Natural hair is beautiful in all its diversity — from loose waves and tight coils to glorious Afros and lush locs. But good hair is healthy hair, and when your mane looks good, you can’t help but feel good.
That said, growing long, luscious locks doesn’t happen overnight. You know that saying, patience is a virtue? Well, the same can be applied to your natural hair care routine. Just like you won’t see immediate results after one workout, growing natural hair requires consistent effort. But if you stay the course and show love to your strands each day, in due time, you’ll obtain your desired outcome.
To help you get there, Yahoo Lifestyle tapped two of the biggest hairstylists in the business, Vernon Scott and Yene Damtew, for their dos and don’ts for achieving (and maintaining) healthy hair. Whether you’re well on your natural hair journey or transitioning from straightening treatments, these pro tips and product recommendations will help you get the hair of your dreams.
DO detangle with care
Detangling your natural hair consistently and with TLC is important for length growth and retention. Not to mention, when you take the time to carefully detangle your hair, you don’t have to worry about tugging and pulling your scalp, which causes unnecessary pain. Whether you’re using a comb or finger detangling, “don’t be rough with your hair,” celebrity hairstylist Yene Damtew says, whose most famous client is Michelle Obama. A tried-and-true way to effortlessly get rid of knots is by parting your hair in sections. Then, work your way through each part with a wide tooth comb or detangling brush from ends to root until you’re tangle-free.
Product recommendation: Innersense Organic Sweet Spirit Leave In Conditioner is a lightweight moisturizing treatment that can be used on both wet and dry hair to help make detangling much easier. Formulated with natural oils and herbs like tamanu, rosemary and lavender, as well as honey, it also creates a fragrant sensory experience.
DO cleanse your hair and scalp regularly
No matter your hair type, keeping your scalp clean is an integral part in healthy hair growth. Otherwise, sweat, dirt and other impurities can block your hair follicles, which can cause inflammation, itching and dandruff. As such, it’s vital to wash your hair regularly with a gentle and hydrating shampoo and conditioner to get rid of any buildup.
Product recommendation: Rucker Roots Stimulating Shampoo is great at cleansing your hair without stripping it of its natural oils, while Rucker Roots Moisturizing Conditioner is packed with super hydrating ingredients (shea butter, argan oil, coconut oil) that offer slip to help you detangle knots, leaving your hair soft and manageable.
DO get regular trims
Scott says it best: “You cannot have healthy hair and damaged hair growing at the same time.” Getting regular trims is important for getting rid of frayed, split ends, which eventually lead to hair breakage, as they travel up your hair shaft the longer you have them. “During the transitioning period, it's best to trim every four weeks rather than the traditional six weeks because you will always feel like the ends are weak,” Damtew notes. Additionally, cutting off “dead” ends as your curls and coils grow in will help you reach your goal of being entirely natural much quicker and lessen your chances of having to do a big chop.
DON’T skimp on moisture
“Moisture is your BFF. It's very important to keep the hair hydrated,” says Damtew. Vernon Scott, the mane man behind looks worn by Maxwell, Danai Gurira, Zayn and Jaden Smith, explains, moisture helps with “maintaining and retaining healthy elasticity, which is the foundation for healthy, beautiful hair.” Having the right moisturizers in your natural hair care arsenal is vital in making sure your strands are always hydrated and happy. Scott, in particular, loves Shea Moisture products, especially their leave-in treatments, because they’re nutrient rich and great for all hair types.
Product recommendation: A fan favorite is the Jamaican Black Castor Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner, which has castor oil and shea butter to nourish and hydrate your curls, coils and kinks and make them feel soft and fluffy.
DO deep condition and treat your hair often
Hair treatments are the holy grail of any naturalista’s regimen. Not only do they give your mane much-needed moisture, but they also provide vital nutrients to combat damage from heat styling or hair color treatments.
Product recommendation: Damtew’s favorite deep conditioner at the moment is Heaven in Hair by DevaCurl. “It’s paraben, silicone and sulfate-free and really traps in the moisture. Plus, it can be used with or without heat,” she says.
Product recommendation: For individuals that suffer from a dry and itchy scalp, Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment is a lifesaver, as it helps to remove any product buildup from the scalp while soothing itchiness or tension with the power of peppermint.
DON’T use heat often
While many people see heat as the enemy, you don’t have to avoid it completely in your pursuit of healthy natural hair. Just use it sparingly and always apply heat protectant before using any styling tools to protect your strands from being fried. We all love a good blowout here and there, but getting a sleek, straight look shouldn’t cost you the health of your hair. Try and space out how often you use flat irons and blow dryers so you’re not constantly subjecting your tresses, which can lead to irreversible heat damage.
DO protect your hair at night
You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s worth saying again: don’t leave your hair out at night. After all, you don’t want to ruin all of the hard work you’ve put in by sleeping on a cotton pillowcase, which can cause friction between strands and breakage. Instead, invest in a silk or satin pillowcase. Silk is gentler than cotton and won’t suck out all of the moisture in your hair. Alternatively, you can wrap your hair in a satin scarf to protect your edges and preserve your natural hairstyle.
This article was paid for by QVC and created by Yahoo Lifestyle's custom content team. The Yahoo Lifestyle editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.