Natural hair can be a rewarding nod to your roots—past, present and future. But unprocessed tresses can also be unpredictable because you never really know what your crowning glory is going to do. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a few steps to ensure your hair acts right more often than not. Here are some secrets for great-looking hair 365 days, or almost that many, from

Detangle hair before styling. Always start with freshly shampooed and thoroughly detangled hair. Twisting, braiding or styling hair that is tangled and matte will only produce more knots and an overall messier look.

Go light on products. The more stuff you use on your hair, the more problems you’ll have. For example, excessive amounts of gel or spray weigh down strands and build up dirt and residue. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t remove what’s there—unless you’ve got lots of hair-wash time on your hands. To stop the mess before it starts, begin with a quarter size amount of product then use more if needed.

Plan out your style. You don’t have to measure braid placement or twists. But take a few moments to decide where you want your braids or twists and how you want them to look before you start. This avoids tangled ends and a messy, unpolished look.

Seal strand ends. Do this if you don’t do want your hair to fray. The result? More manageable hair with an overall healthier appearance.

Don’t over separate braids and twists. Just use your fingers to gently detangle hair and unravel only the areas where you want the most volume. Remember, too much separation leads to excessive frizz.

Let braided or twisted hair completely dry before styling. Be patient. Hair needs time to set. If you interrupt that process, prepare for frizzy, tangle- and split-prone hair.

Not rocking braids or twists? Here are some tips on how to keep your hair healthy, no matter what style you’re wearing. Click here to learn more.