If you have natural hair, you’ve likely dedicated hours to scouring Google for natural hair care tips, not to mention all that time spent browsing the beauty aisle for the best natural hair care products. African-American hair is especially fragile and prone to injury and damage, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), which is why curating a hair care routine specifically for natural hair is a must. Of course, there’s a lot of info out there, so even after putting in the research, you may be left wondering how to take care of natural hair. Make things easy on yourself—and put an end to nonstop Internet searches and drugstore trips—by following our natural hair tips. Below, we’re sharing a series of tips and product recs to incorporate into your very own natural hair care routine.
8 NATURAL HAIR CARE TIPS TO TRY
Forget what you’ve learned about proper hair care and start fresh—natural hair has its own set of rules.
NATURAL HAIR CARE TIP #1: DON’T WASH YOUR STRANDS DAILY
Have you been told you should wash your hair on the reg? Scratch that! If you have natural or African-American hair, you should actually be washing your strands much less frequently. According to the Cleveland Clinic, your ethnicity plays a large role in how often you should wash your hair. African Americans tend to have extremely dry hair that can become dry and brittle, leading to breakage, if washed too often. In this case, the Cleveland Clinic recommends limiting hair washing to one or two times every month.
NATURAL HAIR CARE TIP #2: CONDITION AFTER CLEANSING
When you do wash your hair, it’s important to always reach for a conditioner post-shampoo. The AAD advises that you should take extra care in coating the ends of the hair with conditioner, as the ends are the oldest and most fragile part of your strands.
Editor’s tip: To give your strands some extra hydration, it’s never a bad idea to reach for a deep conditioner. Try the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Rapid Reviver Deep Conditioner, which is formulated for dry hair to help hydrate each strand, for silkier softer hair.
NATURAL HAIR CARE TIP #3: RELAX WITH CAUTION
Considering relaxed hair? Be sure to do so with caution! The AAD recommends always going to a professional hairstylist to ensure that the relaxer is applied safely and to minimize hair damage. Moreover, touch-ups should only be done every two to three months and only to newly grown hair, per the AAD.
NATURAL HAIR CARE TIP #4: PROTECT YOUR STRANDS
If you plan on styling your hair with heat tools, be sure to spritz your hair with a heat protectant prior. Give the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray a try.
NATURAL HAIR CARE TIP #5: KEEP HEAT TO A MINIMUM
Even if you really love heat styling your hair, the AAD recommends only using a ceramic comb or iron once a week. The AAD also suggests using a device with a temperature dial and putting it on the lowest possible temperature setting that gives you the style you want, though they note that a higher temperature may be necessary for thick, coarse hair.
NATURAL HAIR CARE TIP #6: TRY A HOT OIL TREATMENT
Fragile hair needs TLC, and natural hair is no exception. To show your hair that oh-so-necessary love, the AAD suggests using a hot oil treatment twice a month to add additional moisture and elasticity to your mane. Aside from using a hot oil treatment, using a daily hair serum or oil can make all the difference in your strands—and add extra moisture! Try using the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Treatment, a leave-in hair treatment that hydrates and nourishes to transform hair from being dry and lifeless to soft and lustrous.
NATURAL HAIR CARE TIP #7: BE MINDFUL OF YOUR HAIRSTYLE
Heat tools aren’t the only hair styling option that can cause potential damage to your strands if you don't take the proper precautions. Braids, cornrows, and weaves that are done too tightly can damage your hair, too, according to the AAD.
NATURAL HAIR CARE TIP #8: USE A SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER FOR YOUR HAIR TYPE
Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to use a system of shampoo and conditioner that’s specifically formulated for your hair type, like the Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Sulfate Free Shampoo and Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Hydrating Conditioner. This duo of natural hair care products works together to cleanse and restore natural moisture to dry, dull, or brittle hair without adding weight to your mane.
Editor’s tip: You’ll get the best results when you use a complete hair care system, which in this case includes the Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Leave-In Conditioner. The weightless leave-in conditioner restores natural moisture and adds strength to your hair.
Next up: Let’s talk styling. Here are The 30 Best Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair.