A friend asked if I were to start my natural hair journey or rather start embracing my natural hair journey today, what would I do/ how my starter pack would look like. I thought why not share with y’all what I would pay more attention to.
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I embraced my natural hair around 2016-2017 because I was tired of heat, apparently the middle part of my head is so tender. The heat was getting unbearable as well as the whole process of having someone take care of my hair especially the installing of protective styles, the stylist weren’t gentle at all. Around that time, natural hair was a thing, getting hyped up and yours truly thought, why not try embrace my natural and care for it myself. Read all about my natural hair journey on this post.
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Years later, we still here. The hair is thriving and am loving it. Have had a couple of chops, frustrations, product and style failures but it was all part of the process. What I love the most is that I can care for my hair all by myself at the comfort of my hair and have come to appreciate 4C natural hair more. Did I say, I love it here? Well, I do. Side note; I dislike the detangling part and installing mini twists.
Table of Contents
What I would do if I begun my natural hair journey today
A Consistent & Simple Hair Care Routine/ Regimen.
One thing I wish I learned early on was the importance of a healthy hair care routine and being consistent. We all have a hair care routine of some sorts, whether we are consistent or not. A hair routine is basically how you care for your hair from how often you cleanse, do you deep condition, moisturize, wear protective Hairstyles and how often. So, even if you think you don’t have a hair care routine, you do have one. Just ask yourself, “how do I care for my hair/ what do I do to my hair?” and there you will find your answer.
Other than having a healthy hair care routine, keep it simple and let it perfectly fit in your lifestyle and schedule. For instance, if having a weekly wash day sounds like a lot of work to you, consider doing it twice a month or monthly. When I curated my first hair care routine, I started with having wash day twice a month and now am at monthly wash day, as you learn about your hair or go through life, you ought to adjust your hair routines.
Your hair care routine ought to have the following processes or steps;
Cleansing/ Shampooing- the process of washing your hair and scalp. Figure out how often you intend to cleanse your hair, which shampoo fits your hair needs. For hair and scalp with lots of dirt and product build up, consider a clarifying shampoo and for less to no build up, a moisturizing or gentle cleansing shampoo will do.
Here are some of the best clarifying shampoos and gentle cleansers/ sulphate free shampoos.
- Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo
- Design Essentials Honey Creme Moisture Retention Super Detangling Conditioning Shampoo
- Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Moisturizing and Detangling Shampoo
- As I Am Curl Clarity Shampoo
- Creme of Nature Shampoo with Mango & Shea Butter
- OKAY black Jamaican Castor Oil moisture growth shampoo
Deep conditioning – this is a wash day step that follows cleansing. After cleansing, apply a moisturizing deep conditioner, protein treatments or both depending on your hair needs. Deep conditioners help repair damage, strengthens the hair, deep moisturizes and restores your hair’s elasticity.
Best deep moisturizing conditioners for deep conditioner and moisturized;
- tgin Honey Miracle Hair Mask
- SheaMoisture Intensive Hydration Hair Masque Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil
- Design Essentials Natural Almond & Avocado Wash Day Deep Moisture Masque
- Camille Rose Algae Renew Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
- Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Protein-Free Hydrating Conditioner
For more details on deep conditioning, check out the following posts;
- All about deep conditioning, how to do it, what to use and its benefits
- Moisturizing deep conditioners for dry hair
- Deep conditioning mistakes you might be making
- Best protein treatments for damaged and weak hair
Best protein treatments for damaged and wet hair;
- tgin Miracle RepaiRx Curl Protein Reconstructor
- Vitamins Keratin Hair Mask Deep Conditioner
- SheaMoisture Hair Mask – Manuka Honey & Yogurt, Hydrate + Repair Protein Power Treatment
- Arvazallia Fortifying Protein Hair Mask and Deep Conditioner
- Aphogee Two-step Treatment Protein for Damaged Hair
Detangling and pre-poo- these two go hand in hand, the Pre-poo step is optional though. Pre-poo is a treatment done to minimize the stripping effect of shampoo. You apply an oil, conditioner or Pre-poo treatment, let it infuse in your strands and shaft by using heat. Learn more on pre- pooing and it’s benefits on this post. Lately, I don’t Pre-poo due to the amount of build-up on my hair, applying more products on hair full of dirt and products doesn’t make sense.
Detangling isn’t an optional step though because those tangles, knots and shed hair ought to go. Detangling is the process of getting rid of the tangles, knots and shed hair by applying a detangling product with a good slip and using your fingers, wide tooth comb or detangling brush. Instead of using a different product to detangle and another one to Pre-poo, you can use pre-shampoo products that have that good slip for easy detangling like;
- African Pride Moisture Miracle Aloe & Coconut Water Pre-Shampoo
- Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Ultra Shield Pre Poo Hair Treatment
- Dr. Miracle’s Strong & Healthy Detangling Pre-Shampoo Treatment
Related post; the ultimate hair detangling guide.
Moisturizing – this is another essential step that you shouldn’t skip because dry hair never looked good on anyone and that’s how you end up with split ends, tangles and breakage. I advocate for moisturizing immediately after rinsing off the deep conditioner. Don’t let your hair completely dry without moisturizing.
To moisturize, start off with damp or wet hair, apply your go to leave-in conditioner, my current favorite is African pride moisture miracle coconut oil and baobab oil leave-in cream, catch a review of the product on this post. After applying the leave-in conditioner keep the moisture locked in with a butter or an oil. Personally, I don’t use moisture sealants, the moisturizing cream works perfect for me.
Moisturizing related posts;
- Hair porosity types and how they influence moisturizing methods and products to use.
- Dry hair to soft and moisturized hair; the ultimate moisturizing guide
- The best moisturizing products and how to use them.
- Different ways to add moisture to your hair.
These leave-in conditioners will moisturize your hair, soften it and define curls;
- tgin butter cream daily moisturizer
- Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Hair Mask & Leave-In Conditioner
- African pride moisture miracle coconut oil and baobab oil leave-in cream
- Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Divine Strength Leave In Conditioner Cream
- Design Essentials Natural Almond & Avocado, Moisturizing & Detangling Leave-In Conditioner
Protective styles – these and low manipulation styles should be considered because they give you and your hair a break, help with length retention and minimizes the daily wear and tear. Protective styles range from braids, flat twists, cornrows, twists, temporary Locs etc. Also, caring for your hair doesn’t stop because your hair is in a protective style, protect and don’t neglect it.
Protective styles and everything in between related posts;
- How to prep your hair for protective hairstyles
- The ultimate protective hairstyle care guide for length retention
- How to keep your protective styles fresh and neat longer
Protecting your hair when sleeping. To minimize breakage and dry hair, always protect your hair when sleeping by wearing a satin/ silk bonnet or scarf.
Start with Essential Hair Care Products.
When it comes to hair care, just keep it simple especially as a beginner. Start with the essential hair products and if possible buy all the products from the same brand. There are a thousand hair care brands you can choose from; mielle organics, OKAY hair brand, African pride, carol’s daughter , Camille Rose, Creme of Nature, As IAm, Shea moisture, cantu etc.
Which essential products am I talking about? Shampoo, deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner, butter or oil or both and lastly a rinse off conditioner or detangler to detangle. These are more than enough products to kick start your hair care journey. You can add more products as you go and learn more about your hair and how your hair benefits from hair care products.
Adopt healthy hair care practices.
Behold, the old is gone, the new has come and the new needs new and different set of practices and rules. If you did the bare minimum when it came to your hair, then you’ll need to step up your game or adjust some hair care practices. When it comes to embracing and growing natural hair, adopting healthy hair care practices ought to be at the top of the list. Which practices am I talking about;
- Using a wide tooth comb to comb your hair and moisturizing the hair before combing. Never comb your hair when in dry state.
- Always moisturize your hair before styling or manipulating it.
- Using less heat or no heat at all. Excessive or wrong use of heat may cost you inches of hair, heat damage is a thing. Also use heat protectants when using hot tools.
- Stay away from tight hairstyles. Your scalp doesn’t thrive under all that tension. Also tight styles might be the reason your edges are thinning and receding.
- Incorporate scalp massages to your hair care routine. Scalp massages are not only relaxing but also they do stimulate growth.
Learn the difference between hair growth and length retention.
Most if not all of us focus more on hair growth than length retention instead of focusing more on the latter. Hair growth is a biological processes which you have less to no control of. Well, you can stimulate growth by massaging your scalp but you can’t alter your growth rate. We all have different growth rates, some a little bit fast/ slow than others. What we all can do is retain length from our growth to achieve our length goals by minimizing damage and breakage.
How do you retain length? By minimizing breakage, hair damage. Keep your hair moisturized, don’t use too much heat, be consistent with your healthy hair care routine, wear protective styles often and care for them, basically everything mentioned on this post will help you retain as much length as possible. Focus more on length retention than growth and magic growth products are a scam. Couple up “growth products” with healthy hair care practices, you’ll definitely see the difference.