So in my last blog on why I went natural I took you on the beginning stages of my natural hair journey. Welcome to part 2. Okay I know we all want quick fixes we want to get there without actually taking the time to get there. The first mistake I made when I went natural was to just go in head first without understanding anything about my hair. It’s like trying to cook full meal when you haven’t even turned on the electricity or gas stove if you have nice things like that. So this is just a little list I compiled to help you out.
If you would like to skip this and jump to my hair routine and products I use – see the link at the bottom of the page.
1 – Our hair has feelings too
Natural hair is not this tough punching bag that can take anything you do it because “it’s natural”. A lot of us grew up thinking that is the case, but it isn’t. We would gently comb our freshly relaxed hair but rip through our natural hair and be soooo okay with our lives as our sad hair strands, painfully separated from their friends and families, fly all over the place in horror. May all the ones we lost forgive us our terrible deeds. See, because our hair is curly and coily it tangles into itself, cause…I guess it just likes hanging out with itself. Therefore going through it with a tiny comb and hair dryer is not helpful but damaging, unless your hair has very loose coils. I know we all have this weird fear of hair stylists but tell them that the next time they tell you “I can’t braid without blow-drying” and find someone else to do it. You need to be gentle with your hair, more gentle than when it is relaxed. In everything you do to your hair, please be gentle.
2 – Accept the hair the good Lord gave you
Look, if you are deciding to grow your hair or look after it (even if it isn’t natural), you need to love it people. Imagine trying to lose weight and all your personal trainer tells you is how out of shape and pathetic you are. It’s not nice, stop it. Remember in my previous blog I told you how my sister’s hair would outdo mine? What I didn’t tell you was I stopped comparing and did more loving and embracing. Yes I sound like I should be hanging out with Oprah, but it’s true. My hair shrinks to almost 20% of its real length when wet, it takes its sweet time to grow and it is very thin/fine and I love it we work it! The more we appreciate about our hair, the more it will thrive and the more we enjoy it. Suddenly doing the work is not a drag but something pleasant and enjoyable.
3 – Healthy hair is happy hair
You know the drill guys, eat your fruits and veggies (and meat if you are an omnivore like me), and get your vitamins in. If your body is healthy it will reflect everywhere, including your hair. And please, drink your water. Put cucumbers and lemons in it, or down it at one go like I do, but drink it man! Water is like that underappreciated friend who never gets invited to parties but is the one we call when we need a place to stay, and it never complains, it’s so sad. See I thought the whole “drink water” thing was an evil myth spread by people who are jealous of our happiness and don’t want us to enjoy sodas and coffee, but water goes a long way in keeping your hair hydrated. If you are thirsty your hair is thirsty. It is not only good for that but also your skin, nails and just your overall health and well-being. So in conjunction with all the products we put on your hair make sure it’s getting some goodness on the inside too.
4 – Respect your elders
I know you think it isn’t but YOUR HAIR IS GROWING, it always is. It just grows at different speeds that’s all. So while hair growth is obviously important, that shouldn’t be your main focus unless you are suffering from a specific health condition like alopecia, or your hormones or any medication you are on is disrupting your hair growth. If you aren’t dealing with anything like that, trust me your hair is likely growing as we speak. If your aim is to grow your hair then the key is LENGTH RETENTION. Meaning when your hair grows out, we need to work to keep that growth and not cause breakage. See the ends/tips of our hair are the oldest and often the weakest. Nappy Fu (A YouTube hair vlogger) calls them our elders, so they need the most care and respect because they are always the first to leave us. Be kind to them.
5 – Trial and Error
My hair is naturally dry and I think that is the case for a lot of naturals. So for me it’s all about keeping it moisturised and finding what works for me. When I went natural I tried all of the trends and one of them was Coconut Oil. *deep sigh* so I know coconut oil was a saviour, sent from the natural hair ancestors for many, but unfortunately that just wasn’t the case for me. I didn’t get that blessing. I tried it but it just didn’t work. All it did was make my husband ask me where that smell was coming from and it would make my hair hard, crunchy and just horrible to touch. But guess what – that is okay, I tried something else. Like with most things, there will always be trends and new things to try, but just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. So that is what trial and error is, and that is alright. So over time I found products containing olive oil, shea butter really work for me.
6 – Give it time (I know, I’m impatient too)
So I didn’t realise coconut oil wasn’t working for me on the first day. Usually with products and routines, you have to try them a few times before deciding whether they work or not. Don’t fall into the trap of buying hundreds of expensive products all at once and expect to see overnight results. Do not become a product junkie please, save your coin. Imagine going to a buffet and being forced to eat everything. That’s what you are doing to your precious hair when you are putting a million different things on it. Personally, I usually give it a good month or 4 wash days before deciding whether a product works for me or not unless it’s supposed to yield instant results like with gel or a moisturiser.
And that’s it, those are the 6 tips!