This section needs a renaissance. I remember when I first joined, there was sooooo much information for a newbie to soak up and I'm thinking that if someone wants to go natural now, the info is not as readily available. I thought it would be a great idea to compile best practices when it comes to natural hair and I hope everyone will pitch in. It could also act as a refresher course for those who have been experiencing setbacks or those whose hair is reacting differently and need to review their regimen. Feel free to add your two cents, I hope to make this post exhaustive.
Some of the things I learned
1) Never comb/brush your hair dry. Make sure it's wet and preferably soaking with conditioner. Cheapie conditioners are great for this (Aussie Moist, herbal essences etc.). Start from the ends and work your way upwards with a wide toothed comb.
2) Moisturizing hair with a water-based product on a regular basis is on of the most important things you could ever do to keep your hair healthy. Some people moisturize every single day, some every other day, etc. Do not skip on moisturizing. Some people use a blend of water/cheapie conditioner or water/glycerin or a moisturizing product designed for this specific purpose (I love Qhemet biologics amla and olive oil heavy cream, for example)
3) Try to keep your hair stretched as much as possible (through cornrows, twists, threading, etc). It cuts down significantly on single stand knots on makes styling easier.
4) Co-washing (washing with cheapie conditioners): You have to experience with it to find out if your hair likes it. Some swear by it. Others like me find it detrimental (heavy scalp buildup/dandruff, etc.) It's important to identify what works for you. If you feel you can't do without shampoo, go for a moisturizing formula and wash your hair in sections.
5) Deep conditioning: Must be done on a regular basis. Personally, I'd say at least once a week. Don't shampoo your hair without following up with a deep conditioner.
6) Protein /moisture balance : It's important to make sure that your hair is balanced with the right amount of each. There is such a thing as protein overload, where your hair becomes brittle and snaps, or moisture overload, where the hair becomes overly stretchy and mushy. In my experience, it can be hard to diagnose which imbalance is the right one. For instance, I spent a lot of time over-moisturizing because I thought that's what my hair needed when it really needed protein. The opposite experience might be true for others. Common thinking is that natural hair does not need strong protein. There are exceptions though, my hair loves it.
7) Split ends: Get rid of them regularly, before the splits go further up the hair shaft. Don't go scissor crazy, though, so as not to compromise your growth,.
8) Dandruff: I've found that apple cider vinegar rinses do wonders for controlling my dandruff. Great discovery. Don't use dandruff shampoos, they are harsh on the hair and don't work for very long. I love black soap shampoos and acv rinses for that.
9) Wrap hair with a scarf at night. Never go to bed with your hair in its loose state. Keep it stretched.
10) When buying products, there are products that are best to be avoided, like mineral oil for instance. Look up the Natural hair 101 section to find out what those are. Become intimately acquainted with what those pesky products are so that you can make informed decisions when buying products
11) A steamer is a good investment. It helps the deep conditioners to penetrate better. Helps keep your hair optimally moisturized.
12) Protective styles can be an asset or a serious nuisance depending on how they are installed (too tight weaves/braids can mess up your edges). If your install is too tight, better lose the investment and take it out right away than risk bald spots
FEEL FREE TO ADD MORE. IT'S ALL I HAVE RIGHT NOW AND IT'S LATE. Styling videos would be much appreciated
Edited by JoliePoufiasse - Sep 25 2013 at 12:16am