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How To Take Care of Natural Hair: The Complete Guide

photo of woman with natural hair

Over the last few years, the natural hair movement has taken over the beauty industry. While we love anything that encourages women to embrace their natural texture, it’s important that women should know exactly what they’re signing up for. If you’re thinking about going natural or just recently transitioned and are unsure of how exactly to care for your hair, we’ve got you covered. Daryce Willis-Brown, Mizani brand ambassador and stylist, is breaking down everything you’ve ever wanted about the topic. She’ll teach you how to take care of natural hair.

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What does the term "natural hair" mean?

In recent years, the textured hair community has employed the term “natural” hair' to describe people who don’t use chemical services to alter the look, feel, or texture of their hair. However, Willis-Brown says the actual definition of the term is quite simple.

"If you’ve never used chemical services to straighten or curl your hair, you were a naturalista before it was the cool thing to do," the stylist says

How is taking care of natural hair different from taking care of hair that has been chemically processed?

While the needs of your hair aren’t much different if your hair is natural or chemically processed, Willis-Brown notices a big difference in how her clients care for their hair. Clients who opt for chemical services frequently head to the salon frequently to their styles, whereas her natural clients tend to rely on their stylist's recommendations to maintain their texture between appointments.

“A lot of the hair styling happens at home,” she says

While it is important to know how to care for and style your hair at home, the stylist says you should never underestimate the importance of an educated professional.

“You still need the professional to guide you through this journey,” she explains.”You still need maintenance appointments that include a haircut and treatment.”

Your stylist will not only maintain your haircut and administered professional grade treatments, but also advise you on the best products and practices for your mane. When you find the right stylist and spend time cultivating a relationship with them, your stylist quickly becomes your personal hair guru.

What does a natural hair care routine look like?

According to Willis-Brown, the key to successful natural hair care routine lies in finding the perfect balance between at-home and salon care. While your method may vary based on your lifestyle, hair type, texture, and needs, the stylist says there are basic guidelines everyone should follow.

“At the most basic level, I advise my clients to shampoo once a week, condition or deep condition, and thoroughly detangle their hair and style,” she says.

To complete this routine, stock your bathroom with a salon quality shampoo and rinse-out conditioner. From Mizani, we love the Moisture Fusion Moisture Rich Shampoo. The shampoo infused with cupuacu butter, argan oil, and honey gently cleanses and conditions hair. Once a week, swap your regular conditioner for a deep conditioning mask like Mizani’s Moisture Fusion Intense Moisturizing Mask. The rich mask helps to restore essential hydration and vibrancy to dry, brittle, and lifeless hair.

Using the right products to style your hair is another important part of your routine, but the stylist says she can’t recommend a one-size-fits-all styling routine.

“Texture and hair type come into play when choosing stylers. For example, I may recommend a cream-based product to someone who has thicker or more dense hair,” she explains.

If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite hair styling products from the L'Oréal portfolio, from leave-in conditioners to styling pomades.

For all hair types:

Mizani 25 Miracle Milk

This multi-benefit leave-in is formulated with fennel seed oil and coconut oil and is suitable for all hair types. The spray-on milk boasts 25 benefits including helps to prevent split ends, adds shine, and improves manageability.

Mizani Keep Me Vivid25 Miracle Milk, $20.00 MSRP

For wash-and-gos:

Mizani Curl Enhancing Lotion

This lotion is perfect for anyone who wants a moisturizing styling products that won’t weigh down your strands.This lightweight curl enhancing lotion infused with coconut, olive, and marula oils helps to create smooth, frizz-free curls without crunch.

Mizani Keep Me VividCurl Enhancing Lotion, $18.00 MSRP

Mizani Perfect Coil Oil Gel

If you’re looking for a styling product with a little more hold, look no further than Mizani’s Perfect Coil Oil Gel. The oil-based gel helps to define and shape your curls and coils until your next wash day while helping to keep them moisturized.

Mizani Perfect Coil Oil Gel, 22.00 MSRP

For twisted styles:

Mizani Twist and Coil Jelly

If you can’t live without your twist out, this is the perfect hair styling product for you. It helps to define and hold coils, twist outs, and braid outs.

Mizani Keep Me VividTwist and Coil Jelly, $8.97 MSRP

For added texture:

Mizani Lived-In Styling Texturizing Finishing Spray

Whether you have a slight wave or springy coils, we all know the struggle of trying to achieve the perfect amount of texture. If your style is sorely lacking movement, pick up a bottle of Mizani’s Lived-In Styling Texturizing Finishing Spray. The spray instantly adds natural-looking hold with a flexible soft-matte finish that lasts and is great for curly girls to amplify their texture and curls.

Mizani Lived-In Styling Texturizing Finishing Spray, $20.00 MSRP

How often should you cut natural hair?

In addition to your weekly routine, Willis-Brown recommends heading to the salon every eight to 12 weeks so your stylist can address your specific hair concerns and trim your ends. While you’re at the salon for your appointment, your stylist may ask you if you prefer a dry or wet cut. There has been a big debate over the last few years about whether curly-haired naturalistas should get their manes cut while wet or dry.

A wet haircut is exactly what it sounds like: When your stylist cuts your hair while it is wet. This is the most common methods of hair cutting, so chances are good you’ve had a few wet haircuts if you maintain a regular salon trim schedule. There are two major advantages of wet haircuts; the first is precision. Wet haircuts are a must for anyone who wants a haircut with very precise lines, like a blunt bob. Wet haircuts also have the added advantage of taking place after your stylist has washed and conditioned your hair.

If you have been using hair products to make your strands look and feel shiny and temporarily mask your split ends, your dry hair may appear healthier than it actually is. By cleansing away all of the dirt, pollution, and product build-up your stylist will have a better idea about the health of your hair and lets them know just how much of your damaged hair needs to go.

A dry cut is also exactly what it sounds like: A haircut that takes place when your hair is dry. Dry cuts can take place two times during the styling process: as soon as you sit in the chair (before the stylist washes) or after. While dry cuts are suitable for all hair types and textures, they’re particularly popular in the curly hair community as it allows you and your stylist can see exactly what your final look is going to look like while they’re cutting. There is no need to wait to dry and style your hair to see if you like the length or movement—you’ll see it as it’s happening.

Willis-Brown is a fan of both methods, noting that the cutting technique your stylist chooses should be based on your desired look. More often than not, stylists will use both techniques throughout your appointment to ensure you have the best cut possible.

What about your scalp?

Last—but certainly not least—we’ve got to get to the root of your hair—literally. If you pay attention to the ever-changing beauty world, the chances are good that you’ve heard about the importance of scalp care. Considering your strands literally grow out of your scalp, it makes sense that you’d want your scalp to look and feel as healthy as possible.

Lucky for you, the best thing you can do for your scalp is to maintain a regular shampoo schedule to remove dirt, pollution, and product build-up. While your regular shampoo should work just fine, swap out your regular shampoo for a clarifying formula if you want to get your scalp squeaky clean. We recommend Mizani’s Moisture Fusion Gentle Clarifying Shampoo. The shampoo is formulated with charcoal and a coconut-derived clarifier to remove buildup and impurities without stripping strands of moisture or shine.

If you feel like your scalp could use a little extra TLC, we’ve got just the thing for you. Mizani’s Scalp Care Calming Lotion is infused with menthol, eucalyptus oil, aloe, and avocado oil to nourish and soothe to maintain scalp comfort. If your scalp is feeling tight after weeks of wearing a protective style, soothe your scalp with Mizani’s Scalp Care Cooling Serum. Infused with menthol, avocado oil, and peppermint oil the serum helps to comfort a tight scalp with a cooling sensation.

Now you know everything you need to make sure your natural hair looks and feels its best all of the time! Use the hashtag #HairDotCom to tag us in your natural hair selfies and let us know which Mizani products make your mane look its best.

Looking for more personalized hair care advice? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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