Last week we shared some of the highlights from the Natural Hair Academy event that we attended recently in Paris. If you missed it you can catch it here. We learnt lots about natural hair and got plenty of insight and practical tips from the sessions and speakers. We’ve digested the key takeaways from the seminars in this post that we think are essential for maintenance of natural hair. This is a mishmash of hair care tips and advice from all of the speakers that we managed to see during the day (click here for more details on the speakers).
Natural hair does require a different approach to other hair styles, getting to the point of understanding what your hair needs is part of a learning curve and involves a lot of experimentation. Hopefully these tips will go a little way towards getting to know your hair and its needs better.
Know your hair!
First things first, know your hair! By that we mean don’t compare your hair to others and embrace your curls exactly as they are. Your hair is unique and different from everyone else’s, so by knowing your hair, you will also know how to best look after it and what kind of products to use. This will also help you to set realistic “hair goals” and enjoy your hair journey to the fullest.
What is my hair type?
Do you know your hair type? If not, it’s time to find out! By knowing your hair and what your hair type is, you will be able to nurture it the best way possible. We both apply this approach often in our makeup and styling consultations. Knowing what you’re working with is absolute key to finding a suitable, customized and easy to maintain hair regimen.
There are several ways of getting to know more about your hair type, you can use a hair chart which includes all types of curly hair with four different category’s going from 1 to 4 (hair needs to be wet to best match your hair to the curl patterns).
You can do a simple DIY hair porosity test to determine how your hair holds on to moisture (high, medium, low porosity). You basically take a few strands of your hair and put it in a cup of water, leave it for 2-4 minutes. If your hair floats to the top you have low hair porosity and if it sinks all the way to the bottom you hair has high porosity, for more details on this click here.
You can also dig a little deeper and conduct a little science experiment to determine your hair product’s pH levels. The pH scale goes from 0-14 (acidic-alkaline), pure water being 7 (natural). Generally speaking, you should try to use products that are slightly acidic and lies within the hairs natural range, which is between 4.5 – 5.5. Natural products are always the best choice when it comes to your hair care regimen so make sure you read the labels on the products! Remember, a healthy and clean scalp is the key to hair growth.
Bye bye product junkie!
Most of us have been here, buying one product after the other because a friend said that it was “great” or because we see celebrities endorsing certain products or better yet we fall for punchy marketing lines that promise us “fantastic hair” and unrealistic results. We’ve both ended up disappointed with a lot of products that didn’t live up to the hype, products that we ended up giving away or (sadly) ended up throwing in the bin.
The reality is that a lot of these products could be phenomenal, but maybe just not for your hair type! The good news is that once you establish what kind of hair you have you can make much more informed choices about what type of products will work best for your hair, take your time with it and do your research. Your hair and wallet will thank you later!
Co-Washing/Washing your hair
Black hair is naturally quite dry; the simplest explanation is because it curls. The curls basically hinder your scalps natural oils from reaching the ends of your hair. Your hair therefore needs help with adding moisture. This is also the reason why co-washing is highly recommended for naturals.
However, in between co-washing you need to cleanse your hair and scalp thoroughly with shampoo once every third time to get rid of the product build-up. Keeping the scalp clean is essential for hair growth. If you feel that a shampoo is too harsh, you can look at sulfate free options, dilute your shampoo with some water or invest in a gentle cleansing conditioner to retain more moisture.
What better way to treat your hair than with natural organic products? As you know, your hair is very dry and needs a little push to stay healthy. Enlisting the help from natural oils can be very helpful in maintaining healthy hair. Some of the best oils out there for your hair are Argan, Coconut, Jojoba, Castor and Macadamia oil. Natural oils are very multifunctional and can be used in different ways; hot oil treatments, mix it into your deep conditioner, seal your hair with it or rub it into your scalp to moisturize it. The versatility of natural oils makes it a great cost efficient option to include in your hair care regimen. We also use some of the natural oils and butters (coconut and shea) as face and body moisturizers.
In Part 2 of Know Your Hair we continue talking about natural hair, specifically, hydration, moisture and protective styling – stay tuned!
Hanna and Ruthie