10 Easy Hacks for Maintaining Natural Hair at Home, According to Hairstylists
Transitioning to natural hair? Here’s how to get your locks looking its best.
Caring for your hair at home can seem like an overwhelming task, especially when you’re not sure where to begin, every process can appear time-consuming. Personally, I used to dread my wash day. I never enjoyed spending over an hour washing, conditioning, and treating my hair. Sure, there are a plethora of hair hacks out there, but it’s hard to decide which of them are really worth trying. To shed some light on a few of the good ones, we reached out to Lisa Price, founder of leading haircare brand Carol’s Daughter, and celebrity hairstylist Charlene Spiller to find out which natural and curly hair hacks we should be trying out at home.
“A scalp massage is always a good thing to do,” says Price. The gentle pressure and light motions immediately increase circulation, amplifying the amount of red blood cells, which helps to promote growth and rejuvenation. Hair massagers, like Vitagoods Scalp Massaging Shampoo Brush ($16; target.com), can also aid this process and offer a gentle alternative to scrubbing and exfoliating your scalp with your fingers. To add extra nutrients to your massage, try applying a bit of coconut or olive oil.
“Always be sure to use sulfate-free shampoo,” says Price. “Just in case you didn’t get the memo, hair does not have to squeak to be clean.” Sulfate-free shampoos help to retain the natural moisture in your hair, providing a healthy shine. If you are looking for a new and quick way to shampoo, Price recommends Carol’s Daughter’s Wash Day Delight ($11; target.com); its unique micellar water formula acts like a magnet to attract and lift away buildup, for a thorough hair and scalp cleanse.
“Always finish shampooing your hair with a cold water rinse,” Spiller recommends. “Although it’s not the most comfortable process, using cold water to rinse your hair will help close the pores on your scalp and seal your cuticles, giving your hair a luscious shine.”
Conditioning after you shampoo helps to reduce breakage and is essential for healthy hair. Conditioners smooth and detangle by replacing moisture and vital proteins into the hair shaft. For dry and damaged hair, Spiller recommends a honey and coconut oil mask: “The coconut oil binds to the hair, helping to reduce keratin loss and. And since honey is a humectant, it helps to impart moisture retention.” To make this mask, mix one tablespoon of coconut oil with one tablespoon of honey. Transfer the mixture into a pot and heat on the stove until the honey and the coconut oil melt into each other. Allow the mask to cool, then apply to your hair and cover with a shower cap for 20 minutes. Finish the treatment by rinsing your hair with warm water.
If you don’t feel like making your own conditioner, Price recommends Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture and Shine Hair Smoothie ($14; sallybeauty.com). Packed with a rich blend of cocoa, shea butters, and pro-vitamin B5, it helps to restore your hair to a healthy texture, giving it a natural shine.
The bagging method is a popular moisturizing technique that can be used to help hydrate your hair and boost moisture. “Simply apply moisturizer or a leave-in conditioner to your hair, seal it with a natural oil, like olive oil, and cover your head with a plastic bag or shower cap for two to three hours,” says Spiller. “Covering your head with the plastic bag straight after moisturizing helps to trap in heat, which re-activates the moisturizer, promoting growth and restoring dehydrated, split ends.”
Trying to do a treatment at home can get pretty messy, especially if the product keeps dripping down your neck and onto your shoulders. To avoid this discomfort, grab the longest tube sock you own and tie it around the edge of your conditioning cap or plastic bag. “The tube sock will act as a drip guard, absorbing any water or product that leaks out,” says Spiller. “Make sure the tube sock is halfway on the plastic bag and halfway on your skin to catch any liquid.”
Is your hair tangled after taking it out of braids or wearing it up for too long? If so, Price recommends making your own detangling milk. “Mix one-part conditioner with two-parts water and transfer the solution into a spray bottle.” Apply to dry hair before you shampoo and start detangling with your fingers. Separate any knots starting at the bottom of your hair strands and working your way to the top (tip to the root). Always use a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush when detangling.
“The first step to achieving the perfect home trim is investing in a good pair of cutting shears,” says Spiller. “Household scissors are not suitable for trimming your hair and will only create more spilt ends. Use professional hair cutting shears only.” Trimming your own hair can be intimidating, but according to Spiller, the two-strand method is one of the easiest ways to spot split ends. “Start the two-strand method by separating your hair into 1-inch sections, brush each section smooth and twist the hair tightly. After setting your hair into approximately 20 twists, cut the ends of the twists that are thinning or have a diagonal slant.”
Wondering how you can cut down on shedding and breakage? Spiller recommends a black tea rinse.“The caffeine helps to stimulate new growth and block Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone responsible for causing hair loss and shedding.” Brew a strong cup of caffeinated black tea using three to four tea bags and two cups of boiling water. Allow the tea to cool and transfer to an applicator bottle before applying to your scalp. Cover your hair with a plastic cap, and let the tea sit for up to 45 minutes before rinsing with cold water. Follow up with a deep conditioner. “I recommend using this treatment every three to six weeks, until you see improvement, as caffeine can dry out the hair.”
Aloe vera helps to seal your hair cuticle, which leads to increased shine and retained moisture. It also contains natural polysaccharides which help to strengthen and thicken hair. “Spraying aloe vera juice on your scalp can help balance the pH level of your hair and fight dandruff,” says Spiller. Fill a spray bottle with two-thirds of water and one-third of aloe vera juice, and use the solution to spritz your hair every morning and night. After lightly spritzing with the solution, follow up with your favorite oil-based hair product to seal in the moisture.