Natural Hair Care Crash Course
The hair you have today likely isn’t the same hair you had when you were younger. Heat, processes like perms and coloring, your environment, and hormonal shifts can change the texture of your hair and can even affect how it grows.
Natural hair care helps you regain total hair health by eliminating harsh ingredients and helping you get that hair as healthy as possible. Want those gorgeous ringlets back? Read on.
What is the natural hair movement?
The natural hair movement encourages people to wear their hair as it naturally grows, without chemical process, coloring, or heat to manipulate the hair into a texture or color that it isn’t.
If you have naturally wavy hair, the natural hair movement helps you learn how to style and protect your waves so that your hair remains wavy and healthy. If you have curls that are kinky and prone to frizz, the natural hair movement philosophy teaches you to embrace the kinks, and learn how to properly condition your hair so it’s nourished and hydrated in its naturally curly glory.
Is natural hair the same as chemical-free hair?
Yes and no. Natural hair normally avoids the use of all hair color-altering products, clean and chemical-free alike. Natural hair also avoids the use of heat (like dryers and flat irons).
Chemical-free hair avoids the use of chemicals to change or alter the style or color of your hair. Chemical-free hair may still use natural dyes and heat to achieve certain styles.
Where do I start my natural hair care journey?
Natural hair care starts by stripping your hair of the decades of chemical buildup from the products you’ve been using. You’ll want to switch to natural, chemical-free hair care products as soon as you can, and if your hair has been processed or colored, let it grow out.
Some people like to kick off their natural hair journey with something called “the big chop,” which is exactly what it sounds like—cutting off any hair that’s been treated or damaged so that you can start fresh.
Understand your hair type
There are four different types of hair:
Under the wavy, curly, and coily categories, different subcategories define your hair by the intensity of your particular hair type.
For example, if you have type 2 wavy hair, your hair will be either 2a, 2b, or 2c. Type 2a hair has looser waves, while type 2c has tighter waves, which borders on curls. The same scale applies to the other hair types.
Keep a journal
Embracing your natural hair is similar to dieting—it’s a journey, and it takes time. Keeping a journal and taking progress pictures can help you stay motivated.
Drink plenty of water
Drinking plenty of water is an essential part of a natural hair journey. Keeping your hair hydrated helps to prevent hair loss by keeping your hair from getting too dry, brittle, or susceptible to breakage.
Limit heat styling
Repeat after us: You don’t have to straighten your hair to look polished. Heat styling tools damage your hair, cause the hair to dry out, and can even cause hair loss. While you might like the way it looks, no heat styling tools actually benefit the health of your hair, no matter how many followers that Instagram influencer has.
Stress can cause major hormonal shifts that can lead to hair loss and changes in hair texture. If you’ve ever heard a new mother complain of thinning hair or hair that doesn’t feel the same as it did before the baby, stress and hormones are to blame.
Wear protective styles
Protective hairstyles can keep hair strands strong and sturdy while you get your hair as healthy as possible. Braids, cornrows, and twist-outs are all perfect ways to protect hair so they don’t break or split.
You can protect your hair while you sleep as part of your hair routine, too. Consider wearing a satin bonnet or scarf over your hair while you sleep to maintain your curl pattern, even as you toss and turn.
How can I prevent breakage?
Hair breakage can be frustrating, and sometimes it seems that no matter what you do, your hair consistently breaks once it reaches a certain length. You can protect your hair from breakage with these tips.
Trim your hair regularly
It seems counterproductive, but trimming your hair regularly helps you avoid split ends. A good rule of thumb is seeing your stylist every three months. Besides, are you really going to argue a day at the salon?
Don’t wear tight hairstyles
The more tightly you pull your hair, the more strain you place on the root. That strain can cause your hair to break and can even lead to traction alopecia, which is a type of physical damage caused to the hair follicle attributed to that tight pulling.
Instead, opt for looser styles or wear hair coverings.
The same goes for roughly brushing your hair. Gently work through knots and tangles with a wide-tooth comb to keep it gentle, and consider investing in a detangling brush.
Stay away from harsh chemicals
Natural hair care avoids chemical relaxers or really any hair “care” products that can damage your hair. You’ll want to avoid processes as well as shampoos, conditioners, rinses, and leave-in treatments that contain harmful chemical ingredients.
Don’t use hot appliances
Put down the hairdryer and learn to love your damp hair. Embrace your waves, coils, and curls. Avoiding hot styling tools is one of the key pieces of the natural hair puzzle. Since you are no longer trying to manipulate your hair into something it isn’t, you shouldn’t need the hot tools anyhow.
Do I need hair supplements or vitamins?
You don’t necessarily have to take supplements or vitamins unless you’re deficient, but if you want to give your hair all the extra support you can, consider using a daily multivitamin or taking a biotin supplement. Biotin is a vitamin known for its ability to support hair, skin, and nail health, so you’ll find it in a lot of women’s beauty supplements.
How often should I wash and condition my hair?
You should probably sit down for this: You should only wash your hair once every two weeks, not every single time you shower. Washing your hair too often can strip it of moisture and natural oils vital for natural hair.
Between washes, you can condition as often as you want. You can also co-wash your hair, a method of washing with conditioner only.
How do I choose the right products?
Trust the clean, cruelty-free beauty experts right here at Kinder Beauty (obvs). Our team recommends you search for natural hair products carefully and pay attention to how your hair responds to each one.
- Find gentle products. Cut out chemicals, parabens, and toxins, and aim to go sulfate-free.
- Consider pH-balancing. Both your scalp and hair follicles have a specific pH balance that affects the health of your hair. Look for products that work to protect your pH balance and maintain a healthy scalp.
- Take your hair type into account. If you have type 4c hair, a conditioner designed for type 2a hair will likely be too light. You might need to massage in a deep conditioning product to better seal in moisture. Shop for products based on hair type for better results.
- Document your hair’s reaction to new products. Make use of that hair journal! Document your hair’s reaction to each new product and make notes of any changes.
Our Fave Natural Hair Care Brands
When it comes to natural hair care, we’re pretty picky. Not only do we insist on natural, chemical-free ingredients, they have to be cruelty-free and vegan, too.
Here are some of the brands we love.
- Moérie Beauty. Formulated with a blend of amino acids and nutrients, Moérie Beauty focuses on healthy hair growth with organic, natural ingredients like essential oils and plant extracts.
- Oh My Garden. Plant-based, sustainable hair care that deeply hydrates, Oh My Garden’s shampoo and conditioning bars are formulated to help keep your hair’s pH balance in an ideal range. Ingredients like mango butter work with your hair and leave it smelling great.
- Franklin & Whitman. Natural hair serums that help keep your hair conditioned, shiny, and smooth. Ingredients like aloe vera and avocado make their products especially helpful between hair washes.
- Vegamour. Vegamour products are scientifically researched and clinically proven to encourage hair growth while improving hair’s overall texture with natural, chemical-free ingredients.
- Derma E. Derma E offers a variety of shampoos and conditioners for every hair type and concern, all wrapped up in cruelty-free, vegan formulas.
- Alaffia. Natural hair care with purpose. Alaffia sources their ingredients through fair trade practices that give back to local farmers who produce crops responsibly.
- Andalou Naturals. Featuring a wide selection of biotin-rich hair care products, Andalou Naturals replenishes hair health and appearance, naturally.
- Alba Botanica. Plant botanicals ensure these products keep natural hair healthy, hydrated, and protected. You can even select your product based on your specific hair concern.
Set your curls free to live their best lives
Natural hair is a journey, but learning to embrace your waves, curls, or coils can be life-changing. Be patient, and keep The Kinder Beauty Blog close for answers to all your questions and concerns.
If you’re not a Kinder Beauty Box subscriber, you should be. It’s the best way to try the most effective, natural, cruelty-free haircare products! Get started with your Kinder Beauty Box here.
Sources:Traction Alopecia | Alopecia Symptoms and Treatment | Skin of Color Society.org