If you are in the process of transitioning or thinking about going back to your roots, this ‘Natural Hair Tips for Beginners Ultimate Guide‘ will hold your hand and walk you through everything that you need to know.
Transitioning back to your natural hair can seem daunting at first, mainly due to the overwhelming amount of information available on the web: from curly girl hair methods to hair porosity and styling tools and products.
This can be off-putting and cause you to abandon your natural hair journey before it’s even begun. We’ve put together this handy guide so that you’ve got all the information you need in one place before you start.
This way you’ll know what to expect, and which products can help you achieve healthy natural hair that looks and feels good.
We’ll be running through the basics of all things relating to natural hair, from hair types, to how to transition to natural hair, to caring for your hair and keeping it healthy and looking its best.
Table of Contents
What is Natural Hair?
In the Black community, you’ll hear women mention ‘going natural’ or ‘returning back to natural.’ Natural hair is defined as relaxer-free hair that hasn’t been chemically straightened with a relaxer – also known as a perm. Natural hair means wearing your hair in its natural state. I also consider colored-treated hair natural.
However, going natural requires transitioning from relaxed hair – which has been chemically damaged – to natural hair. For some, this means cutting their hair before going natural, a process known as the ‘big chop.’
In recent years, more and more women are wearing their hair in its natural state, a trend that has been referred to as the ‘natural hair movement.’
The Stigma Surrounding Black Natural Hair
Black or African American natural hair is sometimes labeled as ‘nappy hair’ that needs to be corrected by a relaxer.
Many Black women feel pressured into chemically straightening their natural hair, and there have even been situations in which women have been discriminated against in the workplace due to having natural hairstyles, which some employers consider unprofessional.
Some women have even missed out on job or promotion opportunities because of their natural hair.
These so called ‘unprofessional’ styles include dreadlocks, box braids, bantu knots, afro puffs, and wash-and-go styles.
However, this misconception stems from ignorance and institutional racism, though awareness is improving.
You should feel comfortable embracing your natural hair, and in this guide, we aim to provide you with the information to make your transitioning journey as smooth as possible.
What is Transitioning to Natural Hair?
Transitioning to natural hair is a simple process of growing out your natural texture. Like we said, for some, this means cutting off all or almost all of your permed hair. The ‘big chop’ is kind of like a reset button: it allows you to start from scratch.
By chopping off your chemically treated hair, you can start over with new, natural growth and start fresh. However, while this process can be liberating, it can also be daunting.
You’ll need to learn how to care for your natural hair, as your curl pattern and hair porosity will likely be completely different to your chemically treated hair.
Not everyone chops off their hair, and if this isn’t for you, you shouldn’t feel pressure to do so. Trimming your ends is a good idea though – and we cover this a little bit later on.
Understanding Hair types
If you’ve started to research ‘natural hair’ or ‘naturally curly black hair’, one thing you’re likely to stumble upon sooner rather than later is ‘hair type.’
You’ll see lots of charts and images laying out the different hair ‘types’, which usually range from 1-4 and A-C – for example, 3c, 4a, and so forth.
This concept was originally coined by hairstylist Andre Walker as a way to categorize the shape and texture of different strands of hair.
However, while you’ll commonly see YouTube tutorials for particular hair types, don’t be too taken in by this concept, as most of us have hair that is capable of multiple curl types.
You may also find yourself wishing you had looser curls, but looser curls don’t necessarily equal healthy hair. If your hair is healthy and growing, it’s good hair!
You should also learn what works for your hair, rather than trying to model your hair routine on your favorite YouTuber. There are many different factors that influence our hair and how it reacts to different products.
Many women with tight or coiled hair patterns struggle with dry hair. These hair types are naturally drier because the shape of the strands makes it more difficult for the natural oil (sebum) your scalp produces to distribute from root to tip.
Women with looser curls or straight hair will likely have to shampoo their hair more frequently as the sebum travels more quickly from the roots of their hair to the tip, resulting in greasier or oilier hair.
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Understanding Texture and Porosity
‘Texture’ refers to the width of each individual strand of hair, and your hair texture is usually categorized in 3 ways: fine, medium, or thick.
Thick hair is also usually referred to as ‘coarse’, and women who fall into the 4C category usually have thick or coarse curls. At the other end of the spectrum is fine hair, which is more prone to breakage.
Density is different from hair texture because it refers to the total amount of hair strands you have. So someone with fine hair might have a lot of strands, and this allows them to achieve the illusion of thicker hair.
An easy way to think of density is how many strands you have per square inch. Extremely dense hair can easily achieve big voluminous styles, while less dense hair appears thinner or more sparse.
Porosity is the extent to which your hair absorbs moisture. Porosity is often overlooked, but it’s actually an extremely useful thing to know about your hair, as it dictates how well oils and moisture pass in and out of your hair’s cuticles.
There are various tests you can do to assess your hair’s porosity, and porosity is usually categorized as low, normal, or high.
Low porosity hair doesn’t absorb moisture well, medium or normal porosity is able to hold styles well, and high porosity hair absorbs moisture quickly and may even become frizzy or dry.
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Elasticity means how stretchy your hair is. If your hair has a hard time stretching when wet and does not return to its natural shape after pulling, it’s likely that you have low elasticity hair.
If your hair has low elasticity, it’s also more at risk of breaking. Elasticity requires a balance between moisture and protein. If your hair lacks one of these or is overloaded by too much, it could affect its elasticity.
We’ll talk a little more about the moisture/protein balance a little bit later on…
Transitioning to Natural Hair
When you make the decision to transition to your natural hair, you need to understand that it’s not an overnight process. It will take time and patience for your natural curls to take shape, but it’ll be worth the wait.
Here are some tips for the beginning of your journey:
One thing you should get in your head is that results will take time to appear: it usually takes at least three to four months to start to see real change, and for some, it can take as long as a year before they’re chemical-free.
It depends on how quickly your hair grows, and how well you look after it during the transition phase.
It’ll also be a period of experimentation where you’re figuring out which products work for you, and which don’t. Try to not have too strict of an idea about what you want your hair to look like.
It’s all about embracing your natural hair, and a routine or product that works for one person isn’t necessarily going to have the same effect on your hair.
Know when to cut
Sometimes cutting your hair is necessary to maintain the health of your natural hair.
For some people, this is a buzz cut or big chop, but for most, gradually trimming the ends of your hair every six to eight weeks will help speed up the process for your natural curls. It will also freshen up the ends of your hair that have been damaged by chemicals.
Deep condition often
Transitioning hair needs more moisture than usual, as it’s often very fragile from straightening chemicals.
The most compromised area of your hair will be right at the point where your new growth meets your previously straightened strands, so this area requires extra attention.
A deep conditioning treatment (which we’ll cover later on) will give your hair that much-needed TLC.
Make use of protective styles
There are plenty of ways to style your hair during the transitioning process, from box braids to Flexi-rod sets. Setting up a schedule of style options is a good way to switch up your look in the short term, while also taking your mind off of your natural hair growth.
Protective styles are great for allowing your hair to breathe a little, and will also cut down on breakage and promote hair growth.
It’s worth going with selective styles that keep the tension off of your hairline, temples, and nape of your neck, and you should also keep tension away from edges too, as your baby hairs will also be fragile.
Avoid heat styling
Heat damage will stunt the growth of your hair, which is why it’s a good idea to steer clear of heat or at least reduce the amount you apply to your hair.
It can be tempting to want to straighten your hair while it’s growing, but doing so will dry your hair out even more and cause breakage.
It may also alter the curl pattern that your hair is growing into, as the curls become stretched out and warped. If you must use heat on your hair – use a protective blow dry cream beforehand.
Shedding is normal
Transitioning hair offers plenty of ups and downs, and if you find that your transitioning hair is shedding a lot, know that this is normal. Our hair is meant to shed around 50-100 strands daily, so this isn’t unique to transitioning hair alone.
If you wear your hair in protective styles, when you take out those braids or twists you’ll notice some shedding as this hair wasn’t able to fall out while your hair was styled. Makes sense, right?
You only need to be concerned if you’re seeing golf ball-sized clumps of hair daily, and in this case, you should see your dermatologist, stylist, or doctor.
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Steer clear of drying ingredients
As you embark upon your naturally curly hair journey, you’ll start seeing plenty of buzz words for ingredients that are no friend to curly-haired folk.
Sulfate shampoos and conditioners and alcohol-based stylers can dry your hair out, and as we know, dry hair is more likely to break.
Look out for moisturizing sulfate-free formulas that are specially designed for natural hair and use deep conditioners and castor oil to hydrate the demarcation point where your new growth and relaxed hair meet – as this is the most fragile region of transitioning hair.
You should also avoid protein products. While these are great for strengthening hair, they’re not good for moisture, and transitioning hair needs all the hydration it can get.
Focus on scalp health
Keeping your scalp healthy is one of the easiest ways to maximize your hair growth. You should keep your follicles and scalp free of product build-up and flaking by incorporating a vigorous scalp massage into your wash day.
Keeping your hair follicles and scalp free of product buildup and flaking will help boost hair growth. You can cleanse the scalp by using a cleansing micellar formula shampoo to remove dirt and grime without stripping away your hair’s natural oils.
As we said, transitioning hair is fragile and dry, so you need to treat it with caution even when detangling your hair. Avoid fine-tooth combs and use a wide-tooth comb to detangle from the ends of your hair to the roots.
Use a conditioning and detangling cream when combing hair, and try to avoid brushing it – even once your curls start forming – as this can disrupt your curl pattern and ramp up frizz.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
If you take anything away from this guide, let it be this: moisture is essential for natural hair, especially transitioning hair.
If your transitioning hair is super dry, it could be a result of heat styling, leftover chemicals on the hair, or a lack of hydration in your hair care routine.
Moisture is even more important as your curls start to grow and form, as it becomes increasingly difficult for the natural oils on your scalp to move down the hair shaft.
You should increase your moisturizing routine so that you’re using a moisturizing lotion in the morning and gently misting your hair with water at night.
Moisturizing once or twice a week just isn’t going to cut it – natural hair needs moisturizing daily or even multiple times a day in some cases.
Transitioning to Natural Hair Products
When you’re transitioning to your natural hair, you might need to add a few products to your collection or buy a whole new collection of products.
However, the key to not spending hundreds of dollars is to ensure you understand exactly what products you need – and the difference between various types of products – before you purchase.
When it comes to your shampoo, your main priority will be to ensure the product contains no sulfates and provides plenty of moisture.
You also want a cleansing product that will eliminate build-up and dry flakes on the scalp. Don’t forget, a healthy scalp provides the ideal environment for new hair to grow.
As I Am Cleansing Pudding provides moisture with ingredients like castor seed oil and soothes the scalp with aloe, while also eliminating excess sebum and residue on the scalp and leaving hair and scalp in optimal condition for new hair to grow.
When choosing a conditioner, you want one that’s even more hydrating than usual. Transitioning hair still has fragile areas from prior processing and relaxing, so you need an intensive conditioner that will strengthen your hair.
I AM Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner works to strengthen weak areas and repair split ends, which is perfect for transitioning hair.
It’s infused with pure herbal ingredients that stimulate the scalp and hair roots and provides moisture deep within the hair shaft, resulting in smoother, healthier hair that is generally more manageable.
Kinky and coily hair types are drier due to the shape of the hair shaft, and transitioning hair is extra dry and fragile while your curl pattern is still forming.
It calls for a deep conditioning mask like this one from Sheamoisture, which is specially designed for dry, damaged, or transitioning hair.
It offers a blend of raw shea butter and natural botanicals to help restore natural lipids to damaged hair and will help hydrate hair types 3A through 4C. It’s free of all nasties, including silicone, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, and petroleum.
Hair milk is perfect for providing hydration while also smoothing and controlling frizz. Shea Moisture has a great hair milk designed for transitioning hair.
It’s packed full of organic shea butter which is rich in vitamin A, and promotes healthy growth and strengthens chemically treated hair. It’ll also restore shine and smooth frizzy, dry locks.
Moisturizer isn’t just for your face, it’s for your hair, too, and it’s an absolute essential for transitioning natural hair.
This butter cream from TGIN uses shea butter to lock in moisture from the root to the tip of every strand of hair and also contains Vitamin E oil to encourage hair growth while preventing hair loss.
This formula is packed full of cocoa butter which works to condition the hair and make it stronger and shinier. It also helps tame frizz and smoothes the hair’s cuticle, while leaving strands feeling touchably soft.
Once your curl pattern starts to appear, you can also use it as a setting cream to create soft, smooth, and shiny two-strand twists and twist-outs.
Leave-in conditioner is applied to towel-dried hair after you’ve stepped out of the shower, and it’ll help detangle your strands and smooth the hair’s cuticle.
This leave-in conditioner from Carol’s Daughter intensely moisturizes transitioning hair and helps to reinforce weak strands with every use. Hair is up to 15x stronger in one use, resulting in 94% less breakage, supporting your hair as it grows.
Castor oil and black seed oil strengthen the hair’s shaft between washes so that it better resists breakage and can grow longer and healthier.
Black hair Growth Products
When it comes to your hair growth, one of the mistakes we make is skipping straight to the products that promise to boost growth.
However, in order for hair to grow, we also need to ensure that our scalp is healthy, and we need to repair damage and reinforce our hair’s strength as much as possible, especially when it’s been heavily processed or heat damaged in the past.
There are several great products out there that can help provide an optimal environment for new hair to grow, and you can achieve this through products offering moisture, protection, and repairing properties.
Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Combination Pack
One of the best ranges to help boost growth in Black hair is the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil range.
These products contain certified organic raw shea butter combined with handpicked natural ingredients to deliver nourishing hydration to dry, damaged, brittle curls and coils resulting in smoother and stronger hair.
Peppermint invigorates the hair and scalp to stimulate blood cells and promote hair growth, while the restorative omegas found in Jamaican black castor oil help to heal damaged hair, mend split ends, and restore your natural shine.
Castor Oil USDA Organic Cold-Pressed
Castor Oil is one of the beauty industry’s best-kept secrets. The Omega-9 fatty acid content in ricinoleic acid which is found in the oil helps to promote hair growth by adding strength to each follicle, providing an extra protective barrier for the hair cuticles.
When applied on the scalp frequently and consistently, it can also help improve blood circulation to the follicles, which then triggers growth. It also helps hydrate dry and damaged hair and helps improve moisture retention.
Basically, it’s a lifesaver for dry, damaged transitioning hair, and Black curly or coily hair types in general.
Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil
Like we said previously, weak, damaged hair isn’t going to grow, so in order for your hair to thrive, you need to repair and strengthen it.
Created by Black-owned company Mielle, this oil moisturizes dry scalps and smoothes split ends with its nutrient-rich, intensive formula.
The mint will help stimulate your scalp, while the herbal ingredients, castor oil, and biotin help form longer, stronger, healthier hair.
This product is also super versatile: it can be used as a scalp treatment, a split end healer, or can simply be combed through the hair daily.
Mielle Organics Adult Healthy Hair Formula Gummy Vitamins
If you want to take extra measures to grow your naturally curly or coily Black hair, you can opt for a multivitamin. Vitamins shouldn’t be treated as a cure-all answer to transitioning hair, though.
You need to ensure you’re eating healthily and drinking plenty of water, as well as using the right hair products. However, if you really want to see results in your hair’s growth, these gummies from Mielle are great for that extra boost of goodness.
They contain a unique blend of herbs, amino acids, and minerals, to encourage longer, stronger, and thicker hair.
They’re completely natural and contain no harmful chemicals or preservatives, plus they contain biotin – which helps maintain healthy hair growth and can help combat hair loss.
Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength
The Goddess Strength range from Carol’s Daughter contains ingredients such as castor oil and black cumin seed to fortify weak hair, providing it with vital moisture, and protecting it from breakage and damage.
The products from this range keep hair strong between washes to better resist breakage, enabling it to maintain its length and promoting hair growth.
Hair is also left 9x easier to detangle, is 15x stronger, and has up to 94% less damage. Stronger hair = less breakage and more growth, while the shampoo and conditioner gently cleanse the scalp while providing moisture.
How to Care for Black Hair
Don’t wash your hair too often – the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends washing tightly coiled hair once a week or less.
Washing your hair more frequently than this can dry out the scalp and hair and remove care products and sebum, which naturally moisturizes your hair.
If you have a scalp condition, such as seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff, you may need to wash your hair more often. It’s best to ask your dermatologist for advice on how often, for example, they may recommend washing twice a week.
Which shampoo you use will also play a big role in how hydrated your hair and scalp is.
Avoid sulfates, as these are known to remove natural oils and dry out the hair, making it harder to comb through and more prone to breakage. Instead, look for a gentle, cleansing yet moisturizing shampoo – or co-wash – and a rich conditioner.
Ensure you coat your ends in conditioner, and, while applying shampoo, gently massage your scalp to stimulate the follicles. Pat hair with a microfiber towel to dry – don’t rub.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Deep conditioning should be a big part of your hair care routine.
You’ll need to use a conditioner with each wash but should also use a deep conditioning treatment once or twice a month to replenish the hair.
After shampooing, apply your deep conditioner and wrap the hair in a warm towel, leaving it to soak up the moisture for around 30 minutes.
Natural oils such as jojoba, shea butter, or emu oil can also be hydrating for natural hair.
Comb hair while it’s wet
Natural hair gets tangled easily, and brushing it will only make it more prone to breakage. For this reason, avoid brushing or combing dry hair.
Instead, apply a moisturizer or a leave-in conditioner while your hair is still wet, and then divide it into sections, combing through each section with a wide-toothed comb.
Use very gentle strokes, and focus on the ends first, before progressing to the roots. You can also use a spray bottle to dampen the hair.
Wide-tooth combs are widely available on Amazon, and you’ll also find ones specially designed for use in the shower, or on thick, dense hair.
Reduce friction while you sleep
Cotton pillowcases can absorb moisture and cause friction to your hair – resulting in it feeling drier and frizzier.
A simple solution to this is to use a silk or satin pillowcase or hair wrap while you sleep, as these will reduce friction and moisture absorption, leaving your hair in better condition when you wake up.
How to Keep Curly Hair Healthy
What you put into your body is reflected on the outside too, and all the hair care products in the world won’t help your natural curls if you’re not providing your body with the nutrients it needs to grow healthy hair.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy hair, and you’ll find these in salmon, tuna, dark leafy green veggies, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered a healthy source of fat and help supply the body with natural lubricants for the scalp to promote healthy hair growth. They’re also associated with triggering the Anagen growth phase which can reduce hair loss.
If you struggle to incorporate these into your diet, why not try a teaspoon of chia or flax seeds in your smoothies or recipes? Or, alternatively, you can opt for a daily fish oil supplement or hair gummies.
As we explained before, some hair loss is normal, as we all shed hair daily. However, if you’re losing more hair than usual, there are several factors that could be contributing to this, including:
- Unhealthy diet
- Birth Control
- Hormonal Changes
- Lack of Sleep
- Family History
If you’re experiencing hair loss, it’s best to visit your dermatologist or health care professional so that they can pinpoint what might be causing it.
Drink More Water
You’ve heard this one thousand times – but drinking plenty of water is the easiest way to keep your skin and hair hydrated. Generally, your daily water intake should be half your body weight.
Understand Protein-Moisture Balance
Ah, the protein-moisture balance. It’s something that many women struggle with – trying to ensure your hair isn’t overloaded with either protein or moisture.
Healthy hair basically consists of a balance between these two elements. Too much moisture can result in weak, limp hair that breaks easily, while too much protein may also cause hair to snap.
Earlier we mentioned elasticity – which is the extent to which your hair stretches without breaking.
If your hair can’t be easily stretched when wet and does not return to its natural state after pulling, it’s likely to have low elasticity, and research has shown that elasticity requires a balance of moisture and protein in order to exist.
The best way to achieve this is to rotate between protein and moisturizing deep conditioners every week so that your hair gets the best of both worlds.
Conditioners with protein will usually be marketed as ‘repair’ products, or ‘repairing cream reconstructors.’ Also, look out for products that are ‘balancing’ and contain some of the following ingredients:
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Hydrolyzed keratin
- Hydrolyzed silk protein
- Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
- Variations of hydrolyzed collagen
- Variations of hydrolyzed soy protein
Natural Hair Treatments
Treating your hair to a deep conditioning treatment every so often is essential for natural hair. This helps hydrate your curls, reconstruct the hair, and will help it feel softer and more manageable. Here are our favorites:
Camille Rose Algae Renew Deep Conditioner
Camille Rose Algae Renew is packed with 65 vitamins to make hair stronger and healthier. Coca and mango butter intensely moisturize and lock in moisture, while Blue Green Algae reinforces hair and prevents thinning and breakage.
This deep conditioner will stimulate hair growth and leave you with hair that feels softer and is easier to style.
Coco & Eve Like a Virgin Hair Masque
Coco & Eve’s ‘Like a Virgin’ mask has become a cult product, and it’s easy to see why. This formula offers 5 benefits in 1 product: it hydrates, conditions, improves hair texture and shine, treats split ends, and tames frizz.
Hair feels dramatically healthier and smoother after 10 minutes. Oh, and it’s also 100% vegan and is made without sulfates, parabens, or phthalates.
Aunt Jackie’s Flaxseed Recipes Fix My Hair, Intensive Repair Conditioning Masque
Specially formulated to pack moisture into tight hair textures that are prone to frizz and shrinkage, this mask treatment from Aunt Jackie’s contains carrier oils that deliver nutrients to the hair shaft as well as flaxseed which smoothes frizzy strands in just 10 minutes.
A special blend of flaxseed, avocado, and coconut oils helps repair damage, stop breakage, soften, shine, moisturize and condition dry, brittle, wiry hair.
Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Protein-Strong Treatment
This indulgent masque treatment from Shea Moisture is powered by reparative proteins and butters to naturally reinforce and revitalize over-processed and damaged hair fibers, claiming to reduce breakage up to 76%.
Certified organic shea butter, ultra-moisturizing manuka honey, and luxurious yogurt fortify weak strands and combat breakage and split ends to leave hair feeling touchably soft and smooth.
Mielle Organics Babassu & Mint Deep Conditioner
This deep conditioner from Mielle Organics revives dry and damaged hair with the help of all-natural botanical extracts and amino acids.
Derived from an Amazonian palm fruit, babassu oil contains high concentrations of sterols and tocopherols to moisturize and improve the condition of the hair and scalp.
This mask is enriched with fatty acids and natural oils, as well as complex amino acids from wheat and soy to quench your hair’s thirst.
Hairstyles for Naturally Curly Black Hair
Protective hairstyles keep the ends of the hair tucked away and minimize manipulation. This protects the hair from harsh weather conditions and groups the delicate strands together, offering ‘safety in numbers.’
Different weather conditions cause the hair to expand or contract, weakening the hair’s fibers, which can lead to damage and often loss of length. Protective styles keep hair healthy and enable it to grow.
There are hundreds of protective styles out there to choose from, but here are our favorites:
Best for: start – 1 year in
Bantu Knots were created by the Zulu people of southern Africa, and this hairstyle consists of sectioning off the hair, twisting it, and wrapping it so that the hair is stacked upon itself in a kind of spiraled knot.
These are great for transitioning hair as they minimize manipulation, and also disguise multiple hair types while your curls are developing. This is a great tutorial for Bantu Knots at home.
Best for: start – 1 year in
The pineapple method is when you pile your hair on top of your head in a loose, high ponytail. This style is great for wearing at night time, as it protects hair against frizz and flattened curls while still allowing you to lay down comfortably.
You can use a scrunchie or hair scarf to keep your hair in place, and while this style is usually reserved for nighttime, it looks just as good in the day and takes mere minutes to do.
Best for: any phase while transitioning
Perm rods are great for adding definition to your hair while it’s transitioning. You should wash and condition your hair, then section it off and saturate it with a setting lotion, curling cream, and a small amount of oil.
Then, wrap the sections of your hair around the right sized perm rods for your hair length. Allow them to dry so that the curls are able to form. It’s best to let them set overnight and dry naturally.
Best for: start to 1 year in
Named after the legend Bob Marley, these twists use hair extensions to twist two strands of hair around each other and are sealed with beeswax for a shiny finish.
It’s a low-maintenance and fun hairstyle that can be worn in hundreds of different ways. Feel free to experiment with this one!
Knotless Box Braids
Best for: start to one year in
Knotless braids have seen a 150% increase in searches on Pinterest lately, and it’s easy to see why.
Unlike the traditional braiding technique, the knotless variation starts with your natural hair and gradually adds pieces of hair as the braid progresses, resulting in less tension on the scalp and a reduced risk of breakage.
Best for: start to one year in
Sleek and sophisticated, a braided updo has the advantage of your hair already being styled for you. It also keeps your ends shielded and tucked away from environmental damages, which will encourage it to grow.
Best for: one year in or more
Once your curl pattern has developed and you’re about a year into transitioning, you can embrace your natural curls by trimming off damaged ends to provide your hair with major bounce and volume. Just ensure your hair has plenty of moisture.
Best for: any phase
Crochet braids are great if you want to avoid the hassle of a weave. Rather than damaging your hairline with a sew-in, crochet braids instead require your stylist to latch your extensions onto cornrows with a needle, resulting in lightweight and beautiful crochet braids.
Best for: any phase
Flexi rods are perfect for natural hair that’s in that “in-between” phase where your roots are curly but your ends are not.
Best for: any phase
Straight-back cornrows are sleek and timeless, and they work well whether you’re full-on natural or just transitioning. The style takes minimal maintenance and keeps hair out of your face – so it’s a win-win.
Your hair will require daily moisturization, but this doesn’t necessarily mean drenching your hair with water every time. Here are a few ways to keep your hair hydrated every day:
- Use a spray bottle and refresher spray product
- Lightly spritz the hair with water and follow up with an oil of your choice.
- Use daily moisturizing hair milk or lotion. Apply a quarter-size amount to hand and evenly distribute throughout the hair – but don’t completely saturate it.
- Use moisturizing hair butter or cream.
Before your weekly hair wash, apply a treatment before shampooing, preferably a natural oil such as Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, or a mix of all of these.
Pre-pooing helps detangle the hair and will make it easier to manage, plus it will also help improve moisture retention during the shampooing process.
Shampoo & Condition
You should use a hydrating, sulfate-free shampoo to cleanse your hair weekly with lukewarm water – avoid hot water as it’s too harsh on the hair.
Once a month you can also use a clarifying shampoo if you feel that you have a lot of product build-up.
Clarifying shampoos have a higher pH level to gently open the hair cuticle and remove dirt, buildup, and environmental elements to promote a healthy scalp.
Ensure that you have a deep conditioning treatment or mask and that will penetrate the hair and lock in moisture. This prevents hair from drying out and breaking.
For extremely dry hair, a deep conditioning treatment once a week is necessary, otherwise, twice a month is recommended.
Don’t forget, transitioning hair is naturally drier and more prone to damage, so you’ll definitely want to deep condition once a week.
A leave-in conditioner is an important step in your hair care routine as it helps to keep the hair hydrated and primes it for styling, helping to reduce frizz and promote shine.
Leave-in conditioners can also be applied to dry, natural hair every 2-3 days if required.
If your hair is especially weak and damaged or has low elasticity, it may require monthly protein treatments. The key here is not to use these too often.
As we said earlier, while protein treatments can be great for repairing severely dry and damaged hair, they can also make the issue worse if your protein-moisture balance is off.
Every season/ or every 8-10 weeks
It might seem contradictory, but your hair won’t grow unless you trim the dead ends.
Trimming and/or lightly dusting your split ends every 8 weeks will allow you to retain length and improve detangling issues. It’ll also improve the overall appearance of your hair, making it far more manageable.
Trimming every 8 weeks is standard, but if your hair grows fast you may need it cut more often (every 4 weeks) or less often if it doesn’t grow very much.
Transitioning to natural hair can definitely be daunting, as there is so much to learn. However, trust us when we say that this is a learning process, and it’s very much about trial and error, and finding out what works well for your hair type and porosity level.
One of the most important things is to be patient, your curls won’t form overnight, and it may take some time for you to be happy with them.
However, if you maintain a healthy diet, use the right products, and provide your hair with plenty of care, we promise you that you’ll get there eventually – and it’ll definitely be worth the wait.