causing damage.
- Avoid using dryers as much as possible. Let your hair dry naturally instead.
- Instead of always using a hair straightener, deeply moisturize your hair and comb it out.
18. Protective Hairstyles
Protective hairstyles, as the name implies, are hairstyles that protect your hair.
Such styles do not put pressure on the fragile part of your hair.
They also prevent you from combing your hair, which isn’t an easy task anyways, and applying heat to the hair.
And because most protective hairstyles last longer, you can avoid the stress of over-styling when you make them often.
Here’s a list of simple protective hairstyles that are perfect for your natural hair:
Low and high buns
- Make sure that your hairstylist does not apply too much tension on your scalp, especially the edges, while styling.
- Do more knotless braids to ease up stress on your hair roots.
- Apply a medium amount of styling products such as cream and gel.
19. Style Right
Styling your hair right involves doing the right styles (protective hairstyles), keeping it for the right time, and doing the right things after styling.
This helps to keep your hair healthy and prevent breakage.
- Clean and deep condition your hair after each style
- If you use wigs regularly, occasionally give your hair time to breathe
- Do not keep a style for more than 12 weeks
Knowing Your Natural Hair Type
I deemed it fit to include this because caring for your natural hair begins with understanding your natural hair type.
That way, you find it easier to purchase the right products for your hair type and apply hair tips.
Although there are various hair classification systems, the most widely used is Andre Walker’s (Oprah Winfrey’s hairstylist) system. According to him, there are four hair types:
Straight (Type 1)
Wavy (Type 2)
Curly (Type 3)
Kinky (Type 4)
Natural hair is either type 3 or 4, and the most common in Nigeria is type 4 kinky hair.
Hair type 3 has S-shaped or Z-shaped curls and is thick, copious, but prone to damage, frizzy, and easily affected by the weather.
It is further divided into 3A, which has loose curls, and 3B has tight curls ranging from spiral curls to corkscrewed curls.
Hair type 4 is hair that is tightly curled, often fragile, but very full. It shrinks quickly when wet and is more prone to damage than type 3.
It is further divided into 4A, which is soft and looks more like type 3 when stretched, and 4B, which is wiry, with less defined curls that are Z-shaped.
It is possible to have a mixture of two hair types or even more. You can easily confirm your hair type by checking your hair strand characteristics. An easy way to get your hair strand would be on your hairbrush or comb.
Many naturalistas are freaked by long natural hair, and this is understandable.
Though you want to grow long natural hair fast, you should start by paying attention to its health quickly.
That way, you can get not just long, but healthy, shiny, and beautiful natural hair.
The tips above are there to help you, but only if you practice them.
Start today, beautiful naturalist; your hair will thank you for it!