Sunday, 13 December 2015

4 Basics to Know in Caring for [Short] Natural Hair

I'm no expert in the Natural Hair Category, matter of fact, I'm probably not an expert on Hair at all. I don't have any formal education in the area, haven't done courses, and I'll confess I don't own any books on caring for and having natural hair.

All I have are my own experiences over the last (almost) 6 months

I believe experience is the greatest teacher of all; more than any books and studies, or having someone else tell you.  That last part seems contradictory, because here I am telling you.  But I also do believe that once you learn something, keeping it to yourself is selfish.  At the very least, having someone tell you something gives you a referential point on which to draw on when you find yourself needing the information shared.
I'll confess something else, someone told me (through blogs, websites, YouTube videos, and articles) all these things that I'm now going to share with you.  However, until I was in a situation that allowed me to go through experiences with each, it did not resonate and wasn't anything more than something I heard/read somewhere.

So here are the 4 Things You Need to Know to Care for [Short] Hair, in my opinion, that ensure you will correctly manage your  hair and be comfortable with it, and what you're doing in caring for your mane.  These are the things that I definitely didn't consider when I was trolling Pinterest and IG watching the fierce and edgy cuts, sexy and sultry styles, with curls and waves popping off my phone screen.
  1. KNOW your hair
    There are a few schools of thought on Hair Typing.  Whether you subscribe to these or not, the important thing is Knowing the Hair that grows out of your own scalp.  Hair Typing generally takes you as far as Curl Type and Pattern.  However, there are other characteristics of hair that are of the utmost importance in determining how you care for your hair.  In addition to the above mentioned, Hair is characterized by 
    • Length
    • Density
    • Porosity
    • Diameter/Thickness
  2. UNDERSTAND your hair
    In order to understand your hair, you first have to Know it.  Once you have that covered and are comfortable with the characteristics it possesses, you can then begin to understand it and care for it.  Each of these characteristics in varying combinations determine your Understanding of: 
    • the styles you are able to achieve
    • how long your hair maintains a style
    • why your hair always looks dry/dull or has a sheen/shine
    • how your hair retains moisture or why it quickly looses moisture
    • what ingredients/products work well with your hair and provide it with what it needs/lacks
    • etc
    Once you Know and Understand your hair, you are able to be Confident in the choices you make about your hair.  This confidence is expressed through
    • The styles you do choose to wear
    • The length you maintain
    • The health of your hair
    • The products you use or make yourself
    Is it time to Concede?  Using a Silk Scarf could save the day as Naptural85 illustrates.
    This last one is interesting, because you would think once you KnowUnderstand and have Confidence in your Hair, there would be no need to Concede.  But herein lies the true test.  Knowing when to Concede is the final and most important thing about having short (and simply healthy) hair. 
    • When your hair is dirty and non-cooperative - Concede: Have a Wash Day or Hide, * uh, I mean* Spice it up with a Scarf/Wrap/Hat (or other accessories) until Wash Day
    • When your hair is not retaining length - Concede: Determine whether you need a Trim.  Split ends and Breakage are the main reasons hair appears to be 'not growing' and the most effective remedy is removing the damaged hair.
    • When your hair isn't holding a style 'like it used to' - Concede: It may have outgrown the style.  Consider a Hair Cut or a new style more appropriate for the length
    • When your hair isn't holding a style as long as it used to (last week) - Concede: It may be dirty, so a wash day is needed.
    • When your hair does not respond to the products your're using - Concede: You may have product build up and a Wash Day is in order. OR. It may have outgrown those products, hair needs change as it grows, and with the change in seasons, so take stock of what has changed to determine how and what you need change in response.
      Also be aware of changes in your Diet, as this directly affects the health of your hair (skin & nails: changes in these are usually more apparent that in hair).
 photo TallnCurlynaturalhairnaturalistaafrohairwebcomiccomicaliceinnappyland_zps6d17d7f2.jpg
When to WASH, TRIM, Get a HAIR CUT/NEW STYLE, or CHANGE PRODUCTS is Important in [Natural] Hair Care
These tips actually apply to caring for more than just Short Hair, they apply to caring for ALL hair, for HEALTHY hair.  They are moreso apparent in caring for newly Short Hair, but ALL hair requires the same attention.

~ Josie Jo ~
Have I missed anything that is essential to caring for hair?  
Please include your thoughts in the comments

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