When making the transition to natural, you may have notice that your hair feels like steel wool or your hair feels a bit rough. The ultimate goal for natural hair is to have soft, pliable strands that make it easier to style and handle on a daily basis.

If your natural hair isn’t soft as you would like it to be, here are a few reasons why your curls may feel hard:

You’re Not Moisturizing Correctly

Since coarse hair tends to be dry, it’s important to make sure your hair is moisturized. The best way to add moisture to your hair is using a spray bottle to spritz water into your curls.

Do not make the mistake of sealing products with moisturizing products. Moisturizing product is simply water or a product with water as the base ingredient. Sealing product is oil such as coconut oil. Putting a sealing product on an un-moisturized strand equals more dryness. You never want the strands to be dry on the inside and coated with a product on the outside.

Remember to always seal your ends.

Products Are Just Building Up

Some of us only use two products to keep our hair healthy. Some of us use a grocery list of products to maintain our curls. No matter how much products you use, you want to avoid having product buildup.

It is very easy to pile product on and on. When you go overboard, you can create a dirty, itchy scalp that is greasy, waxy, and heavy.

To remove product buildup, you can use clarifying rinses with apple cider vinegar, organic hair wash, or mud washes.

A Product Becomes Harmful, Not Helpful

Take a closer look at all the products you use. You want to be cautious of shampoos containing sulfate and products containing baking soda.

If you wash your hair and it feels extremely clean, it may be a sign that you have stripped your cuticles of natural oils. This can lead to breakage as well as more dryness. If your products are too harsh, do not use them. To restore your hair’s moisture, you should thoroughly condition your curls after washing it.

Your Hair Is Saying No to Moisture

When your hair can’t retain moisture, you may need a protein treatment or stay away from products that are too high in alkalinity like sulfate shampoos and baking soda. You can use porosity controller products as well.

- Paulette Wilson

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    true dat! But I’ve found out that shea butter makes my hair softer than a newborn’s butt!

  • Alexandra

    Ah lucky you. I bought into the hype & I saw no changes.
    Reason #1 is fact, glycerin/water spray is my only hope.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    I feel you..

    I hyped into some gel thing-it only made my hair coarser than the bark of a tree
    Coconut oil-made me itch like I was on crack
    Olive oil-my hair rejected it!!! Like straight up said, African Mami get yo life together!

  • Kam

    Just because you might have natural hair, doesn’t necessarily mean your hair is coarse. Coarse refers to the actual thickness of each strand. I have found that many Black people have fine hair actually.

    Anyway, check your water. In my area I have really hard water and all those minerals were building up on my strands. My hair felt like straw. A shower filter improved but didn’t completely remove the mineral. Right now my strands are responding well to three things, shea butter, lanolin and pure vitamin e oil. I make a mix and that seems to give my hair what it needs, especially the ends. When I was in New York water and glycerin helped because of the humidity, but that doesn’t work in the dry Arizona weather.

  • Candy 1

    Shea butter is the best on my hair, and sometimes I put glycerin water on first and then the butter. That and none other than the old school Sta-Sof-Fro works like no other.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    what in the world is glycerin water?!

  • Candy 1

    You just buy glycerin from CVS , Walgreens, Walmart or somewhere, and mix a small amount in a spray bottle w/ water.

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    My hair hates shea butter, glycerin, olive oil, and I can only use coconut oil as a pre-poo treatment. My hair loves water, grapeseed oil, and aloe vera juice. It is all about finding what works.

  • Melissa

    You can also water down a leave in conditioner that works for you. I like infusium 23 and dilute it with water. There are a lot of oils you can find in Sally’s that is good too ( I dislike mixing things up, I am also lazy and try to find light oils for my hair), like the doo gro megathick oil and african pride’s olive oil miracle grow. It doesn’t have mineral oils or anything heavy. Mineral oil doesn’t bother me but sometimes I need something a little bit heavier for my hair. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, working out and drinking plenty of water is good for overall health. I hate working out but my hair looks moist and plump after so it motivates me.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogpsot.com African Mami

    @TBAE, PII

    I’ll try the grapeseed oil sounds like heavenly mambo jumboness.

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    Mami! You crack me up.

  • Jenet

    I take issue with the author using the term “steel wool.”

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    girl, it’s real out hurr…I’m currently sitting in my kitchen wondering whether to type this case analysis paper, or to cut my hair because it’s steel wire texture, will have me running late in da morn. and I don’t know where to get my favorite shea burra.

  • mamareese

    I got the whole opposite of this. My hair is too soft…..it takes some serious styling to get a twist out to stay twisted out. Half the time I have to wear it in a bunned style because it just fall into a loose wave. I think it’s from the texturizers I used to wear way back in the day….totally changed my curl pattern when I did got nautral 9 years ago. Any tips on how to cope with that?

  • mahogany

    Water and glycerin is the best. I add a little bit of jojoba oil in mine

  • mahogany

    A good book to check out is “The Science of Black Hair”.

  • http://myunspokenthought.tumblr.com/ AOA

    Aloe Vera juice/gel (lily of the dessert) with water and seal with your favorite oil has done wonders to my constantly dry hair. I have fine super coiled strands, they look like the coil spring from inside of a pen and medium thickness.

    Because aloe vera has a lower pH (more acidic) it closes my hair hair cuticle. A closed cuticle keeps moisture in the hair shaft and lessens the feel of corseness. On the other hand a raised cutilicle allows mositure to escape the hair shaft and is what often gives hair its rough look and feel.

    I’ve added aloe vera to my drinking water (it helps with digestion), my hair sprits (as mentioned above) and my leave-in conditioner and have noticed an exciting and drastic improvement in my hair health as well as my overall body health.

    Give it a try and I hope it works!!!!

  • Kam

    Styling mousse. I use Vigorol Olive Oil Moisture Mousse (no reason, just randomly decided to pick it up from TJ Maxx one day). Depending on how curly I want my twistout I put the mousse on immediately after twisting (for less curl) or after a couple of days (more curl from the shower), then follow up with my shea butter mix. The next day I take it out. My twistouts last about a week. It could probably last longer if I didn’t need to wash every week, but yeah the longest i’ve had it in was 7 days.

  • http://www.thegoodliferaina.com Raina

    I love that jump suit she is wearing! Great advice in the article. I find that the less products the better. The trick is finding one that works well for your hair type.

  • lulu

    some people naturally do not have a soft hair texture- just like some people do have big curls- it goes back to fear of the naps and accepting the texture we have.asain peole for example have straight hair – but it is coarse and has a hard texture meaning hard to do anything but lay straight its all about hair acceptance

  • df

    my hair recently started acting right and i’m thinking it’s because i started using alot of glycerin at the same time humidity came back…i didn’t realize how harsh winter weather is on my hair blegh..

  • df

    don’t believe that you can’t use glycerin where therre’s no moisture in the air. check this post out, it’s helped me:http://blackgirllonghair.com/2011/09/oyin-explains-why-glycerin-in-the-winter-is-okay/3/

  • df

    and amen about hard water. I dealt with horrible hair for months (shaved it bald twice it was so bad) till I got a shower filter. It made a huuuuge difference for me. I actually thought i had high porosity hair before the shower filter. my hair is actually normal porosity. Hard water will jack your hair up…it’s bad here in texas.

  • df

    people are too darn sensitive about natural hair sometimes. YES MY HAIR FEELS LIKE STEEL WOOL SOMETIMES and it’s trying to tell me HELP I AM DRY AS HECK WTF!!! That’s when I start looking at my regimen, my water intake, my diet, how much i’m manipulating my hair etc…for me it’s the truth….it’s just what my hair feels like when it’s dry and when it’s like that the breakage train is on the way.

  • df

    you’re actually right that everyone doesn’t have a soft texture but I think it’s important that everyone knows the signs of when their own individual hair is dry. To do that, you have to know how your hair feels when it’s health. straight up dry, starving for moisture hair is different for everyone. Knowing your own individual hair is important because if not, your might be overly moisturized and start breaking also….i’ve had to stop associating hair with only shine or a more silky surface as being moisturized after encountering more natural heads.

  • df

    i apologize for my tone in my previous comment. another comment below made me remember that everyone’s hair is different in terms of what feels like dry hair. At the end of the day though, everyone no matter the texture will encounter starved for moisture hair and it might sometimes feel really harsh. I don’t think it’s possible no matter how loosely curled or tightly kinked a head of hair is that if it was HEALTHY would feel like steel wool. That’s why you sometimes hear ignorant people surprisingly comment “wow your hair feels so soft” because they expect our hair to feel dry.

    I really do think that healthy natural hair will never ever feel as abrasive as steel wool so I think that’s why the OP used it. If it’s possible, then I eagerly stand corrected. I love learning about natural hair :)

  • mamareese

    Actually got the book a month ago from a buddy. Been great with helping me keep my daughter’s natural twist on point.

  • LNAH

    I wish I’d seen this conversation earlier. You all are really helping me out. I have been natural for about a year now and still in transition (I took the slow cut route). I don’t know what to do with my hair. My hair is still pretty straight in the top but very natural in the back. Any suggestions? ALso, I would like to try the shea butter mix. How do you do that? I mean do you put it on your while wet? Please help I have two very young daughters who will also benefit from this info. Also, any suggestions with how to deal with EXTREMELY tenderheaded, very thick haired girls. I’m tired of the two day hair sessions.

  • http://twitter.com/courtneywright1 Courtney Wright (@courtneywright1)

    Oh my hair is the exact same way! I also like mango and cupuacu butter. My hair has low porosity…can’t stand protein either (except in styers…not too bad, so it’s difficult finding products that work

  • CoCo

    I appreciate this. Thank you! I think I may be on my way to figuring out why my TWA is so dang dry.

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