So you’ve been natural for a few years and you think you’ve got things under control, right? Well, that may ring true for some folks; but other naturalistas may still be struggling with hair care practices only to discover their frustrations have increased ten-fold.
Here are 5 things you can do when you’re frustrated beyond reason:
1. Necessary changes
Natural hair is constantly evolving and this means we have to adapt and evolve with our hair. Our hair changes along with the seasons so be prepared to do a little product rotation.
What worked for you during winter months may not cut it during the spring. That heavy leave-in or butter you used during Old Man Winter’s reign now weighs your hair down. Opt for switching to lighter leave-in conditioners and butters*, or even oils*.
What worked for your hair two months ago may not work for it now. This is me in a nutshell. I notice I can’t use the same leave-in conditioner* for over a month.
I know, Violet (my hair) is a diva, and because of this I rotate between several leave-in conditioners. This epiphany took a long time to happen and because I rotate my products, my hair seems to be much happier.
During the spring and summer months, using a light leave-in conditioner* and a moisturizer or gel works great for me. Which leads me to my next practice.
2. Pay attention to your hair
Document your natural hair journey by taking pictures, blogging, or keeping an old fashioned journal handy. Write down dates, oils, butters, and commercial products you’ve used. Are you using a leave-in faithfully? What about deep conditioning* and steaming every week?
Sometimes you need to slow down, take a deep breath and assess the situation. Is your hair not holding a style, even after you’ve spent some time twisting it the night before?
Your hair was on point days ago; what gives now? You may need to hit the reset button. What’s that, you say? I call a simple rinse, co-wash, or shampoo a reset button.
Sometimes your hair may require a wash every 4-5 days. For me, this keeps Violet on point. I can go a week, even two weeks in between washes, but ol’ Vi just isn’t herself when I do that.
If you’re used to doing the LOC or LCO method, you may have a little product build up going on. Leave-ins, oils*, moisturizers, gels, and/or butters* can often lead to buildup, depending on how often you cleanse your hair.
Have you been co-washing more than shampooing? Well, you just may need a good clarifying shampoo* or clay wash to lift the stubborn residue from the items you use.
Be proactive and slip a shampoo day in your routine once or twice a month. If you’re a product junkie from hell and you want to try something different, you need to make sure you wash the last product out of your hair before trying a new one.
In the past, I’ve been guilty of using a product for several days and in my haste for trying out a new product, I didn’t wash the old out of my hair. You get better results with freshly washed hair when experimenting with new products.
Be sure to give the products a chance to work. You’ll never find what works and what doesn’t work if you’re skipping off to a new product every few weeks.