It’s no secret at this point that I’m on a complete health kick when it comes to my natural hair…with that being said, it hasn’t always been that way.
For a lot of people, a healthy hair journey is planned and executed with precision. For me, it was a complete accident. Prior to natural, healthy hair I was a total weave junky and it literally took one day for me to take out my extensions and see how healthy my natural hair had become underneath, to realise it was time for me to be fully committed to my natural, healthy, curly hair.
One thing I often wish people told me, was how bad my hair really was at certain stages. The pictures I’ve used may not represent how drastically bad I’m talking here, but when I say bad…I mean my hair was BAD! The blonde hair you see soon became static, straw-like waves and although weave really did save my curls, it also weakened my hairline a little bit when I would have straight weave and would excessively straighten my leave out. It was only until I started wearing weave that mimicked my natural hair texture, that I started to see my natural hair (and hairline) strengthen. With that said, any kind of tugging around the hair line will weaken your edges so it doesn’t matter if you have a weave, if you use chemicals or if you’re completely natural. The better you take care of your hair in any circumstances, the better your hair will be-full stop!
Taking into consideration my journey, from start to finish, I’m going to share with you some simple and useful tips and things to generally avoid if you want stronger, healthier hair.
When I first started bleaching and dying my hair, I had a hair stylist who had no idea about the damage bleach would do to my natural hair! Excessive bleaching and dying will cause your hair to become extremely brittle and dry and what will end up happening is your ends will break off and you’ll look a hot mess.
I could literally twindle the ends of my hair in my fingers and literally rip off the ends just by doing so. When this started to become more and more apparent, I stopped bleaching because 1. It was ridiculously expensive 2. My hair was suffering in every single way possible. 3. My hair was also thinning out quite drastically. If you find that you have a curly hair texture similar to mine or more coily and you want to dye your hair, speak to someone who has the experience in dealing with your hair texture and actually listen to the advice they give you!
You might see a lot of curly heads with blonde curly hair and it might look great on them, however what works for one curly head may not necessarily work for another.
BE WISE WITH THE HAIRSTYLES YOU EXPERIMENT WITH!
Trying out different styles is completely OK. I’ve spoken to a couple of curly heads in the past who have this idea that once you’re natural you’re never allowed to try out different styles other than the typical hair-down look or a top bun. This is not at all true.
In a previous post, I detailed that a simple, stylish and cheap alternative is braiding. Having braids is the perfect protective styling for Autumn/Winter, but also for Spring/Summer when the weather is a lot warmer and you don’t want to play around with having your hair down all the time. Keep in mind though not to be excessive with braiding due to traction, which I’ll get into a little further down.
Some people like to experiment with wigs, which is actually a great alternative for us because it allows us to experiment with different colours, textures and lengths.
As I’ve said before, having a weave saved my natural curl texture and overall really strengthened my natural hair from the state that it was in before! With this said, if you choose to try out U-Part wigs or any kind of style where your natural hair is exposed, try and leave it alone and try to alleviate any harshness from it to allow it to remain in it’s natural state.
Something that has been an important topic amongst the curly-head community of recent, is Traction Alopecia. Paigey Cakey, who is a UK based artist, has openly spoken about her experience with Traction Alopecia.
Touching on this, it’s especially important if you are starting out on your natural hair journey, to avoid any tight hairstyles which overtime will weaken and destroy your hair from the root. These kinds of styles could be really tight up-do hairstyles, excessive braiding or even slicking your hair down too tightly, as you’ll see from the above picture, I did quite a lot at the start of my natural hair journey. Anything done in excess, no matter where you are in your hair journey, will have bad consequences for the natural texture and strength of your hair. The reason I point this out especially for those at the start of your natural hair journey is because I’m presuming your hair is already in a weakened state and you may also experience those awkward stages where your natural hair isn’t looking that great. The easiest thing to do may not also be the best thing when it comes to caring for your curls. When I was going through this stage, I used a lot of protein hair masks which always added moisture into my hair so no matter if the curls weren’t popping, at least my hair looked and felt healthy!
TRIM YOUR HAIR!
My last but not least tip, is to trim your hair…as often as you feel like it needs trimming. It doesn’t matter what stage you are at on your natural hair journey. Your hair needs constant care and trimming it can only help.
You might find that a lot of curly-heads start out their journey with ‘the big chop’. This is probably the most beneficial thing you can do to remove all the unhealthy strands and allow the naturally strong curls to flourish.
Along the way, don’t be put off by the fact that your curls will need a trim or two. Some people like to boast that they haven’t had their hair cut in years and the truth is, this is completely the wrong thing to do. If your personal goal is to grow out your hair as long as possible, but you never trim your hair, all that you are doing is allowing your hair to grow into split ends which will eventually dry out and you’ll have to go for a chop rather than a trim the next time you visit a hair salon!
If like me, you are scared of having your hair trimmed, because you don’t like people touching your hair or whatever your personal fear may be, try and reach out to other curly heads and see who trims their hair for them. Avoid salons that cater to European hair but rather a salon that knows how to manage the texture of your curls. Even if it means that you have to travel further out to do so, it’s worth it!
I personally struggled for a long time with the idea of having someone cut my hair. I don’t really know why, maybe it comes down to the fact I didn’t want to lose a lot of my length and I’ve also had a lot of hair stylists in the past ruin my hair, so that could also be a factor. One thing I do, is YouTube videos of curly-heads who trim their hair themselves. I would recommend that if you opt for this option, to trim your hair when it’s dry rather than wet so you can see the ends of your hair which need more attention than the rest!
I hope the above helped, and as always I’m open to hearing new suggestions and I love to hear about everyone’s personal curly hair journeys! I have more hair care blog posts on the way which I think will be of interest so stay tuned!