What You’re Doing Wrong With Your Natural Hair

Photo: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN

Don’t get us wrong, we’re super happy to be #teamnatural, but there are some things about having natural hair that can be a little frustrating.

Of course it’s all worth it for a head full of curls and kinks, but we’d be lying if we said having natural hair was easy breezy all the time. There are things like single strand knots and shrinkage—ugh and frizz—that can make a girl want to plop down in barber’s chair and get a second big chop.

But before getting too drastic, we sat down with natural hair expert, celebrity stylist, author and SheaMoisture beauty ambassador Diane Bailey. We like to think of Diane as the natural hair whisperer because she’s always so great at giving us just the 411 we need when we need it.

Here she gives us some tips on how to combat some common natural hair problems:

1. Fighting Shrinkage

“The real truth about shrinkage is that it is an inherent characteristic of curly, kinky, coily hair,” Bailey told StyleBlazer. “The shrinkage of your hair’s length shows that your hair has great elasticity and that is very healthy. So if you are loving your natural hair, it’s time to embrace some amount of shrinkage.”

Here’s how to fight it and win:

To minimize shrinkage and retain length from your twist-out or braid-out,” Bailey explains. “I style my celebrity clients’ hair with products that aid in smoothing the hair and minimizing frizz. I start with a gentle moisturizing cleanser, such as SheaMoisture Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Conditioning Shampoo. I follow this with 20 minutes of treating hair and scalp with Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque, which helps to smooth the hair’s cuticle, control frizz and maintain elongated styles. Then I use a wide tooth comb to detangle, and rinse thoroughly. I follow this by applying a small amount of Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Hair & Scalp Weekly Therapy to wet hair before blow-drying, which serves as a heat protectant to hydrate and provide strengthening antioxidants that gently stretch and elongate coily tresses. Now hair is ready to be twisted or braided.

2. Reducing Single Strand Knots

Ugh, these things can be the bane of your natural hair existence. But luckily Diane has some insight.

“Tight curly/coily hair will often entwine on to itself. The corkscrew motion of your curls can seem unmanageable as the ends often become matted or knotted and tangled. These single strand tangled hairs or “knots”, as they’re often referred to, can make growing, detangling and styling your hair very difficult. The easiest way to manage single strand knots is to trim your hair regularly every 3-4 months. Also, use a weekly deep conditioning treatment, such as SheaMoisture Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System Hair Masque. A natural, moisturizing deep treatment will soften and detangle hair, making it more manageable and easy to style.”

3. Reduce Tangling

Love the unique texture and bend of your strands but tangling can make styling time seem to take forever.

Detangling textured curly/kinky hair is really an art form. The three things you need to remove tangles from your hair while keeping it healthy are time, patience and an excellent detangler. Lubricate and soften hair with a hydrating detangler such as SheaMoisture Raw Shea Extra-Moisture Detangler. Divide your hair into several small manageable sections, and apply the detangler to each section, concentrating on the wet ends. With a wide tooth comb, gently comb through hair from ends-to-roots before moving to the next section. A leave-in conditioner supports elasticity so that your hair resists breakage when detangling, while reducing split ends and single strand knots. A good detangler should be a “go to” product for all textures.

4. Tame Your Frizz

If we had a dollar every time we had to deal with frizz, we’d have enough to pay someone to grow our hair for us. Here’s some great tips Diane gave us on this F-word.

To reduce frizz, less is more. Wetting your hair every day just dries it out. Often the frizz is apart of the spiraling of the curl/coil, but it can be reduced and managed with the right product that you can apply each day. I recommend to my clients SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Styling Lotion as it’s an oil-based lotion that reduces frizz while adding natural moisture while helping to improve elasticity, manageability and sheen. It also detangles, styles and protects against thermal damage during heat styling.

5. Length Retention

Not going to lie, we ogle pics of naturals with super big and super long hair on social media. But what does it take to get to those lengths?

Photo: Instagram
If long, natural curls are your ultimate goal, perfecting your hair care regimen and staying true to it are key. You must have a daily moisturizing routine, a weekly cleansing and moisturizing practice and a monthly restorative and strengthening conditioning system. Make them a habit, with the reward of luminous, healthy hair. Length retention and healthy hair is a choice. Take the time to do two things every day to your hair — moisturizing and protecting. Moisturizing will reduce breakage and encourage healthy growth. Protecting your hair, either through low manipulation/combing or wearing a protective style, will encourage healthy textured hair. Allowing time for these nurturing and protective measures will be reflected in your hair’s beauty, length and condition.