Every naturalistas dream is to have soft, easy-to-comb, and easy to manage natural hair. But we all know this isn’t always the case. Many women with natural hair struggle with dry and brittle hair that can be so frustrating and discouraging. In fact, this is the top reason why some people give up on their natural hair journey.
Before we look at the many ways you can soften your natural hair without using relaxers and other structure-altering chemicals, let’s find out what makes natural hair difficult to sometimes manage.
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3 Reasons Why Your Natural Hair Feels Coarse & Dry
This is the biggest culprit for coarse hair. Natural hair thrives on moisture which it gets from either water or the hair products you use. The lack of moisture causes your hair to dry, become brittle and eventually start breaking.
A good leave-in conditioner can help to solve this problem.
Ideally, you should be using three types of conditioners- a regular conditioner that you use after shampooing your hair, a leave-in conditioner for daily moisturising, and a deep conditioner for bi-weekly penetrative conditioning.
Conditioners are essential in fighting frizz, softening hair, and repairing damage. If you have been going for long periods of time before applying a conditioner to your hair, then the chances are high that that is the cause for your dry hair as well as lack of growth.
3. Using Too Much Protein Treatment
Remember the saying; a little goes a long way? Well, that is very true for protein treatments. While they are highly beneficial in strengthening natural hair, too much of it can result in extremely brittle and dry hair. It causes what we call protein overload.
You can read more about protein treatments here.
How To Soften Natural Hair Without Chemicals
Now you know what the cause of your dry hair is, let’s look at some of the tips you can implement to make your hair soft and easy to manage.
1. Moisturise Your Hair As Often As Possible
I can’t stress this enough. Moisturise as often as you can and not with oils and creams. These don’t moisturise your hair but help to seal in the moisture. Use water or a leave-in conditioner, then follow it up with oils and creams using either the LOC method or the LCO method. Try to moisturise at least three times a week and drink lots of water every day.
This alone can help you to see a significant change in the softness of your natural hair.
2. Prepoo Before Shampooing
Pre-pooing is simply adding oil, preferably a deeply penetrating oil like Coconut oil, to your hair before you shampoo. The reason behind this is that natural oils are stripped away from your hair during shampooing, so adding oils replenishes the oil that is lost. This helps to leave your hair soft and shiny after shampooing.
3. Condition Regularly
Conditioners are the holy grail of soft natural hair. They also reduce frizz, repair your hair shaft, smooth down hair cuticles to prevent knots and tangles, and make hair shiny. Conditioners are vital in your natural hair care routine.
How Often Should You Use Conditioners To Help Soften Natural Hair?
For regular conditioners, use them immediately after shampooing your hair. Every once in a while, you can use a regular conditioner to wash your hair instead of your shampoo (co-washing). This helps reduce the oils and moisture stripped away from using shampoos.
For deep conditioners, bi-weekly is sufficient. Deep conditioners are strong; they are formulated to penetrate deep into your hair shaft to give maximum hydration. Usually, you would leave them on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off.
4. Go Easy With Heated Tools
If you constantly use heat tools to straighten or curl your hair, you may want to rethink that. Frequent and prolonged heat styling dries out your hair shaft, causing your hair to be dry and brittle. Consider using heated tools to a bare minimum and use heat-free methods instead.
If you still want to use heated tools, make sure you apply a heat protectant before each use. Use the lowest heat setting possible and try not to use them too frequently to allow your hair time to recover afterwards.
Best Oils To Use On Dry, Coarse Hair
Besides being great sealants, oils are also very good in softening dry coarse hair. Of course, not all oils will work for your hair, but many naturalistas swear by these oils:
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is increasingly popular in the beauty industry, and many naturalistas are grabbing a bottle at every chance they get. Research has shown that this wonder oil penetrates deep into your hair shaft to deliver the nutrients needed by your hair to grow healthy. It also immensely softens hair.
It’s best to use pure coconut oil, but you can use coconut oil infused products if it’s not available to you.
2. Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the best sealants for natural hair. Its moisture-baring ability is very high. Applying olive oil at least twice every week will help keep your hair well moisturised for a whole week, making it soft and manageable.
3. Argan oil
Ever noticed that Argan oil is in nearly every hair product? I bet you have. It’s because of how moisturising this oil is. If your hair is dehydrated and brittle, it will benefit greatly from applying argan oil at least three times a week.
How To Soften Natural Hair With Home-Made Treatments
Aside from moisturising, conditioning, and using oils to seal in the moisture, you can also introduce DIY treatments to help soften your natural hair as well, such as:
1. Caramel Treatment
This miracle beauty treatment was first introduced by Cassandre Beccai, a well-known beauty expert. To make the caramel treatment, you will need:
- 1/4 cup of honey,
- ¼ cup of coconut oil,
- One teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup of molasses
- One ripe banana
Mix everything in a blender and blend into a soft paste. Apply generously to your hair and let it sit for 30 minutes while wearing a shower cap. Shampoo and condition as usual.
2. Bentonite Clay Mask
Bentonite clay not only restores damaged hair, it impressively leaves hair soft and manageable. These are not the only reasons you should be ordering Bentonite clay asap. It also moisturises, fights frizz, and enhances your hair’s natural curl pattern.
To prepare a bentonite clay mask:
- Mix ½ cup of bentonite clay with ¼ cup Apple cider vinegar or plain water.
- Mix to form a paste and apply it throughout your hair.
- Let it sit in for at least 30 minutes or longer before rinsing.
- Use this mask once every month for the best results.
3. Yoghurt Mask
For this, you only need fresh plain yoghurt. The lactic acid in the yoghurt is the softening agent.
To use the yoghurt as a mask:
- Pour a sizeable amount of fresh unflavoured yoghurt into a small container and apply it throughout your hair, ensuring that each strand is coated.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap and let it sit in your hair for about 30 minutes.
- Wash your hair and rinse with warm water.
4. Coconut Milk Treatment
- One can of coconut milk
- Two tablespoons Honey
- Two tablespoon Coconut oil
- Four tablespoons plain Yogurt
- 1 Lime (you will need juice)
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
Mix everything else in a bowl except the cornstarch. Once mixed up, add the cornstarch to thicken the mixture. Apply throughout your hair, leaving it in for at least 30 minutes before washing it away.
Final Thoughts On How To Soften Natural Hair
Taking your hair from a dry, brittle state to a soft, manageable state can take a while, so be armed with a lot of patience. The remedies above will help you to soften your hair as long as you remain consistent. Couple that up with a healthy lifestyle and sufficient hydration, and you will no longer dread combing or styling your natural hair again.