As a new natural you are about to embark on an exciting journey with as many twists and turns as a rollercoaster that never ends but as exciting as this journey is the path can also be a frustrating one! Below are 9 helpful tips that I have found to be valuable in the journey to obtaining your ultimate hair regimen.
Internet: One of the greatest inventions of this century is the internet, an infinite fortress of information at our fingertips. The worldwide web is an amazing tool in helping a newbie natural find her or his way to the ultimate hair regimen. Some go too spots are youtube, forums and blogs.
Double the Research: Double check your research. With an infinite amount of information at your disposal check the facts. Learning to double or triple check your research can save you the headache of obtaining the wrong information.
Natural Hair Events: The speed date of hair, natural hair events and meet ups are a great way to have an up close and personal moment with other naturals, where asking questions and sharing tips creates a valuable outlet for any natural.
Hair Crush Your Present Length: As I have mentioned before finding crush worthy pic, blogs and videos of naturals with hair you see for yourself in the future is wonderful and a great motivational tool but motivation is of no help if you cannot learn to appreciate the state your hair is in at this moment. Wanting the years it takes to achieve your future hair goals now, will cause so much frustration that you may take it out on your hair through unhealthy hair care practices, instead also look for hair crushes with hair similar to your length and texture. Focusing too much on the future can push you further back to the past.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself! Health first: There is much more to natural hair than length in fact length takes a back seat to the health of your hair. Instead of focusing your goals on length reset your focus to health. Concentrate on the health of your strands and set goals pertaining to the condition, to name a few: constantly moisturized hair, sealing, hair and scalp cleanliness, and a healthy diet but this is just a few of the multitude of other healthy hair care practices that you can follow to make sure your hair is receiving the utmost TLC. Once you reset your hair priorities you will find that length will come when you focus on health first.
Trial & Error: Yes trial and error. This is one of the most unavoidable parts of the natural hair process. What works for someone else may not work for you. Try sticking to the foolproof components of natural hair such as
• No heat or heat in moderation,
• Combing from ends to roots or finger detangling
• Moisturizing strands with water,
• Silk scarf or pillowcase
• Dusting or trimming split ends
• Application of natural oils or butter
• Banning of tight tension styles
• Clean scalp and hair
• Product buildup at a minimum
If you find a technique that works for you then you do you, no matter what others think. I wash my hair once a month and you can only imagine some of the ignorance that is revealed when this is stated. Do I care…NO and why don’t I care…because it works for me, and finding a hair regimen that works wonders for your lifestyle and the health of your hair is priceless!!!
Realistic Goals: Set realistic goals! Unless you are superwoman 3 inches of hair will not grow within a month, I mean maybe there is the exception somewhere out in the world but for almost every single one of us this is a fantasy. Hair grows on average ½ inch a month but less than half an inch or more is very much a reality for many. Then beside the growth rate you eventually will get to know your anagen cycle which is the growing phase of the hair shaft from the root. Depending on your cycle the anagen phase can last anywhere from 2-8 years which means your hair can grow 12 inches to 4 feet long, Though many naturals do not reach their true anagen phase due to unhealthy hair care practices or simply due to learning the natural state of your hair from “trial & errors” of naturalness, that can put a delay in some of your goals.
Patience: This has been my motto in life so it is no surprise that I equate patience as in important factor with hair. Natural hair means healthier hair and healthier hair is stronger but natural hair at the same is fragile and this may seem like a contradiction but let me explain. The curlier the strand is the more fragile because at every curling point along the strand is a potential point of breakage. Therefore when manipulating hair patience is a must because of all the potential points of breakage but the strand itself is strong, because the protein bonds of the hair are not altered by any chemicals, which weakens the strands.
Learn to Love: Learning to love your natural hair will not only save you from disappointment but damage as well. Constant manipulation of your hair to achieve a certain texture or style can wreak havoc on your strands due to excessive stress on your strands, especially regarding fine strands. Of course there are the exceptions but less manipulation for anyone reduces the risk of breakage. I remember years ago when I did not love the natural state of my hair, I was constantly applying heat and doing braidouts, twistouts and bantu knot outs everyday on my fine strands, I mean any type of “out” I was doing it. All of that constant manipulation eventually led to breakage. Once I learned to love my natural state my hair began to flourish in ways I couldn’t even imagine.
I have been a little over 5 years completely natural and I am still learning till this day. Life is about learning and your hair is no exception. Cherish your mistakes for they will only bring you closer to your successes! –Cipriana <3