“Natural hair is very strong”
This is amisconception. It may look or even feel rough and tough, but it isn’t. Natural hair is actually fragile and has to be handled with much care. Why? Because the strands curl and bends so much that at each curl is a possible breaking point because the shafts are very weak. In fact, many people assume people with natural hair have thick and strong hair strands when in fact they can have fine and wiry strands which can break easily.
Naturally curly/kinky hair is not meant to be combed and styled as straight hair. Curly/kinky hair requires a whole new mind set in styling and you can’t work with kinky hair the way you do with relaxed hair. I can not and will not attempt to get a comb through my hair dry but only while it’s soaking wet with conditioner. Some people fight with their natural hair instead of just living with the natural texture of it and work with it. If we devoted as much time trying to nurture our natural hair, it will flourish and grow!
“Products are made for only black hair or white hair.”
Lets face it, companies want to make a profit. Everyone knows that black women spend more on hair care than any other demographic so guess what – it’s all about the green in this case. If you’re concerned about spending your money with black owned companies, many companies such as “African Pride” are no longer black owned. Products maybe geared towards a demographic (and have pictures of Africa and black women everywhere), but the owners don’t discriminate. Here is an interesting article about this subject.
“Natural hair is dirty.”
Not true! In fact just about all the natural women I know rinse or wash their hair a few times per week, if not everyday. If that’s not clean I don’t know what is.
“Natural hair is only for the political “soul sistas”.
This statement is not necessarily true. Maybe in the late 60’s and 70’s, but not now. Many women are simply fed up with conforming to a bs beauty standard, tired of the same 6 week routine, tired of running from rain, humidity and water parks, tired of damage, or whatever the case maybe. There is real information out there on caring for and dealing with natural hair that really wasn’t out there before and women are doing research on their own instead of depending on what a stylist tells them.
“Petroleum and mineral oil must be good for the hair – it’s in all the black hair products! “
Products marketed for Black women are that they usually contain petroleum and mineral oil, for two reasons: it makes our hair have an artificial shine and these are cheap products to make and sell. Petroleum and mineral oil clog the pores on your scalp and coat the strand, making hair much more prone to damage and breakage in the long run. If you are using an expensive product and one of these items are near the top of the ingredient list, sorry to say but you’re most likely wasting money.
“Black women can’t grow long hair”.
Since people may not know how to take care of black hair, it can suffer. Think about when you relaxed how many times you had to get a touch up. Every 6-8 weeks or so? That is all new hair that has grew out of your scalp. Keeping the strands on your head is the goal for hair growth. The curlier the hair the more shrinkage you will have. Therefore it will appear that it’s not growing at the same rate as someone with straight or wavy hair. Black hair does tend to be more fragile than white hair, often due to our curl pattern (every point along the hair strand that coils is very fragile & prone to breakage).
The longer the hair is, the more care it needs. So oil those ends, give yourself deep conditioner treatments, wear protective styles, eat right, drink water and exercise to grow and retain the hair. Black hair does grow. I believe the main reason Black women don’t see this growth, is because we damage our hair to the point where it is constantly breaking off. You just have to be gentle with it and keep it clean.
Also when the hair is being subjected to with blow driers, flat-irons/curling irons, harsh hair color and/or chemicals, it may suffer, break off and will *appear* not to be growing. Relaxers strip away the outer layer, causing the loss of its natural elasticity, thus causing strands to snap during styling. This is why nearly three-quarters of African-American women with chemical relaxers at one point or another complain of hair breakage, split ends, and dryness.
“Having natural hair is difficult and not manageable.”
True, it can be difficult if you don’t have the proper knowledge. Also, you have to define manageable for yourself. Sure it does take time to detangle, get the knots out and do treatments, but by carefully caring for your hair, you can reap a full healthy head of hair. In my experience, I enjoy doing and taking care of my hair.
My main hairstyle includes conditioning, putting on a leave-in and go. Once I starting to listen to my hair (doesn’t like to be combed much & loves water) things went a lot smoother, compared to when I was fighting my hair. Side note – just because kinky hair doesn’t bounce or does not shine like straight does not mean our hair is unattractive.
“Relaxers makes the hair grow and are more manageable.
Again, you have to define manageable for yourself, but relaxers has nothing to do with hair growth. It may appear that it’s growing since natural hair has the shrinkage factor, and relaxed hair is straight, but there’s no difference in actual length. You may have someone with straight hair that comes to their shoulders and someone with curly hair that comes to their ears. But if the curly person stretch their hair out, it will touch their shoulders as well. When I relaxed, I had to wake up extra early to flat-iron, I was dependent on my stylist, and I am not about to get on the weather aspect. Example: 6 months after I began to wear my natural hair and it looked like it didn’t grew much. When I straighten it for the first time to trim, I was amazed at the growth!
“You must apply grease to the hair and scalp to natural hair.
No you don’t. I remember as a young girl getting my scalp “greased” in the kitchen. True it did not harm me and my hair grew but simply put, it may not be needed. The scalp can produce oil on it own. If you find that you do need a some oil, try using light oils such as jojoba, sweet almond, coconut or olive oils. These oils are easily dissolved into the scalp and does not make the hair greasy if used sparsely. Try to avoid putting the heavy grease directed on the scalp (see the above statement regarding mineral oil & petroleum.) Since kinky hair has a curly formation, it takes a lot for the natural hair oils to reach the ends compared to a person with straight hair.
“Trimming makes your hair grow.”
Even though trimming will improve the overall health of your hair by getting rid of split ends, it has nothing to do with the hair that grows out of your scalp. By trimming your hair, you are able to hold on to strands that don’t split, so you are able to see growth and because it’s not breaking and splitting. Example: I had a friend who would hold on to her spilt, see through ends attempting to grow her hair long. But she had to get a major haircut once a year to get rid of the splits, so each year she had to cut her hair shorter and shorter to make it healthy again. It was a never ending cycle and maybe it could have been prevented.
“Natural” women who use products on their hair such as gel, moisturizers etc. aren’t really natural since those aren’t natural products.
I like using this analogy, say if that same woman blow dried her hair and went outside in the rain what will happen to her hair? It would get frizzy and revert. Generally speaking, when using the word ‘ natural’, it’s another term for chemical (i.e. relaxer) free hair. (I’m not speaking about hair color). Using grooming products to clean, moisturized or style natural hair does not make that person less natural IMO.
“You can’t wash your hair too much!”
I grew up hearing that you can’t wash too often because our hair is very fragile. Maybe with relaxed hair it will dry it out, but it’s wonderful for natural hair. Strong shampoos can be drying to natural hair though. If you do use shampoo, try to avoid products that contains Sodium Laurel Sulphate. However, you don’t have to use shampoo. You can simply rinse with water, do the no-shampoo method or try doing a “conditioner wash”, which simply means using other methods to cleanse your hair instead of instead of shampoo.
“Water will dry out your hair!”
Water is the best moisturizer for natural hair. However if you have hard water, that can be detrimental to the health of your hair. Here is an article that explains what makes water hard and here is a map of hard and soft water regions in the US. Hard water is a build-up of natural mineral (calcium, magnesium etc.), and could be the cause of stained porcelain, dry frizzy hair or itchy skin.
You can install a water softener (these can cost anywhere from $200 – $1,500), or use distilled water. If distilled water is not available, you can also boil water. After it has cooled, you can use it on your hair. While boil water won’t remove all of the impurities, it will help a great deal.