3 Things You Must Do To Keep Your Natural Hair Healthy

If you're patient and have an open mind and willingness to change your styling, maintenance, and purchasing habits, having natural hair can actually be pretty easy. No more buying products solely based on price and packaging with expectations of getting it right the first time. Whether you have virgin or chemically processed hair, if you are interested in taking a more invested approach to your hair care, here are the three things that you will inevitably have to do.

Ask Questions
Before the natural hair movement, I never read the ingredient labels or considered looking for product reviews other than through word of mouth. Unless my mother was buying salon products from our beautician for at-home use, I was purchasing products at the beauty-supply store solely based on packaging aesthetic and marketing copy like "grow," "long," and "thick." Don’t continue that cycle, especially with so many brands trying to capitalize on this lucrative market. If you have access to the internet, use it. Search for product reviews on YouTube and read about ingredients. No, you don’t have to become a chemist to have healthy hair, but being knowledgeable will prevent you from continuously buying $30 bottles of oil that are chock-full of synthetic ingredients with a few drops of extracts.

Try Things Out
No one can guarantee that you'll find the products that meet your hair-care needs and personal wants after your first, second, or even 10th product purchase. I always read and watch numerous reviews from women with my hair type (i.e. low-porosity, type 4a) before purchasing a new product, and I have had about a 95% success rate. Sometimes it will take you years to realize what is causing your breakage. It took me four years to realize (and accept) that wet detangling was breaking my fine strands. Two years before that I attributed my back acne to “being natural,” when products with silicones were the culprits all along. Don’t have a meltdown because you cannot learn everything overnight, or even in a year. Just ensure your scalp is clean and your hair is moisturized, and you will be fine — but be patient.

Listen To Your Scalp & Hair
As much as I envy the women who can wear extension twists for six to eight weeks at a time, I know my scalp cannot handle it. Even when I create mini twists on blown-out hair, I know that I am about to tolerate weeks of an inflamed and irritated scalp due to my seborrheic dermatitis. My scalp condition requires that I cleanse my scalp one or two times per week, but my schedule does not revolve around my hair and sometimes I want more diverse styling options, like everyone else. Of course, you can wash your hair with extension twists, but the scales from seborrheic dermatitis tend to be larger than regular dandruff and surround multiple strands, making them difficult to rinse away. My scalp is another reason cleansing conditioners are off-limits for me. They do wonders on my hair but only irritate my scalp, so I restrict my cleansing to shampoo.

All of this is a learning process that is quick for some and long for others. You also have to note that we are all ever-evolving beings. As your choices and the variables around you change, so will your hair. What works for you now as a 24-year-old with virgin hair living in California may not work if you relocate to Louisiana, dye your hair blond, or start experiencing health complications. Always remember to do what works for you.
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