What You Should Know About Natural Hair

What You Should Know About Natural Hair

Whether you have just begun your natural hair journey or you are considering it, I am sure you have all of these big plans for your hair, right? But wait!

Before your start dreaming and planning read this first. You have to realistic expectations for your hair or you are not going to be happy.

Texture

I hope my hair won’t be nappy!

Texture has to be the number one thing that newly naturals wonder about. Will I have kinks or loose ringlets?

Whatever your texture happens to be just know this, it is beautiful no matter what. Although looser textures are flaunted more often, kinkier textures are just as beautiful.

Curly hair has to be handled very delicately overall, but just know the more kinky your texture is the more delicate and protective that you will have to be with it and don’t skimp out on the moisture!

Shrinkage

sometimes up to 80% of your actual hair length

Almost all naturals have shrinkage to some extent. You may have 50% shrinkage or even as much 80% ( like me!) Although I am presently at about 10 inches of hair, it looks like I have about  3 inches of hair when I don’t stretch my hair out.

So depending on your hair type, although you may have a good amount of hair, it may not really look like it!

However, if there are times where you want your hair to look more stretched you can use braid outs, twist outs, roller sets, banding, and African threading to extend your tresses. As your hair grows longer this will be less of a problem.

Moisture

preventing dry hair is pretty easy!

You will need to effectively moisturize your hair to keep it healthy. If you suffer from particularly dry hair a good technique is the LOC method. First use a liquid like water, then use an oil, then seal the moisture  into your hair with a moisturizing hair creme.

Regular Washing + Conditioning Schedule

Often times when we were relaxed we were trained to be afraid of water and hence many of us did not wash as regularly as we should. This will all vary from person to person, but it is good for you to wash at least once a week.  Water is your friend not the enemy.

Keep your hands off your hair

it’s hard but try!

Especially if you have a kinkier texture constant manipulation of your hair will lead to breakage. This includes daily combing or brushing, styling, or detangling improperly.

It is best to keep your hair in protective styles like braids, buns, or twists and low manipulation styles like twist outs or braids outs.

The more you touch your hair the weaker it becomes, so you want to keep your contact with it to a minimum.

You can’t do everything, everyone else does

and that’s okay!

You may not be the girl that can spritz water on her hair and just go. And that is okay! You have to embrace your hair for what it is, and do what works best for you.

#1Why to Go Natural
#2What You Should Know About Natural Hair
#3How to go from Relaxed to Natural Hair
#4Know Your Hair Type
#5What’s Your Hair Porosity Type
#6What Products Do I Need?
#7 How to Create a Natural Hair Regimen
#8 Natural Hair FAQ

28 thoughts on “What You Should Know About Natural Hair

  1. Hay,

    Im very new, to going back to natural, my hair type is a strong 4C, but i know i needs to have a daily moisturizing regimen, but i am very lost in what routine i should complete. But how many times should i do a BIG WASH: detangle, prepoo, cowash cleanse, condition and then style (the whole 100 yards?)

    1. Sandy your regimen and wash routine is all unique to you. You have to start out by trying different things and seeing where it takes you. You can try moisturizing everyday and see if this is necessary, you might find after keeping this routine up that maybe only every other day is necessary. For cleansing you can make this decision based upon how your hair feels, if it feels overly dry then you are washing too much, but say you wash every week and it feels fine, these are things that are going to be dependent on how your hair reacts. For washing I would say in warmer weather you can see how it is washing once a week, and in colder temperatures as much as 2-3 weeks before a wash.

  2. Hello, Ms. Editor: About 1.5 months ago I decided to do away with the heat and flat irons on my natural hair and began the process of wearing my hair in natural styles. I;ve had no chemicals in my hair for about 6 six years, with the small exception of color to cover my gray. Even at the age of 52, I was not aware of how to really take care of my hair in its current state and needed some guidance, and am glad I found your website. My hair is 4C in the back, thick and hard to comb through. The top of my hair is fine, sparse due to hair loss (currently in menopause), and sparse around the perimeter, and more straighter, so I suppose it is somewhere between 4A/B. I am planning to purchase Jamaican black castor oil to hopefully help remedy the hair loss issue. I have been using a particular line of products (As I Am) at this time and are working to my satisfaction. So far, I am slightly happy with the curling jelly, which will leave residue if I use too much. The cream mosturizer and argon oil are my daily staples in the styling process, and enjoy using the cowashing product. I am still in the experimentation stage with what styles will work because of thinness, but I do know that I must braid my hair at night and use my fingers to part my hair instead of the comb. I have been experiencing more hair loss than expected from day one (due to split ends), although I am moisturizing 2x a day and washing (sometimes co-washing) 1x a week. I would hope that in due time the shedding will diminish, minus the daily shedding that is expected to happen. About 2 weeks ago, I was not wearing my satin bonnett or braiding my hair in the evenings each day, and I can attest that some breakage occured because of this issue.

    The advice I have so far read on your website has become very, very helpful, so THANK YOU!!! Any other advice you or your readers can provide would be most appreciated. I am enjoying the freedom of my natural hair and my caucasian husband loves my look!!

    1. For me the best piece of advice that I can give is keep your hair moisturized and in a low manipulation environment. Choose styles that do not require daily styling like two strand twists, braids etc. This is what enabled my hair to thrive. Keep your bonnet by your nightstand or get a silk pillow case because this is something you definitely want to make sure you do otherwise your hair will break, I’ve experienced it before in the past.

  3. After reading your article, I have to disagree. I have been growing out my relaxer for 10 months now and am finding it more stressful and less liberating. I’m not in the shop for hours but I am in the bathroom for hours trying to find a style or drying it for hours. Braids and weaves were taking a toll on my edges. Those good feelings must come to the full thick haired women out there who can wear any style and are rewarded for all the time put in. I have fine, thin 4C hair and thought I could wear the transitioning styles that are shown everywhere – nope twists and braid outs look spacey, scalpy and crazy on my fine hair. When I try to get rid of the parts, I loose what little definition the twists and flexirods gave. I end up picking it out into an afro and patting down the ends so you can’t see through them, putting on a scarf or putting on a wig. On top of all that, I have a very high forehead that does not look good without at least some hair over it or I would just cut it low and be done with it. I was excited about the possibility of wearing all the new natural styles so I decided to grow out my relaxer. I’m not saying wearing a fro is bad, just that it was great when everybody was wearing the same afro. Now sisters are wearing all these wonderful new styles and I wanted to look current and stylish too. Now I feel more limited than than I did with it straight, especially reading that I can’t touch and comb it now and that I need to wear a “protective” style to keep hair on my head. If I have to keep it protected, what’s the point? Oh well.

    1. In the beginning it is never easy. I actually have a mix of 4b and 4c hair and I find it very versatile. The only style I would say that I am not able to do are wash n go styles. Mary, there are actually many relaxed women who do not comb their hair frequently to avoid breakage and retain length, like Cathy Howse for example. It definitely takes getting use to, but when you understand how to work your hair it can be freeing in the sense that when you work out, you don’t have to worry about sweating out your style or swimming for instance. Also a lot of relaxed women wear protective styles to retain length as well because our hair type especially if you are 4b or 4c in its relaxed or natural state is very fragile. I hope you are able to find a solution that works for you as you can have healthy hair whether relaxed or natural.

  4. Hello,

    Just wanted you to know that I agree that looser textures are flaunted more. Also, if a person does not have a texture that is frequently seen in the media, still embrace your texture…because simply put it is your hair and as long as it is clean and cared for then it is all good.

  5. New natural & greying….used braids to transition. Cut off all the straightened hair about 3weeks ago and rocked an absolutely fab flexi set from ZM in Trinidad and Tobago. Plan to alternate extension braids and wearing whatever with my own ……enjoying the journey so far (my kinks vary but mostly very very kinky).

    First time on your site and very much looking forward to absorbing all I can and learning and sharing ….not hearing much about treating greys but I’ll be happy to share my experience from time to time

    Thanks for all the helpful tips from you lovely blacknaps

  6. Hey, I have been natural for 2 years and it has truly been a journey. I am a 4b around the sides and back and a 4c on the top (thicker hair). My problem is getting it to stay moisturize in protective styles and finding a style to fit my long face. Being Military its hard to find styles that are not considered “faddish” or unkept! Any style suggestions and how can I keep it moisturize (currently use S Curl spray for curls) and whats the best way to keep it growing? Any advice will be greatly appreciated. I currently also take the nail, hair and skin vitamins.

  7. Hi, I’ve been natural 3 yrs now but due to heat my hair became very weak and thin so in January I did the big chop again but I must say it is very hard as sometimes short hair seems impossible to care for ur styles are very limited and you jus don’t feel beautiful at times it really is a struggle and I’ve been doing all the right things but how do you retain very short hair when everything such as braids seem so wrong….sighzzz how can I feel confident when hair at this length makes it impossible too

  8. 80% shrinkage? But if your hair is 10 inches and 3 inches when not stretched, your shrinkage is actually 70%. You see? 3/10 =30%. Which means 70% of your hair length is unseen.

    Sorry, if by pointing that out, I offended. I otherwise enjoyed this article.

    1. No offense taken! Actually, the statement was, “You may have 50% shrinkage or even as much 80%. (like me!),” so she was saying that her shrinkage is in this range, not exactly 70%.

      Thanks!

      1. Hi Kanisha
        I have this fashion and beauties magazine I am planning to launch next month and I need some writeups to feature on blacks hair care. Can you help please?
        Thanks
        Rufus
        Front Cover Magazine

  9. Hello everyone. What if I decide not to braid, twist, or do much to my hair ever again, however, I wet my hair (only-water wash) every day and night, I co-wash once or twice a week, moisturise-deep-condition every weekend, and completely avoid silicone conditioners and sulfate shampoos. Won’t that suffice? What do you think?

    1. Everyone’s hair is different. I know I can’t do that with mine personally or it gets too matted. Karen of Karen’s body beautiful has a very low maintenance routine like this aside from the frequent washing (I’ve heard her speak about this at events) and her afro is big beautiful and gorgeous.

      1. Thanks for the reply, Ariane :). My schedule for now always me time to wash only in the evenings. This is what I do mainly:
        – I water-only-wash every evening, and seal with my homemade hair oil (ginger+garlic+onion+eucalyptus+coffee+clarified palm oil), and leave to air-dry, then spritz with leave-in conditioner (also homemade)
        – I wash with normal bath soap and deep condition with a moisturising deep conditioner, and leave-in conditioner every weekend
        I stay away from silicones and sulfates absolutely:). I hardly cowash because of all the water-only-wash I do daily. What do u think?
        I’m a new natural with a fine-stranded 1 inch long 4a hair. I’m still trying to learn to enjoy it and maintain it as best I can but without spending too much. I’ll need all the education I can get:).

  10. I think I have a 4c texture but I’m not sure which hair products I should use or how I should treat it. My ends are trashy and my hair is not growing.

  11. Hi Guys!! Just need a little advice. I transitioned last year may, and my hair type is kinky 4c. I’m about to do my big chop. But I don’t want to go into the same hassles I had while transitioning. My hair is stagnant at a certain length, my hair shrinks too much, it absorbs moisture like a bermuda triangle, no matter how much Shea Butter and moisturizers I use, it’s still dries out.
    And what products do you recommend?? So far I’ve been using cantu, Shea moisture and Mango&olive oil.
    Please I’ll appreciate any kind response. Thank you

    1. Eleorachi, I am 7 months transitioned and I also had a real problem with dryness. I think I’ve found the solution. Plenty of oil! Here’s what I do:
      1. Fill an 8 ounce spray bottle with water to about 1/2 inch from the top.
      2. Add 5 different oils to the water; I chose Argan, Vitamin E, Tea Tree, Olive, & Almond. Add 3 drops of each oil.
      (2 oz bottles of each oil is available at Sally’s for about $2.79 each)
      3. Using fingers, part hair into small sections.
      4. Spray hair with water/oil mixture. Saturate the hair, but it doesn’t have to be dripping wet.
      5. Add 1 or 2 drops of Tea Tree Oil to your fingers and apply to the section. (Pick your favorite oil)
      6. Apply a small amount of Palmer’s Coconut Oil Curl Styler Cream Pudding to section (available at Walmart)
      7. Apply a small amount of Cantu Define & Shine Custard to the section.
      8. Using fingers, smooth each section from root to ends.

      When my hair dries, it is FULL of silky shine and definition! I really love it! My hair is about 3 1/2 inches long so it takes about 20-30 minutes to finish. My hair type is a 3C. It’s trial and error to find out how much product to use to get the shine & definition you want without the flaking or excessive greasiness. Of course, all hair is different, so you may have to vary these products to suit your hair type. But don’t be afraid to add a whole lot of oil to your hair. I think you will love the results.

  12. Hi, I have not used relaxer on my hair in at least 5-6 years. Although I have not used it and had several hair cuts my ends would sometimes not curl up. A couple years went by and suddenly on one side my ends began to curl but on the other side it remained the same. I do get my hair straight ironed sometimes but I use a good amount of heat protectant and even wear a lot of protective styles from time to time. Any clue what’s going on?

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