In this guide we’ll cover:
- Basics of natural hair
- Choosing the right products
- Developing a routine
- How to apply natural hair clip-ins
- How to apply a natural hair sew-in
- Best braiding practices and styles
- Up-dos & more with extensions for natural hair
- Maintenance of natural hair clip-ins
This guide is a great start to explore the best products, practices and styles for your natural hair. Let’s get started.
Basics of Natural Hair
To make the most of this guide, you’ll need to become familiar with your hair texture and hair porosity. As you explore your hair type, identify the strength of your hair – this is super important when determining which styles will work best without damage.
There are various natural hair types for black women. One of our favorite resources about this topic is from our friends at Curls. They explain the curl pattern matrix perfectly. They have an amazing with pictures to help you identify your curl pattern and learn more about the characteristics of that hair type.
Check out a few of our resources on how to maintain specific curl patterns:
Coily vs Kinky Hair: https://kinkycurlysolutions.com/difference-curly-coily-hair
Another aspect of your hair identity to become familiar with is its porosity. Porosity describes your hair’s ability to absorb and hold moisture. There are three levels of porosity – low, medium and high. The naturalistas over at NaturallyCurly.com developed a great reference on Hair Porosity that goes deeper into each porosity type and how to determine yours. They even suggest a few products for each type – which we’ll get into in the next section.
And lastly, know the strength of your hair ladies. This is important when considering what types of protective styles to wear. Depending on your curl pattern and hair strength, certain styles such as braids or long extensions can actually do more damage than good. Protective styles, if applied incorrectly, can end up snapping the hair and stunting growth. It’s best to consult a natural hair professional to determine what styles work for your hair. A good rule of thumb, when wearing braids, is to use more of your natural hair in each braid if you plan to use a long extension or thicker braiding hair. This will make the base of the braid stronger and minimize the tension of the extensions.
Choosing the Right Products
Shopping for natural hair products becomes so much easier once you understand your hair type and porosity. Each type responds to products, oils, and frequency of application differently.
When thinking of what to get for your natural hair care routine and the products needed to slay those natural hair extensions, revisit the LOC Method and shop products for this application. The LOC method requires a lotion or leave-in conditioner, an oil product, and a styling cream – applied in that order – to really keep those curls poppin’.
To find the right hair products such as afro hair for your hair type, we’ve reviewed a few products on our own and have shared them below for reference.
Take your hair’s porosity into consideration when shopping for products as well. Those with high porosity hair will want to stay away from heavy styling oils. Whereas those with low porosity hair may want to stay away from using foams or products with little to no oil.
Routine is everything when growing healthy, strong hair capable of supporting natural hair extensions. It’s important to keep your hair healthy in and out of protective styles.
The hair care routine really starts on wash day. Take your wash day serious. Set a little time aside to really focus on taking care of your hair. Once you have a system down it’ll take the guesswork out of your hair care or put a stop to those conditioner concoctions.
Start with detangling your hair before washing. Use an inexpensive, oil-based hair conditioner to apply to your damp hair to make the comb out easier. Take your time with the detangling process, starting from the bottom and working your way up. We suggest doing this out of the shower so you can focus on not snapping your hair in haste and save the water because, duh.
After your hair is knot free, rinse thoroughly. Use either an organic shampoo, a cleansing shampoo (one that doesn’t strip your hair) or a cowash. Now don’t go lathering this shampoo all through your hair all herbal essence commercial style like you didn’t just comb those knots out. Work your shampoo from top to bottom, going in a downward motion.
From this point, you can jump straight into the LOC method or use a deep conditioner before the LOC method.
The after-hair-washing part is where your routine will be put to the test. You have to keep your hair moisturized until your next wash. We suggest using moisturizing sprays, curl foams or raw oils. Apply this once daily, while styling or before bed with a wrap or bonnet.
This is the major key to keeping those locks healthy enough for any style.
How To Install Natural Hair Clip-Ins
Natural hair clip-ins are the perfect hair accessory for a quick style that looks like you sat in the salon. Add the length you always wanted or get somebody out of that Afro. Clip-in hair extensions are great for one night or through the week till your next wash. You’ll want to find hair that is durable enough for multiple uses.
Now the key to clip-in, and all extensions really, is concealing them. Ain’t nothin’ glamorous about tracks showing. And part of this is embracing that less is more. Too many clip-ins in your hair will inevitably be hard to hide.
When adding extensions in, you don’t want to add them to high. Start by parting your hair all the way around right above your ears, leaving enough hair on the crown of your head to blend with the extensions. With the lower parted section, you’ll want to either braid or twist your hair in two parts and use bobby pins to pin the twists to the base of your head. This is what your clip-ins will hold on to. It’s best to use two different lengths. Using longer clip-ins toward the bottom of your head and using the shorter ones closer to the crown to create a more natural, layered look.
Once your clip-ins are applied, use a wide tooth comb or your fingers to separate and blend your natural hair over your clip-ins. Finish your look with laid edges using a fine tooth comb and a stronghold, no-flake gel.
This is one of our favorite videos on how to add natural extensions:
This is one of your favorite go-to protective styles. You literally can do this style in 15 minutes. Natural hair clip-ins are easy to install and look amazing!
Thanks for keeping up with Part 1 of our Definitive Guide to Natural Hairstyling. Stay tuned for Part 2.