As much as natural and curly hair is beautiful and versatile, it can also be difficult to understand how to care for our beautiful locks. One question that I hear a lot is – How to get shiny natural hair?
Most of us are constantly under the pressure of getting ‘shinier’ hair, but unlike Caucasian or Asian hair which reflects light, our curly and kinky coils naturally refract light. This gives us the appearance of ‘dull-looking hair, which in no way indicates unhealthy hair.
Therefore, if you are here learning how to get shinier hair so that your hair looks healthy, you shouldn’t fret at all. Your hair is already healthy if you’re following a proper hair regimen.
However, if you are still stumped with whether your hair is actually dry or just characteristically gloss-free, read on to learn more about getting the glamorous gloss your coils desire.
Here are some of the best practices when dealing with dull, dry and even damaged curly hair to get it back to life:
How to Get Shiny Natural Hair Tips
Tip 1: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
There is nothing better than a good moisturizer that gets your hair back to its regular health.
No matter if your hair has low porosity, it is necessary that you maintain a good moisturizing routine with your natural hair locks.
Since our kinks are very dense and tight, the lack of sebum can really dry out our hair of moisture.
Using a Hair Mask every other week is also a great way to add moisture back into our coils.
I use this moisturizer between wash days to give my hair the necessary added boost.
Tip 2: Beware of your Shampoo!
Sometimes your shampoos can strip your hair away from its natural moisture.
Drug-store shampoos tend to contain harmful ingredients such as sulfates, where a high percentage of sulfate can cause dry and damaged hair.
Instead, opt for a mild or sulfate-free shampoo that protects your hair.
Another thing you need to note is overdoing your shampoo routine. Now, this doesn’t mean you should stop shampooing regularly; it’s just that you can lengthen the time between washes to once a week or maybe even 2 weeks.
Tip 3: Detangle Your Locks
Our natural hair LOVES to tangle together in extra tight and snug curl patterns.
This makes it a nightmare to detangle but not doing it will put you at risk of hair breakage and poor hair growth.
Detangle your hair regularly and be gentle with the way you comb your hair. You can use a wide-toothed comb on damp hair, and ALWAYS use a conditioner to ease the process.
I smooth my hair in sections before washing and only comb my hair when it’s wet to prevent tangles and hair breakage.
Tip 4: There’s Nothing Like a Deep Conditioning
If you’re not doing it already, take note of it now: you need to have a daily conditioner after you’ve cleaned your hair.
But most importantly, you need to deep condition at least once per week.
Why such a rigorous routine?
Well, natural hair needs weekly deep conditioning to ensure that our hair remains healthy and bouncy as well as tangle-free and strong.
With daily conditioners and deep conditioning, your cuticles are closed right after they had been opened with cleansers. This helps create that shine on your hair while also making your hair healthy and nourished.
Using a shower cap really helps for the conditioner to penetrate our hair folicles.
- Improve Hair Health: this cordless and portable heated hair caps can be used on dry, damaged, curly, frizzy, long, natural, or ethnic hair types to help improve strength, volume, and manageability
- Easy to Use: before applying the cap to your conditioned hair, insert the heated cap into the microwave for about 1min. Increase by a few seconds if it’s not warm enough then place the heated cap onto the head for your desired time
- Cordless Design: the cordless design means you can work, rest or move around the house whilst applying your hair treatment. Reversible and reusable, they are designed to fit an average size head (21-24 inches) and can stretch up to 29 inches. The natural flaxseed interior retains even heat, achieving professional results in the comfort of your own home
- Consistent and Even Heat Distribution: this conditioning heat cap ensures heat radiating through the entire cap evenly and gently. Linseed is unique in the fact that it is one of the best options in retaining moisture and can be re-warmed time and time again
Tip 5: Loosen up on the styling
I know how exciting and tempting it is to style our beautiful natural curls but overdoing it can hurt us more than it helps us.
Styling products often suck up all the moisture in our hair and make us more prone to dry and damaged hair.
Product build-up is also very common and this clogs up our hair follicles, making us more liable to hair breakage in the long-term.
If you still crave your hairstyles, try to find ones with fewer styling products or simply go for the occasional manipulation styles instead of making it a regular thing.
This ensures that you’re not harming your hair, and eventually your hair will thank you for its natural shine.
Tip 6: Seal Your Hair with an Oil
If you want to keep your hair moisturized for longer periods, then you must use a moisture sealant.
I use the LCO Method.
The moisture sealant usually comes at the last step of your hair care regimen, and it helps by sealing up your strands with all the moisture that you have just added to your hair.
This means that whatever you apply during your haircare process, all of it will be retained.
Your hair will end up looking as shiny as if you have just left the shower.
Typically, moisture sealants are oils such as the Jamaican black castor oil which has a thick texture that aids to lock in your hair strands. It also aids in smoothening out your hair cuticles to prevent any form of frizz and dryness.
Other natural oils that you could try out include olive oil, avocado oil or even coconut oil. These have been proven to have amazing sealant properties and you can always get away with an immediate shine to your hair right after applying the oil.
Related Articles to How to Get Shiny Natural Hair:
Tip 7: Try Out a Hot Oil Treatment
Hot oil treatments are perfect as a simple yet fast way to nourish your curls and add some extra glean to them. Trust me, your hair will love you for the way you’d be caring for them with this type of treatment.
The entire process with hot oil treatments is that you must combine several natural oils before heating them up and applying the concoction to your hair. Once you have finished applying it thoroughly around your scalp, you should leave it for about 30 minutes or so.
After your hair has soaked in all the wonderful nutrients from the oils, you can now wash your hair with water.
It is preferred that you rinse your hair with lukewarm or slightly cold water to smoothen your hair cuticles. This only adds to the beautiful shine that your coils end up with.
The heat from the oil is beneficial in helping open up your hair cuticles so that the nutrients can easily pass through your scalp.
The more your scalp can absorb the oils, the more it will give off its luxurious sheen.
If you have extra dry and dull hair, you can do this treatment either weekly or bi-weekly. However, this can be done once a month.
Tip 8: Use Products that Can Add Shine to Your Hair
This is relatively easy and includes no added step to provide nourishment to your hair (which is also why you shouldn’t rely on such products too often).
You can choose from an array of sprays, leave-ins, mousses, hair gloss, or oils to help get an instant shine on your hair.
However, it is best that you always go with natural products that help take care of your hair as well as add the shine that you’re looking for.
If you treat your hair with little consideration of its needs, you are going to get the same treatment back.
- PROVEN HAIR CARE - The unique blend of African Pride Moisture Miracle Shea Butter & Flaxseed Oil Curling Cream provides deep moisture, lasting definition, & radiant shine; leaving coily & curly styles smooth & bouncy with soft hold.
- FEATURED INGREDIENTS - Enriched with Shea Butter: Deeply moisturizes, helps strengthen and protect; Flaxseed Oil: Provides natural hold and restores shine.
- NATURALLY FORMULATED - The ingredients within African Pride products are free of harmful components, including parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, & petrolatum. By utilizing natural ingredients, we are able to provide high quality, safe products.
- HOW TO USE - Section hair, apply a small amount to hands, rub together, work product into dry or damp hair. Do not rinse. Style as desired. Perfect for: Twist- outs, braid- outs, finger coils, rod sets and wash and gos.
- ABOUT THE BRAND - The Moisture Miracle line of products is naturally created for the specific needs of coily & curly textures. Every product in our Moisture Miracle collection is made with a unique, signature blend of rich African ingredients.
If you are like me, I love solving the problem but I also like to analyze the “why” so that I won’t make the same mistakes.
Let’s take a look at ….
Why is my hair not shiny?
Shiny natural hair begins from one’s roots and how much sebum can transport from the top to the end of one’s hair with the least resistance.
In addition to this, shine also occurs based on the refraction and reflection of light on our hair.
I understand if this seems confusing and very reminiscent of high-school Science classes.
Let me break this down a bit.
Firstly, our scalp produces a particular oil that’s called sebum. Sebum is a natural oil coating that our skin, both around our face and scalp, uses to keep its moisture locked in.
This oil is supposed to move downward from our cuticles to our roots, but every curly girl’s hair is built differently.
Due to our kinky and extremely tight coils, there’s greater resistance to sebum traveling downwards. Another thing to note is that some of us can also produce less sebum than others, and this is completely natural.
Apart from sebum, light plays the most important role in creating shiny hair.
If you can recall your Physics classes, you’ll remember that light reflects the most on flatter surfaces.
With our twisty and curly hair, light is unable to shine properly, giving us the dull appearance we’re all so concerned with.
Now all this really means is that if you lack shine, blame it on the rules of physics.
Yet, there are several ways you can circumvent these rules of nature to get your best glow on which I will go over in a few.
First, let’s talk about the possibility that you may be losing out on shine because of dry and damaged hair.
How to keep Natual Hair Shiny and Moisturized
Are you losing out on shine due to dry and damaged hair?
Even though we’ve already established that dull hair does NOT equate to unhealthy hair, there are times when this is actually the case.
Your hair could be dull as a result of the two great evils to us curly girls:
Dryness and Damage.
Here’s how you could be suffering from either or both:
Damaged Natural and Curly Hair
If you like to apply heat or color to your hair frequently, you may be risking your hair for damage.
This might be dissuading to some, but heat stylers and chemicals in coloring agents can cause heavy damage to your hair.
These work by gnawing away at the outer layer of your hair, essentially leading to very teeny tiny gaps in your hair strands.
Initially, these might not be causes for concern but with time, these microscopic corrosions can widen and destroy your hair.
It really doesn’t help that our hair is fragile as it is, so adding heat and color damage can worsen the state of your hair.
Eventually, you will be finding it harder to restore your hair with its natural look and even more difficult to get it to shine.
Dry Natural and Curly Hair
Dryness is something all hair types experience.
But our curly hair can be more susceptible victims to coarse and rough hair textures with even the slightest drop of temperature.
If you experience dryness, it just means that you need to level up on your haircare regimen and add in extra moisture to keep your hair healthy and shiny!
In this section, I’m going to concentrate on Type 4C hair as it refracts the most light and is the biggest culprit of appearing dull.
What Exactly is Type 4 Hair Type?
Generally, Type 4 hair falls into the ‘kinky’ segment of all hair types. My curls are mostly 4a with clusters of 4b.
Yet Type 4C distinguishes itself from its Type 4 counterparts by being the tightest of the whole lot.
Some of us can have different densities and porosities in our hair, and thus, not all Type 4C hair types will behave in the same manner.
Even then, there are some specific traits in our hair type that’s commonly seen by all:
- The more our hair cuticles are raised, the less they will allow sebum from our cuticles to pass down to the ends of our hair. Since Type 4C hair types have the tightest curls, our hair tends to dry quicker and can’t retain enough moisture naturally.
- Our hair is more likely to encounter matting and tangles, making it essential that we maintain a daily haircare routine that includes detangling.
- We are liable to experience up to 75% of hair shrinkage.
- Since our hair is incredibly delicate and fragile, it is more susceptible to breakage.
The main conclusion from this is that Type 4C hair appears strong but it is actually the most delicate and needs to be treated as such.
If you are treating dry hair, you need to be mindful of the procedures and products you’re using to avoid hair shrinkage or breakage.
The goal you should be aiming for, above all else, is to maintain a healthy set of coilsinstead of glossy ones.
You can definitely use commercial products and treatments to add an extra sheen to your beautiful hair, but none of it will be effective if you’re not nurturing your hair already.
How to Get Shiny Natural Hair on 4C Hair
From everything above, you must have already deducted that shiny hair can be attained if your hair is moisturized enough.
Getting our coarse tresses shiny and soft can be taxing work, but it is certainly doable.
Here are some additional natural ways you can add moisture to your 4C hair for a glamorous sheen and how to get natural hair shiny:
How to Make 4C Hair Soft and Curly
Aloe Vera Gel
This is an extraordinary product to revive moisture in any part of our body. Aloe vera gel has great emollient and moisturizing properties, which means, when applied to hair, it can really smooth out the surface of our cuticles in addition to attracting and locking in moisture.
You can also use aloe vera gel to detangle your hair and condition it, especially for a shine on your locks. The film of gel can be superb in giving you that natural glean.
If you’re looking for suitable products to use on your hair, try looking out for anything that contains aloe vera in it, especially if it’s a hair styling product. You can also get pure aloe vera gel from the drugstore or in raw form through an aloe plant to apply directly to your hair.
Apple Cider Vinegar
I’m sure you’ve heard that ACV can have multiple benefits for your overall body and health. I mean, this product is appropriately termed a ‘miracle solution’ for most health and body troubles.
You can use an ACV rinse to remove any product build up or to effectively remove dirt and remainders of shampoo and conditioning products. This will clean up your scalp and ensure that your cuticles are not clogged by anything.
Other than that, you can also use it to smooth out your hair by tightening it up and laying down a raised cuticle.
If you want to use an ACV rinse, use the solution moderately. It is always recommended to have at least 5 to 10 parts water to 1 part of the vinegar. In other terms, mix a maximum of 2 tablespoons of ACV with 1 cup of water to dilute it properly.
You have probably heard of henna treatments on hair to restore nutrients and moisture back into dry and damaged hair.
But most of you might be apprehensive towards henna’s color dyeing properties, which isn’t something you’re looking for if you just want shine.
Cassia treatment is the perfect alternative to henna minus the red coloring effect. Similar to henna, cassia can bolster up your hair shaft, enhance your overall scalp health, and of course, add tons of shine.
Final word on How to get Shiny Natural Hair
Love Your Curls Just The Way They Are!
At the end of the day, your curls are what makes you fashionably yourself.
While it is OK to want more shine to your hair, remember that your natural hair is perfect just the way it is and you NEVER have to over manipulate it to make it look better.
Most of us end up wanting what we don’t have, but it’s just not right. Your kinky and twisty curls don’t need shine or volume to look beautiful. It’s perfect as it is.
Remember, the sooner you embrace your own natural beauty, the more you’ll find happiness in your true self.
What techniques or products do you use to get the most shine out of your hair?