Natural Hair Care – Figuring Out What Works

an eclectic lady natural hair care

 YOUR Best Natural Hair

Natural hair care advice can run the gamut from simple to downright confusing!

One day as I was walking into Whole Foods, a lady stopped me.  She complimented my hair and asked, “How do you get your hair to look like that?”  I wasn’t quite sure how to answer her question, but I gave her a quick rundown of my wash and go routine.  Afterwards she asked, “So if I do that, will my hair come out the same?”  To this I answered, “I have no idea.”

When I big chopped over five years ago, I couldn’t wait to try every products and hair routine that I viewed on YouTube! At the time I didn’t know that it would take me a good year to figure out what worked best for my hair.  I followed numerous routines to the letter wondering why my hair didn’t “pop” like the girls in the video.   On most days my hair would start out with great moisture and shine.  By the end of the day, it would be a dry mess.  As I viewed videos and read blogs of other naturalistas’ success with multiple days of moisture and popping curls, I could not understand why I wasn’t getting the same results.

Trial and error over the years have helped me to learn a lot about what works best for my hair.  Learning what’s best for your hair is a major key to a successful natural hair journey.  Am I a “hair expert?”  YES I AM….when it come to MY HAIR!   Here are some tips that have helped me to “learn my hair” during my ongoing natural hair journey.

1.  Take the time to know what your hair likes and doesn’t like.

Your hair may be a similar curl pattern, texture, etc. to someone else’s but that doesn’t mean what works for them will work for you.  There is a very good reason why I’m a “wash and go” girl!  I love twist-out hairstyles but they do not love me.  There isn’t a twist-out technique that I haven’t tried but alas, they’re always an epic fail for my hair.  This may change one day but for now I’m going to listen to my hair and do what she wants me to do!

2. Hair Porosity

Another part of getting to know your hair is learning its porosity level.  Knowing this helps with selecting products that will work well in your hair.  There are three levels of hair porosity – low, high and normal.  Each level indicates the hair’s ability to absorb moisture.  The hair porosity test gives you a good indication of which category your hair falls into.  To take this test, drop a strand of clean hair into a glass of water and look for the following results:

  • If your strand floats on the top, this means you have low porosity hair.  Hair that is low in porosity tends to resist moisture because the hair’s cuticles lay flat and tight around the cortex.  The moisture resistance easily causes product buildup, resulting in very dry hair.
  • Hair that falls to the bottom means high porosity hair.  The hair’s cuticles are raised in this porosity level.  The hair quickly absorbs moisture but is unable to retain that moisture. This causes  extreme hair dryness and easy hair breakage.
  • If your strand floats in around the middle of the water, this indicates normal porosity hair. Hair with normal porosity is able to maintain moisture and balance throughout the day.

3. For best results, develop a consistent and basic routine.

A consistent hair care routine is so important in helping to keep your hair strong and healthy.  My hair was SO very dry when I first went natural. Developing a weekly routine really helped to build up my hair’s moisture levels.  I take the time to throughly wash and deep condition my hair once every week.  Throughout the week I moisturize my hair with water and water-based hair products.  Here is a link detailing my current weekly hair care routine:  Natural Hair Care – Spring/Summer Edition

4. Clarify to beautify your hair.

Have you ever had a “holy grail” product stop working in your hair?  A beautiful, moisturizing relationship suddenly turns into a dry, blah one!  Sometimes this just happens for some unknown (or known) reason.  It can also be the result of too much build up in your hair preventing the products from penetrating your strands.

Clarifying your hair periodically can help you with this. I make it a point to clarify my hair once a month.  There are many clarifying shampoos that are helpful.  Personally, these shampoos tend to dry my hair out too much. Instead, I clarify using a bentonite clay mask. It leave my curls super clean and defined without drying them out.  Plus it’s all natural and works great as a facial mask too! For more information on how I use my bentonite clay mask, click on this link: Bentonite Clay – Clarify and Beautify!

5. Protect your hair correctly at night.

I wore silk scarves on my head every night for years (going back to when I was still relaxing my hair).  Silk scarves are great for maintaining your hair’s moisture, but caused another problem for me.  Over time my edges began to get sparse. What I did not realize is that it was because the scarf was rubbing against them.  Silk scarves are still okay, but now I use them more as a styling or fashion hair accessory. I now prefer to sleep on a satin pillowcase or with my favorite Grace Eleyae satin-lined cap on.  It is designed to stay on your head without causing any friction.  They’re really cute to wear during the day as well!

6. A little extra effort goes a long way.

Recently, I had a very interesting natural hair conversation with some friends. When I revealed that I deep conditioned my hair under a hooded dryer once a week, I was told that it was “too much and too time consuming.”  I guess it’s all a matter of opinion.

For some naturalistas, caring for their hair takes little effort.  For others it may mean doing a little more to help insure optimal hair health and style ease.

Some believe caring for relaxed hair as  “easier” and “quicker.” My personal experience with relaxed hair included worrying about getting “touch ups” which I found daunting.  The daily care (hot curling, styling, etc.) took more time than I wanted to give it.  When I think about sitting in a hair salon for hours (even for natural hair care!) compared to my current at-home natural hair regimen, I’ll take the latter…HANDS DOWN.   Taking a couple of hours out of my week, in the comfort of my own home, to keep my hair healthy, moisturized and curly is more than worth it!

If you have any great natural hair tips that work great for you, drop it in the comment section! I’d love to hear about them!

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  1. I’ve got naturally very curly ginger hair from my Irish and Scottish ansestory and while it’s true it takes a lot of work to keep it health and looking good, the results are worth it, especially all the complements you get ? I just make sure I give it loads of moister by doing an argan oil hair mask once a week and sleeping with a silk scarf on my head to avoid breakages.

  2. This was incredibly informative!! I had no idea about porosity, but I really think this will help me pick out the best style and products for my hair. It’s so true that what works for one person does not necessarily work for another. There are so many factors! Thank you for this post (:

    1. Hey Allie! Learning my hair’s porosity level was so helpful for me especially in the beginning of my natural hair journey. Once I figured that out, I was good to go! I’m so glad that you found this post helpful! Thanks for stopping by my blog. 🙂

  3. I love all of these tips! Jeesh, the natural hair journey has really been a difficult one for me but I’ve really grown to love the Mango & Lime formula that straightens without chemicals- do you know what is?! Also, their cream is great for edges!

  4. This is so point! I have had a similar experience. I love my natural hair but alot of my expectations had to be managed. I watched all of these blogs and bought their suggested products with no understanding that person’s hair is different. It was a steep learning curve. Thank you for this post. I’m subscribing.

    1. Hi Kelley. It is definitely a learning curve. It can take quite a bit of time and patience, with patience being a key factor! Thank you so much for commenting and subscribing!

  5. I’m a natural too figuring out your hair like a science experiment. You learn to love it though. I use to hate that was my hair was fine. Your tip about porosity was something I never even visited. Look forward to the YouTube channel 😉

    1. Hi Pennie! You are spot on about it being like a science experiment…lol! Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hoping to have my first YouTube video done very soon so stay tuned!

  6. Great post! I recently started using the “Curly Girl” method on my hair a few weeks ago, and even though it took a little while for myself and my hair to adjust, I’m so happy I put in the extra effort.

    1. Hey Sabrina! I bought the Curly Girl Method book when I first went natural. Is has some great information and was so helpful! Like I mentioned to someone in an earlier comment, patience is truly the key to learning how your hair works. From there it’s a beautiful thing. 🙂

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