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Hello Muses! Since my dear friend Cheryl is out of town for a few days, she asked me to contribute a guest blog post on something near and dear to my heart: natural hair.

The choice to wear your hair natural can be about lots of things, but for me, it was just about making my life simpler. I made a resolution a few years back to keep it real more often and decided to start with my hair.

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Like a lot of women with VERY curly hair, I’d straightened it with heat and chemicals for a long time; nine years to be exact. I can tell you, by the end of those nine years, my hair and I were both tired of all the blow drying, flat ironing, and endless trips to the salon. So I grew out/cut off the straight hair and started over.

Everyone’s hair texture is different and it may take a while to find things your hair likes, but here are a few of my favorite products and tools for taking care of my hair:

A wide-toothed comb. I’m not sure how many of you have ever broken a comb in your hair before, but it’s a shocking experience. To avoid this, you need a wide-toothed comb. Also, do yourself a favor and don’t try to get a comb through dry hair; it won’t go well. Basically, when your hair fights the comb, no one really wins.

Conditioner. I can’t stress this enough. When you have highly textured hair, you MUST use conditioner. A little trick I use between washes when my hair feels a little crunchy is to mix about 1:10 conditioner and water in a spray bottle and just spritz my head all over. Some of my favorite conditioners at the moment are ABBA conditioners and Herbal Essences Hello Hydration.

hair-productsExtra Moisturizers. As I said, everyone’s hair is different, but I find that my hair usually benefits from a leave-in cream. At the moment, I’m pretty in love with the Shea Moisture line of products, particularly the Coconut & Hibiscus Curl-Enhancing Smoothie and the Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Mask (which you can also use as a styling product). Best of all, you can get them at Target and Walgreens.

The Internet. I like to play with my hair and try new styles to change it up a bit. YouTube and the blogosphere are great for finding fellow naturalistas with tips and tricks. A few of my favorites are:

a. Naptural85 ~ I use her method for two-strand twists all the time.

b. Afrobella ~ She’s got a great sense of humor about her hair and is always trying out new products.

c. Nappturality ~ This is the first place I went when I decided to stop straightening my hair. The forums are endlessly useful.

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(Cheryl's natural hair friends ~ Ladaun & Me)

This guest post was brought to you by Ashlee F. who is a natural hair enthusiast and museum studies grad student at George Washington University.