Category Archives: natural hair regimen

The Pool is Calling, but Protect Your Natural Hair

the pool is callingOnce it warms up, SWIMMING moves to the top of my list of Things to Do during my downtime. But now since I’ve gone natural, I have had to put some thought into how to prevent chlorinated water from damaging my natural hair. Here are the recommendations I created and followed last summer that saved my hair and my sanity.

BEFORE Swimming in a Chlorinated Pool

Get wet and wear an “old school” swim cap
Before you take that first dive into a chlorinated swimming pool, go ahead and rinse your hair really well. Once you get in the pool, your hair should already be wet. This helps slow down the absorption of chlorine. Consider this: your hair is like a sponge, and will take on less (chlorinated) water when it’s already wet. Also, consider using a latex or silicone swim cap. I know that it won’t block the water completely – and isn’t the most fashionable looking pool accessory – but again, it slows down the process of allowing chlorinated water to dry out your beautiful natural hair.

AFTER Swimming in a Chlorinated Pool

Grab the Baking Soda or Apple Cider Vinegar. You’re gonna need one of them.
Have you ever noticed that when you step out the pool, shower, and dry off. . you STILL smell chlorine? Well, that’s because chlorine, unlike dirt, sweat, and general funk doesn’t just wash and rinse off. It’s a chemical that requires a little more work to get rid of. Once you’re done swimming for the day and do an initial shampooing of your natural hair, apply baking soda to your hair. Leave it for 5 minutes or so, to let the baking soda do what it does to your refrigerator odors. Absorb it. You can then rinse the baking soda out.

Apple cider vinegar is also a natural and cost-effective option to get chlorine out of your beautiful curly locks. Just add one part apple cider vinegar to four parts water and pour it over freshly washed hair. Then, do a final rinse.

It’s time to Deep Condition. . Again
Baking soda and apple cider vinegar act as clarifiers. So, once you rinse either option out, use your regular conditioning shampoo and conditioner, and if you follow the same natural hair treatment that I do then this is when you use the  L.C.O. Method. Either way, take your time and remember to massage your scalp because the chlorine dries our your natural hair AND your scalp.

When you’re done cleaning, rinsing, clarifying, conditioning, and “sprucing” up your beautiful natural hair, do me a favor. Let it air dry. Your hair is going to still be vulnerable from being exposed to chlorine and from the steps you had to take to remove it. Don’t reach for the hair dryer or flat iron just yet.

Now, get out there, Sis. Show them that Black Girls swim, too!

The Natural Hair Chart Doesn’t Really Work

Andre Walker, the hairstylist to the Queen of TV: Oprah Winfrey, created the hair typing system (AKA the hair typing chart) most Naturalistas use to define their hair type. It breaks the different textures into 4 types (1 through 4) and then breaks those types into 3 additional sub categories (A through C). It’s simple science, right? That always works.

Well, no.

The natural hair chart doesn’t actually work for my natural hair.

The natural hair chart doesn't work for my natural hairI think for a new natural, this chart could be helpful as a starting part to determine which products to use for her hair texture. I realize that there are SO many natural products out there, that it can be a little overwhelming to know where to even start experimenting . However, for a natural that have developed at least a small amount of understanding around the porosity of her hair or have who are just really observant of how different products effect the look of their hair – like ME, this chart really doesn’t help at all.

Most Naturalistas Have at Least Two Different Hair Textures

Most Naturalistas learn very early on that they have at least two different textures of hair on their head, and this chart does not even address this variance. So, you if you rely on the chart you could end up drying out one part of your hair while maintaining a great curl pattern in another. And that’ll never work.

The natural hair chart doesn’t include all the curl patterns or reference porosity

Then, if you check out other naturals the way I do, you have noticed that there are far more than three different sub-categories of curl patterns.  A, B, and C just won’t cut it. So, the natural hair chart is a great starting point to begin understanding the complexity of natural hair, but it just isn’t a reliable tool to base a decision around investing in natural hair products on.

Supposedly knowing your hair type will enable you to choose more suitable products and will help provide you with guidance for how you should care for your hair. OK. Sure. Right.

The most helpful natural hair charts I’ve found

And the term “helpful” Is more of a compliment than my actual opinion on the usefulness of any of these charts.

Hair Typing Chart that shows actual examples of real people with natural hair.

hair typing chart with written illustration of curl patterns
Hair Typing Chart with written illustrations of curl patterns. I’m not sure how you apply the illustration to figure out where your natural hair fits in, but I can appreciate the “artistry.”

Natural Hair Types Chart
Hair Typing Chart that includes color variations. I at least find this one easier to distinguish the three sub-categories of curl patterns.

Natural Hair Curl Codes Picture
Hair Tying Chart that breaks down the categories into Curl Codes.have

 Anyway, if the many hours I have spent grazing over a bunch of different charts was any where near well spent, then I’m a 4A (maybe).  And if you want to use the chart, remember to make sure your hair is clean and moisturized (damp/wet).
But who cares? What I do know is that I have a coarser grade of natural hair and it’s definitely low porosity (which means that my hair doesn’t absorb moisture well) so I have to moisturize it at least twice a day and I need to avoid greasy products like mineral oils or petrolatum because they block moisture from entering my hair shaft . Those are actually the only details that matter to me as I select products and styles for my natural hair.
two hair texturesI want to continue to experiment with hair products, and styles, and techniques and decide on what works best for me. . not what works for all colored girls who have hair that’s like mine. I’m not sure there are enough colored girls with hair that’s exactly like mine who are in the same place in their journey as I am, so this is just an area of my life I’m going to enjoy learning as I go. Oh yeah, here’s my two-textured head of natural hair!