I had posted this response to a thread on the one and only online hair forum that I participate in: Nappturality , and felt like I should share the same wealth of knowledge here. It might seem basic to some of you, but there are plenty of threads started asking these same questions. So, hopefully this will help someone on my blog as well! Hope this Helps!!!!! Happy Growing!
Basically, the poster stated: HELP! I am a newly natural, and I need help because I don't know where to start!!!??????? How do I do my hair? What products should I use????
My advice to her?
#1: Patience is Key! - You are new to your natural locks, and it will take time to participate in trial and error. Don't stress because it does take time to learn your hair and to see positive results all around.
#2: Research! - Search online on forums, blogs, Youtube, etc to find out the hair's natural chemistry and transitioning/TWA styles to help you get started. Research hair characteristics such as porosity, protein sensitivity, strand diameter, hair volume (strands of hair per square inch), etc. These are things that will be beneficial to know about your hair while searching for products to use for your hair. Once you figure out those things about your hair, it will be easier to search for products that compliment your type of hair.
#3: Experiment, Experiment, Experiment! - There is no one product that works for everybody. Every single person has their own unique type of hair that can only be mastered if one experiments with the products that you feel would compliment your hair type from #2. Some products will bite the dust quick, but some you will see immense progress with. I'm 6 months natural, and I'm still looking for a good shampoo for my hair. So don't fret, just remember #1.
#4: Don't Overdo It! - Start out with a simple regimen: a shampoo, a conditioner, a leave-in, and a sealant.1) Shampoo - This will cleanse your hair of all the build-up that has accumulated from the products you use on a daily basis (the leave-in and sealant). This shampoo should be sulfate-free (and protein-free if your hair does not like protein - which you will find out eventually. How can you tell? Research the topic "protein sensitivity"). Sulfates tend to strip your hair of EVERYTHING - including the essential moisture that you want to keep.
2) Conditioner - After shampooing, your hair needs to be infused with moisture. The conditioner coats your strands externally, to give them the protection and moisture from external drying forces.
3)Leave-in/Daily Moisturizer - This gives your hair MOISTURE, MOISTURE, MOISTURE. The conditioner, you rinse-out. This conditioner, you leave-in your hair to give you all-day moisture. Depending on your hair type (and when I say "hair-type" I do not mean 3a-4a-4b, I mean whether you are protein sensitive, low/normal/high porosity, thick/thin strands), you might need a loose, water-based leave-in or a heavy, concentrated moisturizer. Some even use a spritz for this step. Some leave-in conditioner mixed with water, etc. Check the homemade products forum to research. Experimenting will help you figure this out.
4) Sealant - Apply this after applying your leave-in or moisturizer. This will trap the moisture into your hair strands (kinda like oil/water) and help you retain the moisture that you gave your hair with the leave-in/moisturizer. Experiment with different sealants to see what you see the most progress with. Some use an oil such as olive oil, castor oil - Some use a thick butter such as shea butter. Some use no sealant (because they use such a heavy leave-in/moisturizer.
And in closing (LOL!) - Always, Always, Always remember #1: Patience is Key!
Hope this Helps and Good luck on your journey!!!!