Hair is an important part of black culture and in recent years, more black women have chosen to wear their hair in its natural afro-textured state. Because of this, many natural-haired moms are teaching their daughters to also embrace their curls. I am one of those moms. I have worn my hair in its coiled texture for more than 20 years back before “being natural” was a thing and when I found out I was having a girl, there was no doubt in my mind that she too would be “naturalista.”
To be honest, it took a lot of trial and error to figure out the best products and techniques to use on my own tresses and it took just as much effort to master my daughter’s coils. To save you time, effort (and perhaps your sanity) here are a few tips to help maintain your curly girl’s hair:
Protective styling reduces daily hair manipulation and encourages growth retention by protecting the ends of the hair from knots, tangles, and breakage. What I love about these hairstyles is they help to keep Nyah’s strands moisturized while giving me a much-needed break from combing her hair every day.
Since I haven’t perfected cornrowing yet, my “go-to” style is the two-strand twists (twisting two sections of hair around one another to the ends). I am able to create a number of different looks with her small twists that will last her for a week but if I’m really feeling lazy (let’s be honest, that’s more times than not) I will put her twists into to a ponytail bun.
Protective styling is not limited to two-strand twists. There is also braids, cornrows, flat twists, and updos. As I become more skilled, I’ve found myself experimenting with more advanced styling which Nyah loves.
Wash day is the most important part of any natural hair care regimen. Over the years I have implemented a couple of techniques to make this task less daunting. First, I always wash Nyah’s hair in four big sections- unraveling, washing, detangling, and conditioning one section at a time.
Also, the right shampoo and conditioner are key. Because afro-textured hair is so fragile; it’s important to select a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. I try my best to avoid products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate (it’s the ingredient that gives shampoo lots of bubbles) since this strips out the natural oils from your hair (afro-hair needs moisture; a lot of it). After rinsing the shampoo, I’ll apply the conditioner and comb it through before doing a final rinse.
Honestly, I wash Nyah’s hair every two weeks (we have a lot of hair in our house…don’t judge me) and with her protective styling, it is easier to space out her wash days.
It’s not easy figuring out what products to use in the right combination to get the desired results. Trust me, I’ve been there. The key is to keep it simple. Choose one or two products to try at a time and choose hairstyles that are easy to master. If you are looking for inspiration you can always turn to Pinterest and YouTube, there are so many pictures and videos available to guide you.
The real secret to managing your coily-girl’s hair is to do what works best for you. By implementing these tips, you can expect to see strong, thick and healthy hair in no time.
What are your tips for keeping your natural hair healthy?