It’s going on seven years that I’ve been relaxer-free. I’ve learned so much about my hair … and other people’s hair. Many people want me to treat my hair like they treat theirs or use to a particular product line because it works wonders for them. However, there’s no one approach to hair that works across the board.

When I first went natural, I fell for the hair-typing myths: Type 4 is this; you need this product; you can’t do this. Whatever. My eyes were opened when I learned about porosity and texture being the big factors to consider when choosing hair products.

Here are some other things I’ve learned that work for my hair care routine:

  • Finger detangling just doesn’t cut it for me. Sure, many people stand by it, but I need a comb through these locks to get out all the dead hair. And don’t tell me that I’m being impatient. I don’t have two hours to pick apart each piece of hair. Thank you.
  • That being said, detangling my hair, in the shower, using the coolest water possible is better than anything for me. Not only do I remove my protective styles this way—that is, unless I’m doing a twist, braid, or knot-out—but it’s great for a pre-shampoo take-down, and it’s a good time for me to rinse out my pre-shampoo oil or conditioner treatments.
  • I need to wet my hair as much as possible. Daily hair wettings work best for me, whether it’s drenching my twists in the shower or spraying my hair with plain water (I use oils or butters after either wetting). I know some people like to wear their style as long as possible, but I need all the moisture I can get. It’s only when I wet my hair daily, or every other day, that my hair feels well-moisturized.
  • A light spritz of water before a pre-shampoo deep conditioning works well. Some people say that it’s best to put pre-shampoo conditioners on bone-dry hair. Good for them; not for me!
  • Aside from water, the best things for my hair are shea butter, shea oil, avocado butter, coconut oil, mango butter, milk, aloe vera, ayurvedic herbs, and home made flax seed gel. Natural ingredients do wonders for me. Sure, I do have a few commercial products in my stash, but I’d be all right with just these things.
  • Petroleum-based products are not for me. I desire minimal use of chemicals in my hair, skin, and foodstuffs. When there are natural products that are less expensive and do the same thing or better, who needs chemicals? Granted, I do a lot of online investigating and shopping, so that helps keep my costs low and reasonable.
  • I still have nightmares about giving up my natural hair. Sheesh.
  • Being natural doesn’t make one better than people who aren’t. I’m tired of the attitudes and criticisms. Get off your high horses, people!
  • And, finally, I like being me and doing what I do. And I don’t need to criticize anyone for their methods, whether or not I agree with them.