“I have to do what?”
“Wait, do I water, oil, then cream?
“Or water, cream, then oil?”
“I’m so confused!!!”
So this was me about 2 years ago when I first went natural and I was so excited about my journey to grow healthy hair. Then excitement turned into anxiety by not knowing how to take care of my natural hair and not knowing what styles I would be able to do with my Teeny Weeny Afro.
Then my anxiety turned into bewilderment when I began researching on what was “best” for my curls by watching YouTube videos, printing off helpful articles from websites, and asking or commenting on blogs for my own understanding.
I got so much conflicting advise from natural hair Facebook groups and from natural family members about what products would be best for my hair that I almost gave up.
Now I see that it was a just case of natural hair information overload. All I really wanted was a simple regimen to care for my hair and styles that would be cute on me.
Now, that Ive been natural for a number of years, I can say that I know exactly what to do for my hair and what styles work for me. But it had me thinking, “What about the newbie naturals today?” I am sure they feel the same way I did back then and I wanted to make an effort to give some tips that are simple enough to understand and implement. So from me to you, let’s hear it for some Natural Hair Hacks:
1. Wash and style your hair in sections
This makes sense right? Washing and styling your hair in sections will mean that you do not get overwhelmed with the process particularly if your hair is thick. You can cater to each section separately ensuring that all products are applied evenly and thoroughly.
Sectioning your hair will also keep it from getting tangled and matted. You can either twist each section loosely, use hair ties* or hair clips to keep your hair manageable to work with especially when washing.
2. Rinse your hair in cool water for shine
When you rinse with warm water, your hair cuticles stay open which can cause your hair to look frizzy. Cool water on the other hand closes the hair cuticles, trapping moisture inside the hair shaft and giving you lots of shiny hair free of frizz.
3. Refrigerate your leave-in conditioner
If you don’t like the idea of standing under cool water to rinse your hair after your wash, applying cold leave-in conditioner* after your final rinse will achieve the same thing by sealing the hair cuticles for increased shine.
4. Add oil to your conditioner for more slip
We all love conditioner, right? Of course we do! But sometimes the conditioner that you love does not have that slip you are looking for. Whether you are detangling, deep conditioning*, or adding in your leave-in, if the conditioner you have on hand is not giving you the slip you think your hair deserves, then just add a few drops of oil to increase slip and ease detangling.
5. Use a dark colored pencil on thinning edges
When you first start out with a TWA, to begin with you may not be sure how to style your hair…so you may get braids, sew-ins, and other long term styles in hopes that your hair will grow. But depending on how they are installed, long term styles can also wreak havoc on your edges. If you are already at this unfortunate stage then first of all, you need to switch to healthier hair habits to help restore your edges.
In the meantime though, here’s a hack that will allow you to wear your natural hair without anyone being any the wiser about your thinning edges. After styling just use the dark colored eyeliner pencil to draw lines in the direction in which your hair is styled. Once you have established the full look use a hairspray to hold everything in place for the day.
6. Use a T-shirt to dry your hair
Do you complain about getting frizzy hair after drying with a towel? Well, stop using one! Drying your hair with a towel can be pretty damaging for curly hair and can cause frizz and breakage. Use your old t-shirt to dry your hair instead. A t-shirt is softer and surprisingly effective for drying hair.
7. Use a headband for a ponytail holder
As your natural hair becomes longer, it also gets thicker and it be may become too much to secure your puff with a hair normal tie. Instead you can use elasticated headbands* for a secure hold (even on TWA).
Wrap the headband two or three times around your puff to create the look. You will be surprised by how effective this is.
8. Band your braids or twists for a more stretched style
Shrinkage is great… SOMETIMES. But you don’t always want your shoulder length hair to shrink to ear length every time you style your hair.
If you don’t exactly enjoy shrinkage and want to show off your length more, here is a hack for you. Braid or twist your hair right after your wash and let it air dry to just damp. Go ahead and apply your leave in conditioner* and band your hair with multiple hair ties* along the length of your hair allowing it to dry fully. This process will leave your hair in a stretched state, similar to a blow out.
When you proceed to style your stretched hair into a twist out or braid out, your hair will show off its length much better.
9. Overlap your bobby pins for a secure hold
We all know that bobby pins* tend to move throughout the day no matter how or where we place them. To combat this, style your hair the way you want, then apply your bobby pin to set the style. Add a second bobby pin over the top of the first on to make either a “T” or and “X” shape. This will give you a more secure hold and those babies will not move!
10. Refresh an old twist out without re-twisting your whole head
After a few days you will notice that your once “BOMB” twist out has started to lose definition and looks frizzy, and not in a good way. A quick way to remedy this overnight without re-twisting all your hair is by re-twisting just the front perimeter and parting area of your style. Even better, use a styling product to create flat twists or cornrows along the front edges plus the parting section of your hair. In the morning, release the twists or braids and your hair will look good as new!
So there you have it! A few simple tips to help you all along with your healthy hair journey. I know I wish I had known some of these tips when I was a newbie. But hey, better late than never right?