Aug 23, 2012

Discussion: The New Natural Survival Kit

Issa Rae's Vibe magazine photoshoot. LOVE her teenie weenie afro!

I was talking to a newly natural lady, and as I usually do when talking to a new natural, I get the same questions. It always leads to the same conversation.
"I'm a new natural and I don't know where to start with my hair"
And now that I have passed the "novice" stage of caring for my natural hair, it's easier for me to answer that question. If you have been caring for your hair any amount of time, then you have figured out that the key to keeping your curly, kinky hair compliment-worthy is patience and moisture. Curls are gorgeous, but they take work. Ultimately, hair grows on its own. The goal is to not break it off during manipulation. So if I were to give a new natural a "starter kit" here is what I would put in it:

  • Patience. This is a necessity to keep hair detangled without breaking or snatching it around when styling. If I could sell natural hair patience in a bottle, I'd be a multi-millionaire and there would be less broken and pulled hairs. A little patience goes a long way in increasing length-retention.
  • Spray Bottle. It's such a simple thing, but a spray bottle helps SO MUCH when first starting out. It can help thoroughly mix water and oils and leave-in conditioner for even distribution. It can teach how to moisturize hair for styling without saturating it under water. Spray bottle
  • Sulfate-free shampoo. I cannot stress enough how much of a difference using a curl-friendly shampoo made in my hair life. I transitioned using flat-irons and curls, but I was clueless when it came to wearing my own curls. I stopped using a sulfate shampoo and got one that will allow my natural curls to thrive.
  • Leave-in Conditioner/ Moisturizer. I combined this because some people need both, others need one. But that post-conditioner conditioner that remains on your hair is what keeps curls moisturized throughout the day. You can't rinse all the moisturizer/conditioner out and expect hair to remain moisturized.
  • OILS! Yes. There is an exclamation point for a reason. Most hair that is kinky/curly in texture grows from a scalp that does not naturally produce enough oil to keep hair protected. And many kinky hair types are porous and do not retain hydration well. This is a double fault and without a good protective oil such as olive or coconut, you leave hair exposed to damage.
Nastasia of America's Next Top Model. Smooth sailing.
There are somethings that every natural should know, but many of us didn't know when we started wearing our hair naturally. So if I had a choice, this is what I would put in a starter kit for new naturals. And I would also throw in a jeweled hair comb and bobby pins for good styling measure. This is my natural hair survival kit for new naturals. 

Did I miss anything? What would you add?
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