You’re new to the natural sisterhood, and I’ll admit, while it’s a fabulous thing to be a newly natural, it can also be quite scary if you are one of the many uninformed. I was lucky to have an older sister experience the natural journey before I myself decided to take the plunge, but we all aren’t so lucky to have a close sibling to make mistakes on our newly natural behalves. While there is a wealth of information on the internet for newly naturals, transitioning divas, and natural tressed geniuses; we all can’t deny that it is still a process that we must endure to get adjusted to our natural tresses, especially when all we’ve ever really known was the creamy crack.
Since more and more sisters are forsaking the relaxers for the beautiful side of au naturale, here are the essentials you’ll need to make things a lot smoother.
1. The Denman Brush
This little baby will come in use when you need to detangle your wet hair. Remember, never detangle natural hair while it’s dry! And as always, start from the ends when detangling your hair.
You can usually find theses brushes in beauty supply shops and some major drug stores. Goody is a well known manufactorer of these brushes.
2. The Spray Bottle
When you’re doing most of your hairstyles, you’ll need a little water to add moisture to your hair. A great spray bottle will give you the light mist you need to keep your hair hydrated during styling.
3. Satin Bonnet or Scarf
You’ll need a satin bonnet or scarf to lock moisture in your hair at night, and to prevent matting while sleeping. Satin pillow cases are great too for retaining moisture.
4. A Great Moisturizer
Shea butter is amazing for keeping natural hair moisturized. But if you’re looking for a product, I use Miss Jessie’s Buttercreme. I use a healthy dab of it in the morning, and my hair stays moisturized throughout the day.
The Best Hairstyles for Newly Naturals
1. The Braid Out
By far, this is one of the easiest hairstyles for natural belles. Since I didn’t do the big chop and opted to transition instead, when I finally decided to chop off my relaxed ends after one year of no relaxer, I had some length to tackle as a newly natural. I wanted a hairstyle that would allow me to wear my big hair and demonstrate that I had some length, so twist outs weren’t the best option for me. And I say that because although I had some length, I still needed to stretch my hair out a little. Twist outs shrink the hair, while braid outs stretch the hair.
My sister recommended braid outs, and I must say, it’s one of the two hairstyles that I have come to rely on while i get used to this natural thing.
To achieve the braid out, you’ll need some patience and the ability to braid. I usually take a spray bottle of water, with a dab of Miss Jessies, and braid my hair into about 10 plaits. While there is no right or wrong number of braids, I just found this amount to work well for me.
I usually wear my braids overnight, and take them out gently the following morning. I can wear this hairstyle for a week, and wear a scarf around the edges to protect it at night.
This video goes in more detail.
While these are my favorite hairstyles for newly naturals (and the easiest in my opinion), there are many more hairstyles that are pretty great for those getting adjusted to natural curls. Those who have a skill in braiding should find many beautiful styles that they can make use of.
Natural Hair Maintenance
Natural hair is not relaxed hair, so it requires a different level of maintenance.
1. Detangling: You do not and should not comb natural hair every day. Twice a month is reasonable, with some naturals who detangle weekly. I find that my hair can go two weeks without detangling.
Remember that you only detangle natural hair when it is wet! This prevents severe breakage.
2. Moisturizer: You will need to moisturize your hair at least once a day. Some can go every two days, but I think newly naturals should start off with once a day as they get adjusted and learn their hair type.
3. Washing: It’s a little tricky to wash natural hair, as natural hair tends to get tangled a lot easier. To prevent my hair from tangling up as I wash it, I braid my hair into big braids before I wash my hair. I then wash my hair in the braids, and pay close attention to my scalp by massaging it thoroughly. After I wash my hair, I take the braids out and detangle. This can be achieved by using your fingers, or a comb like you would with the regular detangling process.
I also only wash my hair with shampoo once a month. I use co-washes the other times.
What is a co-wash you ask? A cowash is when you wash your hair with conditioner instead of using shampoo. It’s the same process, and you rinse the conditioner just like you would the shampoo. This will keep your hair nice and soft.
4. The Deep Conditioner
To deep condition your natural hair, wash your hair, and apply a condtioner on your hair. Sit under the dryer (set it on cool), and let the conditioner sit for 15 minutes. While we all use different coditioners, I prefer to use Garnier, as others prefer Suave.
While this is great information for those new to natural hair, there is so much more information that you need to know about caring for natural hair. Just know that you will keep learning about your hair as you experiment with hair styles and various products. There are great blogs and videos out here to make your journey a much easier one.