Monday, June 21, 2010

Natural Hair Myths

After doing some reading, I felt the need to breakdown a small(or not so small) list of myths that seem to exist with natural[Black] hair. Feel free to add more myths to the comment section.

1. Natural hair doesn't grow. WRONG! Natural hair DOES grow, but the difference between straight/loose-wavy hair and highly textured hair is a thing called shrinkage. It can vary, but I can tell you that I have between 50%(for my looser sections) and 80% shrinkage. My hair would barely touch my shoulders unstretched but when stretched, it reached waist-length.

2. You have to wash your hair more. Again, wrong. How often you cleanse your scalp and length has more to do with the products you use and your current physical activity. The more products you use that utilize water insoluble
ingredients(not easily removed with just water), the more frequently you MAY have to cleanse it. And the TYPE of cleanser used must be able to remove the ingredients that have the propensity to buildup over time. If the products used utilize peg-modified and/or soluble ingredients, you can get away with JUST conditioner washing/rinsing. But again, the conditioner used MUST include ingredients that are soluble in water. Especially if you have no plans on using shampoo(what's called the "curly girl" routine).

3. You have to brush and comb your hair regularly. No, you don't. Combing or brushing should be done on an as-needed basis. It's not required everyday. I went 6 months without using a comb OR brush on my hair. I finger detangled. Because I normally put my hair in protective styles, I rarely experience the tangles that often come with wearing WnGs(wash n gos). And even when I did WnGs, I was still able to finger detangle w/o difficulty. Using the right kind of conditioner helps in this regard. Conditioners w/slip make detangling easier and less likely to require combing, which can cause damage if not careful. You want the least amount of manipulation.

4. Using vitamins will help your hair grow. Not necessarily. If you experience an increase in growth, it's mostly because your body is receiving the nutrients it WASN'T getting before, and the hair is just playing catch-up, if you will. A healthy body, inside and out, contributes to healthy hair growth. When you're consistent, you will constantly see [positive] results.

5. Only certain people can wear natural hair. Are you serious? That's like saying only some people can wear the skin they're in. Since when does something naturally occurring ONLY look good on SOME people? Everyone can rock their natural hair. There is no TYPE that ONLY looks good. It's all about finding the right length, styles, and routines that work for YOU.

6. "Black" hair products should be used on natural hair. Dios mio. Wrong again. It's not about the intended market, it's how the ingredients in those products work for YOUR hair. My main conditioner right now isn't even an American brand, and I'm sure it wasn't made with my texture in mind, but it works wonders[for me]. In fact, many of my past staples were recommended by non-Black women with MUCH looser hair.

7. There aren't many options to style natural hair. Incorrect. You have MORE options w/natural hair. I can mimic straight styles whenever I want and can easily go back to wearing "the lioness".
That's my hair's name, for those that don't know. :P I'm never stuck w/one style.....unless I'm just being lazy. LOL! As someone that sometimes bores of monotony, I love the ability to change it up. Of course, if you do a BC and have a twa, your options will be limited momentarily. But with time, you'll have the ability to play and experiment more with different styles and techniques. During the grow-out phase of your twa, accessories(scarves, earrings, hair clips, etc.) will be your best friend.

8. That you're more bohemian, afrocentric or "socially conscious". This is not the late 6o's and 70's. Natural hair is not necessarily seen as a sign of rebellion or revolt. While many are very afrocentric, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that(or bohemian and socially conscious), every natural isn't on that level. Many just are comfortable wearing what is...what naturally grows out of their scalp. There's no message or point trying to be made. There's no deep story or reasoning behind it. It is what it is. I know I didn't go natural to prove a point. I just was tired of relaxed hair and missed MY hair.


Sharifa said...

Excellent points!

Brandiss said...

Good list! I can't stand when people say #5... My response is usually "Are you serious?!?!"

So when the Creator made our hair, he said to one woman, "you can wear yours natural, but you [other woman] cannot... I didn't make your hair 'good' enough!

KP said...

Thank you!