Yippeeee! Caring for my curly coily African American hair has become a spiritual exercise of self-care, body acceptance, love and compassion. Pantene sent me their Relaxed & Natural shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer to play with. Check out my photo gallery of my current go-to styles for my short Afro hair. Then, in the video below, find tips and advice from Pantene Dermatology and Hair Expert Dr. Amy McMichael, MD from Wakeforest and the Pantene Hair Institute.
Here are my favorite short, natural hair styles from one year after shaving my hair off and starting from scratch…
A year ago I was flat ironing my hair like crazy every single day. It was broken, damaged, uneven with knots and split ends. In other words – a hot tress mess! Let’s not even talk about the attempted keratin treatment that resulted in clumps of hair loss. Heat damage is real, people. So is hair neglect.
I had to cut my hair off to give my head a fresh, healthy start. — and to be presentable I don’t consider this a hair big chop because my hair was already natural. I have eczema so I am allergic to relaxers and most chemicals. I was trying to mitigate damage. At any rate it was half devastating, half fun to start from scratch with a fresh new crop about 7 months ago as I continued to throw straight and curly wigs on for protection while doing TV appearances. While I was still wigging it, I was perfecting my game with my natural hair styles but I urge you to just jump right in!
My Current Natural Hair Care Regimen
In the summertime I co-wash my hair (wash with only conditioner) 1-3 times a week. In the winter I shampoo it (with shampoo) every 3-4 weeks. I don’t blow dry or flat iron my hair anymore, although I am not opposed to flat ironing in the future. I find the whole hair typing system useless but one stylist told me that my coily hair was 3c, another said it was 4a. It’s probably mostly 4a but They’re both right. I’m pretty sure that there are some 3b and 4b strands too.
It used to annoy me that my natural hair texture is a “weird,” soft, frizzy “in between” texture instead of being lush, thick and “nappy.” Now I am just loving and appreciating what my hair is — rather than hating it for what it isn’t. My sister and I realized that we even have some strands that grow stick straight from the scalp. Que sera sera, right? I love my natural hair!
Twice a week I redo my chosen protective style. The day before I wash my hair I pre-poo by lavishing my hair in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and detangling it. I use my fingers to detangle as I haven’t used any combs, brushes or other hair utensils (beside bobby pins) in about a year. I then baggy it or fold and scarf it for the night.
My daily regimen is the LOC Method: liquid, oil, creme. I spray with water, oil my scalp with a natural oil like Tea Tree Oil or Coconut Oil. Coconut Oil is my fave for the Summer. Tea Tree Oil is very soothing for my dry, flaky winter scalp. Then I use a hair creme product and flat twist, cornrow or bantu knot my natural hair with bobby pins.
My favorite natural hair styles are vintage-look, 40s and pinup inspired. I love a wash and go Afro as much as I enjoy structured kinks. I talked more about hair and self empowerment in last summer’s documentary, “In Our Heads About Our Hair.” So am I Team Natural? It works for me but I can’t speak for anyone else. I am Team Whatever Makes You Feel Gorgeous. #TeamBeYourself #Loveclass
Truly Relaxed and Truly Natural – Two collections From Pantene for healthier hair* no matter what your style. *Vs. non-conditioning shampoo.
Hairstyle #1: The Pompador
Hairstyle #2: The 40’s Pin up
Hairstyle #3: The Coily Sue
Hairstyle #4: The Queen’s Crown
Hairstyle #5 The Wash and Fro
(Scroll down to natural hair style #12 to see why this photo and these heat damaged ends make me unhappy.
Stay away from heat of any kind! Especially if you have wimpy natural hair like mine — and I say that with love.)
Hairstyle #6 The Conditioner Stretch and Twirl
Hairstyle #7: Soft Curl Twist-Out Girl
Hairstyle #8 Twisty Coils
Hairstyle #9 The Dry Twist Out
Hairstyle #10 The Bantu Knot Out
Hairstyle #11: The Leave-In Conditioner Afreux
Hairstyle #12 Flatiron in the Fall
(BIG mistake. The only time I have EVER used heat on this hair and my ends are still limp from it. I’m doing another cut again soon because of this.)
Protective Styles — #13 and #14
And Of Course, Hair With Friends…
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Pantene via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pantene.