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In the nat­ur­al hair com­mu­ni­ty, we spend a lot of time, ener­gy and mon­ey on pre­ven­ta­tive and main­te­nance care for our tress­es and with good rea­son. Our nat­ur­al hair is del­i­cate, and deserves the best care we can pro­vide (espe­cial­ly after years of flat iron and relax­er abuse). We cow­ash, use sul­fate-free sham­poos, con­coct pre-poos, whip up but­ters for styling and seal­ing, deep con­di­tion and more.

But some­times, life gets the best of us.

For all of our knowl­edge and efforts, none of us are per­fect. Many of us will even admit that we’re not quite yet experts on our own hair. I’ve got no qualms with shar­ing that while I do have a good han­dle on what works for my hair, I am no guru. Yes, I made mis­takes dur­ing my tran­si­tion. Even now, I’ll make mis­takes or take short­cuts and have to suf­fer the con­se­quences.

I say all of this to say, that some­times despite our best inten­tions, we mess up. That mess up can be instant (like a bad dye job) or cumu­la­tive (like exces­sive thin­ning). When you come across a stum­bling block, check out these tips for get­ting over them and back on track:

1. Hair Cut Too Short

Although short, tapered cuts are what’s hot in the nat­ur­al hair streets right now, there are some ladies on a quest to retain length. If you find your­self in a predica­ment that leaves you with short­er hair than you bar­gained for, you can do a few dif­fer­ent things. First, I rec­om­mend giv­ing your­self a few days to get used to the new length. Exper­i­ment with dif­fer­ent styles. You may find that although your hair is short­er, you have bet­ter styling results because the ends are even or bet­ter shaped. If you’re still not feel­ing the length after giv­ing your­self a chance to come out of shock, you can exper­i­ment with more stretched styles or take the oppo­site approach and go full pro­tec­tive styling until your hair grows out enough. Whichev­er approach you take, just be sure to hone in on a reg­i­men for healthy hair care. That way, you can max­i­mize growth and length reten­tion while main­tain­ing the health and integri­ty of the hair that you still have.

2. A Bad Dye Job

Dye jobs are always a gam­ble. You nev­er know how a dye is going to take (or in some cas­es, not take) to your hair, or react with a pre­vi­ous dye or stain (like hen­na). If you find your­self with a home dye job gone wrong, you do have a few tools in your arse­nal to pull out. For hair that is too bright, try sham­poo­ing your hair over the next few wash days. Col­or deposits by lift­ing the cuti­cle. Sham­poo­ing gen­tly lifts the cuti­cle and will allow some of your col­or to run out. Just remem­ber to deep con­di­tion after every sham­poo, because cuti­cles that don’t return to flat and smooth will make your hair feel rough and dry post dye. Anoth­er alter­na­tive to tone down your col­or is to cov­er it with a dark, semi-per­ma­nent (or cel­lo­phane) dye. The last thing you want to do with your hair in such a vul­ner­a­ble state is apply more permanent/ammonia-containing dye. A cel­lo­phane-style rinse will allow you to tone down/color over your too-bright dye with­out the dam­age. And if you find that your dye job is caus­ing your curl pat­tern to start loos­en­ing, try using ApHogee Ker­atin 2 Minute Recon­struc­tor to help it bounce back. I used it with amaz­ing results on my col­or-treat­ed hair.

3. Bald Spots (Trac­tion Alope­cia)

Trac­tion alope­cia is real and it is an ever-present con­cern for nat­u­rals who love pro­tec­tive styling (weaves, braids, and oth­er styles that pull on the hair). If you’ve done a pro­tec­tive styling stint and noticed your edges have aban­doned ship, there are a few things you can do to get back on the right track. first, Stop doing what­ev­er style got you in the predica­ment you’re cur­rent­ly in. It seems like com­mon sense, but it is impor­tant to acknowl­edge what prac­tices and styles are detri­men­tal to your hair. Next, check out these proven recipes for re-growth. As with any­thing you want to change or improve, con­sis­ten­cy is most impor­tant. Com­mit to spritz­ing and mas­sag­ing the afflict­ed area(s) dai­ly. Note: if you are expe­ri­enc­ing bald patch­es or extreme hair fall, please con­sult a med­ical pro­fes­sion­al. Hair loss may be a symp­tom of an under­ly­ing med­ical issue.

4. Dry­ness

One of the most com­mon com­plaints bout nat­ur­al hair is that it is dry. Ear­ly in our nat­ur­al hair jour­ney, we lament about our hair being dry in com­par­i­son to the silky flat irons and perms we were accus­tomed to. But as our jour­neys progress, we real­ize that dry hair is indeed a real thing — as evi­denced by the fact that our nat­ur­al sebum doesn’t trav­el down the hair shaft as apt­ly. Dry hair can be the result of a num­ber of things — an incon­sis­tent deep con­di­tion­ing reg­i­men, not lay­er­ing prod­ucts prop­er­ly for your hair type, poros­i­ty issues, and not using the right prod­ucts for your hair type. How do you know which one you’re suf­fer­ing at the hands of, and how to fix it? There’s no one quick and dirty solu­tion. It doesn’t sound sexy, but in order to get to the crux of the issue, you’ve got to engage in a bit of tri­al and error. Your deep con­di­tion­er is your first line of defense. If you deep con­di­tion irreg­u­lar­ly, your hair could ben­e­fit from a more nor­mal­ized rou­tine (every 1–2 weeks). Also, try incor­po­rat­ing more pH balanced/low pH deep con­di­tion­ers into your reg­i­men, to assist in lay­ing your cuti­cle flat and seal­ing in mois­ture.

If your hair is still dry in the days fol­low­ing deep con­di­tion­ing, get exper­i­men­tal with how you seal mois­ture into your hair. Play around with dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions of leave-ins, mois­tur­iz­ers, oils or but­ters. Don’t feel bound to fol­low­ing LOC, LCO or any oth­er acronyms. If you’re still not hav­ing much luck, you might have to exam­ine the pos­si­bil­i­ty that your prod­ucts just don’t work for your hair. How­ev­er, before you chuck them out and go to Tar­get to start all over again, sham­poo or clar­i­fy your hair. Some­times, what we think is dry­ness is just buildup from cow­ash­ing over time.

5. Breakage/Thinning

We’ve already cov­ered how some break­age is nor­mal, but if you are expe­ri­enc­ing break­age and thin­ning that is dras­ti­cal­ly alter­ing your hair, get­ting to the root of the prob­lem is vital. Some­times, the break­age is mechan­i­cal and the fix is gen­tle hair han­dling and switch­ing from combs and brush­es to fin­ger detan­gling only. How­ev­er, if your hair seems to be break­ing off when­ev­er you han­dle it, dry­ness or a weak­ened hair shaft may be to blame. If you think dry­ness is the cul­prit, check out #4. But if you’ve got­ten a han­dle on mois­ture and are still expe­ri­enc­ing break­age, pro­tein treat­ments can help solve the prob­lem. I high­ly rec­om­mend ApHogee’s Ker­atin 2 Minute Recon­struc­tor as a start­ing point. Treat­ing the hair with an inten­sive pro­tein treat­ment week­ly until the break­age dis­si­pates should help in seri­ous cas­es. Also, remem­ber: when you are expe­ri­enc­ing extreme break­age, avoid styling that places extra stress on the already weak­ened hair.

 

What nat­ur­al hair woes have you bounced back from, and how did you do it? Share in the com­ments below!

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and liv­ing in Los Ange­les, Christi­na is BGLH’s res­i­dent tran­si­tion­ing expert and prod­uct junkie. In addi­tion to lov­ing all things hair, she is a fit­ness novice and advo­cate of wear­ing san­dals year-round. For more infor­ma­tion on tran­si­tion­ing, nat­ur­al hair, and her own hair jour­ney, vis­it maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pic­tures fol­low Christi­na on Insta­gram @maneobjective.

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3 Comments on "How to Bounce Back from 5 of the Biggest Natural Hair Mistakes"

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T.C. Samuels
Points 4 & 5 grabbed my atten­tion. My hair has been more dry than usu­al. I believe it’s the weath­er & the recent addi­tion of hen­na so I’ve been deep con­di­tion­ing every week & cow­ash­ing days lat­er. I’ve start­ed being more dili­gent with hot oil treat­ments as well. As far as break­age, I have a bit about 3 inch­es from my edges. & when I flat iron my hair I have a sec­tion that is always thin…In my ends. So I’ve set a goal of no heat for a year which I start­ed in Novem­ber. I’m going to incor­po­rate these… Read more »
OXxo

My hair falling out.

It was a severe vit­a­min D defi­cien­cy and my ex-fam­i­ly doc­tor refused to lis­ten to me about this and oth­er symp­toms includ­ing pain. Luck­i­ly a nurse did and I’m now bet­ter.

Ang B

Im ane­mic w/ viti­amin D defi­cien­cy also .. Im tak­ing viti­amin D3 w/ pre­na­tal viti­amins and my hair has­nt been hap­pi­er .. good luck ????

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