I spent most of my life chemically relaxing (straightening) my hair because that’s what my mom did and what most Dominican women with super curly or kinky hair do. But about 2 years ago my mom stopped relaxing her hair and discovered that her natural hair was pretty awesome! She inspired me to do the same and just over a year ago, I decided to “go natural.” Being in my 30s and ready to start a family, I don’t have time to run to a salon for a blow out every week and I especially don’t have time to do it myself. Going natural is a long, frustrating process that can make you want to pull your hair out (pun intended) but if you stick with it, the results are beautiful. The in between time, when half your head is natural and the other half is chemically straightened, is definitely the most challenging part (it’s where I am now). So for all you ladies out there who are going natural or thinking of going natural, I’ve partnered with Pantene Expert to share some tips to help you out; it’s all about adding moisture to your hair and taking care of your locks. Ok, here we go!
1. Make a shampoo schedule – Choose a shampoo schedule that works for your hair and stick to it! Then, when you do shampoo, make sure to use a moisture-rich shampoo like Pantene Expert Dry Defy Intense Hydration Shampoo. While you’re in this stage, shampooing once a week might be all your hair needs to stay clean and moisturized. It is really important to maintain that moisture to prevent breakage.
2. Discover the co-wash! – If you’re super active and are worried about sweaty hair or if you’re between your scheduled shampoo days, wash your hair with water and a moisture rich conditioner like Pantene Expert Dry Defy Intense Hydration Conditioner. It’s a no poo shampoo! Again, it’s all about moisture and this hack will leave your hair silky smooth.
3. Dry your hair with a t-shirt instead of a towel – I forget where I learned about this one, but it’s a game changer. Use a cotton tee instead of a towel because it’s gentler and kinder to your hair so it helps to reduce frizz and breakage.
4. Try a low, sleek bun – Buns are great for days where you don’t want to fuss with styling your hair to create the perfect curls. A low, sleek bun is a great alternative to a big hair day. Use Pantene Expert Dry Defy Velvet Crème Infusion, a leave-on serum that adds moisture and shine, and with a soft bristle brush slick it back. Also, low buns are better alternatives to high ones, because they cause less breakage.
5. Twice a month (or once a week if you can find the time), leave your conditioner in your hair for a few hours of even overnight – I said it before and I’ll say it again, moisture, moisture, moisture! I towel dry my hair, section it off, add a ton of conditioner then wrap it with plastic wrap, then with a scarf and just leave it in. Rinse with cool water and you’re done.
And there you have it! The major take away here is the more conditioned your hair is, the more manageable and healthy it’s likely to be. Before you know it, you’ll have a head of beautiful, natural curls. There’s a very important movement happening right now, where girls of color, are embracing their natural curls and giving up the blowouts and chemicals. I think it’s a wonderful thing and I promise to keep you updated on my journey to a head of natural curls!