How can you take care of your hair matters, whether it’s straight, curly, or somewhere in between?

With proper care, hair can look and feel great no matter how you wear it, so here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of your natural hair care routine.

1) Avoid heat

Excessive heat can cause serious damage to your hair, from split ends to permanent breakage. Try skipping hot styling tools like straighteners and curling irons, and opt for gentler options like a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment. Treatments like deep conditioning masks and hair oils can also nourish your strands and keep them looking their best!

2) Reduce styling

Reducing your use of heat on your hair and allowing it to dry naturally can help you preserve more of its natural oils. We recommend investing in a high-quality conditioner that’s made with natural ingredients, like castor oil and coconut oil, to reduce frizziness and boost shine. Your hairstylist may also be able to recommend products made especially for colored or chemically-treated hair.

3) Limit washing

Limit your hair washing to 2 or 3 times a week, depending on how much your hair accumulates oil during that time. Your scalp produces natural oils (sebum) to keep your hair moisturized, but over-washing can strip away these essential oils and cause damage.

4) Use natural products

For natural hair care, consider using all-natural products, like shampoo and conditioner. Not only do they keep your hair healthy and shiny—they’re also free of harmful chemicals that can damage strands over time. But remember to be careful: a lot of products claiming to be all-natural are actually anything but.

5) Work with your hair, not against it

The most important thing you can do to care for your natural hair is to work with it, not against it. That means using a gentler touch when combing and styling—you can never pull or tug too hard on natural hair. It also means listening to your hair and making adjustments as needed; our hair changes throughout its growth cycle, so what works well in one stage might be wrong in another. If you follow these tips, you’ll have happier hair (and possibly healthier tresses!).

6) Know when to cut off split ends

Split ends are a common problem many people face, and can lead to an overall lack of healthy hair. While it’s not necessary to cut off split ends every time they appear, you should consult your stylist about how often you should get trimmed. It depends on your hair type and length—but a good rule of thumb is to visit your stylist at least once every six months or so.

7) Maintain moisture levels

From shampoo to conditioner, shampoos and hair products can strip hair of its natural moisture. That’s why it’s important to use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners when washing your hair—preferably ones made from natural ingredients.

8) Understand your curls

If you don’t know much about hair care, it can be tempting to buy tons of products and try all sorts of different treatments. But if you understand your hair type, you’ll know exactly what to do—and what not to do—to keep your curls healthy. Although it sounds simple, knowing whether your hair is curly or straight isn’t enough; strands can be a mix of both!

9) Learn how to detangle your hair

Learning how to detangle your hair is a must if you want to keep up with natural hair care. As your hair grows, it will become more tangled. This can make it difficult to comb and brush through without hurting yourself or pulling out a few strands. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent tangles from occurring—and they’re all part of learning how to detangle your hair.

10) Treat yourself once in a while

We spend all day working hard on our natural hair, so it’s only fair that we give ourselves a break once in a while. It’s okay to relax, go to bed late and wake up late. It’s okay to take that bubble bath or get your nails done once in a while! Just make sure you don’t do too much of it—one week of relaxation is enough to give your hair some needed rest from being overworked. While putting extra stress on your natural locks isn’t healthy (especially if it leads to breakage), there are simple ways to relax without completely neglecting your natural hair care routine. Limit yourself once every week or two, and remember not to abuse any one method just because it feels good in the moment: good self-care means giving as well as receiving.