5 Tips & Habits For Healthy Natural Hair

Saturday, August 16, 2014

One of the most frequently asked questions I get about about natural hair is how to keep it healthy. It seems as though everyone is on the hunt for some secret method or elixir that will magically turn their hair into the poster child for the "perfect" natural hair overnight. 

When the truth is.....it aint gonna happen captain. Healthy natural hair takes work to get and to maintain and depending on the condition your hair was in previously, when you big chopped or where you are in your natural journey how long it will take to get to a "healthy" state and what you need to do to get it there can be different from one curly girl to the next.

However there are some tips or healthy hair habits that you can start to incorporate into your natural hair routine no matter where you are in your journey to begin to cultivate or continue to maintain the health of your natural hair. Now even though I have natural hair and I blog about it, i'm no expert. I learn just as you do through trial and error, but hopefully what I have learned from my mistakes of the past will help you avoid doing any damage or endangering the health of your fro.

Healthy Natural Hair Tips

1. Drink up: ...Well water that is, having a good water intake and eating healthy foods and taking vitamins ensures that your body will function properly. Add on getting enough rest and exercise and your on a roll. Alot of what our body can and cant do everywhere from hair and nail growth to fighting off infections has to do with our bodies getting the right nutrients in your diet. Having weak, brittle slow growing hair could be a reflection of low water intake, vitamin deficiency or a poor diet. On average I now try to drink at least 3 bottles of water a day, I know that's below what you should drink but that is a vast improvement for me and you have to start somewhere. Between upping my water intake and taking a few more vitamins daily I have already noticed a change in my hair.

2. Less Poo:  Shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils, even the most natural hair friendly shampoo can leave your hair dry. Natural hair does NOT have to be washed often, our hair feeds on and desperately needs the oils that other cultures focus so hard on washing out. Over washing our hair actually does more damage than good. What you do want to focus on is cleansing your scalp and removing product from your hair. Many naturals choose to use African black soap as an alternative from regular shampoo. It is said to leave natural hair soft, undamaged and slightly conditioned and it does not strip the hair like traditional shampoo. Another alternative is doing an apple cider vinegar rinse. I personally do this every other time I wash or if I have used alot of product just to make sure my hair and scalp are clean and to restore the ph balance of my scalp. ACV also works as a itchy scalp reliever =) I only wash my hair twice a month *cough* if that *cough*  lol but because of this my shampoo last longer and I do less stripping to my hair. 

3. Is it hot in here? (Less Heat): Sooooo if you all didnt know i'm pretty much anti heat when it comes to my hair unless its steam. Since I have gone natural I have used heat on my hair once, aside from attempting to dry my flat twist a time or two with a blow dryer (fail). Heat, especially flat ironing or excessive blow drying (Dominican blowouts) can do a number on natural hair. It can cause already damaged hair to dry out and break off and it can also permanently heat damage your curls and make it impossible to revert back to their naturally curly state. While working as a hair dresser in a natural hair salon I saw it happen far too often. A curly girl had flat ironed her own hair or gotten a blow out and when they went under the water for their shampoo.....the curls were no where to be found or what once curled like crazy were now just limp waves. I'm not saying you cant use heat at all but please use it with care, try not to use direct heat, blowdry on a cooler setting and ALWAYS ALWAYS use a heat protector when flat ironing. 

4. Protect That Thang: Protecting your hair from heat is just one way of maintaining healthy hair, another HUGE habit that I feel all naturals should practices is protective styling. ESPECIALLY in the upcoming colder months that we will have ahead. I know alot of naturals are super fond of the care free wash & go but that does not always cut it. In order to retain length and avoid knots and breakage protective styles are necessary and they give your hair a break from the elements (weather, manipulation, over washing ect.) A protective style can be anything from two strand twist to a weave and all things in between, but can best be described as a style where no loose ends are out. I normally weave my hair up in the winter or braid it down and wear a wig so that it is not left up against the drying winds of the winter. You want a style that will be easy to maintain, long lasting and allows you to still oil your scalp and moisturize your hair. Flat twist updo's are a favorite for naturals and can be worn for work and play while still looking professional. One tip if using box braids or marely twist as a protective style, make sure your hair and scalp are SUPER healthy and hydrated before installing. Traditionally the hair used to do these styles are very drying and can do more harm then help on hair that has not been well taken care of.

5. Keep It We...uh...Moisturized: This may be the most important part of obtaining healthy natural hair or maintaining your healthy natural hair.Our hair because of its curl has a hard time getting the oil from the root to the tip. Because of this it easily dries out and can become broken off. The only way to combat that is to give our hair what it needs. Moisture! We MUST MUST MUST (even though i'm still bad about it) moisturize our hair on a daily basis! Find what oil and moisturizing product your hair loves the most and take care of that thang!! Mine loves olive oil and coconut oil and I use both to keep my hair happy. If im in a pinch for time ill spray a little water on FiFi (my fro) and and my mix of oils just to give her a refresh in the morning and later in the night really give her some love with her fave products and a nice re twist to help hold the moisture in my hair. 

Well.....there you have it! Just a few tips from me to you on how to keep that big beautiful or tiny weeny afro of yours healthy! I hope this helped and as always if you have any questions ask me on ig @Theprettygirlsguide, email me or ask below!

Until next time,
XO Deanna

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