I stopped using a relaxer a little over 4 years ago and never went back (not to say I didn’t think about it occasionally). Even though, I watched countless tutorials, it always felt like managing my tight coils was a challenge. The next few tips are things I learned throughout the course of my natural hair journey. I hope they help you if you decide to take the plunge.
- Learn how to work with hair instead of against it.
Curls are tricky to maintain, so you have to be careful whenever you manipulate your strands. Patience is definitely important. Experiment with your hair to see how it thrives. Try detangling it when its wet. If your hair doesn’t agree (excessive breakage), try detangling on dry hair. Use different shampoos and conditioners or make your own. Give your experiments time to work. Try a product for a month, see how it works for you. If you don’t like it, try another product. My go-to products have changed many many times.
- Try finger detangling before pulling out a comb or brush
Taking the time to delicately finger detangle your hair goes a long way in length retention. If curls are particularly tangled, using a comb or brush could be detrimental to the health of your hair. That doesn’t mean you can’t use styling tools, just be smart about it. If the comb is breaking your hair off, try a little finger detangling. It takes longer but your hair will love you for it.
- Wash and style hair when you don’t feel rushed
This goes back to needing patience and its hard to be patient with your hair if you have too many worries on the brain. Try saving wash day for when you’re off and have plenty of time to give your hair the right kind of attention.
Curly hair is versatile, but the more you manipulate it, the easier it is for damage to set in. Protective styling is very important. Find a style you wouldn’t mind wearing for weeks at a time to give your hair a break every now and then. Remember to still moisturize and nourish your hair even when it is in a protective style. My favorites are two strand twists, flat twists and faux locs. (Check out my easy faux loc tutorial for inspiration)
This does not mean, trim your hair every month or even every few months, like most stylists seem to think. Listen to your hair. If your hair is hard to detangle overall, it may be time to get a trim. Save lots of money by learning to trim your hair yourself. Most of the time though, I only need to trim off split ends and one strand knots as they occur.
- Wear heat protectant when heat styling
This will help prevent heat damage. Also try using your heat styling tools on their lowest settings first. You may be able to achieve great results without the high heat.
- Use products that don’t cause build-up
Less is more. In many hair tutorials, the woman would use tons of conditioner, gel, etc, but if your scalp is prone to itchiness and buildup, all that goop is only going to make it worse. Start off using a little product and you can always add more later.
Tell us about your hair journey. We love hearing from you. Thanks for reading and have a great day.
Photo credit: Maria Schaefer Photography viaFoter.com / CC BY-ND