This Black History Month, we at Good Guilt wanted to talk about ‘The Natural Hair Movement.’ It is a movement that dates back to the 1960s, and it is clear that it wasn’t just a trend. The Natural Hair Movement encourages black women and men to embrace their naturally Afro-textured hair.
The internet only helped amplify the voices of numerous individuals like Afrobella and Naturally Curly, who talk about a good haircare routine for black women and men to help them enjoy the beauty of their natural hair.
First things first
If you are someone blessed with natural hair, we are quite aware of your on-and-off affair with the straightening iron. And we don’t blame you for it!
Growing up with most people around you who have straight or wavy hair can sometimes make you feel out of place. Trust us when we say this; we understand, having natural hair can be overwhelming on some days.
But dear readers, you can do so much with those beautiful tresses that not everyone else can! You can braid, cornrow, make a bun, keep them as is, and still be as gorgeous as you are.
If you are looking to learn more about how to take care of your mane and do it just right; you have come to the right place. After all, taking care of your S or Z-shaped kinky curls is an entirely different but extremely fun story.
Yes, you will need to be a lot more gentle and patient when taking care of your hair; but we assure you it is an equally rewarding process too.
So, let’s just dive in!
The ultimate haircare routine for black women
To make your lives a little easy and your haircare routine a lot more fun, we’ve put together a complete haircare routine for black women with natural hair.
Know your natural hair type
This is no surprise, knowing your hair well before deciding on a hair care routine is extremely important. Hair types are classified into four kinds: Types 1, 2, 3, and 4.
- Type 1 – These are straight hair with no curls at all.
- Type 2 – It refers to waves with slight curls.
- Type 3 – It is for curly hair, which has a defined shape.
- Type 4 – This hair type is all about the kinky hair texture with S and Z-shaped curl patterns.
Further classification of hair type 4
Hair type 4 is common in most black women. This hair type has a fine texture and is very fragile, hence always prone to damage and breaks easily. Hair type 4 is further divided into 3 categories 4A, 4B, and 4C.
- 4A or Coily Curls – Type 4A refer to S-pattern coily curls. It is called S-pattern as hair make cute curls shaped like the letter S. This type of hair is very dense and has maximum volume in comparison to hair type 4B and 4C. An easy way of styling this hair type is the wash-and-go method.
- 4B or Tight Coils – Type 4B is all about the Z-pattern curls. This means that the curls bend at sharp angles similar to the letter Z. This hair type has a good amount of shrinkage, almost 70%, and is prone to breakage. It is considered best to moisturize before styling this hair type; otherwise, it can cause brittleness and damage.
- 4C or Zig-Zag Coils – A zig-zag coil curl pattern is a mix of S-shaped and Z-shaped curls. It is difficult to determine exactly one curl pattern in this hair type. Shrinkage is maximum in this hair type (75% or more), making the hair very fragile. Also, dryness is a pretty common concern. This hair type requires all the love and care when styling.
Know that every woman has a different hair texture. Finding a hair care routine that fits you is more of an art than science. When you know your hair type, then you can easily find the right hair care products you will need to care for your natural hair.
To wash or not to wash
Most people prefer washing their hair every day or at least once every two days. With black hair, this routine can lead to dryness followed by damaged hair.
It is better to wash your hair once a week with a moisturizing shampoo. Go for ingredients that provide hydration and nourish your scalp.
Massage your scalp gently and cover all the areas like behind the ears, the back of the neck, etc. Avoid using too much of the product.
If you sweat a lot during workouts or go swimming regularly, rinse your hair with warm water. If necessary, condition your hair instead of using shampoo. This will keep your scalp free from sweat, or chlorine.
Never say never to conditioner
Conditioner is a must in a haircare routine for black women with natural hair. Due to the Z-shaped curls, it takes longer for moisture to reach the ends of the hair. This makes them prone to split ends and dryness.
Thus, conditioning is an important step in your haircare routine. For best results, use a nourishing conditioner, especially for natural hair or biracial hair, like Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Conditioner.
Conditioner not only moisturizes your hair but also makes a protective barrier, locking all the moisture in. Make sure to use conditioner in damp hair and not when your hair is still dripping. This is a great hydration method to trap moisture.
Most of the product washes away when you don’t rinse excess water before applying the conditioner. This way, you will end up using excess products, which will later result in build-up followed by damage.
Deep conditioning masks for hair that lacks moisture
Deep conditioning is slightly more intense than your regular conditioning routine. It promotes hair growth and restores the natural shine of your hair.
Deep conditioning has been a crucial part of the haircare routine for black women for ages. You should definitely include it in yours.
Do it at least once a week. It will not only allow your hair shafts to absorb more moisture but will also repair hair damage, especially from heat.
For color-treated hair, you should go with Sienna Naturals’ Plant Power Repair Mask. Always make sure to rinse your hair with cold water after deep conditioning. This will help close your hair cuticles and seal the conditioner inside.
Detangle your afro hair with care
Combing is usually not considered a part of the haircare routine. If you have natural hair, it is good to include it. We do not recommend combing natural hair on a daily basis, as natural hair tangles easily. It is particularly difficult to comb, let alone comb without pain.
If you do it the correct way, it is fairly simple. Also, don’t rush it, take your time to gently detangle your hair. Hurry will not only add to damage but will also cause scalp-related problems.
Step one is to find the right comb. Use a wide teeth comb or an Afro comb. Next, make a mixture of water, a water-based leave-in conditioner (like Sienna Naturals’ Dew Magic Leave-In Conditioner), and your favorite oil.
You can also add a few drops of Vitamin E. Spritz your hair with this solution and divide your hair into small sections. Use hair clips if you like. Start detangling with your fingers, and then go in with a wide-tooth comb.
Hold your hair with one hand and use the other to comb. Start with the ends, then slowly work your way up to the roots. Once done, proceed to another section.
Say no to toxins in your natural hair care routine
Of course, using a relaxer makes managing natural curls super easy. We suggest you avoid them as much as possible. The same goes for coloring your hair. The sole reason is the chemicals in these relaxers and coloring agents.
They contain sodium hydroxide and/or lye which can easily cause damage if used incorrectly. The whole process leaves your hair weak, brittle, and prone to damage. It can easily lead to hair loss as well.
In case you are still looking to style, it’s always better to take help from a specialist. Try to find products that suit your hair type the best. Never use a relaxer on a damaged scalp and unhealthy hair.
Always make sure to apply the products only for the recommended time. If coloring, try to find as natural a product as possible, like the trusted brand Aveda. Such brands have natural ingredients such as jojoba oil, sunflower seeds, etc.
Go heat-free when styling
Styling is more of a personal choice. You can wash to go, braid, make a high puff or simply twist out. Pick hairstyles that are fun and hair-loving. Whichever you choose, it’s best to use a little oil like coconut or almond (whichever suits your hair best!) and skip the heat styling whenever possible.
This will help your hair’s health by preventing frizz, dryness, and heat damage. If you have no choice but to use heat, then make sure to use the right heat protection serum. This will protect you from losing moisture from your hair and prevent dryness and frizz.
Always use a low setting when styling. It might take you longer to get the desired results; but it will not damage your hair, as it does with a high-heat setting. Make sure to remember these tips when you decide to say hello to your straightening iron next!
Get satin scarves for maximum protection
While going out, we always remember to protect our face and skin from sun damage using sunscreen. But what we completely forget is hair.
Just like your skin, make sure to protect your hair. Long exposure to sunlight and harsh winds can easily cause tangles along with dryness and buildup on the scalp.
You can go with a cool statement hat or go for a trendy scarf to cover your curls. Also, when choosing the hat, make sure it has a satin lining.
Talking about satin, here’s a pro tip – satin hair ties are a great addition to your hair accessories. They just don’t look cute, but they actually prevent friction and unnecessary tension when tying the hair.
This will help you avoid frizz from natural materials like jute. You can also go for some amazing Ankara scarves and try some amazing hair wrap styles.
Nourish your body by eating right
Irrespective of your hair type, if you want long and healthy hair, it is essential to provide both internal and external nourishment. You can try all the hair care you want; but if your diet is lacking nutrition, it will reflect on your face, skin, and hair.
If you are facing hair loss problems, then a possible reason could be a poor diet. So, make sure to take a properly balanced diet with the right nutrition.
Biotin is an essential element for hair growth as it helps the production of the hair protein called keratin. Research also shows that consuming biotin can help improve hair growth in people with a biotin deficiency.
It is best to include food items rich in biotin, like eggs, berries, avocados, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, etc., in your diet for better hair and scalp health. Other than these, always chop off the split ends from time to time for proper hair growth.
There you have it all! A complete guide to caring for your beautiful natural hair. The key is to eat right, be gentle, and moisturize as much as you can to have happy and healthy curls. It is all about nourishment outside and inside.
If you’re looking for more products for black women, check out these beauty and skincare products that we’ve curated especially for black and beautiful skin.