You Could Be Making
I’ve always had a love hate relationship with my hair starting from a very young age. From sitting in my momma’s kitchen while she hot combed my “kitchen”, to cutting it all off in college after several months of frying, dying and laying it to the side. Hair to me and to many people of the black community is a form of expression, individualism and a right of passage. So why did it take me until last year and 4 rounds of “going natural” to even know how to properly care for my hair?
There is no secret that society has not always been very kind to the kinky, coily, gravity defying magick that is Melanin Hair. From whats portrayed in the media on top of what is “required” for corporate America it is very easy to see how finding love in something that grows naturally could be difficult until now.
As the world continues to shift + change, and we as people continue to break molds and defy odds, embracing of the natural is being supported on a whole new level these days. From Social Media, to magazines and tv shows. I am seeing more and more women of color embrace and amplify theirs curls. I LOVE to see it!
No matter where you are in your hair growth journey any simple google search no matter what texture hair you have will bring up several conflicting bits of information. It is very easy to get overloaded with information and feel that you should just “try” everything. The downside to trying everything is you are not actually giving your hair what it specifically needs while spending money and collecting products that don’t work for you.
So how do you even begin to know whats right for your hair? The best place to start is with the basics
In order of least important to most important
Type: There are 4 very basic hair types: straight, wavy, curly and kinky curly. Hair type is determined by the shape of the hair fibers. For the most part the biggest common mistake when it comes to haircare is basing your personal hair care needs off of hair Type. For example: Seeing a Shampoo marketed for “kinky curly” hair and purchasing because you have “kinky curly” hair.
Texture: Refers to the thickness of each strand of hair.There are 3 basic textures of hair: fine, medium and course, the determination of texture is done by comparing the strand of hair to a piece of thread. Another common mistake is using just Texture + Type to decide which products to purchase.
Porosity: Hair porosity is the ability your hair has to absorb + retain moisture. There are 3 porosity types: Low, Normal and High. Porosity should be the main deciding factor when selecting hair products followed by Texture and then Type.
Things I wish I knew
Here is what you really came for right? The TIPS!!! Here are the tips that I wish I knew before last year.
Learn your hair porosity. Literally everything that follows is based on your hairs ability to absorb + retain moisture. How you care for your hair, hydrate, style or even deep condition should be based on your hairs’ porosity. Contrary to belief, the type and the texture of your hair has nothing to do with the porosity of your hair. And there is no way of just “looking” at your hair and determining its porosity.
With low porosity hair, the hair cuticles are flat and tight. This makes it difficult for products and water to get inside the hair shaft. In normal porosity, hair cuticles are slightly raised which allows both product and water to get inside. High porosity hair cuticles are extremely raised allowing products and moisture to get in easily. The downside is moisture and product is lost just as easy. There are a handful of ways to determine porosity including the float test.
When you know better do better
Read Ingredients. Ok so this is something we already should be doing with our food. So it makes perfect sense to do this for hair care products. This is crucial when selecting products because all ingredients do not work the same on all porosity. Select products with ingredients that cater to YOUR hair’s porosity because the goal is to have thriving hydrated hair.
Patience. Growing healthy hair takes time, even when you are giving it all the things that it needs to grow. The rate that your hair grows is completely genetic. There is nothing that you can do to physically make it grow faster. I know you might be tempted to try the trends and the rice water, but trust ya girl, rice water isn’t for ALL porosities. Give your hair what it needs to be healthy while retaining length is a huge factor in the growth process.
Will keeping these things in mind prevent you from ever buying a product that isnt a good fit for your hair? No, but this is a great place to start for any hair care journey + will help you eliminate products and ingredients that dont nurture your growth.