Curls, body, bounce and a head full of #BlackGirlMagic, there’s few things more delightful than embracing our hair in its truest form. But as awesome as rocking our natural hair is, without a fail proof hair routine and proper upkeep, the road to full, healthy tresses can be tangled and full of dead ends.
So to help you continue your natural hair journey with slayage and less breakage, we chatted with natural hair expert and Philly-based stylist Rimmy Sparkles on the do’s and don’ts of natural hair care. Read up. Your curls will thank us.
1. Untrimmed ends
Think of your hair as your front lawn. Every couple of weeks it calls for a cut. Get in the habit of having a professional stylist trim your ends every 6 – 8 weeks. Not only will this get rid of split ends so your hair can grow quicker and stronger, trimming also eliminates hair weakened by heat damage.
“A lot of women are scared at the thought of cutting hair they’ve spent months and years growing out,” Sparkles said. “But remember, damaged ends will never give you the full curls and healthy hair you want.”
2. Co-washing regularly
Short for “conditioner washing,” or cleansing your hair with conditioner, many naturals swear by co-washing. Created as a way to retain your hair’s natural oils and based on the belief that all conditioners include a small amount of gentle cleansers thereby eliminating the need for shampoo, co-washing is often seen as the solution to dry, damaged hair. But naturals beware.
Sparkles cautions that co-washing your hair weekly or bi-weekly can actually do more harm than good to your tresses, particularly if you have oily hair or suffer from a scalp condition like dermatitis. “Think about it. You’re putting product over product,” she said. “Co-washing does not allow you to ever fully cleanse your hair. It’s fine in moderation but don’t make this your primary hair care routine.”
3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
There’s nothing cute about your hair having the same crunch sound as a bag of potato chips. If you’ve been skipping the deep conditioning portion of your wash, it’s time to add this step back to your hair regimen. When selecting a conditioner, use products that specifically state “deep conditioner” or “conditioning masque” on the bottle. Sparkles suggests also establishing a pre-washing routine with natural ingredients such as avocado or coconut oil to lock-in moisture.
Also, don’t forget, healthy hair begins with a healthy diet so make sure to up your water intake while also limiting your consumption of greasy foods.
4. Overworking your curls
While ‘fros without work can be detrimental to your curls, be careful not to over manipulate your hair. “The keyword is ‘natural’,” Sparkles said. “You’re wearing your hair in its natural state so there’s no need to twist it, color it, straighten it, manipulate it or put product in it everyday. Most days it’s perfectly okay to wake up, fluff and go.”
As an alternative to daily twist outs, protective styles such as braids and sew-ins are a great way to give your hair, and you, a well-deserved break.
5. Trusting the “experts” and not the experts
“Find somebody who not only knows natural hair but knows your hair,” Sparkles said. YouTube is great but make sure to check your vlogger’s receipts before you take their words to heart…and hair. While seeing a stylist regularly isn’t a must, Sparkles recommends routine trips to a hair professional for trims and color.
6. Hair envy
Hair envy is real guys. While YouTube and tutorials are a great resource for hair tips and style ideas, too much lusting over someone else’s curls can slowly chip away at your confidence. Your curls are your curls and that makes them awesome. Period.