They are literally everywhere you turn. Seemingly perfect curls and twists. That oh-so-desirable length. Moisture for days. Not a hair out of place. You think to yourself, "Man, I want her hair! I want my hair to do exactly what her hair does." You hastily approach this woman and almost scream out, "What did you use in your hair? How did you get it to do that?". You hang on to her every word, you make notes on the products she used, as well as her technique. You hurry to the nearest beauty supply store, go home and turn your bathroom into a personal hair salon. When you finish doing exactly what you thought she said, you look like a chia pet! LOL!!! Wanna know why? Those perfect curls and twists were HER natural.
Having natural hair is a delicate balance between you wondering why you didn't go natural a decade ago to you toying with the idea of going back to a relaxer (GASPS!!!!! lol). Be strong. We all go through it. Everybody's natural hair is not the same. There are so many different textures, curl patterns ( or lack thereof) and lengths and they all are beautiful in a unique way. Being natural is much like some of the age old lessons we were taught as children: You just have to BE YOURSELF. Below are a few tips that may help you discover your natural.
1. Research, research, research. Find out what your curl pattern is.
2. Determine your hair's porosity (check out my blog post on hair porosity. here). This will help you to figure out which moisturizing technique will work best for your hair. Nobody likes a dry fro.
3. Know that what hair product works for one natural, may not work for you, which leads me into tip number 4....
4. Products do NOT create curls that you don't already have. Example: Erica uses product x and her head is covered in curly awesomeness. If I use product x, then I too will have a head covered in curly awesomeness lol. Catch my drift? Since you have done your research and you know your curl pattern, then you know that whatever product you choose to use will only define and enhance your natural curl pattern. This is the whole point of being natural right? =)
5. Don't be afraid to try new styles and products, but never forget the basic products that first made you love your hair. I can't tell you how many times, I've become so consumed with trying new things that I forget that Kinky Curly leave-in is a great fit for my hair or that my homemade shea butter whip gave me one of the best twist outs I've ever experienced.
6. Love YOUR natural. You went natural for a variety of reasons. Try not to become discouraged if your hair doesn't look like your favorite naturalista's. Being natural is a unique experience for each woman. Own it!
Check out my pictures of some of my natural hair victories and fails over the past year. lol
Forever on a quest for the perfect moisturizing regimen for my low porosity hair, I decided to try the LOC method. LOC is an acronym for liquid, oil and cream. You start your hair off with water or a liquid based leave-in conditioner, followed by an oil and finally a cream. The concept is that the oil will seal in the water (or water based leave-in conditioner) and the cream will seal in the oil into your strands. After repeated usage of this method, you should be left with well moisturized strands. Many naturalistas swear by this method and depending on your hair type you may experience the same success. Below is a list of what products I used for the LOC method.
L-Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner
O- Desert Essence Jojoba oil
C-Eden Bodyworks Jojoba Monoi Hair Milk
I started by treating my hair that had been rinsed with warm water with a baking soda/water mix to open my cuticles. I dried my hair using the plopping method. I followed this with deep conditioning with Shea Butter Intense Moisture Masque. I wrapped a towel around my hair and allowed this to sit on my hair for 30 minutes. After rinsing my hair with cool water to seal my cuticles, I sprayed it with an aloe vera juice/water mix to balance my hair's pH from the alkaline baking soda mixture. After detangling, I was ready to begin the LOC method.
I sectioned my hair into 4 and worked a quarter sized amount of Giovanni Direct Leave-In into one section from root to tip. I rubbed a few drops of jojoba oil into my palm and rubbed it together. I also applied it to the section from root to tip. Finally, I rubbed a quarter size amount of the Eden Bodyworks hair milk into my hand and worked it through the section from root to tip. Repeat this until you have moisturized all sections.
Verdict so far: My hair was noticeably shinier and softer. I will most definitely be trying this method again to see what the long term results are. I will keep you posted!
One of my worst experiences with being natural has been adding moisturizers and oils to my hair, only for it to look dry by the end of the day. Nobody likes a dry fro, twist out, wash and go, etc. I wondered why my hair did not seem to be retaining moisture no matter how much I added to it. After some research, I stumbled upon the term porosity.
Porosity is your hair's ability to absorb and hold on to moisture. Your hair can be high, low or normal porosity. How do you figure out your hair's porosity? It's simple:
1. Grab a glass and fill it with room temperature water
2. Find some of your shed hairs on a comb or brush, not a broken one (a shed hair will have a white bulb on the end)
3. Clean the hairs with a little shampoo
4. Drop the hairs into the water
Low Porosity-hairs will stay and float on the top
High Porosity-hairs will sink to the bottom
Normal Porosity-hairs will slowly and gradually sink to the bottom.