When it comes to natural hair, we create our own rules. Gone are the days where we accepted the mainstream standards of haircare. One size does not fit all when it comes to how we wash, condition, detangle, style or rock our hair. We have become a movement that is self-taught, self empowered, highly capable of informing ourselves and ascertaining what our unique texture requires. It is such a beautiful thing. We’ve taken back the reins. We are writing our own self-care guidelines.

I wrote a piece on 4 Do’s and Don’ts for Natural Hair over at Glam.com — click here to read it! And click here to read my other stuff!

I tried to keep it all pretty simple, because it truly CAN be. My main points in that post were about education, finding the right products for you, loving YOUR hair instead of desiring someone else’s, and detangling by combing in sections from the tip to the root instead of pulling down from root to tip. Those simple tips have made a world of difference for me and for many others. In addition to those do’s and don’ts, I’d like to offer a few more of my own, and share some of the best ones from my Facebook wall.

Do know that you can be natural on your own terms. Natural hair can mean mastering a number of complex styles, twists and braid outs and up-do’s and things of that nature. Or it can mean letting your hair be free form, curly and coily. It can mean twisting your hair into locs and going with a low maintenance lifestyle. It can mean rocking a Lupita, a TWA that allows you to truly just wash and go no matter what. It’s up to you.

– Don’t say mean things about your hair and expect to love it. I hear so many of us say disparaging things about our own hair texture. “Oh my hair’s so this or that.” When I speak about my hair, I use positive terms. Instead of “unmanageable” or “wild,” it’s “free.” My hair isn’t a lion that needs to be tamed, it’s an extension of myself that I enhance with products and styles. Instead of “coarse” or “tough,” know that your hair is strong, thick, healthy and beautiful. This is part of why I am extra careful with my use of the word “nappy.”  Nappy isn’t a bad word by any means but so often it’s said with disdain or disappointment, so I prefer not to describe anyone’s hair that way. That’s my personal choice. Maybe this is another post for another time.

Here’s some of the amazing advice from Afrobella Facebook fans, who have been there, done this, and have the best advice.

Don’t expect miracles. Learn your hair and what you can do with it. There is no miracle product and spending lots of money is not going to change your natural hair texture. Focus on achieving healthy hair, not some fictionalized fantasy.”

– “Don’t be lazy and keep putting a generous layer of hair gel over your bun for a week straight because you don’t want to do your hair … I may or may not have learned that the hard way…” 

– “DON’T try to make it what you think it should be. DO accept your hair as it is, and work with it to make it the healthiest and flyest version of itself!”

– “1: Get to know YOUR hair, no two heads are alike 2: Find what works for YOUR hair, we can have similar hair types and what works for mine may not work for yours, plus I use to be a product Junkie, no more, I know what she likes and doesn’t 2: Treat it with love, since going natural I realize my hair is a lot more sensitive now, I have to be careful with the heat and color 3: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize 4: Don’t fret if you have a bad hair day, pull it up and keep going 5.I have learned to not take my hair seriously, the bigger the better with some frizz.”

– “Let it take its course! Be patient! Trim your split ends! Drink plenty of water!”

– “Be patient. Play with your hair. Get to know it. Try everything to see what works.”

– “Don’t fight it or try to make it what it’s not…accept and love your hair for what it is, learn to bring out its unique, fabulous beauty and rock it!”

– “Don’t over-comb your hair if you want defined curl patterns, finger comb and twist. BUT don’t go too long without actually combing, your hair will start to lock lol I also learned the hard way.”

– “Do LEARN your hair. Do MOISTURIZE often. GO WITH THE FLOW of your texture. DO know that black hair is fragile. Don’t MANIPULATE your hair too much. Don’t let others define your style or beauty.”

– “Keep ends moisturized regularly. Maintain a clean scalp. Detangle starting at the ends and work up. If using silicone products regularly, clarify to avoid build-up, which can make the hair dull.”

– “DO rinse your hair in cold water. It makes it feel super soft!”

– “DO use a microfiber towel… It soaks up the water better than a regular towel, reduces frizzes, saves time, and seems to be gentler on my hair. My naturalista daughter also says an old t-shirt works just as well… But definitely know your hair type (may be more than 1), and start off trying products suited to your hair type… When I first went natural– I went through a lot of trial and error, but one day– found out what works and how to work it!”

– “Do be patient, love your hair just as it is and appreciate every single stage of growth from the very shortest to the longest. Don’t envy or covet anyone else’s hair. Each and everyone of us is on a different hair journey or path which leads to the very same thing: Healthy hair.”

I love my Afrobella Facebook community, thank all of you for so generously sharing your wisdom! Please feel free to join us and share yours!

Here’s my few last DO’s and DON’Ts

Don’t let ANYONE tell you that your natural hair isn’t beautiful or doesn’t look good on you or “you should put a relaxer in that.” This is how you were born to be, this is what you were given at birth. It is so important to be able to look in the mirror and love who you are, as you are before you start adding embellishments and seeking to alter your perceived flaws.

Don’t take it personally if someone says something mean about your hair. Or try not to. They’re actually saying MUCH more about themselves than they are about you. What I’ve noticed is, the people who say negative things to or about natural afro-textured hair are in fact revealing deep seated issues that it isn’t your responsibility to try to cure. I just pity the fools and keep my head held high. You have to have confidence in your own beauty. And you know what? Insecure people hate that. Don’t let natural hair naysayers bring you down, even if they try.

DO know that you need to be patient. If your hair is damaged from chemicals and heat straightening, it may take a while for it to figure itself out and be healthy and strong. It took me 2 years to truly understand my hair when I first went natural. You have to learn how to treat it right and give it what it deserves and has been asking for. You can try to figure it out on your own but it’s also really good to find a well educated natural hair stylist to make sure you’re on the right path, to deep condition and trim and maintain your situation.

DO know that your hair is a unique expression of you. And you are beautiful.

PGY-13

What are YOUR natural hair do’s and don’ts?

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