The Resolutions Your Afro-Textured Hair Wants

The most popular New Year's Resolution in 2015 was to stay fit and healthy, not exactly shocking data considering how health relates to longevity; healthy living makes you feel better and the same can be said about your hair. Join me in embracing the 10 New Year's resolutions your afro-textured hair wants you to make. If you have kinky curls, it may seem that your hair is working against you, but really all it wants is for us to break the bad habits that busy schedules and laziness have brought on. Healthy curls will have volume, limited damage, and the grow-power we all lust over when we see long, healthy coils on our Instagram feed. Don't believe the hype that afro-textured hair can never be long — that's an old theory of the past — new developments, research, and the power of video tutorials make it possible for our hair to soar.

Our hair is scientifically one of the most fragile textured hair types, making it prone to damage, but it doesn't mean healthy hair is impossible. Losing too much hair during detangling, dryness, itchy scalps, and lack of texture are all reasons to take charge of your curls in the new year. I'm going to keep it real: These problems are not your hair's fault, they are a result of one or more of your bad hair habits.

Start the new year with a clean slate and listen to these 10 resolutions your hair wants you to make to help achieve those hair goals.

1. Wrap Me Up Every Night

Before I go to bed at night, I like to tidy up my room by putting things away to make getting out of bed seem like less of a task. Our hair feels the same way. Sleeping with your hair out can bring on dry strands and knots that you are not going to want to deal with the next day. No matter how tired, drunk, or over the day you are, you will never regret wrapping your hair at night and your hair will certainly reward you for your service.

2. Stop Picking At My Faults

I'm a huge culprit of picking at my hair with my fingers. Mostly it's out of boredom or an awkward situation, but most likely, a disappointing Tinder date isn't the best time to start rummaging through your hair. Playing with your hair can give off a false impression of your confidence, but according to sources at Alopecia Free, touching your hair can strip the hair of its natural oils weakening and drying out your tresses. If you're picking at your hair with dirty hands you're just dirtying it up faster.

3. Keep Me Clean

Afro-textured hair may not benefit from traditional shampoos, particularly those with higher pH levels that are more alkaline, but that certainly doesn't mean we don't need to keep up with cleansing our scalp and hair. Keep this falsely based claim in 2016 and keep up with a weekly cleansing routine. This doesn't mean reaching for a bottle of any old shampoo. Pick ones that are similar to the pH level for afro-textured hair, between 4.5 to 5 and free of alcohol, parabens, sulfates, and moisture-stripping ingredients. Keeping the scalp and hair clean will create a healthy environment for your hair to thrive and grow in the new year.

4. Spoil Me With Treatments

If your hair routine includes keeping up with cleansing and conditioning, you are on the right track, but if it only includes cleansing and conditioning, you are only giving your hair enough affection to keep it on your head. Make room for hair growth by making the resolution of giving your hair at least monthly treatments: deep conditioning, hot oil treatments, and steam treatments are all great ways to spoil your tresses and retain moisture longer.

5. Give Me Healthier Food

You may have no claims or plans to switch up your eating habits, but don't leave your hair behind. Keeping your strands nourished with purposeful ingredients can strengthen the hair, stimulate the scalp, and keep your curls alive with texture. Hair loss in afro-textured hair, in particular, is often linked to a lack of vitamins like iron. Make sure you and your hair are keeping a similar diet. Toss any hair products that have ingredients like "fragrance" or "mineral oil" — that's just hair junk food. Stay educated about OTC products and put some fruits in those homemade luxury treatments: bananas, avocados, pumpkins, cantaloupe, coconut — nature is filled with vitamins for your hair to eat right up.

6. Stop Repeating Mistakes

Einstein's definition of insanity applies to doing the same thing to your hair over and over again and expecting different results, like purchasing the same OTC product that clearly isn't living up to its claims. Black hair products dominate the hair industry today more than ever, there are more than enough products to fulfill your hair goals and it's time to stop making excuses for sub-par products. No, it's not your hair that's the problem — it's the product. Give your hair some credit and ditch any product you and your hair can't stand.

7. Consider My Feelings Before You Make Plans

No one can deny that women with afro-textured hair have a uniquely intimate relationship with their curls. If I wasn't slightly attracted to my own hair, I would never put up with the neediness and unpredictable behavior. If you plan on heat styling your hair in a straight style, make sure your hair is up for the task because forcing it to do something it doesn't want to do will just bring those bad hair habits from 2016 into the new year. If it's so cold outside that you are bundled up, imagine how resentful your hair will be when it's the only part of your bod that's exposed to the arctic weather.

8. Keep Me Trimmed

I know my hair isn't the only 'fro begging to shed the dead ends, but trimming can be an emotional experience if you've ever had a stylist do you wrong by cutting off way more than you intended. As the hair moves away from the scalp, it tapers, becoming more fragile causing split ends. These split ends can cause unwanted tangles and single strand knots that weigh down our curls. If the thought of regular trims in the new year brings tears to your eyes, sources at Black Girl Long Hair suggest regularly dusting the ends of hair, where less than a quarter of an inch is removed or the "seek and destroy" method that I frequent: Identify the damaged strands throughout your mane and cut them out of your life, for good.

9. Keep Me Away From Heat For A Year

Heat styling can be an addictive, rewarding experience for your hair, but it doesn't come without severe hair risks. If you use heat frequently on your natural hair and also find yourself frequently complaining about dryness and breakage, this resolution is for you. Heat damage is permanent and causes fraying, split strands, and rough textured hair. Afro-textured hair is more manageable when straightened and some of us benefit from stretched hair because there is less shrinkage, but in the long-run, you actually make your hair less manageable by causing the damage brought on by heat. Take the year off from heating tools and I promise your hair will be starting a journey to healthier, longer curls.

10. Don't forget About Me!

Once I've spent however many hours cleansing, detangling, deep conditioning, steaming, detangling, and finally getting my hair into a protective style, I never want to do it again. For the rest of my life. There is a common feeling of freedom once we've put our natural curls away. Who could blame us for wanting to put the whole situation behind us? Well, our hair certainly does! Don't forget you still have hair and a scalp that's going to be dry and irritated when you finally get around to looking at it: water it, feed it with emollients, and take care of it whether you're in braids or twists: This is a crucial hair habit to break in the new year.

Image: Bustle; Kristin Collins Jackson (3); Giphy (8)