Whether you have loose or tight curls, I’m sure it can be a bit difficult to cultivate a good routine to keep your hair healthy. Everyone’s hair routine is unique to them. Just because one product works for someone doesn’t mean it will work for you. There are different hair types ranging from 1a to 4c, each with specific requirements. Learning to take care of your hair requires patience and flexibility. I’ve created this list to teach my curly-headed people how to maintain their hair by providing products and techniques that will make the journey easier. Speaking from experience, it will probably be tedious yet worthwhile.
1. Find good products
Before attempting to maintain healthy hair, you have to bring your hair to health. While there are many steps to this, a good place to start is developing a collection of healthy products. It is very important to note: NOT ALL PRODUCTS WORK FOR EVERYONE!
I noticed a big shift in my hair once I started checking the products that I put in my hair. Begin by reading labels and staying away from bottles that include sulfate and parabens. These chemicals can cause irreparable damage. I used to wash my hair with any shampoo and conditioner that my mom bought, neglecting to remember we have drastically different hair types. Using a brush, I would ferociously detangle it, usually ripping out a lot of hair. My hair consists of tight curls while hers are very loose. What works for her might not work for me. Once I started to do research on products that would benefit me, I saw a major difference. So, always make sure to read labels and ingredients to prevent using products with unhealthy chemicals.
Some products I recommend: anything by Aunt Jackie’s, Mielle Organics Coil Curling Custard, Africa’s Best Ultimate Herbal Oil, wide-tooth comb, silk scrunchies, and/or fabric-covered hair ties.
2. Get a silk bonnet or pillowcase
A bonnet is a protective cap that prevents your hair from frizzing up and draining moisture. They are also a great way to add longevity to a hairstyle. The silk material in both this and pillowcases are a perfect way to keep healthy hair, healthy
This item is a godsend. I got one last year and it really changed my life. Before I got one, I would wrap my hair with a random T-shirt and find it halfway across my bed in the morning. My bonnet keeps my hair safe from my movement at night and the smooth interior allows my hair to move sleekly under it and breathe. It also prevents breakage which is a major hardship for curly hair.
3. Refrain from using large amounts of heat
Heat is a very troublesome thing for hair. It can cause damage to curls in a way that can permanently injure the strands of hair. I speak from experience, because I had heat damage from a young age. I would always ask my mom to straighten my hair considering neither of us knew how to work with its natural form. Eventually, my hair became strained. The pieces would remain bone straight even after washing and shampooing. It has been something I have regretted since then. I’ve now gotten rid of the damaged hair thanks to many haircuts and years of growth.
Even hot water can damage your hair. The temperature dries the essential oils in your scalp, causing it to become itchy. It also prevents moisture from staying in your hair making it frizzy Overall, large amounts of heat being continuously put in our hair are not healthy.
4. Don’t wash your hair too often
Hear me out! Of course, I’m not saying to never wash your hair. However, I do suggest sticking to a schedule, preferably weekly. Our hair creates natural oils that help keep our hair healthy. Washing our hair too often gets rid of these oils, which makes your hair very dry and frizzy. Dry hair is a major factor in breakage (the damaged splitting and snapping of hair). Generally, experiment and figure out a good routine that works for you!
Many people report good results when washing their hair every few days, while others see the best results after washing every week or so. Essentially, the schedule is specific to each person and you should not be pressured into a certain corner. Just remember that your hair needs some moisture to function correctly. Non-consecutive washes are a good way to keep a healthy intake.
5. Try less damaging hairstyles
I am an avid participant in wearing buns and ponytails. To be honest, I wear them much more than I should. Why? High-tension hairstyles like ponytails can be very harmful to hair. The hair ties are very good at pulling out hair, especially when put too tight. The tight hairstyles also lead to a familiar thing: breakage! They cause a lot of pressure on the roots of our hair and can even pull some out.
Some low-tension hairstyles I like:
- Loose braids
- Wash n Go
- Loose puff
As I enter new chapters in my life I’ve seen my hair journey grow with me. From hating my hair to learning to nourish it, I’ve learned to have patience and to be self-aware. Not everyone has the same definition of good hair. For many, it is voluminous curls or defined curls, and for others, it is simply healthy hair regardless of its looks. In learning to take care of my care, I’ve also learned to take care of myself and my mindset. I believe my hair is a part of my identity and I should honor it by caring for it.