Sis, it’s 2020. We’re going to follow all applicable natural hair rules down to the letter. We not playing games anymore with our natural hair!
This year, and this decade, we’re not dealing with negativity. We’re not dealing with toxic individuals, manipulative behaviours, unfruitful employment – and that’s on period.
And we’re using this same energy with our natural hair.
Your natural hair journey isn’t something you can just stop and start on a whim. And natural hair rules, although they can be tweaked, cannot be broken. No, ma’am!
Natural hair is a lifestyle. The natural hair of your dreams can only come to fruition with constant love, attention and care.
Hair is like a plant: the more you water it, feed it with good ingredients, and protect it from the elements, you’ll see it grow, thicken and evolve.
We’ve outlined 10 natural hair rules you must follow in order to get your natural hair at a place where it’s happy, healthy and manageable. Let’s dive in!
Natural Hair Rules for 2020
Deep Condition Weekly
Deep conditioning weekly is a non-negotiable part of the natural hair rules manual. Why? Because natural hair is naturally dry.
Because of the coils and kinks of our hair strands, the oils our scalp produces – called sebum – cannot travel down our hair shaft and is stationed only at the scalp. This is one reason why new growth always feels softer than our ends.
This is why we need to manually apply hydration to our hair, but most importantly, to our ends. And one of the best ways to get hydration is from our deep conditioners!
A truly moisturizing deep conditioner should contain moisturizing ingredients such as:
- Aloe Vera
- Ceteryl alcohol, lauryl alcohol, stearyl alcohol (these are friendly alcohols!)
- Shea butter
- Plant-based oils such as olive oil, jojoba oil and coconut oils
Some deep conditioners are protein-based, meaning that they aim to fortify and strengthen your hair rather than soften and hydrate it. Make sure to read your ingredient list carefully to know if it’s a moisturizing deep conditioner or a protein-based deep conditioner.
Figure Out Your Porosity
Now, what’s the point of using all of these expensive products if you don’t know your hair’s absorption potential?
Porosity is the single most important natural hair rule you need to know about your hair. This will tell you which products your hair will and will not respond to, and how to best apply them.
If you have low porosity natural hair, you will need to use a hair steamer to apply your deep conditioner because your cuticles stay closed at rest. That means products (and even water) will not enter your hair shaft unless they are opened with steam.
If you have high porosity natural hair, there is a specific order you need to apply your products in. This is related to the LCO vs LOC debate. As much as people say it doesn’t matter whether you use the LCO vs LOC method, some hair types should be using one technique over the other.
As a general rule of thumb, high porosity natural should use the LOC method.
The LCO vs LOC debate is commonly discussed in the natural hair world. It’s an important part of the natural hair rules manual and should be thoroughly understood as part of your natural hair journey.
Understand Your Scalp
Scalp health is integral to a healthy hair journey in 2020. Just as we can’t neglect our ends, we also can’t neglect our scalp.
Our scalp is the “birthplace” of our hair, and it’s only right that we treat it with just as much attention as our strands. If our ends are elders, then our scalp is our baby!
Some scalp health best practices include:
- Ensuring that your scalp is moisturized with skin-friendly products – remember, our scalp is also skin! So no harsh products, like relaxers, should be applied to the scalp.
- Scalp massages every few days with fatty oils such as olive oil, castor oil and avocado oil to promote blood flow and keep the scalp lubricated.
- Avoid installing tight hairstyles to lessen the chance of follicle damage.
- Use gentle shampoos weekly or biweekly to remove dirt and use a deep cleansing shampoo monthly to deeply remove buildup.
Protect Your Hair
Protecting your hair, via protective styling, is also a key component to a healthy natural hair routine.
If you are on a hair growth journey, protective styling will ensure you are retaining as much length as possible. Similarly, keeping your hair in a style will keep the moisture locked in, aiding your growth efforts.
Any potential downsides to protective styling can be managed through implementing some best practices. Make sure that your style is not too tight, as to cause follicle tension, and that it’s taken down often for clarifying and re-moisturizing.
Use The Best Ingredients Only
There is no question that some of the worst ingredients for natural hair are widespread in the black beauty community. Some of these ingredients may provide short-term benefits, but are horrible long-term for the health of our hair and overall health of our bodies.
Nobody got time for that!
Just like with your deep conditioner, make sure you’re diligent in reading the ingredient list of products before you buy them.
Remember: the dose makes the poison. You can use ingredients with these products in moderation, as long as you are decreasing your exposure.
Listen To Your Hair
Learning to listen to your hair is a skill that isn’t easy to master. But it’s necessary when embarking on your hair journey.
For example, some naturals can go a week without moisturizing their hair. You may find that your hair needs to be re-moisturized every two days.
This is normal!
Nobody’s hair is the same. If your hair is dry, wash out the buildup and re-moisturize with a deep conditioner and leave-in conditioner. Listen to what your hair is telling you – it will thank you!
Up Your Diet and Exercise Routine As Needed
In 2020, we’re going to stop pretending that diet and exercise have no correlation to beauty.
The saying “you are what you eat” rings true for natural hair. Drinking water helps natural hair growth, but the key dietary life changes you should make include eating a balanced diet (and taking supplements where you need to) and exercising regularly.
There are a plethora of foods you can eat to boost your natural hair growth. But to start, make sure you are eating a lot of leafy greens (blending up some spinach and a fruit for flavor is a good hack get your greens).
Empower yourself with the knowledge of your body – are you lacking in any key essential nutrients? Many nutrients, such as iron, are primary components of the hair cycle. If you’re deficient in these nutrients, you may see it in your hair.
Lastly, exercise is major key for growing long, natural hair. Many naturals report that moderate weekly exercise contributes to optimizing the hair growth cycle.
They say comparison is the enemy of creativity. I couldn’t agree more.
In any aspect of your life, working towards a goal is a marathon, not a race. Contrary to what some natural hair influencers may tell you, hair cannot grow overnight. If someone tells you that, they’re lying.
Don’t compare your hair journey with someone else, because you are not them and you don’t need to be them.
Instead, reframe your thinking to align more with the health of your hair. Healthy hair grows! Keeping it moisturized, protected, and happy will guarantee you success on your hair growth journey.
Empower Yourself with Knowledge
Knowledge is power, sis. Those who seek knowledge will undoubtedly reach their goals.
Knowing the above tips, and the others on this blog, will ensure that you’re equipped with the right tips to accelerate your hair journey. We got you!
Acknowledge Your Accomplishments
We’re our own worst critics. Your hair, at its current state, is beautiful. Every once in a while, we need to acknowledge our achievements, growth and progression. Your hair is constantly growing and for that you need to thank it!
The Bottom Line
2020 is the year of rejuvenation. Give your natural hair the help it needs to grow long, thicken out and flourish this year. You got this!