Finding What Works For Your Hair

By TouchOfSwank - October 23, 2012


When I first began this natural hair journey, I would wash & condition my hair then comb a leave-in moisturizer through my damp hair and go! I thought that was all I needed, and it was... if I wanted a fro! By the end of the day my hair would expand twice in size and by the time I woke up the next morning, it was a dry matted mess and I'd have to do it all over again.
I thought that was just my hair texture and since I wasn't willing to redo my hair everyday... back to my faithful flat-iron I went.

A few months later I was being lazy and didn't feel up to flat ironing my hair so a natural friend of mine suggested I do a braid-out. I hadn't permed my hair in over 4 years, so I figured it wouldn't be such a bad idea. I proceeded to put 8 braids in my hair, tied it down and went to bed. To my dismay I woke up with damp hair and once again, my hair grew to twice it's size by midday. By the time I left the office I was rocking a Chaka Khan hair-do. After that I was determined to figure out this natural hair thing.
*Tips Below*
I started reading up on my hair type, what products to use; butters, oils, pomades,cleansers, conditioners, gels, etc. And then I discovered YouTube! After a while I realized I really didn't need all these things. Yes there are ways to incorporate it into your routine, but you don't have to jump on the band wagon and do everything! Because as we all know, what works for one persons hair won't always work for everyone else.

Sometimes our hair goes through some changes that require us to switch up our routine for a little while. Knowing your hair determines whether this will be a minor or drastic change. After highlighting my hair I didn't have to change my routine drastically but I do attribute this to the fact that my hair was already colored prior to beginning my natural hair journey. Everything I learned and incorporated into my routine was already catered to chemically processed hair. So about 4 days after highlighting my hair, I gave myself a protein treatment & deep condition. Then about 3 days after that, I deep conditioned again under my steamer. This was to help restore the moisture/strength levels in my hair since some of my now blonde curls were begging for mercy!
Once my curls were back to a healthier state, I went back to deep conditioning weekly and using a protein treatment every 4 to 6 weeks.



Here are some simple tips I found helpful when I began my journey that can be applied to processed & non-processed hair.
  • Moisture, Moisture, Moisture! - Yes we've all heard it; but I'll say it again...Moisture! Once you're hair is properly moisturized, you'll see that all those gels, leave-ins & twisting cremes will work much better! "Well, isn't that the point of the leave-in's and stylers?" Yes, if you only want it to last for a day... Having the proper foundation before styling makes a huge difference in how long your style will last.
  • Deep Condition - It may seem like a minor step, but I personally noticed a distinct change in the longevity of my hairstyle the moment I began overnight deep conditioning. It gave my hair the extra moisture kick that I didn't know it so desperately needed. DCing underneath a hooded dryer, steamer or just with a shower cap are also great ways to get that extra moisture to your hair.
  • Don't Always Blame the Products - If you tried out a new product and absolutely hated it, don't be so quick to throw it out. Sometimes it could be the technique you used or simply the state of your hair at that time. I like to try out new products when my hair is properly cleansed and hydrated. It also helps to use the product as directed on the bottle (at least on the first try), from there you can tweak it however you deem necessary. If it still sucks... well... at least you tried!
  • Don't Completely Change Your Routine; Build on it - Look at what you are currently doing in your routine, decide what you like & dislike about your results. Is your hair still dry/brittle after styling? Too much frizz? Not enough definition? Does it lack that healthy sheen? Maybe it's just the overall shape of your hair after styling? (Changing how you section your hair during styling can make a difference when framing the face) Address what you are not completely happy with and find ways to enhance your results.
  • Have Realistic Expectations - No two heads are alike. If you have type 4B hair, it's not realistic to expect 3B results. But if you do see someone with a texture that is like yours, asking about their regimen/technique is never a bad idea. After browsing YouTube for a while, I came across 2 channels with naturals that have similar textures to my own. This made perfecting my routine a lot easier. Watching their videos gave me an idea of what kind of results I could expect from using certain products, as well as how to achieve optimal definition without the frizz. Once I figured out the basics, I was able to tweak their routine into something that was best suited for me.
  • Get to Know Your Hair Your hair will always be your hair so taking the time to understand what your hair likes & dislikes is crucial. For instance, my hair loves hair milks, cremes, products that contain Aloe Vera and it's not a fan of leave-in's that contain high levels of protein. How do I know this? Through trial and error.
  • Be Patient & Have Fun  - While most of us spend a good amount of time on our hair, it shouldn't become a burden. If you're having a bad hair day, it's OK. Try something different the next day. Remember, it's just hair :-)
Well! That's all for now
Smooches

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