Women of color in the recent years have decided to embrace their natural beauty by ditching the perms, heat damaging flat irons, and overpriced hair bundles. Although not all women of color have decided to embrace their crown, but for the ones who have, the natural hair journey is a journey like no other. I had a chance to sit down and catch up with Ashlea Patterson, pictured above, about her natural hair journey of 8 years. Following Ashlea throughout her journey on Instagram has been very intriguing to me! She was one of the first black women to change my perspective on black hair and the limitless growth that comes with it! For some reason growing up I thought that black hair just could not grow like other races and that was the reason we wore extensions. Well, it turns out that was far from the truth. So how do we keep our natural crown healthy and growing? Ashlea shared a few tips on what she has done to keep her crown exquisite.
Keeping hair moisturized.
Keeping hair moisturized will always play a key role in growing black hair. Using oils like Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Coconut Oil will keep hair hydrated and moisturized. Water is also a great moisturizer for the hair without actually using grease or oil. Moisturizing your hair should be done at least a couple of times a week ensuring hair is never dry or brittle. Ashlea states that protective styles are also a great way to keep hair moisturized and growing! Finding the correct oil for your hair could take a few tries because everyone’s hair is different, but knowing where to start is the biggest battle!
“The first time I heard someone say they don’t shampoo their hair some years ago I thought that was so gross! But, it has worked!” states Ashlea on her advice on washing natural hair. Co–washing means skipping the shampoo and solely washing your hair with conditioner only. Although some shampoos have gotten on board with the naturals producing sulfate free options, there are some shampoos still out there made with very harsh chemicals for natural hair. Shampoos for example with sulfate, strips natural oils the body produces for hair and leaves hair feeling stiff and making it very hard to comb through. Co-washing may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it has been proven to be effective for women of color either transitioning to wearing their natural hair or for those who are already are natural. Here are a few favorites that Ashlea mentioned:
Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Conditioning Co-Wash
As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner
Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Moisture Co-Wash
Limiting Heat on Hair.
“Blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons can be the death to the natural hair and it’s curl pattern if not performed correctly,” states Ashlea as she stroked a piece of hair and flipped it to the side. Heat damage can leave once full, shiny, and healthy hair very brittle, dry, and with less fullness. It is never a good idea to try to straighten natural hair for the first time without a professional. There are a variety of ways naturals can straighten their hair without the use of any heat. For example, hair banding is becoming more and more popular among naturals as a great alternative to the flat iron!
Keep Ends Cut!
“Clipping ends is so important because split ends work their way up. I don’t hold on to my ends if they’re split, if I want my hair to grow the unhealthy ends have GOT TO GO!” Ashlea stated as she laughed. Cutting the ends of your hair can sometimes be dramatic depending on how long you have gone without a trim. It is said that hair should be trimmed every 4-6 months or like Ashlea, anytime you see split ends! There are many factors that can cause split ends such as how you are handling your hair when brushing or styling, heat damage, diet, clothing (i.e. hats, scarves), all play a factor in causing split ends! Always be mindful of these factors as they will get in the way on your journey to healthy hair!
We would love to see and hear about your hair journey! Comment below and tell us all about it!