If you’re a new natural, one thing you must know is that natural hair generally requires more maintenance than relaxed hair.
Now, there are exceptions. If you’re wearing a TWA (teeny weenie afro), then you may find natural hair easier to maintain than longer relaxed hair. But if you have longer natural hair or want to grow it out, then there is typically more maintenance.
Always, Maintain Proper Moisture Levels
The number one reason natural hair breaks off is dryness. Figure out what your hair porosity is and learn how to keep your hair moisturized.
Also check out the maximum hydration method.
Trim When Necessary
You can’t follow someone else’s guide for trimming natural hair because everyone’s situation is different.
If you wear a lot of afros, twist outs and your ends are exposed regularly, you may need to trim more often. Manipulation, combing (even finger combing), wind, friction on clothing, etc. all wreak havoc on your ends over time.
So the more weathered your ends get, the more often you have to trim. You can learn how to trim your hair here.
Keep Your Scalp Clean
To maintain your optimal hair growth, keep your pores free of dirt and oils. If you don’t want to shampoo weekly because it dries your hair out, at least co-wash (wash hair with conditioner) and scrub your scalp with the pads of your fingers.
They even make conditioners now that are made for cowashing.
See some of the more popular natural hair shampoo brands.
Deep Condition Weekly
I can always tell when I haven’t been deep conditioning. My hair is more brittle, and it is not as soft.
Deep conditioning will help you retain more moisture and your hair will break less.
If you don’t have a dryer to sit under, you can do it with a plastic cap and warm cloth.
Just add your product, warm up a wet cloth in the microwave and place it under your plastic cap. Let it sit for 30-45 minutes and the steam from the warm cloth will help deep condition your hair.
Sleep With Satin
Always cover your hair in a satin scarf, bonnet or sleep on a satin pillow case. Cotton absorbs your natural oils (causes dryness), and the friction from your pillow can damage your hair — especially your edges, because they are the most delicate.
Give Your Hair a Break
Wear protective styles every so often, and tuck your ends away with buns or pin-up styles. This will keep your ends from getting damaged, you’ll have to trim your ends less and you will retain more length.
You can also protect your hair with extensions. Just continue to moisturize your hair (see how I care for mine) while in the extensions.
A lot of people assume wearing extensions means you don’t have to do anything to your hair. I found out the hard way that you can actually do more damage while the twists are in if you let your hair get too dry.
Also wait at least 6 weeks between installs to give your hair a break. The constant pulling and tension on your hair is not good.