When I started my hair journey I used to watch a lot of YoutTube videos about natural hair and, as I shared recently on my Instagram page, given the change, I would have probably become a product junkie. Lucky for me, that didn’t happen. Not that being one is a bad thing, no! It’s just that it can it distract and steer you away from your curly hair goals when you are a beginner around these woods.
Don’t get me wrong, trying out products is a part of your natural hair journey. It’s important you get familiar with them so you have the best changes of offering your hair what it needs and you also get the results you want. However, this can be a double-ended sword, as other things can.
Do you feel like you’re constantly trying to get things right but you never quite get it or you get things wrong?
As curly hair newbies, we tend to absorb as much information as possible and we then try to put into practice what we think is the best action plan. However, things can often unfold not in the way we expect or desire.
Unless there is a mother, a sister or a friend who has successfully been through the same path and is coaching you in the right direction so you can avoid most common mistakes, there is a lot of superficial chatter and curly hair newbies we’re pretty green to the nature of curly hair and what it needs.
Do you ever feel like you’re not where you should be in your hair journey and everyone else seems to be doing better than you?
Do you tend to get distracted by whatever comes to you in a whisper that promises to make your journey easier, to let you achieve your goals faster AND be more successful at it?
Do you wonder what you can be doing to improve your results?
I believe you can be struggling in your hair journey for 3 reasons:
#1 – You keep trying every hair product that comes your way
I see this happening all the time and honestly I get you, I almost became a product junkie myself. You’re anxious to find the Holy Grail of curly hair products that will give the results you expect while also nurturing your curly tresses, so you try all sorts of products that promise you this. However, more often than not, they fall short or disastrously wrong on their promise. Sometimes it’s not that the product is bad, it’s just that it’s not the appropriate one for your hair and its needs.
#2 – You have a hair regimen built on your curl type
As you’re starting your hair journey and as soon as you can see your first coils, building a hair regimen based on your curl type seems like the logical thing to do. After all, it’s the thing that you can most easily identify and also relate to when seeing other curly girls who have been on their hair journeys for longer.
However, this can be deceiving as there are other characteristics your natural hair has that you’re accounting for and are more important I believe. Ultimately, you should also be looking at porosity, elasticity, density and texture. But we’ll get into which one I think is more important in a minute.
#3 – You want your hair to do something it’s not meant to
I know it’s kinda hard not to have any expectations of what your naturally curly hair should look or be like, still you have them (I have them too). But, as a human being, you can’t help it, especially when there is something you can compare it against, a measure of comparison – our relaxed hair or even other naturalistas who you are religiously stalking on Instagram or subscribing to on YouTube.
However, your focus shouldn’t be kept on trying to ‘bend or break’ your hair to your will and force it to do something it won’t naturally do. You’re pushing yourself into disappointment and people tend to naturally disconnect with negative experiences – you may give up on your natural hair.
Instead of doing this, be open to what your new hair texture has to show you and remember you’ll have more chances of succeeding in your hair journey if you learn the ways of your hair and release your expectations (yes, it’s an ongoing task. 😉 ). This is one of the things I help you do with the Shedding & Rescue coaching call.
So what should you be focusing on in your hair journey? So glad you asked, my friend!
As a natural hair newbie you should be focusing on:
#1| FINDING YOUR HAIR NEEDS
Until you assess your hair needs anything you do to your hair can damage, delay or even benefit your hair health. However, what you really want is for anything you do to your hair to be a planned effort to nourish your natural hair needs and help it flourish.
By knowing what your hair is lacking and it’s vulnerabilities you can plot a hair regimen that will provide what it needs the most, recover and strengthen your curly hair from its weaknesses and build upon its best traits.
I believe the best way to discover this is by finding your hair’s porosity, which is a measure of your hair’s ability to accept and retain water. As you may already know, moisture must be ensured in curly hair at all times as it is naturally more dry than Caucasian or Asian hair, if you don’t do this… well… then hair doomsday can soon approach you and it ain’t gonna look pretty. You can expect dull, dry and brittle hair, breakage, split ends and more. No success changes for you.
ACTION: Do a porosity test by taking a few strands of shed hair (make sure it has no product build up) and place it inside a glass of water for a few minutes. If it remains on the top you have low porosity hair which retains water well but has difficulties accepting it in the first place. If it sinks to the middle of the glass you have medium/normal porosity, which means you’re lucky and don’t have to do much to keep your hair moisturised.
Lastly, if it sinks all the way to the bottom you have high porosity hair that accepts water really well, but also loses it very fast. By starting off your hair journey knowing this and building a hair regimen around this information you will have better chances of succeeding in your curly hair goals.
For more on porosity, you can start by reading these 3 posts:
- What is Hair Porosity?
- How To Improve Hair Porosity
- 5 Tips That Let You Know You have High Porosity Hair
#2| DISCOVERING PRODUCTS FOR YOUR HAIR
This can actually be the fun part of your hair journey – trying out new products – that is… if you don’t mind the trial and error that comes along. The good news is that now that you know your hair needs you can look for products that have specific ingredients to help keep it moisturised, healthy and strong.
If you simply try every product that is sneezed into the market or advised is to you, you’re not taking the time to get to know your hair and the effects a product has on it. Products are formulated to address specific hair problems. Somebody’s hair may need the polar opposite of what your hair needs or maybe there’s just a little (important) difference, but you only get to know this by taking the time to know your hair needs and its moods.
ACTION: Start by getting acquainted with the ingredients in your products. Get to know which ones to stay away from and which ones to look for. Traditional or mainstream products can have ingredients that dry out and/or prevent your hair from getting sufficient moisture (a.k.a water). Luckily, most natural hair care brands will have products formulated with your coils best interest at heart, still, you always want to check them as there are a few surprises sometimes, this is something I go over in my coaching call. For help with getting more moisture and to get familiar with your hair and what it needs you can take my free ecourse, Boost Your Hair Moisture. or you can read this post and download the free PDF.
#3| BEING CONSISTENT
I don’t know how to say it any other way other than this: ‘If you’re not consistent in the steps you’re taking towards your hair goal(s) I’m afraid to say you’ll probably fail OR you’ll take much longer than needed to achieve them.’
This, my friend, is the simple, hard, naked truth.
If it sounds too simplistic that’s because it is. If you keep changing gears, skipping steps and making shortcuts you won’t get the same results as someone who is consistent in their hair care practices. Consistency will allow you to infer specific result from your actions (steps), good or bad. This will then allow you to maintain, adjust or abandon certain practices, helping you improve your hair regimen.
ACTION: To help you understand how your consistency can inform and improve your hair routine I would advise you to keep a natural hair journal where you record everything you do and use on your curly hair. The Ultimate One-Year Natural Hair Journal can help you do all this and more, take a look here.
Now that you know all this you can start taking action towards a more successful hair journey.
Out of these 3, what do you struggle with the most?