How to take care of your natural hair
Having natural hair is a beautiful thing. You look and feel great. However, you might wonder what the right ways of caring for your African American natural hair to make it stay beautiful for the years to come. Understanding common hair problems and taking the right steps will help you enjoy your natural hair daily with little or no hassle.
Common natural hair problems
Shedding some amount of your hair per day is normal. This is because hair growth happens in cycles. The growth phase (Anagen), the transitional phase (Catagen), the resting phase (Telogen) and the shedding phase (Exogen).
Unless you are shedding too much hair a day, you should not worry. However, tight hairstyles, hormonal changes, unhealthy diet and current medications are some of the factors that may be causing you to shed too much hair.
Hair breakageis the most common cause of hair loss. The most common reasons why your hair breaks are tight hairstyles. Also, harsh chemicals, rough treatments and hot appliances (flat iron, curling irons and blow dry) may cause your hair to break since they dry your hair making it brittle.
How to prevent hair breakages
- Use the heat appliances only when necessary. If you must use the tools, use the correct amount of heat to prevent heat damage to your hair.
- Ensure that your hairstyles are not done so tightly. Tight hairstyles cause damage to your hair follicle making your hair break.
- Avoid chemical treatments that change the structure of your hair. Harsh chemicals weaken your hair making it break easily.
- Avoid frequent manipulation (brushing, combing and pulling) of your hair. It increases breakages.
How to take care of your natural hair
There are many types of shampoos. However, it is important to know that there are different types of shampoos for every kind of hair and scalp condition. Natural hair requires a gentle, pH-balanced shampoo. These shampoos prevent your hair from breaking while cleaning and excessive dryness to your hair and scalp.
How often should you wash your hair?
Each head is different. Your lifestyle, scalp, and hair type are major determinants of how many times you should wash your hair. However, if your hair starts getting dull, you can tell that you are shampooing your hair way too much and you should reduce the number of times you do it.
Over-washing your hair removes your natural hair’s moisture making it dry and easy to break. Also, if you are not washing your hair as regularly as required, you may have product build up at the base of your hair which negatively impacts your hair.
Use lukewarm water. Hot water removes protective oils from the scalp causing it to dry. Create your initial natural hair routine. Start by washing your hair once a week and record how your hair responds in the next few weeks. Adjust to your routine as required.
Conditioners restore your natural hair’s strength by depositing protein into the hair strand. This protects your hair from possible breakages. However, the effects of conditioners are only temporary.
The most common types of conditioners are leave-in conditioners, hot oil treatments, deep conditioning treatments, finishing and cream rinses, and protein conditioners. Moisturizing conditioners with essential oils such as olive oil, Shea butter, and grape seed oil are readily absorbed by hair hence making it shiny.
Avoid using products that contain silicones. Although silicones make your natural hair smooth, they can only be removed with sulfates which is a very harsh cleaning agent that dries up your hair. If you leave the silicones in your hair or are not removed properly, they lead to building up which makes your hair look dull and greasy. Instead of using silicones, you can make your hair smooth and silky by using coconut oil which is easily washed out.
It is important to condition your hair regularly after shampooing. You should also get a deep penetrating conditioner monthly. Record how your hair responds and adjust to a conditioning regimen that works for your natural hair.
Protective Hair Styling
Protective hair styling refers to including extra protection for your natural hair routine. It helps to reduce excessive hair breakages. Protective hairstyles require minimum upkeep hence gives you the opportunity to moisturize your hair when needed. They also protect the ends of your natural hair by keeping them tucked away. With the correct hair products, handling, and proper styling techniques, your hair grows long or maintained its length with these styles.
Proper nutrition, supplements, and vitamins
Nutritious food is not only good for your body, but they also promote healthy hair. A poor diet would affect your hair negatively. Supplements and vitamins come in handy if you are not eating healthy food or have a medical condition. However, it is paramount to consult your doctor to know which supplements are multivitamins are best for you.
Eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet would save you money as it would not be necessary for you to buy vitamins and supplements. Add fruits and vegetables to your daily intake to live a healthy lifestyle.
Exercising regularly is also essential. Although exercising does not directly benefit your natural hair, it promotes your health and reduces stress which may indirectly affect your hair.