Friday, September 28, 2012

I'm supposed to know what?

I've heard it said that it's important that you become an expert on your own hair. You should know it better than anyone else. When I heard that I remember thinking . . . what SPECIFICALLY am I supposed to know about my hair?

Well, here's what I've learned so far.

Get a feel for your hair. You'll want to know what it your hair feels like when it's: wet, dry, conditioned, weighed down with production, and/or moisturized. This is important to know because no matter what your other hair goals are, making sure it's healthy should be one of them, and the way it feels is a big indicator of that fact. So if you're using a styling or cleaning product that makes your hair feel dry and/or brittle you want to identify it and stop using it.

Speaking of products. . .

Finding the products that work best for your hair should be an educated process of trial and error. I say educated because you should do your research before you put anything on your hair. It's as simple as searching through your favorite natural hair blogs for reviews, or typing the name of the product into a yourtube search and seeing how the product has been used on others, or hoping onto a natural hair forum for feedback. What works for one natural may not work for you, but it still best to find out as much as you can about a product before you put it on your strands.

Once you find a product you love, learn how to use it and how much to use. This is a question that refers to your hair's porosity, the rate at which it absorbs product. Some may be able to use a big glob of product, for others that would just weigh their down. What I've noticed is that, while my hair absorbs quite a bit, if I put too much product on my hair it sits on top of my hair and makes it white and that's my indicator that I've used too much product. This was a big lesson for me because I tend to be "heavy handed" with product. I've had to learn that I can get the results I want with my hair without using a lot of product.

What causes your hair to break. This is really important if length retention is one of your goals. I've changed my detangling method from using a wide tooth comb to finger detangling because my fingers can feel knots and untangle them, a comb cannot. Common causes of breakage are knots and tangles. When you detangle your hair you want to remove your shed hairs so that they don't get tangled in your hair and create knots.

Regiment consistency. Curly hair can be unpredictable, to help you manage it there are certain things you should do with consistency to help 'train' your hair. You should have a set wash day, mine is Saturday because it gives me time to detangle my hair, clean it, and then set it into a stretched style.

 How to stretch your hair. There are two methods that I use to stretch my hair: flat twists or braids. After I've washed my hair I part it into four sections and taking one large section at a time I break those section down and braid or flat twist my hair. I tend to do my hair on days when I'm not going anywhere or I'll do my hair in the evening before bed. It's important to make sure you're not rushing that way you can be gentle and paitient with your hair. I love putting my hair in a stretched style before I sleep that way when I wake up the next day my hair is clean, stretched, and ready to be styled.

Your favorite quick go to style. You should have at least two. One when your hair has great defined texture and your curls look great, and one that's a 'hair-saver' when your curl's just will not do what you want them to and you need to look presentable. That way if you're ever short on time, and you have to get your hair together quickly you're not stressed. Having a couple of go to styles have been a lifesaver for me on more than one occasion, like when I slept through my alarm and had just 15 mins to get ready for work. That's not the time to decide to try something new with your hair.

Those are the things I've learned so far, hope they help! What have you learned about your hair?

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