NATURAL HAIR – WHAT TO DO (BY MY SISTER!)

16 Mar

Hi all! Thanks to my sister and her blog I get to share a few things I have learned (and am learning) about natural hair over the past year or so 🙂

It is my humble opinion that the most important thing about natural hair care is to realize that every head of natural hair is DIFFERENT! No two are the same – which means you need to take time and learn what YOUR hair likes – and also not try to achieve something someone else has but your own hair texture might never be able to do! I got really frustrated reading all these hair blogs by people with thick lustrous, curly, shiny hair and wondering why my thin, fine, ‘brillo-pad’ hair just wouldn’t look like that! But the beauty of the journey of learning to take care of my hair is that it has taught me that my hair doesn’t need to look like someone else’s to be beautiful. If I can learn what it likes to do -naturally- and embrace that, then it will be not only beautiful, but unique as well. Good hair is not a particular texture or length – good hair is healthy hair!

So what’s you hair type? Although there are other hair typing systems, the Andre Walker system is most commonly used and according to this there are 4 main hair types;

Type 4A, 4B, or 4C are your kinkier hair types (I’m a 4B). This hair is tightly coiled and many people think it is very strong. It is actually very fragile. Treat your hair like silk. If not moisturized it breaks very easily, more than chemically altered (treated) hair. The hair is more like a Z pattern and frizzes a lot. This texture is also very dry. What people never say are the good things about this texture! One of the best things about this hair is it’s extremely versatile and holds styles very easily. Most people hate the shrinkage that comes along with type 4 hair but I think it’s cool that I can have long hair one day and super short-looking hair the next! Who else can do that?!

Types 3A, 3B, or 3C are your S patterns, tight S or looser S curls. Do not apply too much product to this type of hair, it will weigh it down. Your hair is not as tightly coiled as type 4.This texture is dry but not as dry as the 4 patterns.


Types 2A, 2B, or 2C are your wavy patterns – mainly mixed race/Caucasian hair. They have a slight wave pattern and are less likely to have frizz.

Type 1 is straight straight straight hair…. mainly Caucasian/Asian. This pattern has no curl at all.

So now (hopefully) you know your hair type. If you have natural AFRO hair then you definitely fall within type 3 or 4. So how do you care for your hair?
I’ve had ups and downs with my hair, and times when I couldn’t care less 🙂 To be honest, I don’t have the time or the patience to keep up lengthy regimens or obsessively track how many inches my hair has grown in a month..etc etc. But ultimately a hair regimen (how you care for your hair) can make or break your hair. Literally! With all good regimens for natural hair, there are a number of key points to consider.

* How often to wash your hair
* How often to deep condition
* How often to have protein treatments
* How often to clarify your hair
* How to style it to retain the most length
* How often to trim your hair

Outlined below is a generalized hair regimen and some care tips for natural black kinky or curly hair:

1. Co-wash (wash hair with conditioner only) on a weekday and deep condition with a moisturizing conditioner for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Detangle hair only when it is soaking with conditioner and use a wide-toothed comb.

3. ‘Seal’ hair with natural oil such as jojoba or coconut oil to lock in moisture, style when still damp and allow hair to air dry overnight.

4. Spray hair with water daily to hydrate and seal with natural oil if wearing the hair in a natural style.

5. Over the weekend, wash hair with a sulfate-free shampoo, deep condition with a light protein conditioner and style as usual.

6. Rotate the conditioners (both moisturizing and protein) every other week so that the hair does not stop responding to them.

7. A hot oil treatment can be applied to hair for 20 minutes before shampooing once a month.

8. Use a strong protein treatment if any out-of-the-ordinary breakage occurs.

9. When straightening/blow-drying the hair make sure to use a heat protectant.

10. Use only temperature controlled heat styling tools and don’t use heat more than once a month. Wear hair in natural styles most of the time.

12. Use only ammonia-free hair colours once every 6-8 weeks if required.

13. Keep the hair braided for at least one out of 4 weeks to save on a detangling session and for length retention.

14. Do not braid too close to the edges (small baby hairs) to avoid thinning of the hairline.

15. Clarify the hair (I use baking soda mixed in water) once every 6-8 weeks or when a lot of product has been used during the week to get rid of build-up. Do not do this often to prevent the hair from feeling ëstrippedí and dry.

16. Get rid of any split ends once every 6 months.

17. At bedtime use a satin or silk scarf or pillow. Cotton soaks up the oil in your hair, leaving it dull and dry and prone to breakage.

18. Avoid petroleum and mineral oil.

Don’t forget that each person’s hair is individual! Some people have protein sensitive hair. This means that protein makes their hair hard so they know to avoid too much protein. Some people know that they do not have much time for hair care due to work or family commitments so they keep it braided for convenience. With time, you’ll figure out the best way to care for your hair.

In the next post I’ll go more in-depth and share with you guys my personal regimen including what products I use, how I style my hair and what challenges I face! Many products you read about online can be hard to find in Uganda, so there’s been a lot of experimenting 🙂

Till next time!
Kirungi.

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3 Responses to “NATURAL HAIR – WHAT TO DO (BY MY SISTER!)”

  1. akenyangirl March 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Thank you! I must have bugged Sean a lot hahaha. I just cut my hair and went back to the afro do. Much more manageable. And I’m also learning what works with my hair too. Styling is the hardest, since I don’t want to do the same do’s as everyone else.
    I’ll try and keep track of what I do with mine, so maybe I can compare notes.
    Thanks again!

  2. PamEla March 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    Thanks for the tips! Cant wait for your next post 🙂

  3. Rene April 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Hi
    I just came across this article. I have had natural hair for the past 2yrs and am loving it!! My regime is this:
    Co-wash every alternate day in the evening, on the days I don’t co-wash I put a moisturizer til abit wet then seal in moisture with olive oil and plaite to bed. in the morning i just unplait and detangle with fingers.
    I also use a silk head cloth.
    Unlike your regimen, i do not use any shampoo, i previously used a natural peppermint shampoo but it left my hair very dry.

    What i do now is i clarify weekly (i dont know if this is advisable?) I however mix 1 tbs bicarbonate soda with 2 cups warm water for the clarifier, then i do a deep condition with 1tbs honey and 1 tbs olive oil. I try to have the conditioner on for at least 2 hours. After rinsing off the conditioner, i use an Apple cider vinegar mix for final rinse, i find this leaving the hair particularly soft.
    I am however very keen to hear if you have ideas for a natural moisturiser, I am looking forward to a day when all i have on my hair is natural products and so far only my moisturiser is not natural

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