Natural Hair 101: The Basics of a Healthy Hair Care Routine
Natural hair is a term used to describe hair that has not been processed with chemicals. That is, you have maintained its natural texture or curl pattern. It has become an increasingly popular choice for people of all ages and backgrounds who want to embrace their natural beauty. People also choose to keep their natural hair to break free from the beauty standards set by society.
Natural hair requires a different approach to hair care and styling because of its texture compared to chemically treated hair. However, with the right knowledge and tools, you can use your natural hair as a source of empowerment and self-expression.
In this post, we'll explore the different types and textures of natural hair, natural hair treatment, the benefits of embracing natural hair, and common misconceptions about it. Whether you're already rocking your natural hair or considering the transition, this post will provide valuable insights and tips to help you on your journey.
Understanding Natural Hair
Natural hair is not a stand-alone concept. It encompasses a wide range of textures, curl patterns, and thicknesses. When you understand the type and texture of your natural hair, it is easier to properly care for it and achieve your desired look. But remember hair typing only serves as a guide for hair care, it does not determine what your hair will always look like or how it will always behave. Check below for the different types of natural hair and their characteristics- look for which best describes you:
Types of Natural Hair
There are different types of natural hair. Here are the 4 major types: straight, wavy, curly hair, and kinky. Keep in mind that all heads are unique and people can often have a combination of different hair types on one head of hair.
Type 1: Straight Hair
Type 1 hair is straight hair that lacks any curl pattern. This natural hair type is often fine and tends to be oilier compared to other hair types.
Type 2 - Wavy Hair
Type 2 hair is hair that has a defined curl pattern, but the curls are looser and appear more like waves. It can range from fine to coarse and can be prone to frizz. The classification goes into 2A, 2B, and 2C subtypes.
Type 3 - Curly Hair
Type 3 hair is hair that has a defined S-shaped curl pattern. This natural hair type ranges from loose curls to tight curls and is often dry and prone to breakage. It is further classified into 3A, 3B, and 3C subtypes. Many curly heads often have a mixture of 3B and 3C.
Type 4 - Kinky Hair
Type 4 hair is hair that has a tight curl pattern or is kinky. This natural hair type is often very dry and requires a lot of moisture to stay healthy. It is further classified into 4A, 4B, and 4C subtypes. 4C is the tightest curl pattern of all three.
Types of Hair Textures
Hair texture refers to the size or diameter of a single hair strand. There are 3 types of hair textures: fine hair, medium hair, and thick or coarse hair.
Fine hair is delicate and so it is prone to damage. It tends to fall flat on your head, lacks volume, and gives your hair a thin look. It is also difficult to hold a hairstyle and can easily be weighed down by products.
If you have fine hair, avoid using heavy hair styling products, cleanse your hair if there is product build up, and opt for light weight natural products that easily rinse out with water.
The most common type of texture is medium hair and is generally referred to as normal hair. It is not as fragile as thin hair and often looks thick. It holds hairstyles well and is easily manipulated into different styles.
To maintain the health of this hair texture, avoid using high heat styling tools and overexposure to the sun and those can heavily damage the hair.
Thick or Coarse Hair
Thick hair is the strongest hair texture and usually looks very full and has plenty of volume. Usually those with thick hair complain of too much volume. Coarse hair is resistant to various chemical treatments, does not break as easily as thin or medium hair, and tolerates heat well. Thick hair also holds hairstyles well but takes long to dry.
If you have thick hair, we recommend you keep your hair hydrated as it tends to get dry and look dull. Introducing hair oil in your hair routine are a great way to add shine and have hair looking vibrant.
Different Hair Patterns and How to Take Care of them
Hair patterns can vary widely, and understanding your hair type is a good place to start your natural hair journey. Though not as important as hair properties which we cover later, learning some of the basics can help you choose the best natural hair products and styling methods. Here we will talk about 5 main hair patterns: curly, coily, kinky, wavy, and straight. Each hair type has its own unique characteristics and requires different care and styling techniques.
Curly hair is popular for its spiral or ringlet shape. The texture of curly hair can range from fine to coarse and can be prone to dryness and frizz. Curly hair can also be prone to tangles and can require extra care when detangling to avoid breakage.
When treated with moisturizing hair products, curly hair should be well-hydrated to minimize frizz. It is also best for you to use a flexi brush, wide-tooth comb or your fingers to detangle the hair gently, starting at the ends and working your way up to the roots.
Some popular styles for curly hair include twist-outs, braid-outs, and wash-and-go styles. These styles help to enhance the natural curl pattern and can be achieved using a variety of products and techniques.
Coily hair is known for tight, springy curls or coils. This hair pattern can be prone to shrinkage, which can make it appear shorter than it actually is. Coily hair is also prone to dryness and requires regular deep conditioning to keep it healthy.
When caring for coily hair, it's important to use moisturizing products and oils to help seal in moisture. Coily hair can also benefit from protective natural hairstyles such as braids, twists, and buns to help minimize manipulation and reduce the risk of breakage.
Some popular styles for coily hair include braid-outs, twist-outs, and wash-and-go styles. These styles help to enhance the natural curl pattern and can be achieved using a variety of hair care products and techniques.
Kinky hair is known for its tightly coiled or zig-zag-shaped strands. This hair type can be prone to dryness and requires regular deep conditioning to keep it healthy. Kinky hair can also be prone to excessive shrinkage, which can make it appear much shorter than it actually is.
Kinky hair care routines should involve moisturizing products and oils to help seal in moisture. Also adopt amazing hairstyles such as braids, twists, and buns to help minimize manipulation and reduce breakage.
The most popular kinky hairstyles include twist-outs, and braid-outs. When you combine the right scalp treatment with these styles, you can boost the natural curl pattern.
If your hair has loose, S-shaped waves, then you can say you have wavy hair. This hair type can range from fine to coarse and can be prone to frizz. Another thing to look out for in wavy hair is dryness, so you must condition it regularly to keep it healthy.
When caring for wavy hair, it is best to use lightweight, moisturizing products to help enhance the natural wave pattern without weighing the hair down. It's also important to use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to detangle the hair gently, starting at the ends and working your way up to the roots.
We recommend focusing products on the ends of your hair where you see the waves. You can check this article to get more pro tips on how to give special care to your hair.
Straight hair is a hair texture that has a consistent, smooth, and straight appearance. It is characterized by strands that lay flat and run parallel to each other. Straight hair is often considered to be one of the most manageable and versatile hair types, as it tends to require less maintenance than curly or coily hair textures.
Despite its apparent ease of management, straight hair still requires careful hair care treatment as it is more prone to oil buildup at the scalp due to the hair strands being so flat. This can lead to greasiness, which can be managed by using a gentle shampoo and avoiding over-washing the hair.
One of the advantages of having straight hair is that it can be styled in a variety of ways. However, one of the downsides of having straight hair is that it can be prone to damage from heat styling tools and does not hold shape well. Straight hair can also become easily weighed down by heavy products, causing it to look limp and lifeless.
Differences Between Relaxed and Natural Hair
Relaxed hair is hair that has undergone a chemical process to permanently straighten it. This process involves applying a relaxer, which breaks down the bonds in the hair and alters the curl pattern. Relaxed hair requires different care compared to natural hair, as it's more prone to breakage and damage.
Natural hair, on the other hand, has not undergone any chemical process to alter its texture or curl pattern. Natural hair requires different care compared to relaxed hair, as it's often drier and requires more moisture to stay healthy.
Understanding Hair Porosity
Porosity refers to the hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Understanding your natural hair's porosity is essential to properly caring for it and achieving the desired look. Hair porosity is genetic, which means it runs in your family. These are the levels of hair porosity:
Low Porosity Hair
Normal Porosity Hair
High Porosity Hair
Top 10 Common Natural Curly Hair Issues
If you're someone who has embraced your natural curly, coily, kinky, or wavy hair, you're likely familiar with some of the unique challenges that come with maintaining and styling these types of natural hair. Here are ten common natural hair issues that many people face:
- Product buildup
- Scalp issues
- Heat damage
- Styling challenges
- Negative feedback
These issues are common and can be managed with the right techniques and products. All you need is some self-confidence. Don’t allow anyone to talk down on your beautiful self! With patience, care, and a positive attitude, anyone can achieve healthy, beautiful natural hair.
Caring for Natural Curly Hair
To keep your natural hair healthy and beautiful, you must properly care for it. Unlike chemically treated hair, natural hair requires a unique approach to keep it looking its best. In this section, we will discuss the different steps involved in natural hair care routine.
Cleansing natural hair is crucial to removing buildup, dirt, and oils that can cause the hair to become weighed down, dry, and prone to breakage. It is essential to use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo or co-wash to avoid stripping the hair of its natural oils, which can leave the hair dry and brittle.
When washing natural hair, it is important to focus on the scalp and roots, as this is where the majority of dirt and buildup accumulates. Use your fingertips to massage the scalp gently; the gentle motion helps increase circulation, stimulate hair growth, and distribute the product evenly throughout the hair. Rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving any product buildup on the hair.
Conditioning is an essential step in keeping natural hair healthy, moisturized, and easy to manage. It is important to use a deep conditioner regularly to provide the hair with extra moisture and nutrients.
When conditioning natural hair, it is important to focus on the ends of the hair, which are the oldest and most fragile parts of the hair. Apply the conditioner starting from the ends of the hair then up towards the roots, let the hair rest and soak in the conditioner for the recommended time, usually 2 to 5 minutes, then while you run water through your hair to rinse, use a detangling flexi brush to detangle and distribute the product evenly throughout the hair. When rinsing, use cool water to seal the cuticle and help retain moisture.
Moisturizing is an essential step in keeping natural hair healthy and protected from dryness and breakage. It is important to use a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer regularly to keep the hair moisturized and hydrated. This means, after washing your hair, you must put a styling product in the hair to prevent excessive dryness and breakage. This also makes it easier to manage your hair.When moisturizing natural hair, it is important to apply the product evenly throughout the hair, focusing on the ends. Use your fingertips to massage the product gently into the hair. Avoid using too much product as excessive moisture leaves your hair feeling weighed down, greasy, and can even lead to Hygral Fatigue.
Sealing is an essential step in keeping moisture in the hair and preventing dryness and breakage. It is important to use an oil or butter to seal in moisture after moisturizing the hair.
When sealing natural hair, it is important to use a lightweight oil or butter, such as argan oil or shea butter which will not weigh down the hair or leave it feeling greasy. Also, focus on the end of the hair while applying the oil across your hair evenly. Use your fingers to lightly distribute the oil through your strands, and even though you're using light oils, be careful not to use too much oil as it can make your hair feel icky.
Protective styling involves styling the hair in a way that minimizes manipulation and damage. Protective styles can include braids, twists, buns, and other styles that not only keep the ends of the hair tucked away and protected, but also help stretch out your curls even at the roots which minimizes tangles near the scalp and along the length of the hair. All this leads to less breakage and lets you enjoy more hair growth.
Protective styling helps to reduce the risk of breakage, split ends, and other types of damage that can occur when the hair is constantly exposed to the elements or manipulated. It is important to choose protective styles that are not too tight or heavy, as this can cause Traction Alopecia, which is a type of hair loss caused by excessive tension on the hair follicles. Your hairline otherwise known as your edges aka "baby hair" is especially vulnerable and prone to this type of hair loss. See our post on Traction Alopecia to learn more!
Popular Natural Hair Styles
Going all natural with your curly, coily or kinky hair is a big step towards self-expression and exuding confidence. So, we have curated 8 most popular styles among natural hair enthusiasts across the world:
The afro is a classic natural hairstyle that has been around for decades. This style works best for those with coarser hair textures, as it can be difficult to achieve with finer hair. The key to a great afro is to keep it moisturized and well-defined. Regular deep conditioning treatments and protective styles can help keep your hair healthy and promote growth.
The big chop is a bold move that involves cutting off all chemically processed hair and starting fresh with your natural hair. This style is popular among those who are transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. The big chop can be liberating, as it allows you to embrace your natural hair texture and start a new hair journey. However, it's important to keep in mind that this style requires a lot of maintenance, as your hair will be short and require regular trims to maintain its shape.
TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro)
The TWA is a popular style for those with short hair. This style is low-maintenance and easy to maintain, making it a great option for those with busy lifestyles. However, it's important to keep your hair moisturized and well-defined to prevent breakage and promote growth. Regular deep conditioning treatments and protective styles can help keep your hair healthy and looking its best.
Wash-and-Go hairstyles are perfect for people who want a low-maintenance hair routine and still maintain a natural look. This style requires minimal effort and can be achieved by simply washing your hair, leaving in styling products, and allowing it to air dry. Some popular Wash-and-Go hairstyles include the afro, curly bob, and messy waves. Additionally, Wash-and-Go hairstyles are perfect for people who have naturally curly or wavy hair. They can enhance the natural texture of your hair and make it look more voluminous and bouncy. Overall, Wash-and-Go hairstyles are a great choice for anyone who wants to simplify their hair routine and still look stylish.
The high puff is a quick and easy style for those on the go. This style is achieved by gathering your hair into a high ponytail and fluffing it out to create volume. The high puff works best for those with medium to long hair lengths. To maintain this style, it's important to keep your hair moisturized and well-defined. Regular deep conditioning treatments and protective styles can help keep your hair healthy and prevent breakage.
The twist-out is a versatile style that can be worn in many different ways, from loose waves to defined curls. This style is achieved by twisting sections of hair and allowing them to dry before unraveling them. The twist-out works best for those with medium to long hair lengths. To maintain this style, it's important to keep your hair moisturized and well-defined. Regular deep conditioning treatments and protective styles can help grow your hair, keep your hair healthy, and prevent breakage.
A tapered cut is a great option for those who want a shorter style without committing to the big chop. This style is achieved by cutting the hair shorter on the sides and back while leaving more length on the top. The tapered cut works best for those with short to medium hair lengths. To maintain this style, it's important to get frequent trims and keep your hair moisturized and well-defined. Regular deep conditioning treatments can help keep your hair healthy and prevent breakage.
Choosing the Right Style for Your Natural Hair Type
If you want to get the best look for your natural hair, you must consider the right style. In the paragraphs above, we listed a couple of styles that you can make. However, while there are countless styles to choose from, not every style will work for everyone. Matching your hair type to the right style can prevent breakage, promote hair growth, and make styling your hair a breeze. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a style…
Factors To Consider When Choosing a Natural Hair Style
Here are 5 important elements to keep in mind when choosing a hair style that will best suit you.
Tips for Maintaining Natural Hair Styles
Maintaining natural hairstyles can be a challenge, especially if you have coarse hair. However, you can improve your hair quality with the right hair care products. Here are some tips for maintaining your natural hairstyle:
- Moisturize Regularly
- Protect Your Hair at Night
- Avoid Heat Styling
- Use Protective Styles
- Trim Your Hair Regularly
- Use the Right Products
- Protect Your Hair from the Sun
- Wash Your Hair Properly
- Don't Overdo It
- Be Patient
Overall, natural hairstyles are a beautiful and versatile way to embrace and celebrate your unique hair texture and type. Whether you prefer a simple wash-and-go or a more elaborate braided style, there are countless options to choose from. As a plus, we will share ingredients that you must avoid when picking hair care products.
Ingredients to Avoid When Picking Hair Care Products
When it comes to natural hair treatments, it's important to choose ingredients that are gentle and nourishing to your hair. However, there are also certain ingredients that should be avoided as they can cause damage and dryness. Here are some ingredients to avoid in natural hair treatments:
Mineral oil and petroleum
Artificial Colors and Dyes
All in all, it's important to read the labels and choose natural hair treatments that are free of these harmful ingredients and contain nourishing, natural ingredients that will help promote healthy hair growth. If you don't know what an ingredient is, look it up. Many times, a simple Google search will tell you what you need to know.
Benefits of Going Natural (plus Celebrities Who Went Natural)
Embracing natural hair can be a source of empowerment, self-expression, and pride. In recent years, many celebrities, public figures, and influencers have proudly embraced their natural hair, inspiring others to do the same. Here are some of the benefits of embracing natural hair:
One of the most significant benefits of embracing natural hair is that it promotes self-acceptance. Natural hair comes in a variety of textures, from tightly coiled to loosely curled, and each texture is beautiful in its own way. By embracing the diversity of natural hair, women are encouraged to embrace their natural beauty and to love themselves just as they are.
Celebrities like Viola Davis, Lupita Nyong'o, and Solange Knowles have all publicly embraced their natural hair, promoting self-acceptance and self-love.
Viola Davis, who is known for her award-winning performances in movies and TV shows, has embraced her natural hair, stating that it makes her feel more authentic and empowered. Lupita Nyong'o, an Oscar-winning actress said her hair reminds her of her heritage and culture. Solange Knowles, a singer, and songwriter has been known for her iconic natural hair, which has inspired many women to embrace their natural hair as well.
Encourages Hair Health
Another benefit of embracing natural hair is that it encourages healthy hair. Natural hair is more prone to dryness and breakage than chemically treated hair, so it requires a different approach to care. This approach involves using gentle, sulfate-free shampoos, deep conditioning treatments, and moisturizing products.
Celebrities like Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, and Yara Shahidi are also known for their natural hair.
Tracee Ellis Ross, an actress and TV host, has been vocal about her hair care routine, which includes regular deep conditioning treatments and protective styles. Issa Rae, the creator, and star of the hit TV show Insecure has also been vocal about her hair journey, stating that she used to relax her hair but has since embraced her natural curls. Yara Shahidi, an actress, and activist has been known for her beautiful natural hair, which she often wears in a variety of styles.
Saves Time and Money
Embracing natural hair can also save time and money. Many women who have embraced their natural hair have found that they spend less time and money on their hair care routine. This is because natural hair requires less maintenance than chemically treated hair and can be styled in a variety of ways without the need for expensive hair products or treatments. This is particularly true for those who wear their natural hair short.
Celebrities like Janelle Monae, Alicia Keys, and Issa Rae have all embraced their natural hair, saving time and money in the process.
Janelle Monae, a singer and actress, is known for her signature pompadour hairstyle, which is achieved using her natural hair. Alicia Keys has been vocal about her decision to stop wearing makeup and embrace her natural hair. Issa Rae, as mentioned earlier, has also embraced her natural hair, stating that it saves her time and money on her hair care routine.
Promotes Diversity and Inclusivity
Finally, embracing natural hair promotes diversity and inclusivity. Historically, society has placed a greater value on straight, Eurocentric hair, which has led many women to feel ashamed of their natural curly/coily or kinky hair texture. By embracing natural hair, women are promoting diversity and inclusivity and celebrating the beauty of different hair textures and styles.
Celebrities like Zendaya, Jurnee Smollett, and Taraji P. Henson have all embraced their natural hair, promoting diversity and inclusivity in the beauty industry.
Zendaya, an actress, and singer has been known for her diverse hairstyles, including her natural hair. Jurnee Smollett, an actress, has been vocal about her journey to embracing her natural hair, stating that it has been a source of empowerment for her. Taraji P. Henson, an actress and author, has also been known for her natural hair, which she often wears in protective styles.
Overall, there are many benefits to embracing natural hair. It
- promotes self-acceptance
- encourages hair health
- saves time and money, and
- promotes diversity and inclusivity.
Celebrities and public figures have played a significant role in promoting natural hair and inspiring others. By doing so, they have helped to redefine beauty standards and celebrate the diversity of hair textures and styles by embracing their natural beauty and encouraging others to do the same.
Common Misconceptions About Natural Hair
Despite the growing acceptance and celebration of natural hair, there are still some common misconceptions surrounding it. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about natural hair, along with the facts that debunk them:
Natural hair is unprofessional
Natural hair is hard to manage
Natural hair is not versatile
Natural hair is not beautiful
By debunking these misconceptions and promoting the beauty and versatility of natural hair, we can help to create a more inclusive and accepting world for people of all hair types and textures.
Customer Review of Natural Hair Products
Check out beautiful reviews of users of our beauty products including scrunchies and oils here…
Nina C. on Best Moisturizing hair and scalp Oil!
Love this oil!! It leaves my hair and scalp silky soft. My hair no longer looks dry or frizzy and best of all, made with all-natural ingredients. Love it! Would definitely recommend it!
Coralie D. on Klere - Ultra Nourishing Hair Oil
Excellent oil! It oil penetrates quickly and is perfect for my Afro hair, I recommen
Brittany C. on Turcoaz Scrunchie
Leaves hair on head! not on scrunchie!
This scrunchie slips on and off of my curls with ease. Normally I find a ball of hair on my hair ties when taking them off but not with this! and I love the colors and that they are handmade with love.
Christine D. on Koper Petite Scrunchie
You rarely find this color for a scrunchie and I absolutely love it! It’s my go-to for everyday wear. Favorite scrunchie by far!
Doreen G. on Klere - Ultra Nourishing Hair Oil
I use it for everything!!!!!
I’m at my last drop and about to reorder it. I have really dry hair and I use it when I’m unbraiding my twist so I have a nice shine with my braidout. You don’t need much and it's lighter than most oils I’ve used.
I like that you don’t smell like grease either after you use it. I’ve been using it in my cuticles too and my skin loves it. I’m glad I don’t need to be buying 10 different oils for different areas of my body.
Britt on Usiku Scrunchies
My hair has gotten longer, and the pineapple never worked for me, but the scrunchi technique does. This scrunchi is very well made, it's the right size, and has good stretch without losing its shape!
In a world where beauty standards are constantly evolving, it's important to celebrate and embrace your natural hair texture. From the bouncy curls to the tight coils, every strand is a testament to your unique beauty and should be cherished. While naturally curly/coily hair may come with its challenges, from dryness to frizz, with the right care and attention, we can overcome these issues and let our hair shine. So, love and nurture your natural hair, and show the world that there's nothing more beautiful than embracing your true self.