When a woman decides to embark on a natural hair journey, there are many factors to take into account: What oils are best to use? How often is it okay to deep condition? The list of questions can go and on. Whether you are trying to figure out your curl type or what conditioner works best, there is one practice that is essential to the health of your hair during your journey. When it comes to management, all women should approach their manes as gently as possible. When managing natural curls, it is extremely important to treat the strands almost as if they are damaged goods. Approach them as gently as possible and they will thank you.
Here are three practices to consider adopting for gentle and healthy hair management:
- Low Manipulation: Low manipulation is simply doing your best to leave your strands alone. After doing a big chop, many naturals have confessed to suffering from “H.I.M.H." (Hand In My Hair) Syndrome. It can be hard to resist playing in the curly texture of your tresses but it’s important to stop. Frequent manipulation can lead to trichtotillomania, which is a disorder that manifests itself through hair pulling. A great way to decrease over manipulation is to implement loose, protective styling. Twists, braids, and updos are great ways to keep the ends protected. Protective styling is also great because you’re less likely to play in your strands if it’s in a style you want to keep intact for a period of time, whether it’s styled for a few days, a week or even a month!
- Wet THEN detangle: When dealing with the various curly textures of natural hair, it’s very important to make the detangling process as smooth as possible. If the tresses are not well moisturized, split ends and breakage are quite common with lots of pulling, combing and tugging. There are plenty of leave-in conditioners and detangling products on the market to choose from but quite honestly, water is arguably the best moisturizer. There are two popular and effective way to tangle natural hair. The first commonly known way to detangle is by using a wide tooth comb. After wetting the hair with your moisturizer of choice, gently use a wide comb to detangle. Be sure to start from the ends and slowly work your way up to the roots. This is an effective way to make sure hair is gently detangled. Another way many women detangle natural hair is through a method called finger detangling. Finger detangling is literally detangling (a couple strands at a time) with the fingers. If you don’t add moisture (water, product) before doing this process, it can take an extremely long time. If you add water/moisture, the process can still take a while but is actually very beneficial to keeping strands healthy and in tact.
3. Use minimal heat. Heat damage is a common problem for a lot of women. There are many accounts of women underestimating the temperature of a styling tool and burning their precious strands off. Even when styling tools that require heat are at a suitable temperature, it’s still unhealthy for constant use. Using lots of heat can turn hair dry and brittle. It can also drastically change the original texture of the hair.
If you want healthy hair, do your best to minimize and/or eliminate the usage of heat styling tools in your regimen. This includes blow dryers, hot combs, flat irons, curling irons, and styling wands. This does not include hair steamers. Hair steamers like the Hair Steamer Caster Base 650 Watts, are an excellent way to moisturize, condition and promote healthy hair growth. If you must use heat styling tools, use them sparingly and be sure to apply a heat protectant before using hot tools.
If you implement these rules into your healthy hair regimen, you are well on your way to the best natural hair journey possible. Your hair thrives when you take good care of it.