If you transition from relaxed hair to natural hair the temptation is to treat your new hair texture in exactly the same way as the old. However, the two are different and need different products and hair routines. Compared to relaxed hair:
1. Natural hair tends to dry out if not regularly and properly moisturised.
This is because sebum has trouble moving up kinks, curls and coils compared to straight hair. You will need to try out several hair moisturising techniques before you discover what works.
2. Wet natural hair takes a lot longer to dry than relaxed hair.
This is because it tends to be less porous than relaxed hair, that is, the cuticle is stronger and more compact on natural hair. This may tempt some to blow dry regularly but don't do it! Just let it air dry. Wash your hair during the weekend when you have time to let it air dry.
Just to give you an idea, if I complete washing my hair by midday on Sunday, if it's drying in twists or plaits it can still be damp on Monday morning; I kid you not. If it's a sunny day or if the heating in the house is on high it dries faster.
3. Natural hair has a higher protein content than relaxed hair.
This is because the process of relaxing strips hair of protein. The result is that many black hair care products on the market contain a very high amount of protein to compensate for this. Some protein is needed to replace that lost during styling but certainly not as much as products for relaxed hair contain.
As a result, you will probably find that the products that worked when your hair was relaxed don't work well at all on natural hair. If you're looking for products that your hair will love get the natural-ingredients-rich Neno Natural product line.
4. Natural hair hates combs with small teeth and rollers with lots of bristles.
Instead, go for wide-tooth combs to detangle hair with minimal breakage and resistance.
5. Natural has better length retention potential
This is an empirical observation on my part. I used to be one of those people that thought black hair does not grow as fast or as long as white hair but that was wrong. What I didn't realise is that relaxed hair needs a lot of care and attention to grow beyond the shoulders and so appears not to grow after a certain point; relaxed hair can tend to grow to shoulder length and then gets "stuck".
With many in the natural hair community taking better care of their hair you will see that many YouTubers reveal great length when they stretch their hair. There also many pictures on Facebook to this effect.
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I was a natural hair blogger and mixtress living between London & Chicago from 2012 to 2017. I always thought I was 4C but some say 4B; images below - you decide! Heather xx