I am really in love with my hair right now. If you’ve been following my natural hair journey, you’ll know that I’ve come a long way from being conditioned to hate my hair (and holding hundreds of scarfs and beanies captive) to now flaunting my thick, puffy curls.
One year, while working at a student magazine, our editorial team managed a photo shoot for Jeannie D. We were preparing her for hair and makeup when she’d said to Angie – the hair stylist, “honey, the bigger the hair, the closer to God.” Now, embracing my naturally thick hair, I swear by that quote.
One tiny problem, this puff is high maintenance. It’s not just a matter of get-up-and-go when creating the bed-head style, especially when you’re working with a hair texture that is naturally dry and fragile.
It’s taken a while, but I’ve learned to manage my hair, ensuring that it maintains a super defined curl and healthy shine. Take a look at how you can do the same with these 7 tips below:
Research your hair type
The last thing I want to do is to reinforce more labels to your hair but It’s helpful to know what your natural hair type is so that you can find suitable products and hair care styles. According to the Andre Walker hair typing system, I have a mixture of type 3C and 4A hair. With this information, I can determine which parts of my hair need more product moisture, and which parts don’t. Find out what your hair type is, here:
Stop combing your hair
No joke. There’s no need for a comb unless you’re using a wide-tooth afro comb to create volume. I prefer to finger detangle my hair. This reduces breakage, frizz, and promotes curl definition.
Find out which products work for you
There is a coconut oil craze for all hair types right now but unfortunately, it doesn’t do much for my hair. However, extra virgin olive oil works wonders for me. There are also certain gels that are too harsh for my hair and cause breakage while other women swear by it. Test a range of products to see what works best for your own hair as your hair texture may not receive products in the same way as someone else.
In the past, I’d wasted so much money on curl creams and conditioners, and now have a cupboard full of half-used products. When you’re trying a new product, wait at least a month to see results.
My go-to hair products are:
- Lush American Cream Conditioner
- Lush Curly Wurly Shampoo
- Extra virgin Olive Oil
- Perfect Touch alcohol-free gel (Dischem Pharmacy)
Get a satin sleep cap
The Satin Sleep Cap (which you can find at selected Clicks stores) has been such a game-changer for me. I wear it to bed at night or even when I’m lounging around the house with my head rested. Cotton strips your hair and even your skin of moisture and can cause dehydration and breakage. If I really need to dry my hair, I will usually use an old t-shirt instead of a towel or dry my hair with a diffuser nozzle on medium to low heat.
Use sulfate-free shampoo or conditioner to wash your hair
Any products with sulphate components are harmful, even toothpaste – that’s why you’re not supposed to swallow the toothpaste. I prefer to co-wash my hair using my go-to conditioner rather than shampoo, and this really does clean my hair. People with normal to oily hair should not co-wash.
Protective style as much as possible
Thank the heavens for braids. When I’m having a busy month or travelling, I love having my hair braided or twisted into chunky Havana twist braids (also known as Marley braids). Chunky braids aren’t too tight or damaging to the hair. They don’t last as long as the three-strand braid or small strand braids but I personally prefer this style.
Trim your hair often
Pay special attention to the ends of your hair as this is your oldest hair. Once your ends begin to look dry and dull, it is better to consider having it trimmed to avoid higher split ends or worse, having your hair break off. I dread having my hair cut and I usually avoid having to trim for as long as possible but I get it done eventually.
Do you know of any other ways to retain moisture and shine in natural hair? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment in the comment section below or connect with me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook
Feature photo/ Donna- Lee Dekock