My beauty of this week, is the beautiful and amazing Jokate Mwegelo.
The lady in red. Elizabeth Lulu Michael is our beauty of the week. What do you all think? Yay or Nope?
Am thinking about getting braids. What is the best choice between these?
Summer is here and you surely have a water-bound trip booked already. We’ve rounded up the must-have beach essentials so that you can make the most of the sea, sand, and sun.
Beaches have always been popular tourist destinations, and for a good reason. Who can say no to the beauty of the crystal clear waters and white sand.
Now that the summer is here, you’ve probably already booked a beach getaway. To make sure that you’re pampered and polished during your vacay, we’ve made the ultimate list of beauty essentials you should definitely pack in you suitcase.
As you already know, you can’t afford to flaunt what you’ve got under the sun without some protection. Thus, you must never forget to bring sunscreen with you (choose a formula that isn’t sticky). Put on a generous amount from head to toe to make sure you’re protected against the harmful rays of the sun. Reapply regularly!
2. Lip balm
Your lips will surely dry while you’re lying in the sun. Prevent this from happening by carrying a lip balm with SPF.
3. Umbrella or hat
You won’t only beat the heat while carrying a dainty umbrella or while wearing a show-stopping hat. You’ll also leave everyone impressed with your style and taste.
You’ll want to protect the windows to your soul while roaming around the heavenly island. The advantage is that you’ll get the chance to eye some guys without them knowing!
5. Pashmina or cardigan
You know how much it gets cold during the night, especially if you’re still sitting on the beach. Bring a fashionable pashmina or a light cardigan to use as a cover up.
5. Bottle of water
Because you can’t afford to be dehydrated, always have your favorite mug or a tumbler cup with you.
Pack tissues and portable hand wipes because you’ll need them both day and night. You know how surprises can occur at the time you least expect them so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
7. Hair conditioner
The beach and the sun can cause damage to your locks. Don’t forget to cover your hair with a conditioner from the root to the tip each time you wash it to ensure it’s protected.
8. Makeup kit
Yes, not all of us can be comfortable with showing our bare face to the world (or at least to other vacationers on the same beach). So if you’re one of many who can’t afford to be seen without makeup, pack your makeup kit. Just be sure to stick to these essentials: waterproof mascara, light foundation, and a multiple stick/highlighter, and lip gloss. You’ll be perfect!
This is not really a must-have if you’re happy with your complexion. On the other side, if you feel more confident with sun-kissed skin, bring this in your tote as well.
Depending on how long your vacation is, you may need to pack more than a pair. Find those that can provide your bust the right support and those that complement your complexion perfectly. If you aren’t ready to bare too much skin, opt for rash guards. Either way, you’ll look perfect as long as you feel confident and beautiful.
Pack one floral and one solid colored sundress just to be sure. Add some statement jewelry and you’ll be ready to rock any night party by the beach.
12. White shorts
If you feel like showing off some legs, white shorts would be a perfect choice. Not only will it be easy to mix and match with any top you’ve packed, it will also look fashionable either during the day or night.
13. Statement jewelry
There’s nothing that can make your look go from simple to stunning than statement jewelry. Choose one that is a great match to all the clothing you packed.
14. Running shoes
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean that you should skip your sweat sessions. You can always work out by running by the beautiful coastline.
15. Oversized tote
This way, you don’t have to worry about leaving anything in your hotel room. You get to carry your must-haves everywhere you go and you’re ready for whatever emergency that may come your way.
The following are not considered beauty essentials, obviously, but they’ll save you the stress and hassle. Trust us on this!
· High-resolution camera
· Universal charger
· Flashlights and some batteries
· Reading materials
· Prescription medicines
· Extra underwear
· Mesh bag for the laundry
So what are you waiting for? Double check what you’ve packed and make sure all items listed here are with you before you take off. They may not guarantee the best beach getaway ever, but at least they’ll help you to have fun while being safe and ready for any of life’s surprises while you’re away from the comfort of your home.
What other beauty products do you think you should bring to your upcoming tropical vacation? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Not everybody is going to respond to the same facial treatments. Using clay masks that are tailored to your skin type, however, will give you healthy skin in no time.
Don’t be fooled though! Not all clay masks will work with your skin type. In order to find out which ones will fair in your favor, use this guide.
Benefits of Using Clay
Some of you might turn up your nose and ask what the difference is between using clay and using a chemical-ridden mask designed for the same purpose. Here’s why you should use clay over other products.
1. They’re all natural
While some people really don’t care if they use natural skincare products or not, those of you who do will find that clay can perform many of the same functions that high end name brand products can. Another bonus of clay being all natural is that people with sensitive can use most kinds with no irritation.
2. You can tailor them to your specific skin type
You can’t really put three different products in a bowl, mix them together and know that they’ll work safely on your face. With clay masks, you can do that. You can mix however many different types of clay together in order to use something for each ailment you want to mend.
3. They’re cheap
In comparison to higher end face masks and skincare products, clay masks are really cheap. In fact, they’re cheap in comparison to nearly anything. You usually buy the clay in bulk, powdered form at anywhere from $8-$20 for a pound. When you only use a tablespoon per mask, you’re not paying much at all.
Different Clays and What Skin Types Should Use Them
1. French Green Clay
This clay is named for its origin and color. It is full of volcanic matter, minerals and decomposed plant matters (great for you even if it sounds strange). This is a very cleansing clay that pulls oils and toxins from deep within your pores to clear them out and prevent blockage. This is the clay that saved my face from destruction!
A word of caution: Due to the detoxifying and oil absorbing properties, using this clay more than three times a week may result in mild irritation, including dryness and redness.
Best suited for: oily, acne prone or combination skin (only on the oily zones)
2. Bentonite Clay
You may have heard of this clay before since it’s widely known for its ability to attract dirt, oil, impurities, and suck out all the gunk that’s clogging your pores. You can find this mainly in the western United States, but the Indian Bentonite Clay is even more powerful/beneficial.
A word of caution: Again, since this mask is extremely powerful at sucking out impurities, using it more than twice a week may result in irritation.
Best suited for: oily and acne prone skin although drier skin types can use this as a monthly maintenance mask as long as it’s followed by a great moisturizer.
3. White Kaolin Clay
You may also have heard of this clay being called China Clay since it was discovered on Mount Kaolin in China and later brought to Europe during the 18th century. This clay is unique in its ability to regulate your skin’s oil production. It not only sucks out impurities and oil, but helps to keep your oil production in check.
Best suited for: all skin types. That’s right. Even children and people with aged skin can safely use this clay mask as often as necessary.
4. Moroccan Red Clay
Also known as Rhoussal Clay, it is ridiculously rich in mineral content that not only works to detoxify your skin, but also helps to heal imperfections as well. This one is great for smoothing, tightening and reducing redness in your skin.
A word of caution: Using only this clay mask more than twice a week may result in mild irritation.
Best suited for: oily, acne prone and aged skin.
5. Fuller’s Earth
If you’ve been trying out the natural skincare for some time now, you may have come across this type of clay. This vitamin rich clay can be used to unclog pores, reduce oil production, aid in the healing of acne scars and even balance your skin’s pH level.
Best suited for: Although all skin types can use this beneficial clay, I suggest those with oily, acne prone and combination skin use it regularly for the best benefits.
How to Mix Your Clay Mask
Not all clay masks are used in the same way. Depending on your skin type, you should make them with different ingredients in order to reap the most rewards. These are the best ways to make clay masks depending on your skin type.
Oily Skin: Oily skin would benefit most from mixing each mask of your choosing with apple cider vinegar. There are immense facial benefits for apple cider vinegar, but the most relevant is that it helps to balance your pH levels and reduce over production of oil.
Acne Prone Skin: This skin type would also benefit greatly by mixing clays with apple cider vinegar, but I also recommend adding a few drops of tea tree oil to this mixture for its antibacterial and acne fighting properties.
Combination Skin: This skin type should only mix masks with distilled water. I suggest this because anything else may be too moisturizing or too drying for your combination skin. Distilled water should be used so the clay doesn’t only absorb chemicals from your tap water instead of from your face.
Dry Skin: Dry skin types have the hardest time with clay masks because they can be drying at times even though they’re beneficial. Depending on the severity of your dryness, I recommend mixing your clays with beneficial oils instead of with water.
Aged Skin: I like to treat aged skin like dry skin. Using oils or just distilled water when mixing your clay masks will provide maximum benefits while reducing the side effects.
Whether you’re growing them out or you already achieved your natural mane, here is everything you need to know about restoring moisture to your curls.
Dry hair is a universal complaint of people with natural hair. The tighter your kinks and coils, the more likely it is for your hair to be dry. Additionally, if your hair has a low porosity, the cuticles are tightly closed and the result is that it makes it difficult for moisture to enter the hair shaft.
There are a number of key practices on how to moisturize dry natural hair. Let’s take a look at some of the practices to boost and maintain the moisture levels that your hair deserves.
Deep conditioning is absolutely essential for maintaining healthy, moisturized natural hair. Deep conditioning restores moisture that is lost from the hair due to environmental factors such as very hot or very cold air.
In the summer, the heat leaves the hair dry and parched and in the winter, cold air also pulls moisture from the hair due to the fact that cold air lacks moisture. Just think of how your skin becomes dry when exposed to cold air and you’ll understand.
The tighter your kinks and coils, the more often you need to deep condition and the thicker your deep conditioner should be. There are some lightweight, deep conditioners that can pack a powerful moisture punch, however, in general, the thicker your deep conditioner, the more likely moisturizing and nourishing it is to your thirsty hair.
When deep conditioning, ensure that you follow the instructions as described on the product packaging. Deep conditioners are formulated to work within a specific time frame, so while life can get in the way and what was initially supposed to be ten minutes became an hour and a half because your kids woke up or you realized you need to make a supermarket run, do not make a habit of leaving on your deep conditioner for excessive periods of time.
There are no benefits to be obtained from the practice and it can, in fact, lead to negative effects such as product build up.
Use a hair steamer
Steaming the hair is a process that is hugely beneficial for hair health and moisture retention. Steaming uses moist heat in order to open the cuticles of the hair, which permits all the beneficial, natural ingredients in your conditioner to enter the hair. This means all these ingredients are able to benefit and nourish the hair from the inside.
Steaming helps fight both dryness and breakage and the scalp also benefits from steaming as well. Steaming unclogs the pores of the scalp and also eases scalp irritation that results from dryness. Additional benefits of steaming include improving the elasticity of the hair, enhancing the definition of your curls and making color hair color last longer.
Alternately, during your deep conditioning process, you may cover your hair with a plastic cap and the wrap a warm towel around your hair in order to add some additional moist heat to the hair to assist the process.
Look for moisturizing ingredients in your products
There are certain ingredients that are widely used in moisturizing products such as conditioners, leave in conditioners, moisturizers and certain types of stylers. These ingredients either provide moisture to the hair or attract moisture to it.
They also often help to condition and soften the hair in order to make it more manageable. Ingredients to look for are honey, castor oil, glycerine, panthenol, and aloe vera.
Also be on the lookout for conditioning or fatty alcohols. These types of alcohols are usually derived from natural sources such as coconut and palm oil, hence their inclusion in many products for natural hair. Examples of conditioning alcohols are behenyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, lauryl alcohol and Cetearyl alcohol (combination of cetyl and stearyl alcohols).
These alcohols are beneficial to the hair and help impart moisture and make natural hair more manageable.
Steps to moisturize hair
Hair does not need to be freshly washed, but it should be free from product buildup. Product build up creates a barrier between the hair and the products you apply. Instead of penetrating into the hair, the products you apply will just sit on top of the build up that’s coating your hair. Here are the steps to follow to moisturize your natural hair.
1. Apply your source of moisture. This can be plain water, a leave in conditioner, aloe vera juice or gel or some other product that has water listed as its principal ingredient.
2. After adding your moisturizer, apply a small amount of oil or butter to lock or seal the moisture into the hair. Since oil and water do not mix the oil acts as a bit of a gate to keep the moisture in and slow its evaporation from the hair. The barrier is a breathable one.
The LOC Method
The LOC method is a widely-followed way of using and applying specific types of products to natural hair in a designated order. LOC is an acronym for liquid or leave-in conditioner, oil, and cream. The products are added to the hair, layer by layer in that order. Layering the products in this order helps to maintain moisture for longer periods for many naturals.
Your liquid can be plain water, rose water, aloe vera juice, leave in conditioner or any combination thereof. The one you chose is largely due to personal preference.
Oil is oil so this step is pretty straight forward. You may use any oil of your choosing or even blend different oils if that is your preference. Butters such as shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter or any blend of butter may also be used.
The final step of the LOC method involves using a product that is creamy. It may any type of product as long as the product is creamy in texture. Here your product could potentially be a styler, hair pudding or creamy moisturizer. Ideally, you want this product to be a little on the heavy side to seal the previous layers in well.
Butters and oils are excellent sealants that create a layer on the hair strand that reduces moisture loss to the atmosphere. Using your cream or heavy butter as your last step means that the water stays trapped inside the hair longer. This is particularly helpful to naturalistas who struggle with consistent dryness.
Follow the instructions below to incorporate the LOC method as a part of your moisturizing regimen.
STEP 1 – Apply water, leave-in conditioner to freshly washed hair. Focus on your ends and the areas most prone to being dry.
STEP 2 – Apply your oil to seal in the moisturizer. Keep this layer thin because you will be adding your cream (the heaviest of the 3 products) next and you do not want to weigh your hair down.
STEP 3 – Seal everything in with a creamy, butter based moisturizer
STEP 4 – Style hair as usual.
The density of your hair (how many strands of hair are on your head) and their porosity (how readily they allow products to enter the hair) will play a big role in the effectiveness of the LOC method for your hair type so pay attention to what your hair likes and responds to best.
If you’ve been natural for longer than a second you will have realized that there is no one size fits all. Use the products that work well for your hair and if the LOC method doesn’t work for you there’s a modified version called the LCO method, which switches the order of application of the cream and oil.
Things to avoid
Avoid heat entirely or use it only sparingly. Heat dehydrates the hair from within and can damage the protein structure of the hair such that hair is unable to bond with water molecules effectively or makes moisture escape more readily.
Avoid alcohols that are drying to the hair. These include propanol, alcohol denat, propyl alcohol, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and SD alcohol 40
Avoid wearing your hair out in extremely hot or extremely cold conditions as these conditions pull moisture from the hair.
Getting hair moisturized and helping it stay that way can be a difficult process for some naturals. Sometimes it requires a lot of experimentation and patience. Allow yourself to enough time to assess if your products are working, as improvements aren’t always immediately obvious.
Make changes gradually and don’t change too much at once, as it will make it more difficult to determine the products that are responsible for any change, positive or otherwise.
As simple as it sounds, wearing no makeup has both pros and cons. Do you like going makeup free? Read on to find out if it is the right choice for you.
Unlike many women, I don’t wear makeup often. In fact, I rarely wear it; I could count the number of times I wear makeup in a year on one hand. As rare as this may sound, there are still many women who choose not to wear makeup, there are just far fewer when compared to the number of women who do wear makeup.
Despite society having made makeup so easily accessible and desired, there are still many pros to not wearing makeup—and many cons.
The pros of an almost makeup free life:
Your skin will thank you!
If you don’t wear makeup, your pores will not be clogged from all the toxins and chemicals that are in makeup. Despite makeup technically being labeled safe through testing, it does still have chemicals that can be harmful and even carcinogenic. This means that by not wearing makeup, your pores will remain open and unclogged, and your skin and body will not absorb these chemicals.
In addition, your skin will have less acne and will be less prone to getting acne if you don’t wear makeup. This is due to your pores not having the opportunity to absorb or get clogged up from the makeup. Ironically, many women wear foundation and other types of makeup to cover up acne, but this creates a vicious cycle that only creates more acne or irritates existing acne more.
It’s a confidence booster
As much as women think makeup makes them more beautiful and desirable, this isn’t really the case. In fact, by not wearing makeup, you will learn to love the ‘flaws’ you hide with makeup. When you think about it, makeup is like a mask: it’s something we use to hide, fix or cover up what we think needs to be hidden or tweaked. However, you should be confident and love the way you look without altering it.
“I feel prettier with makeup,” or “Makeup makes me beautiful” should become a thought of the past. You won’t need to say this because you’ll become much more confident and will realize you feel prettier without makeup. Don’t hide who you are and what you look like. Love yourself. However, if makeup helps to make you feel more confident, then go for it—just know that you are beautiful regardless.
At first, not wearing makeup may seem daunting, and even seem as if you are exposed, but gradually it will get easier. By not wearing makeup, you will realize that you don’t need to fix your face and that you don’t need makeup, and slowly but surely, you will become more confident in the way you look. In fact, when you get a compliment you will feel so much better about it because it will be a compliment about your natural beauty!
Not wearing makeup has numerous pros: it will save you a lot of time and money, and it will allow you to cry without making a mess everywhere. You can also cuddle up and kiss your man without leaving any traces of makeup. However, not wearing makeup often also has its cons.
The cons of an almost makeup free life:
You are clueless
When it comes to the world of makeup, there is a lot more to it than most people think. There are different brushes for different tasks, different methods, designs and styles of makeup, and then different types of every product. It is a very confusing thing—especially if you only wear makeup occasionally. If that’s the case, you feel completely clueless and don’t know what to use things for and what to do.
You make a mess
You not only don’t know how to use it and apply it, but you also make a mess of your face and the makeup itself. By being a newbie to makeup, the results range from smudged and mucky to clumpy and more, which then becomes a mission to remove. Similarly, those of us who seldom wear makeup will often make a mess of the makeup itself due to our lack of experience using the various products.
Since you don’t wear makeup often enough, you often feel like it’s too heavy and in a way even suffocating your skin, which really is lousy because wearing makeup occasionally is actually fun.
You also tend to forget that you are wearing it and run the risk of smudging your makeup by touching your face, which is not as much fun. Another negative is that it’s not only foreign for you but for the people around you who seldom see you with makeup; no matter how little makeup you wear, they’ll think it’s too much since they never see you with any makeup at all.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: some people want to wear makeup all the time because it makes them feel good about themselves while others don’t, which offers its perks and negatives. In the end, wearing makeup is a personal preference, and for me, wearing makeup rarely is the way to go despite the cons, which do cause the occasional issue. Feel free to share your thoughts on the pros and cons of not wearing makeup!
If you’re thinking of relaxing your hair and going natural, these natural hair care tips are the right thing for you.
Forget everything you think you know about hair care. When it comes to returning to your natural hair it’s pretty much a whole new ball game.
You need to retrain yourself and know that you can’t treat your now curly, coily or kinky hair as if it were still relaxed. If you’ve been natural for a while, but feel like you’ve come to a plateau in your natural hair journey, then revisiting these natural hair care tips can be the jump start you need.
Here is everything you need to jump start your natural hair journey.
Shampooing removes dirt and product buildup but it also removes at least some of the natural oils that the scalp produces for the keeping hair lubricated and nourished.
Shampooing less means keeping hair supple and moisturized for longer periods. Shampooing less will be particularly beneficial to you if you notice that your hair usually takes a few days to feel moisturized again after your full wash day routine.
Use sulfate free shampoos
Whenever you do shampoo, use sulfate-free formulations that are gentler on the hair. If your hair has been color treated, then using sulfate free shampoos will also help to preserve your hair color so that it stays vibrant, for longer periods of time.
Shampoos that contain sulfates are particularly drying for naturally curly, kinky or coily hair types and can lead to breakage, tangles and split ends.
Sulfate shampoos can also cause the scalp to become dry, itchy and irritated. Sulfate free shampoos will not remove silicones, mineral oil or petrolatum, so you should avoid using products that contain these ingredients when on a sulfate free cleansing regimen.
Better yet, use no shampoo methods for cleansing the hair
No poo or no shampoo cleansing methods keep hair moisturized thereby reducing the risk of split ends and breakage. No poo cleansing methods also promote shine so hair looks better.
Overall hair health is improved and your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals is reduced. No poo methods of cleansing the hair include using co-washes, cleansing conditioners, shampoo bars and or mud/clay washes.
For the most part, these methods will not produce the lather that sulfate shampoos provide. If you desire lather you can try a cleanser such as Dr. Bronner’s castile soap. If castile soap is used, be sure to follow up with an apple cider vinegar rinse to restore the hair’s pH.
Deep condition often
Deep condition every time you cleanse your hair. This will help hair maintain a healthy moisture balance and better equip it to deal with environmental stresses such as dry air or air conditioning or the heat from spending lots of time in the sun.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
Moisture comes from water and nowhere else. There is no oil that will moisturize your hair, though oils can help hair retain moisture and in some cases (castor oil) attract moisture i.e. water to the hair.
Your moisturizer’s first ingredient must be water or it’s not truly a moisturizer. Develop a moisturizing regimen that addresses the particular needs of your hair. Listen to your hair.
If it feels dry at the end of the day, moisturize it, paying particular attention to the ends of the hair. The ends of the hair are the oldest parts and require extra TLC.
Keeping the ends of your hair healthy is a critical part of maintaining hair growth. If your ends aren’t healthy then they’ll continually break off making it impossible for you to notice the new growth happening at your scalp.
If your hair breaks off at a rate that is greater than the rate at which it grows then you will actually lose length over time. Damage never stays confined to the ends, splits will travel up the hair shaft and weaken more of the hair. Regular trims help to get rid of splits and make sure they don’t spread.
Protect your ends
Protecting your ends ensures that they stay moisturized and aren’t exposed to conditions that dry them out or cause them to break off because of friction. If ends are protected, then trimming becomes less necessary and length retention is easier.
Sleep on satin
A satin sleep cap, scarf or satin pillowcases are essential if you want to keep your hair healthy. Satin minimizes friction and won’t pull moisture from your strands. are essential if you want to keep your hair healthy. Satin minimizes friction and won’t pull moisture from your strands. Your styles will stay fresher for longer periods and frizz, dryness and breakage will be distant worries.
Know the ingredients you need to avoid
If a product contains mineral oil or petrolatum (petroleum jelly) it’s probably best to avoid it. These products sit on top of the hair and prevent the hair from being re-moisturized.
Let’s say you washed and deep conditioned your hair and then applied a moisturizer containing mineral oil or petrolatum. In a day or two, your hair may start feeling dry and require additional moisture.
Any product you place on your hair to re-moisturised it would be prevented from getting into the hair by the mineral oil/petrolatum because these products sit on top of the hair, creating a barrier that is impenetrable. Additionally, petrolatum and mineral oil can only be removed by sulfate shampoos which makes their use twice as problematic.
Similarly, silicones, though great for minimizes frizz and boosting shine, sit on top of the hair and prevent moisture from entering the strands. Silicones can also lead to product buildup since products afterward just sit on top of the hair instead of penetrating.
Silicones, also need sulfates to remove them unless they are water soluble. Regardless of their solubility, silicones will lead to dryness in the same way that mineral oil and petrolatum do.
Avoid dry heat
Dry heat refers to heat from heat styling tools such as curling irons, blow dryers, and flat irons. This type of heat removes water molecules from deep within the hair strand, leaving the hair severely dry.
Heat styling, blowing drying or flat ironing suck moisture from deep within the strands of the hair and can result in breakage, split ends, and perpetual dryness.
The heat can also alter the bonds between the molecules of the hair strand, resulting in permanent alteration of the hair’s natural curl pattern. Heat damage is irreversible and the hair usually has to be trimmed or the dryness and split ends will only progress and become worse.
For this reason, it is better to air dry the hair or use the cool setting on your hair dryer. It is also much better for your hair if heatless methods of curling the hair are used.
Moist heat on the other hand, such as the heat from steamers is very good for the hair and can help moisture and beneficial ingredients penetrate the hair.
Never detangle dry hair
When it comes to getting rid of knots and tangles, it is best to ensure hair is lubricated. Detangle hair when it is saturated with conditioner, using a wide tooth comb or detangling brush.
Finger detangling is also a great way to minimize damage, but this can be a time-consuming process and not everyone has the patience for it.
If hair is dry, consider adding oils to reduce the friction between the strands and facilitate the strands sliding past each other when undoing tangles.
One size does not fit all
One of the most important things to remember when going through a natural hair journey is that what works for someone else might not necessarily work for you.
Additionally, something may work for weeks, months or years and then stop working. As time passes, as the seasons change and as your hair grows, you’ll need to adjust the products and or practices you use.
Listen to your hair. It will tell you what it likes and you will see the results. There is nothing like the satisfaction of seeing something you care for thrive and your hair will thrive in time. Be patient, gentle and attentive.
The decision to transition or return to your natural hair is a big one and it is not to be taken lightly. Get mentally prepared for the challenge, and read everything you need to know here.
The first thing to understand about the process of returning to your natural hair is that it is as much about your mind as it is about your hair. During this time, how you think about hair care and how you approach it must change in order for you to be successful.
You must be prepared to embrace your texture as it is and not as you hope it will be. Some of us have no idea what our natural texture will be like when we decide to transition because we’ve relaxed our hair for most of our lives.
It, therefore, becomes quite easy to mentally adopt the gorgeous hair of your hair crush and that could lead to disappointment. The fact is, while it is perfectly fine to admire and even be a little bit jealous, you have to be prepared to accept your hair as it comes.
Be prepared to love your hair because it’s yours and you’ll be off to an excellent start.
To big chop or not to big chop?
That is the question. Transitioning to natural hair without the big chop is a choice many women make because they fear to have short hair. To each is own.
The quickest way to return to natural is to do a big chop, but this is not for everyone. If you want to gradually make the change to natural, then a long transition is what you need.
Exactly how long will be determined by many factors, such as the rate at which your hair grows and how long you want your natural hair to be when you’re finally completely natural.
If your hair grows by half of an inch each month and you’d like to have 6 inches of hair when you are all natural, you’ll need to transition for at least a year.
You would also need to bear in mind that the longer you transition, the more likely you are to experience breakage at the line of demarcation. The line of demarcation is the point where your new growth (natural texture) meets the relaxed part of your hair. The line of demarcation is very vulnerable and breakage easily occurs at this point.
Protein treatments that work to strengthen the hair can help minimize breakage, however too much protein or too strong of a protein can cause hair to harden, become brittle and break.
Healthy hair requires a balance between protein for strength and water for moisture in order to prevent breakage. Any shift in the proper balance and breakage will result.
You may try to avoid major cuts while you are transitioning but trimming to maintain the health of your hair is absolutely essential or your ends will just start breaking off anyway.
Get a trim at the beginning of your transitioning journey and then have regular trims to keep the ends in good condition every three to four months or as necessary. Do not be afraid of the scissors. It’s your best defense against split and damaged ends.
Do your research
When it comes to transitioning, knowledge is power. You’ll need some new tools, since transitioning means you’ll never be able to run a brush through your hair from root to ends ever again.
A fine-toothed comb won’t ever be good for anything, except, maybe if it has a rat tail that you can use for parting. There will be products (e.g. mineral oil) and practices (e.g. using heat) that you’ll need to avoid in order for your hair to thrive. When it comes to transition, ignorance is not bliss.
Separate fact from fiction
Fiction: You should only use products for your particular hair type.
Fact: Use whatever works for your hair. Focus on the ingredients and ignore the marketing hype.
Fiction: Hair type is important.
Fact: It’s more important to know your hair’s porosity than whether you are type 4a or 3c as porosity will affect how will your hair absorbs the products you attempt to use on it.
Fiction: Natural hair doesn’t grow.
Fact: Regardless of race or ethnicity, hair grows at an average on ½ an inch per month. Because this is average, the rate may be slower or faster in certain individuals.
Health and diet may also affect the rate of hair growth. Furthermore, natural hair is comprised of very fine strands that constantly coil or curl.
Each bend in the strand is a potential point of breakage and this susceptibility to breakage may cause it to appear that the hair is not growing when in fact it is, but it is just breaking at a similar or faster rate than growth occurs.
There are quite a few myths about natural hair and how to care for it out there which is why research is so important.
Curly sets are great for blending the natural and relaxed textures that make up transitioning hair. Wearing weaves, wigs, and braids are also great, however, they minimize the amount of interaction you have with your hair and this is not always the best course of action.
It is true that you want to minimize manipulation in order to minimize breakage but if you have too little interaction with your hair texture, you’ll get to the end of your transition with maybe 6 inches or more of natural hair and have no idea how to handle it.
If you’re lucky, the products you used while relaxed may work fairly well with your natural texture, at least in the early stages. This will give you the opportunity to use these products up.
On the other hand, your natural texture may hate these products and you’ll have to go shopping pretty much from the onset, in order to find products that work for your hair.
It may take you a few tries to find products that work well for both textures. If you have friends and family who are already natural you can sample products before committing to purchase and you can have product swaps between you for the products that you haven’t work for you.
Social media can be your best friend and constant companion along your journey to return to natural, but only if you use it responsibly. When I started on my natural hair journey I had a voracious appetite for information.
I watched hundreds of tutorials and spent hours each day on YouTube. It was an obsession. In the years since I’ve become more selective and only watch a couple of videos a month.
I’m a pro at doing my hair now but every now and again it’s nice to unwind and watch a tutorial or two. Use the social information to gather and filter information but do not become consumed by it and don’t internalize everything you see there. Take the good. Leave the bad.
Know that one size doesn’t fit all
Just because it works for your best friend doesn’t mean it will work for you. You could even share DNA with someone and still get different results from using the same products.
Use what works for you and listen to your OWN hair and don’t be surprised if a product that’s worked for months or years suddenly stops working for your hair, or if one that never worked before suddenly starts working now. Natural hair is funny and fun like that. Like a box of chocolates.
Check the ingredients listing. ALWAYS
It’s fine to trust, but verify whenever possible. Marketing is just a ploy to get you to spend your money. Read your ingredients list and pay attention to the first 5 in particular.
Many companies will highlight particular ingredients on the packaging to draw your attention but when you check the listing it’s second from the bottom and below fragrance. That’s not worth your time or money, so before you waste both, check that you’re getting your money’s worth.
Patience is the key
Do not be alarmed if your journey starts off slowly. Some naturals grow long, full heads of hair in the first two years, however, it is just as likely for you to see huge results in growth after your third or fourth year into being natural.
You’ll be natural for the rest of your life. This race is about endurance and stamina, it’s not a sprint. Relax, pace yourself and have fun.