What are some common misconceptions people have about going natural?
What are some ways to prepare for the natural process? Are there ingredients you should look for?
“The most important thing, particularly [for those] in the [type-4]-kinky to [type-3-]-curly categories, is to avoid shampoos that have suds and sulfates in them at all costs. Look to conditioners, leave-ins, and oils... Move toward the styling gels that are just as conditioning as they are holding. Deep-conditioning is always good, because it will keep the natural hair, as well as your relaxed hair, softer, so that it doesn’t break. But, remember that...if you wash your hair with something that suds up, then deep-conditioning is meaningless. You’ll never be able to put back what that shampoo took out. It’s like a sponge. If the sponge is dry, it’s almost brittle, right? But, if you add a little water to it, it expands."
What about blowdrying your hair when transitioning? I've heard that's a big no-no.
"Most of our clients, natural or transitioning, come in to get blowdrys. Essentially, it’s tension and the intense heat that end up permanently ruining your natural texture, which is why I recommend using a comb attachment. After you’ve washed your hair with the non-sudsy shampoo and followed up with conditioner, it becomes clean and soft. So, all you have to do is go through the hair with a comb attachment, which helps detangle it while letting the heat from the dryer do the rest. And, you want to do it while it’s wet so the roots get straight."
Should I be putting it on a lower heat setting?
That's interesting, because I went to a hair salon in the city that’s pretty well-known for dealing with curly textures, and they told me my only options, styling-wise, were a blowout or to do a big chop and cut off my relaxed ends.
"They probably didn't know how to do your hair. Most hairdressers aren’t interested in your natural texture — their only goal is that you get out of that chair with silky, straight hair. And then, when you go to wash it a week later, they’ve ruined your natural curl pattern. Some stylists even sneak relaxers into conditioners, because they don’t know how to deal with your texture."
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page!