Articles about natural hair are almost always centered on the negatives and how to get around them. Since natural hair is a bit more challenging to manage than other hair types, it would be nice to know how well your efforts are paying off. You want to know if your hair is just surviving or if it’s thriving! However, the act of rating yourself begs the questions: How do you know if your natural hair is healthy? What is the benchmark for health in natural hair? How do you know when you’re doing well or when you need to challenge yourself to do better? So, for a change, let’s take a look at the signs of healthy natural hair.
5 Signs Your Natural Hair Is Thriving
- Flourishing Edges
Your edges tell a story of how well you manage your mane. Sparse edges are a clear sign that you can do better. They may have thinned out due to traction alopecia from hairstyles that grip too tight on your edges or even neglect. The point is thin edges can be avoided and even regrown, you just have put in the work. So, when your edges are flourishing, you should know you must be doing something right!
2. Healthy Shrinkage
We tend to always get frustrated at shrinkage when it happens (especially with 4C hair!). This will sound cliché, but the reality is that shrinkage is your friend. Shrinkage lets you know that your hair still has elasticity. Elasticity is responsible for the lovely bounce in hair that we all crave. This means it can twist and turn easily in different styles without snapping in half. Elasticity is your hair’s strength and shrinkage is a sign of that. Learn to embrace it.
3. Good moisture retention
Your hair needs moisture to remain healthy. Dry hair very quickly turns into breakage. You can tell that your hair is retaining adequate moisture by how long it retains the moisture. Generally, if you moisturize your hair the right way, it should remain moisturized for 2-3days. If you find yourself having to moisturize every day, you need to take a look at your products and your moisturization method.
4. Healthy root to tip ratio
Hair is thicker at the roots than at the tips, that’s a given. This does not however mean that you should have luscious roots and see-through ends. Your ends are the oldest part of your hair so naturally, they are more prone to breakage. When your root to tip ratio is satisfactory or healthy, it means your ends don’t thin out dramatically. This means you are doing well to prevent excessive breakage. This is usually achieved by taking steps to avoid split ends as much as possible and trimming them when the need arises.
5. Natural Sheen
Your scalp naturally produces certain oils, so with or without products, your hair should have a certain degree of sheen to it. Granted, it might be more subdued in some hair textures than in others, but never the less it is always present in healthy hair. When your hair appears drab and dull, it points to a lack of proper care, especially for your scalp. So sheen is a big part of knowing your hair’s health status.
It should be comforting to know that these signs of healthy natural hair are so easy to spot. You don’t need to carry out any test or pass through any rigors to get the answers you crave. Even the shrinkage we don’t like so much says a lot about your hair’s health. Shrinkage can be annoying though, but there are simple tricks to manage shrinkage so you can execute beautiful afro styles without the hassle.
Maybe you read through this and your hair doesn’t seem to fit into the category of what is generally termed healthy, so you aren’t sure where you stand. You can check to see if your hair is giving you signs that it is unhealthy, and take steps to turn the situation around.
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