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FEATURES Apr 29 2013 7:44PM

12 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Natural

by Savvy Brown

1. Retwisting Every Night is Unnecessary - I wear my hair in some version of a two-strand twists or a twist-out almost every day. In the beginning, I wasted a lot of time and effort re-twisting my hair every night, because I didn’t know how to preserve the style. Now, I pull it back in a low pony, or a pineapple, tie a scarf on and just go to bed.

2. To Pre Poo and Deep Condition is Unnecessary - When you “pre poo” you are conditioning the hair before you wash it. Usually deep conditioning comes after you’ve washed and detangled. I now do one OR the other, and for not longer than 30 minutes. Doing both, or conditioning overnight is not only time consuming, but unnecessary.

3. The Bigger the Twists, the Bigger the Hair - I have seen this concept work on a few different hair types. If you want “big” hair, then make your twists bigger and don’t twist them sopping wet (damp is ok). The twists should be big enough to be done with your hair in less than 90 minutes, but not so big that they can’t stay twisted by themselves.

4. You Can’t Pineapple Until Your Hair Is Longer - When I was growing my hair out from a Caesar, I used to read blogs and sites all the time that said that folks preserved their styles by “pineapple-ing.” That is basically when you pile all of your hair on top of your head and secure it with covered elastic or scarf loosely. However, when I did this, I just looked like a tree in the morning. Instead, secure your hair at the nape of your neck in a low ponytail and then spritz with your favorite leave-in conditioner in the AM to get back your style.

5. There is Nothing Wrong With Your Hair If Your Can’t Wear a Popular Style – For me? That’s wash ’n gos. I’ve tried them, blogged about them, but I’m not crazy about how it looks on the second day, and I’m done hoping for different. So nope, I’m not a fan. There are plenty of other styles that my hair looks great in, so I’ll stick to those TYVM. Stop judging yourself or your hair by someone else’s style.

6. Moisturizing is More Important Than Protective Styling - I put my hair up in a protective style not too long ago for a whole week. I was all proud of myself...until I took it down. My hair was dry and brittle as sandpaper and very, very unhappy. Why? It needed moisture! Now I spritz my hair every day, (sometimes a few times a day) with usually a mixture of water, oil, and aloe vera juice. Natural hair LOVES water!

7. Fairy Knots Are Not Going to Kill You - Should you pay attention to the ends of your hair? Yes. Is breakage a bad thing? Yes. Are you going to find “fairy knots”? Absolutely. Just don’t get obsessive about it and every hour hold your hair up to a piece of paper and squint in the mirror to see if you have another one. Every now and then (like once a week or twice a month), I’ll check out the end of my hair to see if anything I’m doing is making it knot up or split. If I find a few knots, or the split ends are low enough, I cut them out, but I no longer obsess over it.

8. Slow and Steady Wins the Race - I am actually not that crazy about those blog/YouTube posts where people talk about how to have “Bra Strap Length Hair,” because everyone is different. Everyone’s hair growth time, diet, health and hair goals are different. In my hair journey, I’ve made mistakes and have had to trim the bad to save the good. My hair is healthier now than it has been in years. Take your time, do the research and come up with what works for you. It’s a marathon, people, not a sprint.

9. Prepare for Hair Emergencies - You could leave the house with great-looking hair, but wind, rain or even a rogue fire hydrant (yes, this has happened to me) can ruin a perfectly good hair day. Come up with two hairstyles that you can do quickly and neatly (and in a tiny airplane bathroom if necessary). I always have two hair combs, a scarf and a ponytail holder on me in case of a hair emergency. And I’ve practiced doing a few styles so that even if I have a meeting in 10 minutes, I can pull it off without looking crazy. :)

10. Companies Will Change Their Ingredients Without Notice - I have fallen in love with products, even written reviews about them singing their praises, only to find out that 6 months later, the sneaky little brand changed its formulation. Sometimes watering it down with ingredients that I don’t like or are even harmful. So every time you go to buy your favorite hair product, check the ingredients list. Especially if they’ve changed their packaging recently.

11.  Spend Less Time at the Beauty Supply Store and More Time in the Grocery Store - What you put in your body is just as important as what you put on top of it. Start taking a multivitamin if you’re not already, eat green leafy vegetables, drink lots of water, munch on fruit. Your skin will get better and your scalp is made of, yep, skin. Which is what your hair grows out of. So before you drop a bundle at the beauty supply store on products to “fix” your hair, try changing your diet for a month and see what happens, I bet you’ll be surprised!

12. Everyone On the Internet Isn’t Right - Myself included! Read the blogs, watch all the YouTube videos that you want, just remember; those folks are on a hair journey just like you. Most people online are not professional hairstylists or chemists or doctors, so always do your research and figure out what works for you. At the same time, many of us have made mistakes and are trying to share our knowledge so that the same thing won’t happen to someone else!


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