Before concluding that your natural hair is too tough to manage, do some research
When I researched the best way to care for my hair I soon became aware of the mistakes I made and why I had problems managing it. I didn’t even comb my hair correctly. Not being able to put a fine tooth comb through my hair from root to tip, left me to conclude that there was something wrong with my hair. I should have been aware that kinky, coily afro textured hair should be combed with a wide tooth comb and combed gently from the ends, working out the knots and gradually moving the up towards the roots. There are many examples of misconceptions related to detangling, moisturizing and styling natural hair.
If you think your hair is ‘too tough’ to go natural, do your research before concluding this. Here are some important facts about natural hair, if you weren’t aware of these then yes you would find it hard to manage your hair. If you apply these you will find managing your hair easier and become a pro in no time.
- Water moisturizes the hair not oil (although oil seals in the moisture). It is your friend not your enemy so don’t avoid it.
- Hair can be washed while in loose braids or twists. The braided or twisted strands reinforce each other and less shrinkage, knotting and breakage occurs during washing.
- Many mainstream black hair care products have sulphates, silicones, petroleum and mineral oil. These clog and dry out the hair.
- Natural hair must be detangled regularly and shed hair should be removed in the process.
- Finger combing can be just as effective as combing but gentler and less damaging.
- Never comb your hair when it is dry and tangled. Spray it with water first.
- Afro textured hair is actually quite delicate and must be handled with care to avoid breakage.
- Shrinkage is good as it shows that your hair is healthy and reverting back to its natural curl pattern when wet.
- Natural hair can be stretched without using heat, simply putting your hair in large braids, twists or bantu-knots will stretch it out and make it more manageable for styling.
- Natural hair is very diverse and has many styling options appropriate for all occasions. Check out the posts: The versatility of natural hair part 1 and 2
- Rather than tough, natural hair is actually delicate and is prone to breaking off at the ends. Protective styles help to protect your ends and thus retain length.
- Sleeping on a satin pillowcase or covering your hair with a satin scarf will help to retain moisture while you sleep.
- Manage your hair in sections (usually 4-6 sections); don’t just plough a comb through your hair as this will lead to breakage. A small section of hair is less daunting than dealing with a full head of hair.
There is much more information about natural hair relating to products, hair types, styling and even how diet affects the hair. Do your homework and you will feel more confident about going natural. Everyone’s hair is different and you will have to adapt the information to suit you but that’s what is so wonderful about natural hair. Saying you can’t go natural because your hair is too tough is like a learner driver saying they can’t drive because it is too difficult. Experienced drivers never say driving is too difficult because they know how to handle a car and deal with the roads. Your hair isn’t too tough; you just haven’t learned how to manage it yet.
What was your main fear about going natural? How have you found the experience so far?
Share your stories below.