Some of y'all know I don't do the natural hair community like some folks do. I'm not a "TWA" or "big chop" type of chick. This isn't a lifestyle for me. It's just a reality. My hair grows out of my head the way that it does.
For some, however, I've been deemed all-knowing when it comes to natural hair simply because I have big curly hair.
Im okay with it. I'll be that.
So, here's five things I think you should know about natural hair:
Products that work in her hair may not work in yours.
Classic question I get: "What do you put in your hair?" Which is usually followed by "because my hair is just like yours." Sub-bullet point: your hair is probably not like mine.
Everyone has different hair. I like to think of hair as fingerprints. No matter if you have the same blood flowing through your veins, your hair has its own unique pattern and texture.
So what does that mean?
You have to find what works for you. I don't get annoyed by the "what do you put in your hair" question anymore because I understand and respect this process. But, I urge you, my natural hair sisters, to not expect your hair to look exactly like someone's because y'all used the same products.
You may change your hair care regimen over time.
I started using the most basic hair care products when I first cut all of my relaxed hair off. Okay - I'll be honest. I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I was still buying and using products that worked well on my relaxed hair. Bad move.
But the moral of my ignorance is, I had to learn. I bought so much crap. My bathroom and linen closet looked like Sally's beauty supply. I ended up throwing away half that junk when I finally realized what worked.
Even now, seven years later, I still change up every now and again. I may have seen a blog post or a video about a product and I'll buy it and try it. If I like it, I'll stick with it.
I feel like I went in so many different directions with this point BUT my point is I've used so many different hair care products and used so many different moisturizing and conditioning techniques that it's ridiculous. But, I think over time I've learned what the best regimen is when my hair is in a particular state (dry, breaking, straight, etc.)
Natural hair does NOT mean healthy hair.
I can not say this enough! I can't tell you how many women I've talked to who have started a conversation with me about "going natural" and they say "yea I haven't had a relaxer in <insert number> months" but their hair is straightened, dry, breaking and really hanging on for dear life.
Black women, natural hair, still needs loving. So, going natural and continuing to straighten your hair or neglect it will do just as much damage as that relaxer. You can still have healthy, well-maintained hair with a relaxer.
Natural hair isn't for everyone.
There is no such thing as a "protective style."
This actually might be my biggest natural hair pet peeve. So I'll say one thing and leave it at that:
The only thing your hair needs protecting from...is you.
Natural hair requires just as much maintenance as relaxed hair.
Can all my natural hair sisters touch and agree on this? If I had a dollar for every time a Black woman used less maintenance as an excuse for growing out her relaxer, I'd be able to afford to go to the hair salon every two weeks for a wash and detangle.
Black women. Queens. Natural hair is not less maintenance. It's more. When you have a relaxer, it's much easier to get trims and wash and sets and slap it into a ponytail when you don't feel like doing any of that. When your hair is relaxer free, you actually have to work for an even fro. A defined curl. A perfect puff. These things don't come easy!
I have easily spent 30 or more minutes trying not to perfect a simple pony tail. Or pulled and picked my fro until it was perfectly laid to one side or haloed above my head. I have spent HOURS washing, detangled and styling my hair. Deep conditioning and twisting. Bantu knotting. Flat twisting. Braiding.
It ain't easy being nappy.