How to care for your natural hair during self-quarantine, according to an expert

If you have naturally textured hair, you know that styling and caring for it can be a challenge. That’s why we created The Curl Corner, a monthly column that celebrates the versatility of textured hair. Here, we cover everything from how to properly style your coils to how to protect them—and include expert tips for curl patterns of all types.

To be frank, women with natural hair are really going through it right now. This rings especially true for those who constantly wear their hair in protective styles, like me. While many of us rely on the expertise of stylists to keep our hair in tip-top shape, thanks to the coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine, we’re now tasked with tending to our own natural textures. Without access to proper trims, professional treatments, and the ability to tuck our hair away in protective styles, things have gotten crazy for some, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

“One of the best things you can be do for your hair during quarantine is keep it as healthy and moisturized as possible,” says Annagjid “Kee” Taylor, a celebrity hairstylist and founder of Deeper Than Hair salon. And while it may seem easier said than done, she has a point. At the beginning of quarantine, I deep-conditioned my hair, applied several two-strand twists, allowed them to dry (with lots of leave-in), and had a style that required no work. Upon removal, my hair felt hydrated and I had achieved a pretty wonderful twist out. Win-win.

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That’s exactly what Taylor wants you to do: Try sticking to styles that allow for lots of hydration and minimal maintenance. She suggests French braids, cornrows, and low buns. “These are all great styles that don’t have to be redone every day,” Taylor explains. “The low bun is a particularly good and versatile style that is comfortable, easy to maintain, and can be worn whether you’re stuck at home or are currently working.”

Additionally, she says that another way to keep natural hair maintenance at a minimum is to keep your hair in scarves and bonnets. “Keep it on all day—we’re not going anywhere,” she says. “Pop it off for that Zoom meeting, and once it’s over, put it back on. It may not be the cutest, but it’s functional.”

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Now that you know what you should do to keep your natural hair healthy and thriving, here’s what you shouldn’t do: create excessive tension and give in to impulsive haircuts. Excessive ponytail use can increase friction on edges and ultimately lead to breakage in the back of the hair—don’t do it. And when it comes to cuts, Taylor suggests leaving the hair alone unless it’s absolutely necessary to give it a trim.

“If you notice that your split ends are bad, reach out to your hairstylist,” she suggests. Since salons are temporarily closed, they may be able to hop on a FaceTime call and walk you through how to trim your own hair without doing real damage. And if you’re no at-home hairstylist yourself, don’t worry. To keep your hair healthy, just remember to keep it hydrated, tucked away, and well protected.

What’s your self-care secret weapon? Take this quiz to find out.

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