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You did the big chop, now what? (part two)

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In the beginning, caring for your natural hair can be intimidating and a bit daunting. But with the right resources and some dedication, you can create a hair routine that fits your lifestyle and hair goals.

Condition, condition, condition

The condition of your natural hair depends on how much you condition it.

It seems unconventional to start with conditioning. The first thing you should do after looking at yourself in the mirror and getting over the initial shock of cutting off all your hair is slather a good conditioner into your tresses. Imagine how thirsty your natural hair is after being weighed down by the relaxed ends for so long. Give your tresses that long-awaited drink and start training it from now to be conditioned and healthy!

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to condition your natural hair. The condition of your natural hair depends on how much you condition it. You don’t have to spend a small fortune on good moisturizing conditioners; in fact, look for a top seven list of inexpensive and effective conditioners in a later article. You will spend time taking care of your hair – perhaps a lot of time at first. Natural hair doesn’t necessarily mean easy hair – it means being more conscious of how you’re treating your hair in its natural state. As you become used to the texture and develop a routine, it will become easier.

Shampoo

This is listed second in the article because conditioning natural hair is vital to its health and length. But never neglect cleansing your scalp and hair! Many naturals are led to believe that shampoo is evil: yes, shampoo can be drying if used excessively; yes, there are harmful ingredients in many shampoos that are not good for our natural hair; and yes there are healthy alternatives and shampoos with natural ingredients that you can use. But no, shampoo in and of itself is not bad. Why? You need to cleanse your hair and scalp to remove product buildup that can occur from using creams, lotions, and gels. Many soaps are drying for our skin; but does that mean you’re going to stop using soap or stop taking baths and showers? Hopefully not…

But it means that you will find a less harsh soap, continue to bathe, and make sure that you use a better moisturizer to keep your skin healthy. This is the same for your natural hair. You don't have to be tied to any one shampoo. You can try castile soap, mixing baking soda into your shampoo, and even using African black soap. Learn to identify the drying ingredients in most shampoos so that when you purchase them you know which ingredients are least and most harmful/beneficial for your natural hair.

J.A.S.O.N. Cosmetics makes a hair care line sold in many health food stores. They published an article about the dangers of detergents, specifically sodium laurel sulfate, to the hair and more on their site. Go to their page if you wish to know more: http://www.jasoncosmetics.com/sodium_lauryl_sulfate.html. Google and YouTube are great resources for natural hair topics and products, as well.

Now that you have a better understanding of conditioner and shampoo, this article will continue with learning to care for your big chop after the wash.

*This is part of a five-part series on caring for your hair after the big chop.

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