Natural & Curly Hair For Dummies
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Natural and Curly Hair For Dummies gives you great guidance on how to keep your natural and curly hair healthy and looking great — from the ins and outs of washing and conditioning, to styling for fashion or protection, and even taking care of your child’s textured hair.

This handy cheat sheet contains quick info that you can use on the fly, whether at home, shopping for natural hair products, or at the salon.

Tips for growing out your natural hair

Everyone’s hair is a little different, but here are some great tips to help your natural hair grow out in a healthy way:

  • Deep condition weekly.
  • Use a cotton T-shirt or microfiber towel to dry your hair (not a cotton towel).
  • Use the LOC (leave in conditioner, oil, and cream) method to keep your scalp and hair very well hydrated and moisturized.
  • Try not to use any heat when styling, but if you must, use low heat.
  • Sleep in a silk or satin head covering or sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase.
  • Wear protective styles periodically, when needed.
  • Get regular trims to get rid of split ends.
  • Consult a professional stylist to assess your hair’s current state and discuss a plan to help you retain hair growth.

Must-have tools and products

You may have to take some time to find your personal favorites, but here are the basic tools and products you should always have on hand to care for and style your natural and curly hair:

  • Brushes: Have one that you use to detangle and one that you use to dry. If you want one that does both, look into paddle brushes (but they don’t necessarily work well for all hair types and textures).
  • Wide-tooth comb: Detangles and separates your hair.
  • Fine-tooth comb: Create sleek hairstyles and remove scalp buildup on wash days.
  • Rat tail comb: Part and section your hair.
  • Hair pick: Keep voluminous styles, such as afros and afro puffs, tangle free.
  • Shampoos: A clarifying shampoo removes buildup to deeply clean your hair, and a moisturizing shampoo provides a layer of moisture before you condition your hair.
  • Conditioners: Whether you choose to rinse out after shampooing or use it as a leave-in, conditioners provide some slip for gently combing out tangles and keeping your hair moisturized on wash days and non-wash days alike.
  • Edge control: This gel product helps you keep flyaways down around your hairline in check.
  • Oils: Keep your scalp and hair healthy and moisturized.
  • Nighttime head covering: Have a collection of bonnets, scarves, and durags to protect and preserve your curls while you sleep.

DIY hair products and quick recipes

You don’t always need to use mass-produced hair products to keep your hair healthy. You can find great DIY hair products in your kitchen right now, if you know what to look for. Here are some quick recipes:

Honey: Promotes cell growth, helps your hair retain moisture, and restores nutrients to your hair and scalp. Combine honey and water, massage the mix into your scalp and hair, and let it sit for one to two hours. Rinse out the honey mixture with warm water, then shampoo.

Aloe: Has natural enzymes that help you shed less hair, and it soothes dry and itchy scalps. Apply aloe vera gel on your scalp, gently massage it in, let it sit for at least two hours, then rinse out the aloe gel with warm water or shampoo.

Rice water: Helps you detangle your hair and makes it shiny and smooth. Make rice water by combining 1/2 cup of rinsed uncooked rice with 2 to 3 cups of water. Let the rice soak for about a half hour, and then strain out the rice. After you shampoo and rinse your hair with plain water, pour the rice water on your hair, massage it into your hair and scalp and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then rinse with warm water.

Apple cider vinegar: Exfoliates the scalp and prevents dandruff. After shampooing and conditioning, combine 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 5 tablespoons of water, pour the mixture evenly throughout the scalp, and massage it in for a bit. Leave it on five minutes, then rinse out with warm water.

Peppermint oil: Aids in blood circulation, which can help with hair growth. Before you shampoo, apply 4 to 5 drops of peppermint oil directly to your scalp, massage it in for about two to three minutes, and then let it sit for 15 minutes. You’ll feel a tingling sensation. If the sensation is too intense, you can calm the effect by adding oils, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, or shea butter oil to your scalp. After 15 minutes, you can shampoo and condition as usual.

Questions to ask a hair stylist during a consult

Finding the right licensed hair stylist is a vital piece of the natural hair care puzzle. Although most people get referred to hair stylists through friends and family members, you may still want to do a consult to find out more on your own. Schedule a consult to see whether their style is a fit for you. Be sure to bring photos of what style or cut you want to achieve. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What are your prices, and do they vary with density, texture, or length?
  • What percentage of your clientele has natural and curly hair?
  • What type of natural and curly hair products do you use?
  • What cutting techniques do you use for curly hair and why?
  • What do you think of the state of my overall hair health currently, and can I achieve my goals based on the pictures I’ve shown?
  • How long do you estimate I need to achieve what I want, and what can I expect during my natural hair journey?
  • What protective styles can best help me on my hair journey?
  • Did you receive any specialized training for cutting and styling curly hair?
  • What advice do you give your clients to maintain their hair at home?

When to call in a pro

You can totally take care of your natural and curly hair on a regular basis, but these more-advanced tasks require a professional hair stylist for help:

  • Haircuts
  • Transitioning from a relaxer to natural hair
  • Changing or correcting your hair color
  • Troubleshooting why your products don’t keep your hair moisturized and healthy
  • Troubleshooting scalp issues, such as severe dandruff or traction alopecia. This also may require a visit to a medical specialist.
  • When you simply just want to be pampered

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Johnny Wright is a celebrity hairstylist with over 30 years of experience in the industry. He was personal stylist to Michelle Obama during the Obama administration. Since 2016, he is a personal stylist to Tamron Hall, and says he owes his success to the early memory of watching his grandmother curl hair on their front porch.

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