Tag Archive | care

Being Natural In College

In the comfort of your home, you may have a kitchen sink to wash your hair in, a mother who understands what a bonnet means, a mirror you can use all night while you’re twisting your hair or a bathroom where you can put your hair products on the counter.  But what about living with random roommates, having no kitchen in your dorm, or having to carry all of your hair products to and from the bathroom?  Maintaining natural hair in college is a little more challenging than you’d think especially if you live in a dorm.  How do you maintain your mane while away from home?

Let your roommates know!
The first step when managing your natural hair is to let your roommates know in advance about your hair routine.  They will become more understanding and you guys can work out a schedule or make compromises around it.

Get a shower caddy
A shower caddy should be something that you invest in anyways while going to college.  But what should you put in there?  At most, it should be shampoo, conditioner, a wide tooth comb, a hair clip, and a shower cap.  Try not to bring any other styling products with you – it will mean you’re spending more time in the shower and people may be waiting on you to get out.  Bottom line is – shower caddies are helpful.

Washing your hair
If you are a Freshman, most likely you will NOT get a kitchen in your own dorm.  Check your housing assignment online to confirm.  However, there will most likely be a community kitchen that the whole building can use.  I would suggest this will be your first resort as a location to washing your hair.  I would only suggest shampooing at this sink and doing the conditioning in your room – that way you can take time to really saturate your hair with the conditioner and detangle.  If there is no sink available to you, you will have to take a longer route – the shower.  Before showering, I would part the hair in four sections to make the washing process easier.  While in the shower,  wash and condition your hair in those four sections, throw a cap on your head, wash your body, then rinse out everything.

No last minutes, no new styles
In college, although there may not be a bell system, professors can still mark you tardy.  No need to lose points on  your grade because you thought that trying a new hairstyle the day of class would be a good idea.  Also, try not to wash or style your hair right before class either.  It always takes longer than you think.  Just do it after class.  There’s no one in class to impress but your professors with your grades.  Now when I say “no new styles” don’t freak out.  Please experiment!  But don’t experiment when you need to leave your room in 15 minutes.

Keep beanie caps and hair pins handy!
Maybe you had twists in the night before but woke up too late to take them out.  Maybe you wore a braid out but it started raining unexpectedly.  You always want to be able to keep something with you that can help save your style when it’s just not cooperating.

Don’t let your hair stop you
In college, you never know what your next move is going to be.  You could go to class, sit in the Student Union, then next thing you know you’re at friend’s dorm and then… they ask you to go to Zumba class.  Please do not be the friend that’s all “I just did my hair”.  Keep your hair minimal.  Hair is just hair.  Don’t let your hair stop you from forming memories  you’ll probably never forget.  The experience is more important than what you look like.

Get a full sized mirror for your dorm room, a spray bottle, and a hand towel.  Most dorm rooms come with a desk chair that you can sit in.  You can bring your styling process into your room to free up the sink area for your roommates.  It may feel odd at first but you’ll become used to doing your hair in your room.

Try to avoid direct heat!
I am not saying this because it will damage your hair (it will), I am saying this because fire alarms in dorm rooms are extremely sensitive!  I myself have set off a fire alarm from simply blow drying my hair.  This will be a good time to challenge yourself to no heat!  If you absolutely must use heat on your head, use a heat protector but nothing else.  Even steam can set off these alarms.

Be Clean
If you clean the bathroom counters, get the hairs off the shower walls, vacuum or sweep floors after you’re done, then your roommates will NOT mind if you do your hair.  However, let you start leaving hair everywhere and sticky counter tops and your roommates will not be very happy.  At most you should be doing your hair once a week so cleaning up after yourself is nothing and should be done anyways.

Stay motivated
Let me tell you first hand – there are going to be nights when you’re 80 videos deep in Youtube looking at girls with cute, short hairstyles.  Or you’re gonna see a girl on campus who dyed her hair a beautiful red.  Or this other girl who just straightened her hair and is whipping it around like no one’s business.  All I could say is to stay motivated on YOUR journey.  Dyes, hair cutting, and heat are all setbacks that you will later regret.  Dye makes your hair dry, heat can ruin your natural pattern, after a haircut, you always want it to grow back out.  If it’s something you realllyyy want to do, do it.  But do not let others influence you.  “Friends” are too quick to say “you should do it!” rather than really thinking about what’s best for you.

Most of all just enjoy your time in college.  You cannot get undergrad back and it only lasts 4-6 years.  You will miss it.  Hair should be the least of your worries.  Your main goal in college is to come out with a degree.


Make the L.O.C Method Work For You!

The L.O.C method stands for Leave in, Oil, and Cream in this order.  What they don’t tell you about this method is that the most important ingredient is water.  Please do not try this method or any variations on dry hair.  You should do this on wet hair.

What do they each do? 
Leave-in Conditioner: Helps moisturize and makes it easier to detangle.
Oil: Seals in the water to prevent dryness in the long run.
Cream/Gel:  Helps define your texture.  Also good for frizz control.  If you are looking to style your hair, I would also suggest using a cream or gel.

Ask yourself – what are you looking for?
Big Hair
If you want big hair, I would suggest just sticking to a leave in conditioner.  I would skip the O(il) and C(ream) steps all together.

Tamed Hair
Throw in the oil if you want your hair tamed.  This will create a mixture of big and defined.

Defined Hair
Follow the steps all the way through starting with the leave in and working your way to the cream or gel.

What products should you use?
Unfortunately, I cannot provide you a list of specific products that will work for you.  This is where the trial and error process occurs.  The only advice I could give is to look at the thickness of your hair, not the texture (density versus pattern).  If your hair is thicker, I would suggest using heavier creams.  If your hair is thinner, I would suggest lightweight products.

I have been using the L.O.C method for years now and have seen nothing but positive results.  My hair has grown thick and shiny from using this method.  It also helps me narrow down what I buy and use. One thing I would suggest is to change your products one at a time.  Do not buy a new oil, leave in, and cream and then try them all at once.  You want to be able to identify what works and what doesn’t work for your hair.

“My natural hair isn’t curling up!”

Yes – I am talking about frizzy, limp, undefined curls.  Every natural’s worst nightmare.  First, let me knock out the two bad habits that may be the reason for the lack of definition.

  1. Heat – When women go natural, they think their hair is stronger than ever and nothing can stop it.  WRONG!  Heat is a natural hair girl’s worst enemy.  It’s so notorious for damage that Youtubers make “Watch My Hair Revert” videos to show users that their hair either did or did not get heat damage while going from straight to curly.  Heat damage is caused in many different ways from blow-drying to just being out in the sun.  Heat damage is irreversible.  There is no special conditioner that will make your curls revert.  Heat-damaged curls hang limper and straighter which can be an eye-sore in a head full of curly hair.  The only way to get rid of it – cut the damaged part out.
  2. Bleach – Whenever you dye your hair a lighter color, you are using bleach.  Even if it’s an at-home box dye, there’s bleach in the product.  Bleach will make your hair dryer as it strips the outer layers of the hair – essentially leaving less pockets that moisture can sink into.  Bleach is permanent and cannot be fixed.  If you put black hair dye over bleached hair, eventually the black will fade and the brown/blonde color will show through.  The only way to get rid of it – cut the bleached part out.

Now that we have that out the way, let’s assume you have NO heat damage and your hair is not dyed to a lighter color.  You essentially have virgin, natural hair.  What else can you do?

  • Water – water is the best moisturizer for your hair.  If your hair feels dry, do not use “moisturizers” or oils.  Use water first THEN put those products in to seal in the water.
  • Gel/Thick Creams – If you want your hair defined, then you’ll need something with good hold.  If you use light-weight products then your hair will dry frizzier and bigger (which may not be a bad thing to some).  Find out what gels and creams work best for your hair type.
  • Deep Condition – Curls do not come out if they are not moisturized.  Deep conditioners soften curls and holds water in for longer as it leaves an oily coating on the hair.
  • Work with smaller sections – depending on the length and thickness of your hair, it may not good to work with all of your hair at once.  Part your hair in at least 4 sections and work with those sections individually.  Apply water through a spray bottle and while your hair is wet, apply the gels or creams of your choice.
  • Detangle, detangle, detangle – I can’t stress this enough!  Use a brush or wide tooth comb and really take time to get out all of the knots.  There’s no point in trying to define something that is tangled.  Make sure to detangle from the tip first then work your way up.
  • Trim – If you see some potential in your hair but it gets fuzzy towards the ends, it may be time for a trim.  Trim at least twice a year and only less than a half inch at a time.  Eliminating split-ends can make your hair look healthier.
  • Wash your hair – Eventually with all the product build up, your hair will actually get weighed down which can affect your curl pattern.  Lift the grease and dirt away with a clarifying shampoo, deep condition, and start over.


If you have been chasing curly hair ever since you have been natural with no results, your hair may not be curly.  Not everyone’s hair has a curl.  Some may be on the wavy side while others may have a zig-zag pattern.  Some may have all of the above!  Embrace what you have.  However, it is possible to define whatever you have still following the tips above.  Curls are not natural for everyone.  “Natural hair” does not mean “curly hair”.