Shrinkage for kinky hair is real. While, this is no news to anyone with afro-textured or kinky hair, caring for your natural hair is a different ball game.
Afro hair usually isn't easy to handle but finding the right tools and methods for caring for your natural kink, will set you on the path to embracing your natural curls and kinky hair. We have outlined 20 ways to make caring for your afro hair a breeze, so you can have that healthy bounce and flaunt your natural mane proudly.
1. Water Should Be Your Hair’s Best Friend
When it comes to your afro hair, water is an absolute necessity. One of the keys to maintaining healthy natural hair is water. It is recommended that you drink eight glasses of water daily and also consistently apply water to your hair.
One of the ways you can use water for your hair is during the detangling process. Because of its curly nature, naturally kinky hair is more susceptible to knots and tangles. Attempting to comb through dry and tangled hair will probably leave you with a weird headache and hair breakage. You should always detangle your hair when damp or standing under a showerhead for an easier process. Also, having a spray bottle of water helps. Water is used during the moisturizing process too. For softer, shinier hair, use water on your hair often.
2. Adopting A Wash Day Routine
The biggest advantage of rocking an afro hair is that you don't have to wash it so often like other hair types. However, you need to wash your hair weekly or every two weeks, to avoid dryness and frizziness. You can do this by adopting a wash day routine.
For your wash day routine, use a moisture-boosting shampoo and conditioner in order to refresh your afro curls. Keep in mind not to use hot water when washing your hair as it dries out your hair and removes moisture from it. Instead, use warm water to cleanse your hair properly.
How to do a natural hair wash day routine
Are you wondering which wash day routine to adopt for your afro hair or how to go about it, @chiziduru will show you how to achieve a simple natural hair wash day routine:
3. Hydrate Your Afro Hair Always
Another of your afro’s fave is moisture. Kinky hair tends to dry out quickly and lose its moisture, so to prevent that you have to consistently hydrate your hair. Before styling your hair, ensure that you always apply hydrating milk, cream, or oil to it. For times when you have on protective styles like braids or twists, use a highly conditioning product in order to keep your hair well moisturized for the whole duration.
Another trick to caring for your fro and refreshing your curls is to treat your hair to a hydrating hair mask often. For excessively dry hair, a maximum hydration method is a second option for hydrating your hair. The maximum hydration method is a popular and effective process for hydration, it brings and locks in moisture into your hair.
How to achieve the maximum hydration method
Interested in trying out the maximum hydration method, @jussinc will show you a detailed step by step process on how to achieve it:
4. Only Use Protective Styles
Just like its name implies, protective styles help prevent your hair from breakage, shedding, or damage. Protective afro hairstyles you can use include wearing wigs, weaves, buns, bantu knots, braids, or twists. In cases where you make braids or twists, ensure that your hairstylist eases up on your edges too in order to reduce tension on your scalp.
With protective styles, you reduce the chances of over-combing, over-styling, or damaging your hair with heat. It is also an excellent way of detangling your afro hair a lot easier. Remember to avoid the build-up of dirt when wearing your protective styles and also oil your hair and scalp daily to keep your follicles healthy.
5. Use A Sulfate-Free Shampoo
You may find that many shampoos contain chemicals such as ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, or sodium lauryl sulfate. And they tend to cause dryness and breakage for your natural hair. It’s recommended that you use a sulfate-free shampoo (and conditioner) weekly to add more moisture to your hair, while also being more gentler to your scalp. You can use the Jamaican Black Castor Oil shampoo with shea butter and apple cider vinegar, which strengthens and restores your kinky curls.
However, if having to buy a sulfate-free shampoo regularly is a little above your budget, a more reasonable option would be to wash your hair with black soap, preferably the local ones sold in the markets. Or even better you can make your own natural hair sulfate-free shampoo.
How to make a homemade natural hair shampoo
@naptural85 will show you how to make your own DIY natural hair shampoo:
6. Oiling Your Hair Frequently
Naturally, kinky hair needs an oil, lots of it. Oils should be part of your everyday natural routine. Oils play a key role in maintaining and ensuring that your natural hair stays healthy. Oils can be used to moisturize your hair or seal in already existing moisture, this is solely dependent on the type of oil.
For oils that absorb into the hair shaft and hydrate the hair as well, you should invest in the use of coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil. These oils are best applied after the use of a leave-in conditioner and for tighter textures, so as to add necessary moisture to your hair.
Oils like Jamaican black castor oil, Grapeseed oil or Jojoba oil are great for sealing in moisture into the hair and keeping it hydrated for an extended period of time.
7. Eat Healthy Meals For Your Hair Needs
As nutritious meals are essential for your body, they also contribute to stronger, healthier hair. A balanced healthy meal rich in low-fat proteins, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will aid your hair growth. For a healthy scalp, eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, walnuts, and avocados.
To get stronger hair, increase your intake of protein in your diet by eating foods such as poultry and eggs. To keep your hair hydrated you should eat foods rich in vitamins A and C, such as green leafy vegetables like spinach and asparagus.
What meals you need to eat for healthier hair
Instead of taking hair vitamins and supplements, this video tutorial outlines healthy foods you need to take to promote healthier, stronger hair:
8. Sleep With A Satin Scarf Or Bonnet
Never go to bed without a satin scarf or bonnet on. It keeps your hair from tangling and breaking while you sleep. Also, invest in a smooth satin or silk pillowcase. Sleeping with loose hair on a cotton pillowcase will result in dry hair, hair breakage, and hair damage, because of the friction with cotton. A silk or satin pillowcase is much gentler on the hair and helps to maintain your hair’s moisture.
How to make a DIY satin bonnet
@tatenda will show you how to make a DIY satin bonnet:
You think making your own satin bonnet is too much of a job, you can shop your favorite African print satin bonnet at our natural hair shop.
9. Use Your Hairdryer Less Often
Unlike other hair types, afro-textured hair can seem really fragile. There's a higher risk of hair damage depending on how often you apply heat to your afro. Next time you need to dry your natural curls, put down your hairdryer, don't use it. Using a hairdryer on wet natural hair involves having to use high heat and a lot of pulling with a styling brush. It is imperative that you avoid as much friction and heat as possible to your hair so as to reduce damage and tangling.
Air drying your hair is a better option and it protects your hair from excessive hair breakage. Keep in mind to never dry your hair with a towel! Using a towel roughens the hair cuticle and causes frizz and breakage. Squeeze your hair dry with a soft old t-shirt instead.
10. Let Your Hair Breathe
With the recent rave of hiding your hair under a wig, it's easy to forget to let your hair breathe. Protective styles under your wig such as braids and twists should be taken out after 3 months and refreshed. After taking out a style, make sure to deep condition and seal your hair. Don't hide your natural hair back into a weave after you take out a style, instead, you can try styling your natural hair in various ways such as bantu knots, flat twists, or high puffs. This lets your hair breathe and you can rock your beautiful afro crown too.
How to style your natural hair
@tatenda will show you simple ways of styling your natural hair and which you can incorporate into your daily natural hair regimen:
11. Deep Condition Your Natural Hair
It's important that you try to deep condition your hair once a week or every two weeks, using a mineral oil-free conditioner. The Argan Oil and Lavender Leave-In Smoothie Cream is a good choice of conditioner or you can either use a curling custard. Adding a deep conditioner to your hair routine will give your hair a good moisture protein balance and improve the look and feel of your hair.
Regularly deep conditioning your hair will make for healthier, softer, and less damaged hair. For afro-textured hair, deep conditioning usually works better after you have used a clarifying shampoo. If you want more protein balance in your hair, you can add honey, olive oil, shea butter, or any other natural oil to your conditioner.
How to deep condition your natural hair
You can find out a step-by-step process for deep conditioning your afro hair in this video tutorial by @Healthy Afro Hair:
12. Pre-poo Your Hair
A pre-poo is a treatment done before shampooing to help protect the hair against harsh SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) agents. Prepoo acts like a shield in ensuring that the shampoo you use doesn't strip away moisture from your hair so your hair becomes softer, shinier, and easier to manage.
When pre-pooing your hair, it is best that you use a conditioner, an oil, or a mix of the two. Pre-pooing adds extra moisture to your hair, makes detangling hair a lot easier, eliminates excessive breakage, and helps for a cleaner scalp.
How to pre-poo your kinky hair
While there are different pre-poo routines, @Imgloriaann will show you the best pre-poo routine to adopt for your afro hair:
13. Try Kinky Clip-ins
Clip-ins are a great way to switch up your hair game, as well as an excellent choice for days you are too lazy to style your hair. On days like that, you can try out kinky clip-ins or kinky curly clip ins extension. With kinky clip-ins, your hair is ensured against breakage and your follicles are protected for extended periods of time.
Looking to achieve this look, you can shop for kinky clip ins at our natural hair shop.
How to install your kinky clip-ins
In this tutorial, @lolawilliams will show you how to install your kinky clip-ins so getting ready for your day becomes a piece of cake:
14. Braid Your Hair Before You Sleep
Never go to bed without splitting your hair into a few braids. Braiding before sleep helps to seal in moisture all through the night. With braids, your strands will be held closely together, sharing their moisture and keeping them from coming loose and rubbing against the pillow. Braiding before bed should be an important part of your night routine.
15. Trim Your Hair Regularly
One of your bad habits would probably be, allowing your hair to grow with all its split ends. Part of the natural hair journey is having to trim your split ends regularly. Split ends indicate hair damage and if left unattended to will continue splitting and damage the healthiness of your hair. Every couple of weeks you should inspect your hair for split ends and trim them by yourself or get a hairstylist to do the job for you.
To check for splitting, you can run your fingers along the length of a few strands of your hair. This can tell you if any breakage has occurred along that strand. Ensure that your trim split ends past the point of the split, or else it will just continue breaking. Even if you don’t think you’ve split ends, if your hair feels rough whenever you glide your fingers over, then it is a sign of hair damage.
How to trim your split ends
@tatenda will show you the right way to trim your split ends yourself in no time:
16. Get Lots Of Sleep Regularly
However surprising this may be the best way to have healthier hair is to get regular hours of sleep. Your body tends to heal its tissues while you rest, so ensure that you get lots of sleep daily. Usually, people who suffer from sleep deprivation experience hair loss as the hair and follicle become weaker and weaker due to physical stress. 6-8 hours of sleep a night is recommended. By the next day, not only will you feel better by being more rested, but your hair will also reap the benefit of your repose by retaining its strength and luster. You can also take short naps during the day to supplement your night sleep.
17. Cover Up Hair During Harsh Weather Conditions
In the tropics where we tend to have harsher weather conditions be sure to wear a hat or headscarf over your hair. Weather can wear out afro hair, especially when there’s a lot of direct exposure to wind whips, heat fries, or rain. These weather conditions remove moisture, making your hair frizzy and unmanageable. Pack a protective layer for your hair such as a head wrap, bandanna, or an umbrella if you have to be out in such weather.
18. Always Use A Wide Tooth Comb
Natural hair can form into knots and tangles which make combing through it difficult. To reduce the risk of hair damage and breakage, it is recommended that you use combs that have wider, softer teeth, like the wide-tooth comb. Wide-tooth combs have enough space between the rows to allow movement through your hair without tearing up the ends. They make detangling hair less damaging and painful.
Before you comb your hair, make sure it's damp enough or spray it with water, then finger detangle first before combing through. Also comb in sections, preferably 4 - 8 sections.
How to comb your hair correctly with a wide-tooth comb
Wondering how to comb your kinky hair correctly using a wide-tooth comb, @igbocurls video tutorial will show you how:
19. Cleanse Your Scalp
Your scalp tends to get itchy occasionally due to product build-up, dirt, and oils. In order to keep your scalp clean and healthy, it is important that you cleanse your scalp regularly. Hair growth starts in the follicle, and new hairs grow through these tiny pores in the scalp. If the pores are blocked, it becomes hard for new hair to grow through and you might get painful bumps and ingrown hairs. A dirty scalp can cause fungal infections, dandruff, stunted hair growth, and unhealthy hair.
It is recommended that you wash your scalp every 7 -10 days with shampoo or non-lathering cleaners so as to thoroughly cleanse your scalp. Massage the shampoo gently into your scalp with circular movements to remove dirt and ease the flow of blood to the scalp. A clean and stimulated scalp optimally leads to rapid hair growth.
20. Co-washing Your Hair
Co-washing involves washing your hair with conditioner or a cleansing conditioner instead of shampoo to cleanse your hair. Co-washing helps to gently remove dirt and better hydrate the hair. Co-washing is especially helpful for people with extremely dry hair which gets stripped of moisture when using regular shampoo. With co-washing, you can maintain your natural oils, and your hair is more manageable.
Find out how to go out co-washing your natural hair with this video from Tyiece:
Taking care of your afro-textured hair can become a breeze if you follow these methods and steps rigorously. Sooner than you think, you will be on your way in adopting a routine that works for you and helps you achieve great looking and healthier hair.