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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
Long before I started a healthy hair journey, it always seemed like my hair stayed at or above my shoulders. Out of frustration I decided to search online for a solution. I was met with several ads for hair growth vitamins. At the time, it made sense to me that maybe I was lacking nutrition in my diet. I thought I needed a supplement to help my hair grow. I quickly ordered a bottle from some company I don’t even remember and waited for them to arrive.
If I knew then what I know now, I might never have even placed the order. My hair at the time was relaxed (chemically straightened) and color treated. Both of which were damaging chemical processes. Combine that with the fact that I used heat daily and you’ve got a trifecta of unhealthy hair practices happening all at once. After I had zero result from taking the hair growth vitamins I was back to the web to find a solution to why my hair wasn’t growing.