I’ve been asked a lot lately about how to get started on this natural hair journey…or just good tips to maintain course. I actually responded last night to a family member who had the same question and I thought I’d publish this for all of you who need a start-up/maintenance guide.
I’ll publish these tips over the next few days in three installments to get you started on your journey!!!
1) Start with a really good trim, which you already did. And if possible, I’m hopeful that someone in Hinesville or Savannah does natural hair. It wouldn’t hurt to talk with a stylist about your hair and growing it out. But, if not, you can do some things yourself to give it the best shot at growing. I do my own hair and wouldn’t have it any other way. I read somewhere that it may take about 6 months for your natural hair to emerge and really know what you’re working with… hopefully not that long, but… give it a little time on this journey. 2) Monitor and really baby your hair, adding natural oils daily, like olive, sweet almond oil or jojoba oil. Massage into scalp and apply a small amount to hair to give it super conditioning. Investigate using shea butter too…it’s heavy, but it’s an excellent conditioner. I’d say for your hair, use a very small amount. I just did an article on it a few days ago…www.myownhair.wordpress.com. 3) Conditioner wash (co-wash) your hair three times a month and shampoo your hair once a month. I normally do hair on Saturdays, but do what works best for you. ( To co-wash, I use VO5 or Suave conditioner just like you would shampoo. Put conditioner on your hair, massaging and cleaning your scalp really good, then rinse. I normally do this twice. For instance, I will conditioner wash my hair this Saturday and next Saturday, then after that, I will use Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk shampoo and conditioner. And whether I co-wash or shampoo, I always use olive oil and shea butter as leave in conditioners. Infact Tena, I ALSO use a mixture of shea butter and olive oil (or castor oil) and sit under the dryer for 15 minutes BEFORE I co-wash or shampoo, too. Here’s a breakdown. a)Deep condition with olive oil/shea butter mix for 15 minutes under hooded dryer BEFORE you shampoo; you can also try a Hair Smoothie from Carol’s Daughter… she has Tui or Black Vanilla hair smoothies which are nice b) Co-wash or shampoo hair according to above instructions c) Use leave-in conditioner after shampooing, such as an olive oil/shea butter mixture (I take olive oil in one hand and shea butter — which can be solid like shortening — in the next and rub them together to create a nice oil, then apply to hair). Carol’s Daughter also has a good leave-in conditioner spray…in Tui or Black Vanilla. They smell nice and condition hair nice too! Hair Milk is another conditioner from Carol’s Daughter that may work for you… If you want to know more about shea butter, I did a story on it recently on my blog too. 4)Look at being overall more healthy as a lifestyle. Add your vitamins, biotin, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and B-complex. Drink plenty of water. This will help your body aid your hair in its growth and tender new natural state. 5) Keep reading on Youtube for styles and routines…try the ones that make sense to you. If it’s questionable, do research or just reach out and ask me or other natural divas. I would even see ladies at work or on the street and reach out and ask what they did to get a style if I saw something I liked. Hey, did what I had to do! 6)Join support groups or blogs for support. Curlynikki.com is another great Web site… and I’m part of a group called Natural Daze. You can join if you’d like and post questions and it opens you up to wisdom from lots of women who are natural or who have similar styling issues. 7) Buy good product lines include…Miss Jessie’s, Kinky Curly, and Carol’s Daughter and Hair Rules is another good one. I like Carol’s Daughter personally, but she may not work for you. But…you may do good with Miss Jessie’s. Go to their site…they have a really wavy/curly grade of hair like you. 8)Take a day to experiment using products and styles. Last year, I committed to Saturday’s for about two months, trying different styling routines and products. Don’t invest in too many, but get a couple of good products and use for a couple of days or weeks at a time to see how it works for you. If it doesn’t work, I think you’ll know quickly. But I also know that products that didn’t work last year, some work good now. So it depends on your hair and what season it’s in, too. Remember, sulfate-free shampoos are what you’re looking for because these won’t dry your hair. Those product lines I recommended above are really good, but there are others. Just do some research on the internet. 9) While you’re doing all this, I’m not opposed to a quick weave or wig in the interim. This will give your natural hair a rest period and you can braid it or do something low maintenance to give it a chance to catch up and begin growing back healthy. 10) Read a good book… I read “Thank God I’m Natural” by Chris Tia Donaldson 11) Pray throughout…only God can help you see the beauty that’s He’s naturally given you. That’s what I had to do. I went through a period of almost self-hatred ’cause I thought I had bad hair. No more of that today, but it was a process. Really, in the end, you’ll see this is about so much more than hair. 12) Be encouraged on the journey, you are doing the right thing. And thank God for your husband — he just wants you to know he loves and supports you. I know it’s tough right now, but it gets better. You’ll look back and be soooo thankful you did this. My boyfriend is extremely supportive of me with my natural hair… but that is because I accepted it first. So girl, do you. You are an original and can’t nobody else do you, like you can. I copied myself on this…’cause I’m going to write a story on this coming up soon on my blog. I will post these tips again. And actually you helped me jump start this. A lot of people have been asking about this lately…so I need to do a story on it. Thanks, love you and pray it helps you on your journey. Happy Trails to you beautiful!!! Glad to re-connect:)