Bad hair days can happen whether you’re newly natural or a veteran. But when it becomes a consistent problem, there may be deeper issues at play. We all want our curls to pop and to be on point, but sometimes even our best attempts at styling and managing fail, and our hair just isn't living up to its full potential. If your hair is dry, dull, hard to manage, or lifeless, it may be trying to tell you something. It's time to listen.
We've compiled a list of 5 reasons your natural hair is not what it could be and what you can do about it.
1. You have low or high porosity hair, and you don’t know it
Hair porosity is one of the most important things you need to know about your natural hair. Porosity determines how well your hair absorbs and retains water and therefore, how you should care for it. Of the three porosity hair types (low, medium, and high), low and high porosity require the most specialized care. Here’s a quick rundown of these two hair types and how to handle them.
High porosity hair absorbs and loses moisture quickly because the cuticle (outside layer of the hair shaft) is open. To keep high porosity hair looking it's best, here's what you can do:
- Use products that contain protein to help strengthen hair (be careful not to overdo it with protein, though).
- Try apple cider vinegar rinses (1 part ACV to 3 parts water) as a final step to seal cuticles.
- Rinse with cold water to help close the cuticles.
Low porosity hair has difficulty absorbing moisture because the cuticles are closed. But once the cuticles are opened (through manipulation), it retains moisture well. Here are a few tips to help you open your cuticles and manage your low porosity hair.
- Always deep condition using heat such as a hooded dryer, steamer, thermal cap, or even your body heat.
- Use warm water rinses.
- Use water-based, moisturizing conditioners, leave-ins, and stylers, regularly.
2. You're sabotaging your curls with excessive heat
We all love a sleek look from time to time and the versatility that comes with straight hair. But if you're overdoing it with heat styling tools, you could be harming your natural hair. It doesn't take long to see the negative effects of too much heat. Look for damaged ends, hair that's dry, dull or brittle, and curl pattern loss.
To avoid damage from excessive heat:
- Always use a heat protectant before using your heat styler.
- Use heat styling tools less frequently.
- Don't operate your heating tool at extremely high temperatures. Try to stay around 350-400 degrees or less.
3. You're not deep conditioning
Sure, if it weren't for this step, wash days would be a lot shorter. And we can't blame you for feeling annoyed and skipping your deep conditioner from time to time. But don't make it a habit. And if you're not doing it at all, your hair may be screaming for some love. Deep conditioning is necessary to maintain the health and manageability of your hair. It can help retain moisture, repair damage, improve elasticity, and so much more.
Make sure to deep condition regularly. Whether it's once a week or twice a month, find what works for you and stick to it.
4. You're not trimming your hair
We tend to want to hold onto every inch of new growth, but your ends are the oldest and most fragile part of your hair. They've been through a lot and could be suffering from damage and splitting, which stops hair from growing and causes breakage. Regular trims can improve the health and appearance of your hair.
Analyze your hair and look for thin, damaged, or split ends. Typically hair can be trimmed every 6-8 weeks, but it's dependent on what works for you and the condition of your hair.
5. You have product buildup
Product buildup is the result of residue from stylers, shampoos, and conditioners. It happens over time and makes it hard for water and moisturizers to penetrate the hair shaft, causing hair to look dull and lifeless, and feel dry or grimy.
Try these easy fixes to get rid of product buildup and loosen debris on the hair.
- Use a clarifying shampoo at least once a month. Clarifying shampoos deep clean your hair and scalp.
- Use an apple cider vinegar rinse before you apply your deep conditioner.
Your hair may experience setbacks from time to time, but having manageable and beautiful hair is attainable. If your hair isn't looking or feeling it's best, consider that one of these causes may be the reason why and apply the fixes to ensure you have consistently healthy and thriving natural hair.