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Not all of us come by hair care “know how” and skills naturally. I know how overwhelming and frustrating it can be when your beginning to learn how to properly care for natural hair. You’re not sure where to start, you don’t know what products to use or in what order to use them.
While I may not be able to tell you exactly which products will work best for your child’s hair, I can tell you what products we use and love and provide you with a handy natural hair care must-haves beginners check list.
You can refer to our hair care routine to see how we use these items and what specific hair care products we use. This list below will hopefully get your started and provide you with the basic natural hair care essentials and why you must have them! (Below is a printable checklist for you as well.)
Natural Hair Care for Beginners: Tips and Tricks
As someone who has recently transitioned to natural hair, I know firsthand how daunting it can be to take care of it. There are so many different hair types, textures, and curl patterns, and it can be overwhelming to figure out what products and routines work best for you. However, with a little patience, experimentation, and education, taking care of natural hair can be a rewarding and empowering experience.
When it comes to natural hair care for beginners, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, moisture is key. Natural hair tends to be drier than other hair types, and keeping it well-moisturized is essential for maintaining healthy, strong, and vibrant hair. Additionally, it’s important to be gentle with your hair and avoid practices that can cause damage, such as excessive heat styling, harsh chemicals, and tight hairstyles.
Natural Hair Care Must-Haves
>>Satin bonnet/sleep cap/head wrap and/or satin pillow case – This aids in preventing the hair from breakage and tangling and also protects the hairstyle.
>>Sulfate Free Shampoo – Sulfates and other chemicals can be harsh and dry out the hair, moisturizing shampoo is best.
>>Moisturizing Conditioner – You will likely need a lot of this!
>>Wide tooth comb – Using a wide tooth comb or even your fingers to work through the hair and tangles results in less breakage and damage to the hair.
>>Water based moisturizer (petroleum/mineral oil free) – Water is the key ingredient to moisturized hair, you want to start with applying a water based moisturizer to wet hair and then seal with an oil or butter, this is known as the LCO Method. Or you may find that applying oil to your wet hair, then sealing with a cream moisturizer (the LOC Method) works better for you.
>>Oil – To seal in moisture (coconut, extra-virgin olive, castor, jojoba, grape seed are examples of good natural oils. Shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter are examples of butters).
>>No-metal cloth hair bands (like Goody or Faded Glory) – These don’t snag and rip the hair out or cause breakage like the elastic bands with metal.
>>Detangling Product – You may find that you need a detangler or leave in to aid in the detangling process.
>>Moisturizing Styling Product – You will want a product that provides hold but doesn’t dry the hair out. Creamy holding products and moisturizing pomades usually work well and don’t leave the hair stiff, crunchy and dry.
Natural Hair Care Must-Haves Printable Checklist:
I hope this checklist helps get you started, feel free to share with you friends and family. You can use the social share buttons located at the top and bottom of the post. Also feel free to leave your hair care must-haves in the comments section below if it’s not mentioned above. Happy Hair Journey!!
Understanding Natural Hair
Hair Type and Texture
As a beginner, it’s important to understand your hair type and texture. Natural hair can range from straight to kinky, and understanding your hair type and texture can help you choose the right products and care routine for your hair.
There are four main hair types: type 1 (straight), type 2 (wavy), type 3 (curly), and type 4 (kinky). Within each hair type, there are subcategories that describe the texture of your hair. For example, type 4 hair can be further categorized as 4a, 4b, or 4c, with 4a being the most loosely coiled and 4c being the most tightly coiled.
Knowing your hair type and texture can help you choose the right products and techniques to care for your hair. For example, if you have type 4 hair, you may need to use heavier oils and creams to keep your hair moisturized.
Porosity and Moisture
Another important factor to consider is your hair’s porosity. Porosity refers to how easily your hair absorbs and retains moisture. Understanding your hair’s porosity can help you choose the right products and techniques to keep your hair moisturized.
There are three main levels of porosity: low, normal, and high. If you have low porosity hair, your hair may be resistant to moisture and require extra effort to keep it moisturized. If you have high porosity hair, your hair may absorb moisture easily but have difficulty retaining it.
To determine your hair’s porosity, you can do a simple porosity test at home. Take a strand of clean hair and place it in a glass of water. If the hair floats, you have low porosity hair. If it sinks to the bottom, you have high porosity hair. If it stays in the middle, you have normal porosity hair.
Once you know your hair’s porosity, you can choose the right products and techniques to keep your hair moisturized. For example, if you have low porosity hair, you may need to use heat to open up your hair’s cuticles and allow moisture to penetrate. If you have high porosity hair, you may need to use heavier oils and creams to help seal in moisture.
Basic Hair Care
Keeping natural hair clean is essential to maintaining its health. I typically shampoo my hair once a week or more often if it feels oily or dirty. When shampooing, it’s important to use a sulfate-free shampoo to avoid stripping the hair of its natural oils. I like to use a clarifying shampoo once a month to remove any product buildup.
After shampooing, I follow up with a conditioner. I apply the conditioner to my hair, focusing on the ends, and then detangle my hair with a wide-tooth comb. I leave the conditioner in for a few minutes before rinsing it out with cool water. This helps to seal the hair cuticle and lock in moisture.
Conditioning is a crucial step in my hair care routine. I use a deep conditioner once a week to provide extra moisture to my hair. I apply the deep conditioner to my hair, focusing on the ends, and then cover my hair with a plastic cap. I leave the deep conditioner on for 30 minutes to an hour before rinsing it out with cool water.
In addition to deep conditioning, I also use a leave-in conditioner daily to keep my hair moisturized. I apply the leave-in conditioner to my hair, focusing on the ends, and then style as desired.
Detangling natural hair can be a challenge, but it’s important to do it gently to avoid damaging the hair. I start by applying a detangling spray or leave-in conditioner to my hair to help loosen any knots or tangles. Then, I use a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle my hair, starting at the ends and working my way up to the roots.
If I encounter a particularly stubborn knot, I use my fingers to gently separate the strands of hair. It’s important to be patient and gentle when detangling to avoid causing breakage or damage to the hair.
Styling Natural Hair
Styling natural hair can be a fun and creative process, but it’s important to do it in a way that doesn’t damage your hair. Here are some tips for styling natural hair:
Protective styles are a great way to give your hair a break from daily styling and manipulation. These styles help to protect your hair from damage and breakage, while also allowing your hair to grow. Some popular protective styles include:
- Bantu knots
When wearing protective styles, it’s important to keep your hair moisturized and to avoid leaving them in for too long. Leaving your hair in protective styles for too long can lead to matting and tangling, which can cause breakage when you take them out.
Heat styling can be damaging to natural hair, so it’s important to use heat sparingly and to use heat protectant products. Here are some tips for heat styling natural hair:
- Use a heat protectant spray or serum
- Use a low heat setting on your styling tools
- Avoid using heat on wet hair
- Limit heat styling to once a week
It’s also important to deep condition your hair regularly to help repair any damage caused by heat styling.
Maintaining Healthy Natural Hair Guide – My tips
As someone who has been taking care of my natural hair for a while, I’ve learned that there are a few key things to keep in mind if you want to maintain healthy hair. Here are some tips that have worked for me:
Diet and Nutrition
What you eat can have a big impact on the health of your hair. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals can help keep your hair strong and healthy. Some foods that are particularly good for hair health include:
Of course, it’s also important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to dry, brittle hair that is more prone to breakage.
Speaking of hydration, it’s important to keep your hair hydrated as well. This means using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and possibly incorporating a leave-in conditioner or hair oil into your routine. You may also want to consider using a deep conditioning treatment once a week or so to really give your hair a boost of moisture.
Sleep and Stress Management
Getting enough sleep and managing stress levels can also have an impact on the health of your hair. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more stress hormones, which can lead to hair loss and breakage. Finding ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or therapy, can help keep your hair healthy and strong.
Overall, taking care of natural hair can be a bit of a learning curve, but with some patience and experimentation, you can find a routine that works for you. By focusing on a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and managing stress levels, you can help keep your hair looking and feeling its best.
Common Mistakes to Avoid for Natural Hair
When I first started taking care of my natural hair, I made a lot of mistakes that ended up damaging my hair. Here are some common mistakes that beginners should avoid:
- Using too much product: Using too much product can weigh down your hair and cause build-up. Follow the instructions on your products and use only the recommended amount.
- Skipping regular trims: Trimming your hair regularly helps to prevent split ends and breakage. Don’t wait until your hair is damaged to get a trim.
- Not moisturizing enough: Natural hair needs moisture to stay healthy. Make sure to use a moisturizing leave-in conditioner and seal in the moisture with an oil or butter.
- Using heat too often: Heat can damage your hair and cause breakage. Try to limit your use of heat styling tools and use a heat protectant when you do use them.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can help keep your natural hair healthy and beautiful.