by Sabrina Perkins of SeriouslyNatural.org
We are naturals right? We are conscious about everything that we do, so much so that we feast on all forms of advice and information we can find that will give us the edge we need for healthier, longer, shinier tresses. The problem with that is, we do not all have the same problems, needs or techniques that actually work and will benefit us.
Even the so-called experts have problems or make dire mistakes in their journeys and the honest and smart ones will share their failures to help educate others. My motto is nothing is a mistake if you learn from it, so I share in hopes of saving someone else the grief I have put upon myself.
So, despite all of our best intentions, we do deal with some damage and many times it is our own misinformation that causes it. All we need is a little guidance to make us aware and figure out how to stop it before it causes any more damage. Here are some common mistakes many are making which are doing us no favors and causing tons of damage.
Believe it or not but there are still some out there that feel a heat protectant is not necessary because they never used one before and their hair is not damaged. *sigh*. Heat protectants are products that protect your hair from the direct heat of blow dryers, curling wands, flat irons and other heated styling tools.
Heat protectants will form a protective barrier between your hair and the heat appliance, they will add shine and they fight off heat damage. No if, ands, or buts about it. Use the protectant if you do not want heat damage...period.
Not washing your hair enough
There are some of us out here still thinking they only need to wash their hair monthly. When you leave product build-up, dirt, sweat and pollutants in too long you can clog the pores so much that it could even keep it from growing. Hair grows in a clean scalp and environment and can only thrive that way.
Washing or cleansing your hair too often
Washing too often (especially with harsh ingredients in your shampoo like SLS) can be too drying and can strip the natural oils from your tresses that you actually need. Squeaky clean hair is not necessary and more damaging to textured hair than straight hair. Incorporate co-washes or use a sulfate-free shampoo if you feel you must wash more than once a week.
Regular conditioners or daily conditioners are just surface conditioners which are just for absorbing ingredients into the surface of your hair. They only do part of the job of conditioning your tresses. Deep conditioners or pack conditioners that have ingredients with low molecular weight. "These ingredients penetrate the hair, nourishing between the cuticles, within the cuticle layers and/or within the cortex." Naturallycurly.com
The deep penetrating effects allow proteins, amino acids and oils, etc. to replenish and restore the hair from it's damaged state longer than regular conditioners. This is a necessary step after every wash and missing it can detrimental to the moisture levels in your hair. If the hair is brittle, dry and easily snapping, then you probably have been missing on your deep conditionings!
Washing and rinsing hair with hot water
Hair should never be washed or rinsed with hot water as the hot water dehydrates your hair just like it does with our skin. This can lead to dry, brittle hair that will easier to snap off and break.
Holding onto split ends
Some naturals are not trimming your ends regularly or whenever they see raggedy ends. This is not allowing your hair to grow or retain length because slpit ends never go away and can actually travel up your hair shaft splitting even more and giving your hair see-through sections and frayed ends.
If your hair needs trimming then either seek a professional or watch Naptural85 below on how to do it without heat.