Create a Killer Natural Hair Journal

natural hair journalIt’s probably an overused expression nowadays, but I’m sure you’ve heard that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”. This saying became really popular due to a performance by Marilyn Monroe in 1953, where she sang a song titled “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” – in an original Broadway production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949 musical).

Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about this saying conceptually.

As a natural, what do you consider your best friend?

In my opinion, your natural hair journal should be your best friend.

The simplistic act of maintaining a written natural hair journal can mean the difference between an incredible natural hair journey and total failure.

In this article, I will teach you exactly how to create your natural hair journal, and show you how you should use it to improve your hair.

The Art of Creating a Killer Natural Hair Journal

The distinction is really clear and simple: naturals who create and maintain a natural hair journal consistently have more success during their journey than naturals who don’t have a journal.

Jael and I have helped many naturals over the years. The naturals that have been most successful regularly maintain a natural hair journal.

By stating what your goals are, especially if you do it publically, and how you plan to achieve them, you will hold yourself more accountable during your journey.

It’s a simple concept, but it’s incredibly effective.

Create a Natural Hair Journal

Use the following steps to record everything that you do to your hair – the products used, activities performed, the tools and techniques that were used on your hair and more.

Note: There are several tools that you can use to create a natural hair journal (like a free online blog or a simple paper notebook). The specific tool that you decide to use should be determined based on your personal preference.

There are 3 critical categories that should be included in your journal:

  1. Foundation: This section includes general information, your mindset and health and nutrition.
    • General Information: This section of your journal is completely free-form. Include any notes or comments that you have about your hair. For example, your spouse really liked the two-strand twist hairstyle that you wore last Friday. These are general notes that make your journal more interesting as you continue to update it and benefit from it over a period of time.
    • Mindset: This is so important because the mindset (or beliefs) that you have about your hair, about products, about tools, about proper maintenance, and all those kinds of topics will change as you learn more about natural hair care and your specific hair. Your mindset will be the source of many obstacles that you’ll face during your journey.
    • Health and Nutrition: Record your eating habits. This will allow you to evaluate how your nutritional intake impacts your hair during the course of your journey.
  2. Products: Use this category to list the products (recipes) that you used on your hair. If you are trying a new product, be sure to record the purpose of each product (recipe) that you use and the result. Record what you like and dislike about each one of your products (recipes). Eventually you will begin to understand how certain products and their ingredients work on your hair.
  3. Styling and Maintenance: This section includes your hair care routine, tools and equipment, hairstyles and hair problems.
    • Natural Hair Care: Record your hair care maintenance routine. Be sure to record any changes that you made to your regimen since your last update.
    • Tools and Equipment: List each tool and piece of equipment that you used on your hair. Be sure to record the reason that you used each tool and piece of equipment. Record how each tool/equipment worked for your hair in your journal.
    • Hairstyles: Make a list of the hairstyles that you wore. Include pictures of your styles in your journal (if you have them). This will make comparisons so much easier as you look back over a period of time.
    • Problems: Record any problems that you experienced with your hair, since your last journal update. For example, if your hair has been unusually dry – then you can look back through your journal and determine if you’re doing something different that may be causing your dry hair. For example, what were you doing to your hair when it wasn’t so dry?

How to Use Your Natural Hair Journal

1. Identify your natural hair goals.

List your goals in your journal.

2. Determine how often you will update your journal and actually update it.

This step is absolutely critical. You must keep a consistent updating schedule. If you start missing updates periodically, the entire process is at risk of falling apart.

I recommend updating your journal weekly.

You also have the option to update your journal more often when you first start out, and then less often as you learn more about your hair. If you decide to utilize this approach, you must be consistent according to your plan. This is a risky approach, because you may stop updating because you simply lose interest in actually doing the updates.

3. Record what you did to your hair, what you learned about your hair and what you plan to do next to your hair.

Use the basic format described above in the Create a Natural Hair Journal section.

The amount of detail that you include in your journal is totally up to you.

Include what you did to your hair and what you intend to do to your hair next. These are things that should be relatively easy to update. It should also be easy to determine if you achieved your goals.

For example: “I’m going to wear more protective styles” is not a clear goal, nor is it measurable enough to report on within your natural hair journal.

Instead your goals should be very specific: “I’m going to wear protective styles 3 days per week.”

Use specific goals – that way you’ll know when it’s time to update your journal and whether you successfully met your goals.

4. (Optional) – You can set a penalty for not meeting your goals.

This step is optional, but it’s a great way to motivate you to consistently maintain your natural hair journal.

The penalty that you choose doesn’t have to be anything big. It mainly needs to be a symbol or reminder that you didn’t follow through with your plan.

Does that sound reasonable?

Create your natural hair journal. It will make a HUGE difference in your motivation level when caring for your hair and greatly improve the chances that you’ll actually follow through with a plan and accomplish your hair goals.

If you still have questions about how to begin creating a natural hair journal, you can ask any questions that you have in the comment section and I’ll be happy to help.

10 Comments

  • I can see how this would be quite useful. I know I won’t do it though because it’s just one more thing “to do” and i’m way too busy to do it. I keep a mental file about what works and what doesn’t though.

    • [email protected], let me say that you are good and whatever you are taking for your memory, drop a sister a link.
      You are right, having a journal is so useful for the reason you stated, I am way too busy and I have the hardest time remembering what I wore to work last week… lol
      My journal dates by to 2007 and it is NO WAY to remember the styles, products, results, feelings or what I ate on March 16, 2008 :)
      So in an effort to keep my journal updated, I have deemed it important to my hair journey and as a visual aid to the history of my hair :)
      Do use pictures or video in conjunction with your superb memory? :)

  • This sounds like a good idea and would assist someone in figuring out what works best for their hair in its natural state, but I have to admit I lead a very busy lifestyle and for me it is just old fashioned trial and error. If I try a product that doesn’t work I take it out of my cabinet and give it away! LOL and I am still in the TWA phase so not much I am experimenting with as far as style goes right now. As my hair grows out and I try new things, I might incorporate the journal into my life. Good tip :-)

    • Asheki – I’m glad that you liked the tip. Even if you don’t create a hardcore journal with everything that I’ve described in this article, it’s a good idea to create some type of journal for your hair. Even if you only list the ingredients of the products that don’t work on your hair. That way in the future you’ll have more knowledge about how to pick products for your hair. Every little bit helps.

  • I started my natural hair journal in December 2011. I’ve kept regular journals all of my life but some how this one was more special. I cut out pics of natural styles I like from mags and paste them 2 the pages. I journal about the length, texture and my hair length goal. As an herbalist and clinical aromatherapist, I make my own products. So when I make something new, I journal about the Do’s and Don’ts b4 selling it on my website. The journal has helped me along this journey.

  • Hi! I have a question that you might think is silly. Even if you are not natural, will a hair journal still be beneficial? My natural hair is way too difficult for me to care for, so I have to texturize it every 6 weeks.

    • Yes, we encourage women, natural or not, to create a hair journey with pictures to understand how their hair reacts to various products, maintenance techniques, etc.

  • I’m currently looking into this for my daughter whobbeen requting to wear her natural hair out. She has never had a perm or any chemical in her hair she 13y now it’s always been braided or sew ins. How am I suppose to keep a journal for her or on her behalf. Ive been reading so much info everything seems like a lot. Is there any way I can see an example of a full day journal entry so I can better understand as I am a visual learner. Thanks for all your information on your site.

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