Learning how to care for your naturally curly, springy hair is a refining journey that can reveal a lot about perception of physical beauty, patience and consistency. How we think about our hair shapes how our hair reacts to us. The same way we can have tough expectations of others is the same way we can view and put pressure on our hair sometimes. Please don’t measure it against what a different type of hair does by default, and just as important don’t limit or confine your hair to what you think you know about it so far about it.
The more time you spend getting to understand your natural curl pattern and what your hair likes and doesn’t, is the more health and growth you’ll recognize along the way. At least that’s what I’ve found and yes – at times you might get different results from the same treatments.
Except for one short interlude with relaxer and a failed perm curl as a teen, my hair has been in its natural state whether that looked like twists, a low curly fro, corn rows, locs or open and free. Each of those required a different level of care mostly because of access to scalp and each strand but curly hair needs customized care and how we view that affects the results we see, as we and our hair grow.
Onto today’s topic – deep conditioning.
If you’re from The Caribbean, we were doing things like this before it trended and had a name, though we probably weren’t the only ones. Rubbing our scalp and hair with the juice from two aloe leaves picked from the yard. Setting hot oil treatments in a glass of hot water to pour on and massage in before tying a plastic bag over our poofy hair for an hour then washing out. Well, that plus other things some of us did like using linseed, blended banana, scrunchy-needle, avocado, mayonnaise, egg and more – all that is what’s essentially deep conditioning. We didn’t know about the science of it but intuitively were onto something that it turns out, naturally curly hair thrives with.
So, do you need to deep-condition if you have naturally curly hair? I don’t think so but it works well over here so sharing one of my favourite recipes with you here today. You’ll see two short lists; one of ingredients for the mix to apply that you can let sit in your hair (under a bag or heat cap) for at least 15 mins to a few hours and the other with teas and oils to add before styling. Tip: if you have to go out or it’s late and you need to sleep, wrap one or two scarves over it.
Ingredients (have the mix ready in a bowl so you can apply quickly.):
- Coconut Milk
- Avocado Oil
- Moringa tea/paste (leaves or powder), green tea or chamomile tea
- Manuka Honey (2 tbps)
- Nettle Tea or Ginger Tea
- Juice from 2 aloe leaves (scalp and hair)
- Jamaican Black Castor Oil (scalp and hair – especially ends)
Since opening my locs (after having them about 15 years) with a pin and a prayer, making sure my hair is well hydrated and moisturized is a must. After a few friendly nudges and some frequent haircare questions I’m doing this post to answer some questions that hopefully help you along your journey of embracing and nurturing your God-given hair. At first my hair was dry like a wholewheat biscuit, the ends were wispy and a lot of hair shed from the opened locs. My hair has always been thick so it wasn’t noticeable but that didn’t mean it didn’t need nourishing.
What’s the texture of your hair, how do you feel about that and why? If negative thoughts come to mind, recognize the lie and know that you were made intentionally purposefully beautifully with love – so there. Re-frame your thoughts and any insecurities about your hair and start to get acquainted with it, what it can do and what it needs to be healthy.
Feeling breeze directly on my scalp was interesting…it felt new…and now that I care for my hair more consciously than I did when it was mainly in twists for years, I can see and feel a difference in the elasticity, overall health and even its natural colour. Natural hair care doesn’t have to be overwhelming but it is a bit of a learning curve and leads to strong arms. That said, wash days are a bit of a marathon but so is a good workout session or a long hike. Knowing that you’re taking care of the hair you’ve been blessed with then noticing the results from that care will be reminders and enough incentive to make and follow whatever hair care regimen you find works best for your curls or coils.
It’s also a welcome reminder to be gentle with yourself as a woman and carve out purposeful time for tending to things like skin and hair care. If you’re not up to styling your hair right after, once it’s dry enough put it up in a detangled bun for when you’re ready.
Some frequently asked questions:
- Is that your hair?
- How do you find the time to care for your natural hair?
I set the time. This is how my hair grows naturally so naturally, there must be time to take care of it.
- Do you wear a bonnet at night?
Nah. I have a satin pillow case and sometimes either put my hair up in a loose bun or do about 7 chunky twists and roll the back in a low bun til’ morning.
- What about when you go to the beach? Do you let sand get in your hair?
Sometimes. If I’m just on the sand, no thanks. If I’m swimming a lot, I’ll put it in a loose high bun and only let it get wet before wash day.
How often do you deep condition?
Sometimes once a week and other times, once a month when I do an oil treatment or aloe rub instead.
How we think about our hair shapes how our hair reacts to us.
Deep conditioning looks topical but it’s internal. Our scalp is essentially drinking – absorbing what we apply to it. Things like drinking a lot of water (ooops, that reminds me), eating nutrient-dense food, moving and detoxing regularly and reminding yourself that we are all made intentionally with love all contribute to hair health. Scalp massages with oiled finger (tips not nails) can help stimulate growth since it increases circulation but patience goes a long way when you want to see significant growth.
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of your naturally curly hair in its current state, and by state that could be open, in twists, short, long, locs, corn rows, relaxed, jheri curled or covered with something. Once the hair that springs out of your scalp naturally is curly or coily, that question is for you. And Part 2 (none of which you have to share here by the way, though you’re welcome to) – what’s one step forward you can take today to start caring for your hair better?
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