Many African-American women are wearing their hair natural this summer. Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair can be a rollercoaster process, especially when heat, humidity, and sunshine can quickly take your hair from soft and smooth to dry and damaged. Here are some tips to make the natural style work for you.
Expert tips: NYC-based stylist Patrick Wellington explained to The Grio that going natural doesn’t have to be dramatic. “Depending upon the length of the hair, a lot of women do not want to cut all the hair off at once. So I make a few suggestions. You can blow dry it. You can press the roots. Also, workout out the heaviest when you’re going to come and get your hair done, because you don’t want to work out on Monday morning, knowing that you have to go to work and then the rest of the week you’re struggling with the different textures.”
Pressing the roots is all about trial and error. Don’t get discouraged if it takes awhile to get your desired look. Wellington says, “Try blowing it out, press it and then wet it to see how it is. Sometimes the press and curl does the same thing [as chemicals] in certain sections. You have to test it to see how your hair responds.”
To wash or not to wash?: There are many conflicting opinions on whether or not you should shampoo your natural ‘do. We suggest washing just once a week. Let’s face it: summer means sweat. Sweating at the beach. Sweating at a cookout. Sweating ALL THE TIME. A weekly wash will get rid of all the perspiration build up.
Co-wash like crazy: The sulfates in many shampoos can seriously dry out natural hair. To avoid brittle breakage, try co-washing three times a week to keep your strands moisturized. Co-washing means skipping the shampoo and using conditioner only. This method makes your moisture-packed hair smooth and soft. The boost in moisture will make your natural curls pop!
The long and short of it: The longer your hair is, the more challenging it can be to wear it naturally. When detangling, start with your ends and work your way up. Most importantly, be patient and don’t get discouraged. More hair means more tangles. Remember that detangling is important. Failing to do so will lead to breakage and may cause hair to matte.
Poolside Pretty: While at the beach or lake, always work a leave-in conditioner through your hair before hopping in the water. In the pool, it is important to keep your hair covered with a swim cap. The chemicals in chlorinated water will strip your hair of moisture no matter what hair type you have. Consider keeping your favorite products with you by the water so you can condition before and after you swim.
Embracing your natural hair in the summer time does take a little extra work, but it is worth it. What are your favorite tips for wearing your hair natural in the summer? We’d love to hear anything we may have missed.