‘Get the kinks out of your mind not your hair‘ (Blog Post)
Is Your Natural Hair Really Unmanageable Or Do You Need To Re-Adjust Your Thinking
There is no right or wrong reason for wanting to go natural. Some do it because they want to learn how to care for their own hair. Some want the styling diversity that natural hair provides and some just want to escape their weak chemically treated hair. All reasons are valid.
Going natural can be a wonderful eye opening experience and you may find that you take to this whole big hair thing like a duck to water but for a lot of us, the natural experience can be completely overwhelming to begin with.
A few years after I went natural and my hair grew to that ‘long for a black girl' length, a lot of my friends decided that they wanted to go natural too, well this natural thing was clearly doing wonders so why not join the gravy train? Of course many of them opted to transition with braids, twists and weaves so they didn't have to deal with their own hair for a good few months.
Anyway after my friends went through the big chop and the honeymoon period with their natural hair was well and truly over, I started getting phone calls from each one asking what they could do to make it more ‘manageable'. While that in itself is not an unreasonable request, it does show a certain mindset that some of us still have when it comes to our natural hair.
If you are transitioning right now, I will warn you, if you have been relaxed for years, nothing can prepare you for how different your natural texture looks and behaves compared to your relaxed hair particularly if you belong to the 4 hair type group.
Here are a few things I learned about the differences between natural and relaxed hair.
• Prepare to be grabbed by the sheer thickness of your hair. It will feel like you have 3 peoples hair on your head sometimes! My advice: Revel in it.
• It's difficult to convey just how different you should expect to look when your edges no longer lay down. The sleek updo's will take a lot more effort and a lot more gel. My advice: Decide if sleek edges is really that important to you and get products that work for your hair type if so.
• Deal with the fact that you wont be able to tie your hair into a ponytail for quite some time. My advice: A pulled back puff will have to do for now.
• Your relaxed hair techniques will no way work on your natural hair. My advice: Forget wrapping your hair to sleep and embrace the pineapple.
• A lot of your products will not moisturize your kinks and curls as well as they did your relaxed hair. My advice: You need heavier products to do the job from now on. Think Shea butter.
• Combs and brushes will instantly become your enemy. My advice: Your new favorite styling tool is your fingers.
• Wash day may take longer as you negotiate this new world of tangles. My advice: Take your time to begin with, you will get faster as you get used it.
The truth of the matter is this. As difficult as you think that your hair is to manage, there's always someone out there with thicker, longer, coarser and tanglier hair than you who's somehow making it work. Seek them out and copy their techniques until something sticks. If you are not willing to do the work then don't expect any changes. Period.
Before you reach for your flat iron to try and recapture your straight hair, ask yourself, does your hair really need to be made more manageable or should your expectations be changed? Natural hair is only as manageable as the person looking after it. I don't want to say anything as cliche as ‘Get the kinks out of your mind not your hair‘ but it kind of fits doesn't it?
Calling all Naturalistas! Join us in Natural Hair Love.