Going natural is a process of re-learning how to handle our hair. New practices can be tiring — even monotonous — to incorporate, but it’s important to develop good habits early on in the journey. Here are four essential hair practices that naturals sometimes get lazy about. Are you guilty of any of these?
Most naturals detangle, but not all take the time to do it right. Impatiently raking a comb through your hair is not detangling (unless you have a looser curl pattern and this does the trick.) Detangling involves separating strands and identifying & un-doing (or cutting out) knots and depending on how thick your hair is, this might take some time. If you aren’t crazy about detangling try protective styling for a few weeks at a time to delay the inevitable. But ultimately you’ll have to sit down with your fingers (or other hair tool of your choice) and give your tangled head the TLC it needs.
Doesn’t your hair feel great after you apply your leave-in conditioner of choice? It’s soft, smooth and supple. But it won’t stay that way for long if you don’t follow up with a heavy oil or butter. It’s tempting to overlook this step if you’re rushing out the door, or you find it messy. But small sacrifices must be made in the pursuit of supple hair. Without sealing moisture will quickly evaporate out of unsealed strands, leaving them dry and difficult to manage. If you don’t like sealing as an extra step try coconut oil. It’s one of the few oils that penetrates the strand, softening and sealing at the same time.
Sleeping with a Satin Bonnet/on a Satin Pillowcase
You know how it is; your satin bonnet slips off your head at night and gets lost beneath your bed. The elastic gets slack and you procrastinate on going to the store to get a new one. But sleeping on a cotton pillow in dry night air will, well, dry your hair out. Remember, your hair’s strength lies in its moisture, so retaining it has got to be a priority. Figure out whether you need a satin bonnet or if you can get away with just sleeping on a satin pillowcase then, make it a part of your nightly regimen.
Spritzing/Moisturizing On a Regular Basis
If there’s one thing all naturals have in common it’s that our hair craves moisture. And it’s important for us to be proactive — even strategic — in providing it. It can be tempting to go days without adding anything to your hair but, as mentioned before, hair’s strength is in its level of moisture. Spritzes are a great, easy way to keep hair moisturized, and you can purchase a pre-made spritz or make your own. Keep a bottle in your purse for emergencies and make a habit of testing your strands for their moisture level.
Keeping Track of “Best Practices”
The tenets of healthy natural haircare are very basic. But how you combine and apply them is unique to your hair. Does your hair like twists as a protective style? Or buns? Does it like to be kept up for 1 week? Or three days? Does it like products that are more liquid? Or products that are stiff/firm? It can be easy to go on haircare autopilot — even when your results are less than stellar. But if you want to get the most out of your hair, take the time to assess what is working and what isn’t. You’d be amazed at what you discover!
Are you guilty of being lazy about any of these hair practices? And do you consider them essential? Which hair practices do you get lazy about?