HAPPY People! How do you do?
No lye 😉 I had no idea I’d be writing about natural hair. I LOVE that it came up and I’m super happy to share with everyone what works for me. In my last post I discussed my frustration with the lack of knowledge and acceptance on the African continent when it comes to black natural hair. I got quite a response from this rant and people seemed to not only be interested in this curly hair phenomenon, but are in rather need of some help on how to better take care of their coils. So here I am, aiming to add value especially to my fellow (South) Africans and others abroad.
Where I believe you’ll need clarity, I’ve linked you (red text) to multiple sources so be sure to check those out too!
DISCLAIMER: I’m no expert. My advise is based on how I personally take care of my hair. I believe it will mostly apply to chikas and brothas with 4c curl/coil pattern type hair or similar. FYI “4C” is the tightest coil pattern on the spectrum, and tends to be the most delicate. My friends and I are even starting to believe there is a 4D category, as our coil pattern looks and feels tighter than that of ladies you see on YouTube with a 4C tag. I’m sure there’s some sistas who agree…
I’ve had natural hair for 10 years. Just like YOU will in the future, I’ve established what works and what doesn’t, as well as a set routine that I stick to because my hair told me, well showed me, it loves it. I’m not a product junkie, I moved past that phase so you won’t be seeing “product this” “product that”. I think this will be quite refreshing because people seem to think the fate of their hair depends on something (and multiples thereof) in the drug store cosmetic isle. After some time, you notice that there isn’t a big difference between those products. The products I mention in this post are those I recommend, you may find products listed in some of the links I provided however I am more so directing you to the information, NOT the products. Consumerism in the hair world can be quite overwhelming and I think together with my recent practice of living a minimalistic life, it has led me to quite a simple, working routine. I suggest the same for you.
Be mindful, even though we may have the same hair type it won’t necessarily mean our hair is exactly the same. There are other factors like hair density (high, medium, low), hair porosity (the degree and duration at which your hair strands absorb moisture and keep it locked in) and hair texture (fine, normal, course). Go on and check the links to learn more about your strands. I have high density, low/medium porosity, and course textured hair. Overall, healthy is healthy right? A lot of what follows applies to many other kinky curly patterns.
- COCONUT OIL
I LIVE ON COCONUT OIL YA’LL. Hair, face, body, errthang, all day, errday. There is a wealth of information online about its benefits. Some of the most important are its antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties that help to keep hair healthy. It is great for the hair and scalp when applied externally, as well as when ingested. It’s hydrating, helps repair damaged hair and promotes hair growth.
- It’s GREAT at retaining moisture! It penetrates and conditions the hair from within. Our hair loooooves moisture. Can’t emphasize that enough. When well moisturized, my hair feels amazingly soft with the added benefit of a beautiful shine. It’s not greasy, apply it right after a wash or on damp hair and it will seal in that moisture.
- It’s awesome for styling. The oil is light yet solidifies in lower temps, I find that it gives amazing hold to my styles. I’ve tried shea butter but my hair doesn’t like it. It just won’t absorb it and stays on the strands. Let me know if you guys have tried it and how you used it! A lot of people swear by it but nope, this 4D hair of mine ain’t about it. All in all, my hair easily survives on coconut oil as it’s only moisturizer apart from water. I apply about 3 pea size bits to my hair daily to give the strands LYFFEE!!! The amount you use will depend on your hair density.
- OLIVE OIL
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) – straight from the food isle is awesome. It’s also 100% natural and way better than ‘olive oil’ tagged products that come with a long list of ingredients you can’t even pronounce. The point is to minimize these possible toxins as much we can ya dig? EVOO is great for the scalp and the hair. It’s very moisturizing and also helps promote growth and combat dandruff. It adds body, shine and softness to your hair.
- Always remember, healthy scalp, healthy hair. I tend to see people spraying their hair with all kindsa stuff and forgetting completely that they got to pay attention to the roots, just as you would water your plant. So take 10min out every so often to feed those roots a lil EVOO.
- It helps with the frizz. If you apply it to your ends, it will tame and prevent dry split ends which reduce that frizzy look. It’s a great alternative to coconut oil when you don’t have any. In fact, I recommend you create your own mix that has both oils.
- (DEEP) CONDITIONER
- Using conditioner on your hair is a must. I use it every wash day. My wash days are every 1 – 1.5 weeks – that’s how long I keep my styles for. Shampoo is great, it strips off all the dirt out of your hair and gets it nice and squeeky clean. BUT it also strips out the oils – both natural and cosmetic. So conditioner gives me back that moisture and leaves my hair feeling soft and replenished after a wash. I leave it on for about 10min after the wash. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon these and how I made the choice exactly but I used Hello Hydration by Herbal Essences before I had color in my hair. Now I’m on the Color Me Happy conditioner. TreSemme and The Body Shop’s Rainforest Moisture conditioners are also good options.
- Now onto deep conditioning. There is a difference. Please check out this thorough explanation of the benefits of deep conditioning. It’s something I do once a month. The aim is to intensely moisturize the hair and repair any damage. The best way is to make a homemade deep conditioner which could have blended power foods such as avocado, honey, banana, oils etc. On my lazy days, yes, we all have those…I use the ORS hair mayonnaise. I keep it in for 1-2hrs depending on the amount of time I have. Put on a shower cap and go on with cleaning or cooking or a movie.
- Cowash is a term they created which means washing with conditioner only. Every second washday, I use my normal conditioner to wash my hair – in place for shampoo so as to not strip out all the moisture each time. This is best for dryer hair. The conditioner still cleans your hair well.
- YOUR LOOK
- I think it’s important to establish one or two main looks that you want to rock, and perfect them. That way you can be sure that you SLAY, EACH & EVERY time. One of the complaints naturalistas have is the uncertainty of how you will look the next day (natural hair can sometimes have a life of its own). Well, I say learn and find out what X style looks like on day 1, 2, 3 and onwards. It’s simple. I’m now rocking a tapered perm-rod set that never disappoints. Took some trial and error but now we smoooooth sailin’! heheh Every now and then you can try out something else, but this is my advice. Find a natural hair YouTuber that has your hair type, subscribe, follow them, learn how they get it right. My current style inspo is Ask Proy.
- Minimize, minimize, minimize, protect, protect, protect.
- It’s okay to straighten your hair every once in a while but when you do, you gotta make sure you do it right. Heat can damage our hair cuticles which causes breakage and therefore affects your hair health and eventually length. Sister Scientist explains it well and recommends what you can do or use to protect your hair. Coconut oil also protects from heat, but since I don’t do it much, I’m not sure up to what temperatures it can protect the strands from.
- I understand that 4C coils can clump up, tangle etc. quite easy, and that is why a lot of the sistas out there resort to stretching it out everyday or every other day with a blow dryer. Complete no no guys. I did this before I knew better and my hair broke so damn much. There are ways to stretch your hair without using heat. On wash day, you can put your hair in twists, bantu-knots, perm-rods, curl-rods, flexi-rods, african-threading and other methods to stretch it out.
- This down right breaks 4c hair. I do not comb my hair. During my 1-1.5 weeks of styled hair, there is zero combing involved. If you do this you will retain so much length. Ever seen how long dreadlocks get? That’s because our hair DOES grow, it just doesn’t like to be messed with much. Soooo I finger detangle (love the girl in this video) as much as possible, and where I give up I gently brush with a Denman paddle brush ONLY when the hair is WET and DRENCHED in conditioner for slip. This way it hardly breaks my hair. VERY IMPORTANT guys.
- WATER BASED PRODUCT (STYLING)
- The style won’t hold hunty. I think it has a lot to do with my hair porosity. If your hair absorbs moisture quickly, I don’t recommend using water-based products for styling or touch-ups. I mean there you are, you’ve spent hours on your twists, twist-out or rod-set, you feel like the hair needs moisture and so you go on and use a water-based hair product like a cream or gel. This will frizz up your hair and all your definition will be gooone baby gooone. So when styled, go for oils. This won’t mess with your hold and will allow you to keep your style for longer. P.S. If you do wash-and-go’s then that’s a different story.
- SILICONES, SULPHATES AND PARABENS
- So there is a lot of research out there about the above. The news is that they are bad, drying, damaging and dangerous. Try to avoid products that have them as much as you can. Check out this link as a start.
- This goes hand in hand with the no combing principle. Wear a silk or soft head wrap to bed to avoid friction and breakage. Don’t be touching on your hair aaaaall dayyyy loooong because you will add to the tangles. I know it feels aaaamazing and I too can’t resist to touch! 😀
Since this is more of a “WHAT” post and not too much of a “HOW” post, the latter is coming up. To make it easier for me, and more accurate for you 😉 I will note and record my steps as I go through my wash day routine. On wash days, I go on a date with my hair, just me and my lovely coils! I absolutely don’t mind these dates because a few hours gives me styling freedom (and SLAYYY rights) for a good 1.5 weeks. It’s really not that bad given the return on investment. Right?!
I really hope this was a good starting point. As always, hit me up in the comments for further questions or what you’d like me to elaborate on, or leave your email in the box below so you don’t miss the next post 😉