Three Recommendations to Grow Healthy Kinky Curly Natural Hair — Highly Requested

As of January 2018, I began my natural hair journey three years and seven months ago. The seventh of every month is my natural hair anniversary. Yes, I have a calendar event celebrating the day that I decided to quit the creamy crack also known as relaxer, and take the first step towards embracing all of me, including my hair. I enjoy celebrating and documenting milestones and pivotal moments in my life; so I do a little dance each month when my phone reminds me that I have stayed committed to my decision to be natural. Perhaps one day, I will no longer have the notification, but for now, it is nice to celebrate my natural hair anniversary. I transitioned back to my natural hair texture for fourteen months before I big chopped (removed all my relaxed texture hair). Transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair was not easy for me, because I had to learn how to adjust to managing two completely different hair textures at once, which required a lot of patience. However, I learned a lot about my natural hair throughout the process and learned to embrace my natural look. Read more about my natural hair journey here.

I have been completely natural for about two and half years, and as a result, I have an understanding of which techniques work best to grow healthy kinky curly hair during and after the transition to natural textured hair. After many experiments, I have determined the best techniques to grow long healthy natural hair. I am sharing my healthy hair techniques and tips with you, because I can relate to navigating the world of abundant natural hair information. Additionally, I receive a lot of questions about the products I use, or how my hair is styled from other women when I am in grocery stores, when I am at work, or when I am out in other public places. My family members and friends also ask me questions about my current hair routine, and I have noticed improvements in their hair health after our conversations. I enjoy seeing other people blossom and grow, especially women, so please let me know if the tips and techniques that I share help you. It would be wonderful to live in a world of people with big curly healthy natural hair! Let’s get in healthy kinky curly hair formation!

My three recommendations to grow healthy kinky curly hair are: (1) get to know your hair, (2) keep your hair moisturized, and (3) be consistent. These three simple recommendations are easy to apply to your current hair routine, once you invest time in yourself. You got this!

Recommendation 1: Get to know your hair.

Throughout your hair journey regardless if you are transitioning back to natural or working on improving your hair health, the most important thing you need to do is get to know your hair. You may be thinking, “I do know my hair Jessica, I have 4c hair with some 4a curls in the back and 3b hair on the sides.” Sorry sis, I am not talking about your hair curl pattern. I too once thought that curl pattern was the key to healthy hair. However, I can confidently say that curl pattern has nothing to do with healthy hair. Getting to know your hair involves knowing your hair porosity.

Hair porosity informs you about what your hair likes and dislikes regarding products and styling techniques. Alternative, hair curl pattern, helps set your reality of what your hair is going to look like once it is styled. Hair curl pattern is important to know, especially when you try the YouTube hair tutorial posted by your curly girl hair crush. Trust me, once your hair becomes healthier, you will love your hair regardless if it looks anything like your curly girl hair crush.

Hair porosity is your hair’s natural ability to obtain and retain moisture. Hair porosity is on a scale of low, medium, or high. Low porosity hair has a compact cuticle layer, thus it is difficult to get moisture into the hair, but once it is absorbed, moisture is retained. Low porosity hair is generally very shiny, especially when it is moisturized. Medium porosity hair has a loose cuticle which allows the right amount of moisture in and out of the hair. Finally, high porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle, allowing too much moisture in or out of the hair. Damaged hair can develop to high porosity. But, do not fret, following the appropriate healthy hair routine can restore damaged hair.

Hair porosity is determined by two methods. The first method is to take a piece of hair without any product on it and put it in a glass of water. Let your hair sit in the water for two to four minutes before analyzing. If after two to four minutes, your hair has sunken to the bottom of the glass, then you have high porosity hair. Alternatively, if your hair is still floating at the top of the glass, then you have low porosity hair. Finally, if after two to four minutes, your hair is somewhere in the middle of the glass, then you have medium or normal porosity hair. The second method to determine your hair porosity is less laborious. Consider the time it takes for your hair to get wet during washing. If your hair quickly absorbs water when washing, then you have high porosity hair. If your hair does not absorb water quickly or you must add products like shampoo or conditioner to help your hair get wet, then you have low porosity hair. Finally, if it only takes a few minutes for your hair to get damp, then you probably have normal or medium porosity hair.

I think it is important for you to know your hair and not to rely on anyone else to know which products and techniques work well for your hair. You are with your hair the most, so no one else is really going to know your hair as intimately as you. Hair stylist are helpful to discuss hair products and styles, but they should not be your source of hair information about your hair. Talk to your hair stylist about hair porosity, I am sure they will be happy to talk to you. Additionally, many hair salons offer hair consultations, which I found helpful because the stylist informed me that I was following the correct moisturizing techniques, but I needed to use more product when styling my hair to maintain moisture. Invest in yourself and get to know your hair!

Recommendation 2: Keep your hair moisturized.

Determine the best methods and products to obtain and maintain hair moisture based on your hair porosity. Moisturized hair is less likely to break, more likely to retain volume, and more likely to retain length. Regardless of hair porosity, I believe that all hair needs a leave-in conditioner to lock-in moisture, and a styling product to enhance curls without leaving them dry. Low porosity hair tends to be dry and needs assistance to obtain and retain moisture. Therefore, leave-in conditioners that are a medium to light creamy consistency (e.g. lotions) and contain oils that penetrate the hair shaft such as avocado, castor, and olive oil, are best for low porosity hair. Additionally, applying product to damp low porosity hair aids in product absorption and retaining moisture. To prevent high porosity hair from losing moisture, use thick consistency products (e.g. butters or creams), which contain ingredients that help to fill the gaps in the hair cuticle (i.e. shea butter and mango butter). Additionally, leave-in conditioners that repair the hair with protein or flaxseed oil can help prevent split ends and broken hair fibers in high porosity hair.

Regardless of hair porosity, styling products help to set curls and retain moisture. Styling products with ingredients that help retain moisture (e.g. coconut, castor, and almond oils) and are a medium to thick consistency (e.g. creams), is helpful for both low porosity and high porosity hair. When styling high porosity hair, use products with anti-humectants (e.g. aloe), which help seal the cuticle and prevent the hair from absorbing or losing moisture, especially during hot and humid days. Additionally, layering products also helps to fill-in gaps in the hair cuticle, which is beneficial for both low porosity and high porosity hair. Styling gels work well to set medium or normal porosity hair. I noticed that when I use gels on my low porosity hair, it becomes dry much faster, thus, I need to wash my hair sooner.

Deep condition your natural hair weekly to maintain moisture. Low porosity hair responds well to creamy deep conditioners that contain butters and oils that seal the hair cuticle and prevent frizz. Additionally, use heat after you style your hair or during deep conditioning treatments, because heat assists products to penetrate the hair cuticle. When applying heat, use the medium or low heat settings, do not use the high heat setting to prevent removing moisture from your hair. Moisturize medium porosity hair by deep conditioning the hair weekly and avoiding products with protein. Protein treatments should be discussed with a hair stylist. To maintain moisture in high porosity hair, use little to no heat, air drying your hair is preferable. In addition, deep condition your hair weekly using repair masks to moisturize high porosity hair. Rinse deep conditioners out of your hair with cold water to seal the cuticle, prevent frizz, and lock-in moisture. Although rising hair with cold water is recommended for high porosity hair, this techniques helps to decrease frizz in my low porosity hair. High porosity hair can become too moisturized, which results in frizzy and tangled hair. To prevent over moisturizing or over watering high porosity hair, be mindful of washing your hair too much, and exposing your hair to too much water by swimming.

Determine the best frequency for co-washing (using conditioner only while washing) and shampooing your hair. Removing build-up is a must for low porosity hair, therefore shampooing is a must. Avoid using products with protein in low porosity hair as this can increase build-up. If your hair is stiff or feels like straw, then there is too much protein in the hair. I know many naturals do not shampoo their hair, but I found that if I did not shampoo my low porosity hair once a month, I had a lot of product build up and my hair was not growing as fast. I recommend shampooing curly hair once a month or every other month and co-washing weekly.

When applying product, always ensure that your hair is saturated with product from root to tip. The ends of the hair will require more product than the hair closer to the roots because it is older hair and it takes longer for oils to travel down the curly hair shaft. Low porosity hair may require more product to achieve saturation than high porosity or medium porosity hair. The first time I applied more product to my low porosity hair I was concerned that I would have flakes because it looked white. However, to my surprise, I did not and my hair finally looked moisturized. Below are two photos that show you how much product I use to saturate my low porosity hair.

Detangling your hair supports product absorption from root to tip. Use a paddle brush to detangle thick hair, use a denmand brush to detangle medium to thick hair, and use a wide tooth comb to detangle thin hair. I detangle my low porosity thick hair during co-washing with a paddle brush. Previously, I finger detangle my hair, but I noticed my hair had a lot of fairy knots (little knots towards the ends of the hair that cause breakage), and so I switched to using a paddle brush to detangle and smooth out my hair.

Retain moisture by setting your hair in protective styles. Setting your hair aids in moisture absorption and retention. A protective style is any style that aids in moisture absorption or retention, which involves keeping your hair ends tucked. Protective styles include twists, braids, cornrows, buns, faux locs, and set style, such as a perm-rod set or flexi-rod set. Please be mindful of heat use and hair porosity when setting your hair with perm-rods or flexi-rods.

Recommendation 3: Be consistent.

Find the styling method to achieve the desired look and consistently follow the same styling routine for at least four weeks before switching. By being consistent, you are training your hair, and trained hair has an opportunity to obtain and retain moisture. Throughout my hair journey, I noticed that once my hair retained moisture, my curl pattern was more pronounced. Additionally, when I consistently styled my hair the same way for weeks, I noticed my hair curl pattern was more pronounced. For example, compare the photos above to see how my hair learned to maintain moisture when I consistently set it on perm-rods and used low to medium heat because I have low porosity hair.

I hope that my three recommendations to (1) get to know your hair, (2) keep your hair moisturized, and (3) be consistent, help you achieve healthy kinky curly hair! I am not a hair stylist, but I have learned a lot during my hair journey and have achieved healthier hair by applying these recommendations. Talk to your hair stylist about hair health and hair porosity. Comment below with any hair techniques that you have found helpful, and let me know if you apply any of the techniques I mentioned. I always love hearing from you!

Be healthy and well,

Jessica Leanice

6 Comments Add yours

  1. savvyzone says:

    Great post, very informative and useful tips

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! Please let me know if you use these tips. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. savvyzone says:

        Yes I already apply these tips, always did☺

        Like

  2. great, great tips! Love the results, you hair is beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

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