18 Natural Hair Care Tips (including Braids, Loc-extensions, and Locs)
Shrinkage for kinky hair is real. While this is no news to anyone with afro-textured or kinky hair, caring for your natural hair is a different ball game.
Afro hair usually isn't easy to handle but finding the right protective styles and methods for caring for your natural hair will set you on the path to embracing your natural curls and locs. We are here to make caring for your afro hair a breeze, so you can have that healthy bounce and flaunt your natural mane proudly.
1. Water Should Be Your Hair’s Best Friend
When it comes to your afro hair, water is an absolute necessity. One of the keys to maintaining healthy natural hair is water. It is recommended that you drink eight glasses of water daily and also consistently apply water to your hair.
You should always detangle your hair when damp or standing under a showerhead for an easier process. Also, having a spray bottle of water helps. Water is used during the moisturizing process too. For softer, shinier hair, use water on your hair often.
2. Adopting A Wash Day Routine
The biggest advantage of rocking an afro hair is that you don't have to wash it so often like other hair types.
For your wash day routine, use a moisture-boosting shampoo and conditioner in order to refresh your hair. Keep in mind not to use hot water when washing your hair as it dries out your hair and removes moisture from it. Instead, use warm water to cleanse your hair properly.
3. Hydrate Your Natural Hair Always
Another of your crown's favorite is moisture. Kinky hair tends to dry out quickly and lose its moisture, so to prevent that you have to consistently hydrate your hair. (Rose water) Before styling your hair, ensure that you always apply hydrating cream, or oil to it. For times when you have on protective styles like braids or twists, use a highly conditioning product in order to keep your hair well moisturized for the whole duration.
4. Only Use Protective Styles
Just like its name implies, protective styles help prevent your hair from breakage, shedding, or damage. Protective and natural hairstyles you can use include wearing wigs, weaves, buns, bantu knots, braids, or twists. In cases where you make braids or twists, ensure that your hairstylist eases up on your edges too in order to reduce tension on your scalp.
Remember to avoid the build-up of dirt when wearing your protective styles and also oil your hair and scalp daily to keep your follicles healthy.
5. Use A Sulfate-Free Shampoo
It’s recommended that you use a sulfate-free shampoo (and conditioner)to add more moisture to your hair, while also being more gentler to your scalp.
However, if having to buy a sulfate-free shampoo regularly is a little above your budget, a more reasonable option would be to wash your hair with black soap, preferably the local ones sold in the markets. Or even better you can make your own natural hair sulfate-free shampoo.
6. Oiling Your Hair Frequently
Naturally, kinky hair needs moisture and oil, lots of it. Oils should be part of your everyday natural routine. Oils play a key role in maintaining and ensuring that your natural hair stays healthy. Oils can be used to moisturize your hair or seal in already existing moisture, this is solely dependent on the type of oil.
For oils that absorb into the hair shaft and hydrate the hair as well. These oils are best applied after the use of a leave-in conditioner and for tighter textures, so as to add necessary moisture to your hair.
Oils like castor oil, Grapeseed oil or Jojoba oil are great for sealing in moisture into the hair and keeping it hydrated for an extended period of time.
7. Eat Healthy Meals For Your Nails and Hair Needs
As nutritious meals are essential for your body, they also contribute to stronger, healthier hair and Nails. A balanced healthy meal rich in low-fat proteins, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will aid your hair growth. For a healthy scalp, eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, walnuts, and avocados.
To get stronger hair, increase your intake of protein in your diet by eating foods such as poultry and eggs. To keep your hair hydrated you should eat foods rich in vitamins A and C, such as green leafy vegetables like spinach and asparagus.
8. Sleep With A Satin Scarf Or Bonnet
Never go to bed without a satin scarf or bonnet on. It keeps your hair from tangling and breaking while you sleep. Also, invest in a smooth satin or silk pillowcase. Sleeping with loose hair on a cotton pillowcase will result in dry hair, hair breakage, and hair damage, because of the friction with cotton. A silk or satin pillowcase is much gentler on the hair and helps to maintain your hair’s moisture.
9. Use Your Hairdryer Less Often
Unlike other hair types, afro-textured hair can seem really fragile. There's a higher risk of hair damage depending on how often you apply heat to your afro. Next time you need to dry your natural curls, put down your hairdryer, don't use it. Using a hairdryer on wet natural hair Involves having to use high heat and a lot of pulling with a styling brush is imperative that you avoid as much friction and heat as often possible to your hair so as to reduce damage and tangling.
Air drying your hair is a better option and it protects your hair from excessive hair breakage. Keep in mind to never dry your hair with a towel! Using a towel roughens the hair cuticle and causes frizz and breakage. Squeeze your hair dry with a soft old t-shirt instead.
10. Let Your scalp feel the Breeze.
With the recent rave of hiding your hair under a wig, it's easy to forget to let your hair breathe. Protective styles under your wig such as braids and twists should be taken out after 3 months and refreshed. After taking out a style, make sure to deep condition and seal your hair. Don't hide your natural hair back into a weave after you take out a style, instead, you can try styling your natural hair in various ways such as bantu knots, flat twists, or high puffs. This lets your hair breathe and you can rock your beautiful afro crown too.
11. Deep Condition Your Natural Hair
It's important that you try to deep condition your hair as often as you can using a mineral oil-free conditioner. Adding a deep conditioner to your hair routine will give your hair a good moisture protein balance and improve the look and feel of your hair.
Regularly deep conditioning your hair will make for healthier, softer, and less damaged hair. For afro-textured hair, deep conditioning usually works better after you have used a clarifying shampoo. If you want more protein balance in your hair, you can add honey, olive oil, shea butter, or any other natural oil to your conditioner.
12. Pre-poo Your Hair
A pre-poo is a treatment done before shampooing to help protect the hair against harsh SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) agents. Pre-poo acts like a shield in ensuring that the shampoo you use doesn't strip away moisture from your hair so your hair becomes softer, shinier, and easier to manage.
When pre-pooing your hair, it is best that you use a conditioner, an oil, or a mix of the two. Pre-pooing adds extra moisture to your hair, makes detangling hair a lot easier, eliminates excessive breakage, and helps for a cleaner scalp.
14. Braid Your Hair Before You Sleep
Never go to bed without splitting your hair into a few braids. Braiding before sleep helps to seal in moisture all through the night. With braids, your strands will be held closely together, sharing their moisture and keeping them from coming loose and rubbing against the pillow. Braiding before bed should be an important part of your night routine.
15. Always Use A Wide Tooth Comb
Natural hair can form into knots and tangles which make combing through it difficult. To reduce the risk of hair damage and breakage, it is recommended that you use combs that have wider, softer teeth, like the wide-tooth comb. Wide-tooth combs have enough space between the rows to allow movement through your hair without tearing up the ends. They make detangling hair less damaging and painful.
Before you comb your hair, make sure it's damp enough or spray it with water, then finger detangle first before combing through. Also comb in sections, preferably 4 - 8 sections.
16. Cleanse Your Scalp
Your scalp tends to get itchy occasionally due to product build-up, dirt, and oils. In order to keep your scalp clean and healthy, it is important that you cleanse your scalp regularly. Hair growth starts in the follicle, and new hairs grow through these tiny pores in the scalp. If the pores are blocked, it becomes hard for new hair to grow through and you might get painful bumps and ingrown hairs. A dirty scalp can cause fungal infections, dandruff, stunted hair growth, and unhealthy hair.
It is recommended that you wash your scalp with shampoo or non-lathering cleaners so as to thoroughly cleanse your scalp. Massage the shampoo gently into your scalp with circular movements to remove dirt and ease the flow of blood to the scalp. A clean and stimulated scalp optimally leads to rapid hair growth.
17. Co-washing Your Hair
Co-washing involves washing your hair with conditioner or a cleansing conditioner instead of shampoo to cleanse your hair. Co-washing helps to gently remove dirt and better hydrate the hair. Co-washing is especially helpful for people with extremely dry hair which gets stripped of moisture when using regular shampoo. With co-washing, you can maintain your natural oils, and your hair is more manageable.
Taking care of your afro-textured hair can become a breeze if you follow some if not all these recommendations sooner than you think, you will be on your way in adopting a routine that works for you and helps you achieve great looking and healthier hair.
18. Co-washing Your HairWhat's the difference between Premium fibre hair and virgin human hair?
Hair extensions made from human hair can be heated (curled or straightened), styled, washed, and treated like your own natural hair.
Hair extensions made from premium fiber cannot be colored, nor can you apply heat to it. It is more sensitive and should be less manipulated to avoid tangling.