5 Tips for Flawless Straight Natural Hair

One of the main reasons I decided to go natural was the versatility.  I just loved the fact that you could do so many different styles with natural hair.  If you’ve been following my YouTube channel then you know that I’ve been straightening my hair since the beginning.  One of my first video uploads was a slideshow of how I used a flat iron to straighten my TWA.  So many people asked how I did it.  Since then I have learned a few more things about how to get flawless straight natural hair and I’d like to share them today.

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Clarify Your Hair

Sometimes we end up using heavy products on our hair which will leave the hair really weighed down when straight.  If you’re looking to have hair that is lightweight and blows in the wind then you must clarify your hair before straightening.  I’ve heard of people using dish soap for this step but it’s really not that serious.  All you need is a good clarifying shampoo and be sure to lather twice.  My current favorite is a silicone free shampoo by Herbal Essence.  Neutrogena also offers an excellent anti-residue shampoo that deeply cleanses the hair and scalp and gives great results.

Use a Heat Protectant Serum

I’ve seen YouTube videos where people use next to nothing on their hair prior to straightening it.  Since I have a 4a/4b hair texture my straight always turns out best when I use a silicone based heat protectant serum.  I also use a heat protectant spray and creamy leave-in underneath but it’s definitely the serum that helps the most for the appearance of my hair.  Without it, I’m left with fly aways and end up having to go over each section 2 or 3 times to get the results that I want.  I’ve gone back and forth with products but always come back to IC Fantasia’s Heat Protectant serum.  You don’t want to go too heavy with this one so a nickle size amount on each half of the hair goes a long way.

Use the Comb Chase Method

I can’t stress this one enough!  This is one of the most important steps in my straightening routine.  My hair is a tight spiral curl and if I don’t use a fine tooth comb in front of the flat iron then my ends will not straighten.  Think of it like when you iron over a wrinkle in clothing.  This only sets the wrinkle in place.  When you use a comb while flat ironing you are separating the curls and flattening them out while you straighten.  You can watch how I do it in my video on YouTube.

Trim Those Ends!

I like being able to straighten whenever I want but I know my hair looks best when my ends look good.  That’s why I like to tidy up my ends by dusting here and there while my hair is straight.  When I don’t do this I sometimes think that going over the section with the flat iron again will make it look neater.  Nah, it’s just those ends girl!  This is why I sometimes wait to straighten my hair when I’m close to needing a trim which, for me, is around every 3 months.

Don’t Use Heavy Moisturizers

The products that I use on my hair while it’s straight are drastically different than those I would use while my hair is curly.  The number one way to add moisture to the hair is deep conditioning prior to straightening the hair.  After that I like to use a creamy leave-in like the one by Paul Mitchell because it’s lightweight enough for that soft bouncy hair I’m going for but still moisturizing.

I also use the heat protectant serum which is a heavy dimethicone based product so I don’t want to use anything heavy after that.  I usually wear my hair straight for about a week or so depending on how my scalp is holding up.  During that time I use a small (actual dime size) amount of the leave-in conditioner or a little coconut oil.  Anything heavier than that and my hair becomes really clingy and the strands start to clump together.

It’s fun to wear different styles and adding straight hair to your natural hair arsenal will give you even more options.  Follow these tips and you’ll have flawless results!

Learn more about how I maintain my straight natural hair.

 

The Benefits of Aloe Vera for Your Natural Hair

When I started learning about natural hair ten years ago, there wasn’t nearly as much information on it as there is now.  The first web pages that I landed on always focused on switching to products with all natural ingredients.  Slowly that information started showing up in YouTube videos where people were making their own hair products.  I have to admit that I was one of those people who swore by using (and making) all natural products.  

Over the years, I picked through the hits and misses but one ingredient is still present in my products today.  You may have guessed by the title that I’m talking about aloe vera.  I still swear by this ingredient because aloe vera has been a life saver for my hair.

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An Important Step Towards Loving Your Natural Hair

When I was growing up my mother always kept my hair in cute braided styles.  Every single day of the week I had braids and only wore my hair down for special occasions.  I used to love brushing through my thick hair on wash days but shortly after it was right back in those braids.  That is probably a big reason why I love to wear my hair out so much.  Hair gurus always tell us that you should wear protective styles for hair growth.  I want to enjoy my natural hair so I wear it down about 75% of the time.

 

I wore a tapered short cut during my TWA phase which was cute and easy to maintain.

One Thing You Can Do to Start Loving Your Natural Hair

Unfortunately, I’ve met people who haven’t had a pleasant experience when wearing their natural hair out.  I’ve been asked what they should do so that they can start wearing curly styles.  My response is almost always the same.  I usually suggest that they start by having their hair cut into a shape.  This goes a long way when it comes to loving your natural hair.   Pretty much every style will fall into place once the hair has been shaped. Everything from the wash and go to twistouts & braidouts will look so much more impressive after a shape up.

Find a Stylist That Specializes in Curly and Textured Hair

Going to a stylist can actually be kinda scary but is sometimes the only option for a good cut.  You should always look into whether or not they have experience with natural or curly hair before setting an appointment.  It may take some time to find someone but this step is key.  Then you’ll want to get an idea of what shape you want.  Do you want bangs?  Are you growing your hair out?  Have a plan for what type of cut you want prior to going in.

Where to Find Hair Inspiration

A perfect place to find hair inspiration is Pinterest.  If you follow my Fab Natural Hair board you’ll find tons of style ideas for all different hair lengths and textures.  I’ve taken a lot of time to curate this Pinterest board so that it has helpful information and images that are beautiful and inspiring.  Another great resource is Instagram.  If you type in the hashtag followed by things like “wash n go,” “hair to mesmerize” or “curly afro” with no spaces you’ll find plenty of hairstyles for curly hair.  

This curly afro with bangs look was inspired by images I found on Pinterest

Hair Inspiration on Instagram

There are also many stylists on Instagram who have pages showcasing their work with before and after photos.  One of my favorites is the “Curl Doctor,” Shai Amiel who has done curly cuts for Tia Mowry, and Kehlani.  His profile has looks he’s done on long, short and mid-length hair and all hair types.  Another Insta favorite for curly cut inspiration is CurlPop.  This page has lots of hair inspo, before and afters and videos of curly cuts in action.  You’re bound to find something that you want for your natural hair now or a style that you can set as a healthy hair goal.

 

This is my hair after the curly afro started to grow out.

 

Once you’ve narrowed down the style you want,  you can bring a few photos with you to show your stylist the look you are going for.  It’s alway a good idea to express to them what your hair goals are at this time.  Keep in mind though that a shape up may mean you’ll lose some length.  The shape of your choice may also require your stylist to add a few layers.  The trade off will be natural hair that falls into a style no matter what.  You can do a bomb twistout or wash n’ go without all of the extra effort.

Natural hair is so versatile and should be enjoyed at every length!

 

Should You Co-Wash Your Natural Hair?

Next month I’ll be celebrating 10 years with natural hair.  Woo hoo! Trust me when I say that I have tried lots of products and methods throughout my natural hair journey.  For the last couple years, co-washing has been a favorite of mine for those times when my hair needs a little moisture boost.

Woman using conditioner to wash natural hair

What is Co-Washing?

To co-wash you use conditioner to wash your hair instead of shampoo.  Since conditioner has rinsing agents added, it can be used to cleanse your hair without having a drying effect.  Typically I wash my hair with shampoo at least once a week.  This keeps my scalp clean but can be drying to my natural hair.  Natural hair already has a tendency to be dry so I like to co-wash mid-week to add moisture to my hair.

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5 Ways to Maintain Hair Growth

My natural hair journey started because I wanted longer hair.  I honestly thought my hair wouldn’t grow long because I was black.  That sounds pretty crazy right?  Well, information on how to maintain hair growth was not as abundant as it is today.  This was long before the term, “natural hair,” even existed.  So I did what most people did at the time; I sought help from a hair stylist.  

I Went to a Stylist for Help

A co-worker suggested I see her  “Master stylist” who apparently knew a lot about different hair types.  I booked an appointment and drove to the mall where her salon was located.  When I arrived, the stylist met me at the podium just outside the entrance.   I told her I wanted a haircut and also that my hair wouldn’t grow for some reason.  She condescendingly asked, “Why isn’t your hair growing?”  I just looked at her; speechless.  Let’s be honest.  If I really knew why my hair wasn’t growing then why would I drive all that way to see a, “Master” stylist?

This was around the first time my psoriasis flared up so my scalp was covered in flakes.  I can’t even begin to describe how embarrassing it was to have someone checking my hair and scalp right there in the mall with all those people walking by.  It was the absolute worst! Turns out, she only had me down for a consultation and insisted that I schedule another appointment for her to actually style my hair.  Really?

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