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How to Care for Your Natural Hair: Tips and Best Practices

by Gloria Kelley

How to Care for Your Natural Hair: Tips and Best Practices

Caring for natural hair can be both rewarding and challenging. With its unique texture and needs, natural hair requires a dedicated routine to maintain its health and strength. Whether you're a seasoned naturalista or new to the journey, here are some essential tips and best practices to help you properly care for your natural hair.

Understand Your Hair Type

Natural hair comes in various textures, ranging from wavy to curly to kinky. Understanding your specific hair type can help you choose the right products and techniques. The most common classification system includes:

  • Type 2: Wavy Hair (2A, 2B, 2C)
  • Type 3: Curly Hair (3A, 3B, 3C)
  • Type 4: Kinky Hair (4A, 4B, 4C). 

    Establish a Consistent Hair Care Routine

    A consistent routine is crucial for maintaining healthy natural hair. Here’s a basic guide:

    • Cleansing: Wash your hair regularly, but not too frequently, to avoid stripping natural oils. Depending on your hair type, you might wash it weekly or bi-weekly.
    • Conditioning: Deep condition your hair every wash day to keep it hydrated and nourished. Look for conditioners with natural ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and aloe vera.
    • Moisturizing: Natural hair tends to get very dry, so moisturizing is essential. Use a leave-in conditioner or moisturizing cream after every wash and whenever your hair feels dry.

    Protective Styling

      Protective styles are great for minimizing manipulation and reducing breakage. Some popular protective styles include:

      • Braids: Protective styles like box braids and cornrows are easy to maintain. When adding hair to your braids, choose Kanekalon or human hair over other synthetic fibers, as synthetic hair can be too rough for natural hair strands.
      • Twists: Two-strand twists, flat twists, and twist-outs are gentle on your hair and can be styled in various ways.
      • Updos: Buns, ponytails, and other updos keep your ends tucked away and prevent damage.
      • Sewins: Sew-ins are excellent protective styles, shielding your natural hair from daily wear and promoting growth while offering versatile styling options.
      • Wigs: Wigs make fantastic protective styles, providing a versatile way to change your look while protecting your natural hair from the stresses of daily styling and environmental exposure. By wearing wigs, you can minimize heat and chemical damage, reduce manipulation, and give your hair a chance to grow and thrive in a protected state.

      Detangle with Care

        Detangling can be a major source of breakage if not done correctly. Here’s how to detangle your natural hair safely:

        • Use the Right Tools: Use your fingers, a wide-tooth comb, or a detangling brush with flexible bristles to gently detangle your hair. Recently, I've found that the Unbrush is incredibly effective for detangling hair. Its flexible bristles glide smoothly through the hair, gently untangling strands without causing breakage or pulling. This makes it a gentle and efficient tool for maintaining smooth, knot-free hair without the risk of damaging your strands.
        • Saturate: Saturating the hair before detangling is crucial because it softens the strands, making them more pliable and reducing the risk of breakage and damage. To saturate the hair for detangling, use water or products such as a leave-in conditioner, detangling spray, or a moisturizing conditioner. These products help to soften the hair, provide slip, and make the detangling process easier and less damaging.
        • Work in Sections: Divide your hair into manageable sections and detangle one section at a time.
        • Be Patient: Start from the ends and work your way up to the roots, taking your time to avoid unnecessary breakage.


        Trim Regularly

          Regular trims are essential for maintaining healthy ends and preventing split ends from traveling up the hair shaft. Aim to trim your hair every 8-12 weeks, or as needed, to keep your ends healthy and your hair looking its best.

          Avoid Heat Damage

            Excessive heat can damage natural hair, leading to dryness and breakage. Here’s how to protect your hair from heat damage:

            • Limit Heat Use: Try to limit the use of heat styling tools like flat irons, curling wands, and blow dryers.
            • Use Heat Protectants: Always apply a heat protectant spray or serum before using any heat styling tools.
            • Opt for Low Heat: When using heat, choose the lowest setting that will achieve your desired style.

            Maintain a Healthy Diet

              What you eat can significantly impact the health of your hair. A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can promote hair growth and strength. Focus on foods high in:

              • Protein: Essential for hair structure (e.g., lean meats, eggs, beans)
              • Iron: Important for preventing hair loss (e.g., spinach, red meat, lentils)
              • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Promote scalp health (e.g., fish, flaxseed, walnuts)
              • Vitamins A, C, and E: Support hair growth and health (e.g., fruits, vegetables, nuts)

              Protect Your Hair at Night

                Nighttime care is crucial for maintaining healthy natural hair. Here’s how to protect your hair while you sleep:

                • Satin or Silk Scarf/Bonnet: Wrap your hair in a satin or silk scarf or bonnet to reduce friction and prevent breakage.
                • Satin Pillowcase: If you prefer not to wrap your hair, use a satin pillowcase to achieve the same benefits.

                Stay Hydrated

                  Hydration is key to maintaining healthy hair. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your hair and scalp hydrated from the inside out.

                  Listen to Your Hair

                    Every head of hair is unique, so it’s important to listen to your hair’s needs. Pay attention to how it responds to different products and techniques and adjust your routine accordingly.


                    Properly caring for your natural hair requires dedication, patience, and a willingness to learn. By following these tips and best practices, you can maintain the health and beauty of your natural hair. Embrace your hair’s unique texture and enjoy the journey of discovering what works best for you.


                    Gloria Kelley
                    Gloria Kelley


                    Gloria Kelley is a professional hairstylist who specializes in healthy-haircare, hair weaving, and wig-making.

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