Healthy natural hair, like many things in life, comes at a price! You have to be mindful of what you put on your curls because things like heat, products with harmful ingredients, and chemicals can wreak havoc on your hair. One of the things that can be most frustrating is when you are doing all that you can to maintain your hair, but when it’s all said and done your hair just breaks off. This cycle of breakage convinces a lot of women that they are unable to grow long and healthy hair, and that only women with a certain hair type or texture can actually achieve waist length hair. This is of course not true, but it takes some type of ‘hair discipline’ to ensure that you’re providing everything that your curls require.
So is your hair breaking off or just overall unhealthy? Well there are a few things that could be the problem, and if you don’t have an internal condition that affects your hair (makes it dry, breaks it off, stunts your growth) then it is safe to say that you can control or reverse those effects by giving your hair a little T.L.C.
Here are my 8 tips that can help you to get healthy natural hair!
8 Tips to Get Your Natural Hair Healthy Again
- Assess your hair
Do you have split ends? Is your hair shedding excessively? Is your hair thinning? Is your hair dry? In order to prescribe a treatment for your curls you must have a diagnosis, and to get a diagnosis you must do an assessment. Take a look at your hair and find out what exactly is going on with it! When I do an assessment on my hair I first go to the mirror and take a good look at it to see if there is anything wrong (such as thin ends, vivid knots, etc). Then I put my hair into sections to assess how it feels (if it’s dry, too mushy, etc), and also to see if there are any single strands knots, split ends, tangles or any other damage (could be from heat damage, color damage, etc). This will help you to decide the best course of action to take.
2. Get a trim
Personally I think that one of the best cure for unhealthy hair is to remove all the damaged parts of the strands and start fresh. Nothing kills progress like holding on to the past, and in this case those dead and damaged ends. One factor that contributes to unhealthy hair is holding on to dead ends just because length is important to you. Yes most of us naturalistas hope to one day show off long and luxurious hair, but if it is unhealthy then what’s the point. One of my biggest advice to any woman who is on a natural hair journey is to focus on health and everything else will fall into place. If you do all that you can to keep your hair moisturized, keep your scalp clean, trim when needed, protective style, etc, then length is guaranteed.
Because there isn’t a set timeframe to trim natural hair, it is your responsibility to look at and feel if your hair needs a trim. If it feels dry and rough or looks frayed then it might be time to let those ends go.
Read this article for the signs that your hair needs a trim.
3. Find your porosity
Do you know your hair’s porosity? If you don’t then this could be one reason your hair is unhealthy. The porosity of your hair can tell you a lot of things such as what kind of products your hair will like and how to keep your hair moisturized. One of the common concerns that I have seen since I became natural is that many women have not found products that work for their curls. This might not solely be the reason for that, but knowing how well your hair absorbs and retain moisture is a good thing to know.
The best way to find your products is to of course experiment to find what works for you.
Find your porosity here.
4. Cleanse your hair and Deep Condition/Protein Treatment
Did you know that product build-up can prevent moisture from entering your hair? Yep it is important to cleanse at least once per week or more especially if you use a lot of products, oils, and butters. Product build-up can allow your hair to become dry, brittle, and start breaking off.
After assessing your hair and removing any damage from your curls the next step is to give your hair a proper cleanse to remove all build-up. After washing my hair I feel like it has been given a new chance to grow and flourish, and this is exactly what your hair needs. This will allow any treatment that you’ll be doing to fully penetrate the strands and start the healing process.
After you have given your strands a facelift then it’s time to add some moisture (deep condition once per week) or strength (protein treatment- as needed) back into your curls. The findings of your assessment determines which one you do. If your hair is too mushy then I would suggest a protein treatment, but if it’s super dry and brittle then moisture treatment is the way to go. It is still important to do a protein treatment every now and again even if you suffer from dry hair (every 4-6 weeks), but for right now while your hair is extremely dry I would suggest focusing on moisture for about 2-3 weeks. You can then assess from there and give your hair what it needs.
5. Reduce your heat usage
In an unhealthy state the hair strands are very fragile therefore it is not best to add heat to your hair. We all know what heat does, it saps the hair of moisture by destroying the hydrogen bonds in our curls causing severe weakening and breakage. Heat usage isn’t necessarily a bad thing if used responsibly (not often, indirect heat, and low heat settings), but if the hair is already in a weak state then it makes sense to lay off of it for a while.
6. Assess your product ingredients
Can you read the ingredients on your products? Do you know what those ingredients are? If you can’t even pronounce the ingredients in your products then why do you think it is good for your hair? There are many wonderful and natural products out there that you can use to maintain the health of your hair, but there are others that contain ingredients that aren’t necessarily beneficial to your strands.
While you’re nursing your hair back to health it might be in the best interest of your curls to bathe it in products that contain natural ingredients that will strengthen and heal it. Become a DIY’er if you must to add nourishment into your strands.
7. Drink Water and get plenty of vitamins and minerals
Healthy natural hair starts internally, so ladies stock up on your water, vegetables, fruits, and nuts to start the healing from within. This is the most important tip because products alone cannot do the job of restoring the health of the hair. Another option is to use natural supplementation to add to your daily intake of vitamins and minerals if you know that your diet is lacking.
8. Smile a while, and give your ‘HAIR ‘ a rest!
After you have done your assessments, cleanse and deep condition/protein treatment, and trim it is now time to give your hair a break to let it do its thing. Lay off the wigs, sew-ins, tight braids or twists, etc, and put your hair into loose twists or braids and let it be free to restore itself. Tension on the hair and scalp is a big factor in unhealthy hair and ultimately hair loss.
What do you think is the number one reason for unhealthy hair?
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