First of all, welcome and congrats on your Natural Hair Journey!
It’s an exciting journey you’re embarking and a decision that we’re sure required a lot of thought – so let’s not skip past that fact! Now that you’re natural, you may have already come across a whole host of conflicting advice on what to do. Don’t worry, we’re here to assist you in looking after your tresses.
Below you will find a list of our top tips of a great Natural Hair Regimen to ensure your hair maintains its’ optimum health. Remember, your hair is NOT difficult to manage, it’s just different!
This is ideal for when your hair is at least 3 inches long. Before this length, your hair doesn’t really need it as it won’t get tangled that easily. Pre-pooing is a brilliant way to reduce tangling when washing your hair. It’s always best to start by spraying your hair with water, then applying Coconut Oil and/or conditioner (Tresemme Naturals is great to use). Cover with a cap and leave in your hair for at least 10 minutes before washing.
- Shampoo/Gentle Cleanse
The product you choose to cleanse your hair is very important, as it is the foundation of any good hair regimen. If you wish to use a shampoo, make sure it is sulfate free and moisturising. If you’re your hair is long enough, section it into large braids to make shampooing easier and to keep help minimise tangling. When washing, always use the balls of your fingers (not nails) to gently remove the dirt from your scalp. Also, let the motion of the water do the work when it comes to rinsing away the dirt – don’t shake your hair about! This is just asking for tangles! Note: when your hair is a TWA, you’ll be fortunate to not worry about this. 🙂 Aim to shampoo your hair once a week.
Short for ‘Conditioner Washing’, co-washing can be used either as a replacement of a shampoo or as well as your shampoo (e.g. you can shampoo your hair on Sundays and co-wash on Wednesdays). Choosing to also co-wash mid-week often works best with a TWA, or you may just simply prefer how soft and clean your hair feels afterwards. There’s no hard and fast rule whether you should adopt co-washing in your regimen. It is a personal preference and should be decided by you once try it out.
Always, always, always follow up a shampoo with a generous helping of a moisturising conditioner to restore softness in your hair. Next, detangle thoroughly with either your hands or a WIDE toothed comb to minimise breakage and snapping. Your hair is weakest when it’s wet, so you must be gentle. Note: You do not need to add conditioner afterwards if you co-wash.
- Deep Condition
An extremely important step in any hair regimen is to moisturise your hair from the inside-out. It’s good to deep condition your hair once a month when you start your hair regimen. With time, you may feel you can do it less if your hair retains moisture well by your hair care (e.g. protective styles, regularly spraying with water, adding moisturisers and oils). If your hair has colour, you apply heat to your hair or you manipulate it regularly, aim to deep condition it once a week.
- Protein Treatment
Some people say protein treatments are not necessary, but we advise differently. As your hair is made up of 90% protein (keratin), it is important that you replace the protein that is naturally lost daily through everyday manipulation, heat and the environment. Keratin in your hair is what gives your hair its’ strength and structure. When you experience breakage, it is often a result of either dryness or an imbalance of protein/moisture in your hair. Bear in mind that not all protein treatments are the same – they range from mild to strong, so make sure you use the one that is best for your hair. It is advised you use protein treatments once every 4-6 weeks. If you have extreme breakage, use twice a week. Always, always follow a protein treatment with a moisturising deep treatment.
After applying a conditioner/deep conditioner to your hair, it’s now important to focus on keeping your hair moisturised between washes. Depending on the curl pattern of your hair, your hair may not require the same amount of moisture as others. The reason for this is because the less sharp bends/angles your hair has (like kinky type 4 hair), the easier it is for the natural oils your scalp produces (sebum) to travel all the way down your hair shaft. Therefore, if you have Type 3 hair, your hair won’t typically need as much product (or as regularly) than for a Naturalista with Type 4 hair. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the uniqueness with hair. If your hair is in a protective style, you can just spray it with a water, leave in and an oil concoction every other day. As for styling, there is a WEALTH of different ways you can do so!
Between washes, always aim to spray your hair with water at least once a day. Next, follow up with a light application of Leave-In Conditioner / Moisturiser / Carrier Oil.
Clarifiers and Chelators are two different things. Clarifiers remove the stubborn product build up that gentle cleansers simply cannot remove. Chelators, on the other hand, remove minerals e.g. limestone typically found in hard water areas. It is beneficial to clarify/chelate your hair once every 4-6 weeks because it gives your hair a fresh start. If not applied to your hair, your hair may feel flat, break or not respond to products in the same way.
- Night-time routine
If you’re normally pushed for time in the morning to moisturise your hair daily, you can do this at night and you’ll be good to go the next day. Make sure you sleep with a satin bonnet / cap / pillowcase. This is an excellent way to retain much needed moisture in your hair.
It’s no good doing this for a month then forgetting about your hair or worse ignoring it. As it has been previously stated, choosing to be natural is a lifestyle change. There will be days when you’d rather forget about your hair and crash to sleep, but you can bet that you’ll regret it in the morning! In order for your hair to thrive, minimise breakage and maintain optimum health, you will have to be consistent. Trust us, you’ll be thankful for it six months from now. 🙂
Quite a lot of information to take on isn’t it? Here’s a sample regimen to adopt. Try this out and the more you get to know what you hair likes/doesn’t like, you can alter it to your personal needs.
Monday: Daily Moisturiser
Tuesday: Daily Moisturiser
Wednesday: Co-wash, Moisturise
Thursday: Daily Moisturiser
Friday: Daily Moisturiser
Saturday: Daily Moisturiser
Sunday: Prepoo (if applicable), Shampoo/Cleanse, Deep Condition, Moistuise.
One Sunday a month: Prepoo (if applicable), Clarify, Protein Treatment, Deep Condition, Moisturise
Once every four months: Trim
Once every four months: Apply heat (if desired. Ideally, the less you do this, the better)
Lastly: Never do your hair when you’re tired or stressed. Your natural hair requires patience and gentle handling – which let’s face it, something we don’t have time for when we’re either!
Enjoy your hair journey – no head of hair is the same and you’ll continually learn what it likes and doesn’t like. Don’t force your hair to do something it won’t do or like a certain product because someone else does. Listen to what it’s saying to you and trust us – healthy hair will follow. 🙂