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20 Common Natural Hair Mistakes To Stop Making Today

Are you spending a lot of time and effort on your natural hair, yet it still appears dull? There’s a possibility that you’re making some common natural hair mistakes that are damaging your curly hair.

Even those who have confidently styled their curly hair for years often make these mistakes without realizing it.

These missteps can range from daily washing and styling habits to deeper issues like neglecting diets and underscoring the need for a comprehensive approach to nurturing natural curls.

Common natural hair mistakes include:

  • Improper Moisturization
  • Using Unsuitable Hair Products
  • Applying Conditioner to the Scalp
  • Tight Hairstyles
  • Combing Wet Hair
  • Not Using a Diffuser
  • Washing with Hot Water
  • Inadequate Nighttime Hair Protection
  • Incorrect Washing Frequency
  • Rough Towel Drying
  • Skipping Heat Protectant
  • Avoiding Haircuts and Trims
  • Not Adapting to Seasonal Changes
  • Ignoring Pollution Protection
  • Neglecting Nutritional Needs
  • Overusing Hair Colors and Chemicals
  • Detangling Dry Hair
  • Omitting Deep Conditioning
  • Using the Wrong Brush
  • Unhealthy Hair Comparisons

In the next section, we will provide detailed descriptions for each of these common natural hair mistakes.

Natural Hair Mistakes You Should Avoid

Here are the common mistakes most people make while managing their natural hair. Take a look and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes!

1. Not Giving Your Curls Enough Moisture

Natural Hair Mistakes - Not Moisturizing Enough

By nature, afro hair is dryer than other textures because natural oils have a harder time traveling down curly and kinky hair shafts than straight hair.

Both type 3 and type 4 hair require a lot of moisture to stay hydrated, and soft and prevent breakage so your curls can stay in great condition. There are a few ways that you can give your curls extra moisture.

The LOC (leave-in, oil, and cream) method is a way of layering your products that helps seal in moisture whether you’re styling your curls or wearing a protective style.

Alternatively, hair masks and hot oil treatments can also quench your dry curls.

2. Using Products that Are Wrong for Your Hair Type

There are a lot of different factors to consider when finding the best hair products for your needs. One of the biggest natural hair mistakes is only going by your curl pattern to decide which products you need.

Two people with the same-looking hair could have very different needs, so it’s important to understand your hair’s porosity, condition, and thickness. Pay attention to how your curls react.

Do they look weighed down? This could be because your products are too heavy. Do you suffer from frizz?

Well, perhaps you need more moisture or a stronger hold. Taking the time to understand your hair can completely transform how it looks and feels.

3. Applying Conditioner on the Scalp

Many people apply conditioner on the scalp thinking it will nourish the scalp. However, conditioner is meant to hydrate and nourish the hair, not the scalp.

If you apply conditioner directly to the roots or scalp, it can weigh down the curly hair, making it look flat and lifeless.

It also causes scalp buildup which leads to a greasy scalp and dandruff. So, apply conditioner from the mid-lengths to the ends of the hair, not on the roots or scalp.

4. Wearing Styles That Are Too Tight

Natural Hair Mistakes - Wearing Too Tight Hairstyles

Protective styles are great and wearing your hair slicked back is a super easy way of styling your curls. However, the constant tension on your hair will take its toll on your edges.

You may notice that your edges become thin and wispy, which is a clear sign that they need a break!

Try not to pull your hair back too tight or breakage is inevitable. Switch up your styles and be gentle on your curls.

5. Combing Wet Hair

Wet hair is more susceptible to damage and breakage. When hair is wet, it stretches and becomes weaker.

Combing through wet hair, especially with fine-toothed combs, can cause significant breakage and split ends.

It’s recommended to gently detangle hair with a wide-toothed comb or fingers, preferably after applying a leave-in conditioner to reduce friction.

6. Not Using Diffuser Attachment

For those with natural curly hair, not using a diffuser when blow-drying can lead to frizz and disrupted curl patterns.

A diffuser attachment helps to evenly distribute the airflow from a hairdryer, reducing frizz and helping to maintain the hair’s natural curl pattern.

7. Washing Hair with Hot Water

Using hot water to wash hair can strip the hair of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation of the scalp.

Hot water can also make hair more prone to breakage and can cause color-treated hair to fade faster. It’s advisable to wash hair with lukewarm water and finish with a cool rinse to seal the hair cuticles.

8. Going To Bed without Protecting Your Curls

Looking after your curls is a 24-hour commitment. That doesn’t mean it should rule your life, but good nighttime care will increase the longevity of your styles and generally keep your hair in much better condition.

Before going to sleep, wear a satin hair bonnet or scarf to stop your hair from fluffing up that way, it’s much easier to style in the morning. You can also use a satin pillowcase.

Compared to regular cotton pillowcases that can draw moisture out of your skin and hair, satin or silk pillowcases are much gentler.

Spending a few extra minutes looking after your curls at night whether you have box braids, locs or you’re wearing your natural fro will make all the difference.

9. Under or Over-washing Hair

Natural Hair Mistakes - Overwashing or Underwashing

You have to strike the right balance between washing your curls enough to keep your scalp healthy while not overwashing it and causing excessive dryness. Listen to your curls.

When they become itchy, it’s probably time to wash your hair, especially when you see visible signs of product buildup. Quit, don’t wash your curls for the sake of it.

Overwashing will strip your hair of natural oils, making it dry and damaged.

Using harsh products when washing also worsens the damage and may even cause hair fall, so be mindful of how often you follow a washday routine.

10. Using Rough Towels on Your Hair

Natural Hair Mistakes - Using Rough Towel

Another major mistake is using a towel to dry hair after washing. Wet hair is more prone to damage and using a rough towel worsens it. 

Avoid unnecessary friction by switching to a simple cotton t-shirt or microfibre towel that will soak up the moisture without damaging your curls.

11. Not Using Heat Protectant

A common natural hair mistake is not using a heat protectant serum or spray when using heat styling tools, which naturally causes unnecessary damage, such as split ends.

However, people often forget other hot tools, such as the heat from hairdryers can also damage your natural hair.

So, even if you aren’t straightening your hair, apply heat protection on your hair before blowing warm hair from hair dryers.

12. Avoiding Haircuts and Trims

It’s a myth that black hair can’t grow past a certain length. Healthy natural hair can grow long and flourish with the proper care and attention. However, one area where people often go wrong is avoiding haircuts and trims.

It can be hard to see when your curls need to be trimmed since split ends can often be camouflaged in the curls; however, a good rule of thumb is to get your haircut every three months.

This will prevent stunted growth and ensure that damaged areas aren’t weighing down your curls, so don’t be afraid of a bit of snip!

13. Ignoring Seasonal Hair Care Changes

Hair needs vary with the changing seasons. In winter, the air is dryer, which can lead to more brittle hair and requires more moisturizing products.

In contrast, summer might call for lighter products and more frequent washing due to heat and humidity. Failing to adjust your hair care routine with the seasons can lead to damaged, unmanageable hair.

14. Not Protecting The Hair From Pollution

Exposure to sun, wind, and cold without protection can lead to dryness and damage. This is particularly true in urban areas with higher pollution levels.

Not using protective products like serums or coverings like hats or scarves can leave hair vulnerable to these harmful elements.

15. Neglecting Nutritional Needs

The health of your hair is a reflection of your overall nutrition. Diets lacking essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins can lead to hair thinning, lack of growth, and a dull appearance.

Ensuring a balanced diet rich in vitamins A, C, E, B vitamins, iron, zinc, and protein can significantly improve hair health.

16. Improper Use of Hair Colors and Chemicals

Frequent coloring, bleaching, or chemical treatments can cause severe damage to natural hair. These processes can strip hair of its natural moisture, leading to dryness, brittleness, and breakage.

It’s important to limit chemical treatments, use high-quality, hair-friendly products, and always follow up with deep conditioning and proper hair care.

17. Detangling Dry Hair

Natural hair is prone to tangle so you might want to brush it frequently. However, detangling hair when it’s dry can cause breakage and split ends, especially for curly or coily hair types.

It’s generally recommended to detangle hair while it’s oiled or conditioned, using a wide-tooth comb or fingers to gently work through knots and tangles, starting from the ends and working up to the roots.

18. Skipping Deep Conditioning

Oiling your hair is not enough to restore moisture in your hair. Deep conditioning is also essential for maintaining moisture, improving elasticity, and preventing breakage in natural hair. Neglecting this step can lead to dry, brittle hair that’s more prone to damage.

For best results, both hot oil treatment and deep conditioning (at least once every two weeks) should be given importance.

19. Using Wrong Brush

For natural hair, it’s best to use brushes designed to gently detangle without pulling or snagging. Using the wrong type of brush for your hair type can cause damage and breakage.

Brushes with soft, flexible bristles are usually more suitable. Avoid brushes with hard, rigid bristles or sharp ends that can tear through delicate hair strands.

20. Comparing Your Natural Hair to Others

Everyone’s curls are different, and that’s the beauty of natural hair. A mistake you want to avoid is comparing your hair journey or hair type to other people, as that won’t get you anywhere!

If you’re achieving different results from someone else using the same products, it just means that you haven’t found the proper hair routine yet, but a little trial and error will get you there.

Never compare your journey to someone else; it only leads to frustration. 

Taking care of your hair takes time, but by avoiding these common natural hair mistakes, you’ll avoid many problems along the way!