10 Facts of Natural Hair Life for African Girls
1. This life is NOT for everyone. Natural hair like any relationship with a living thing requires work, involvement, and most importantly nurturing. If you are not the kind of person who can nurture living things maybe this natural hair life is not for you and you know what? That’s okay. Everything can not be for everyone. Keeping it moving sis.
2. Your hair is your hair and hair goals are a myth.
Each curl and strand of hair on your head has been genetically designed to be as it is. Your ancestors live on your head. When you see others’ hair on their head and you see their curl pattern, admire and release.
If you’re thinking I want my hair to look like that you’re doing yourself a disservice. How can your hair curl like someone else’s when you don’t share the same genes? By all means look at volume, hydration, and length and aspire for those but when it comes to curl pattern my sista mind your business.
3. Your hair is alive. Say it with me, “my hair is alive”. Living things need water, and food. You have to feed your hair protein, minerals, and quench it with H20. The major cause of hair breakage, extreme shrinkage, and curl loss is a lack of hydration.
You need conditioners, and hair products that aren’t going to sit on top of your hair follicles but that will enter into them and feed them. The best kinds of these products are shea butter, coconut oil, aloe vera based, and greaseless. Petrolatum, lanolin, and the like are not your friend. And I mention this because sometimes you do find the shea butter and coconut oil but for whatever reason they also add grease. Natural hair does not need to “shine”, it needs to be moisturized and hydrated. The hair needs to eat and drink, and grease only blocks that from happening.
4. Anything that dries out your hair is the enemy. Whether it it sulphuric shampoos, hand dryers or the sun, heat kills. As for hand dryers just stay away from them, they will fry your hair, most especially if someone has applied grease to you hair and attempts to dry it afterwards. It’s basically like putting your hair in a pan and deep frying it. Your hair will crisp up. Once natural hair is dry crisp you can forget about any curl pattern at all. While there are ways to salvage heat damage the majority of times the only thing you can do is cut it off.
I know you may not think of the sun as your enemy because you’re a melanin goddess but your hair is not your skin. If you’re going to be in the sun for prolonged periods, wrap your hair, wear a hat or do a protective style like crochet or a weave to keep your hair under wraps.
5. Natural hair was not meant to be “neat”. You may be rolling your eyes at this point thinking I’m disrespecting the cause but hear me out. What I mean by neat is controlled. Our natural hair comes in tight, tighter, and even tighter curls. These curl patterns can vary dramatically from the front, side, crown, and back of your head. The front may allow things the back won’t, and the side, and so forth. Your edges won’t go down and do that thing people like to call “baby hair” ever because it was not meant to do that.
I see women with natural hair trying to accomplish feats their hair was never meant to do. Case and point you do corn rows and you want every single strand of your natural hair to enter the braid.
Sis are you crazy?
Leave your edges to curl up and do their thing. If your ancestors are Bantu like my own, baby hair and neatly controlled hair is not for you. Allow the curls to be. The more you allow your hair to be, the easier it is for you. The easier it is for you, the better it is for your hair. Don’t strain.
6. Finger comb, water, comb from top, comb the root, is the only order in which anyone should ever attempt to do your hair.
When you enter into a salon or sit down in front of a stylist to do or undo your hair if the first thing they do is pick up a comb, move your head instantly and do not allow that person to touch you.
Your hair is curly. Because it is naturally curly those curls are bound to tangle. It is cruel for anyone to attempt to do your hair without first detangling it with their fingers.
Detangling with fingers is the foreplay that is required before anything else. The longer the foreplay the easier the comb through. Water should always be involved in this process especially where children are involved.
Do not allow anyone to make your child hate their natural hair because they don’t know how to properly treat it. This is how we grow up believing our hair is “hard to handle”, and “painful”. When someone treats your hair with the kindness it deserves no matter how “hard” your hair, it falls.
7. 100% Pure Shea Butter is to your hair what blood is to your body. I don’t know why it took us as Africans so long to acknowledge and respect the goodness of shea. We spent so many hundreds of years colonized, chasing White peoples ideals that Vaseline and the hot comb almost left us bald and fried.
If you never buy anything else for your hair, if you’re confused about what to do, no matter your situation, if you intend to live this natural hair life you have to embrace the shea. It is cheap, available, and nutritious. Shea butter is to black African hair what the perming cream was for the last 100 years. Shea Butter is the creamy crack that ought to have been and now is.
8. Deep conditioning is the full body massage that your hair absolutely needs.
When you’re in a relationship an act of service is one of the ways that you show love to your partner. Deep conditioning is the act of love for your natural hair.
If 1x-2x a month you can deep condition at home with your shower cap you’re doing good. The deep condition can last for 30’mins or 24hours if you’re a certain someone I know (Yes Kingtom Lady Na you ah di talk).
The deep conditioning is a moment of extreme hydration for your hair. Its like drawing up a warm bath for yourself with essential oils and milk and sitting in there and letting your skin soak up all that nourishing goodness. This is what you do for your natural hair when you deep condition.
9. Having natural hair doesn’t make you more enlightened or elevated to someone who doesn’t. While yes natural hair can be a political statement it really is not getting you into heaven. If you decide to join the natural hair revolution and choose that lifestyle, wonderful for you! It doesn’t though give you a license to speak ill of or talk down to those who have not. Yes it is a powerful thing to free oneself from ideas of beauty that are different from what is naturally in their DNA but it doesn’t make you better than anyone else. It is your choice and that’s all.
10. It will grow back. At some point after you’ve chosen this path you may have heat damage, or split ends. You will go to the salon and the stylist may tell you that your hair is shedding or needs a trim. Do not attack this person. Yes you want volume and length but your hair especially if it’s brittle and or dry from heat damage absolutely will need to be cut. Also trimming your ends 2x a year, once every 6 months will actually make your hair grow faster and healthier. Your hair is a living thing, if you continue to nurture it, it will grow.