The sisterhood of naturals is a strong community. I met a group of beautiful natural women in my first year of being natural who helped me with my styling questions and helped me to see the beauty in the hair I had not yet accepted. If there is not a group like that in your area, think about starting one or take advantage of the many online communities of naturals providing support.
Let it do what it do
Remember those days of going into the beauty shop with a magazine or cut-out asking your hairstylist to make your hair look like the lady in the picture? I give much respect to beauticians who are more like magicians than hairstylist transforming our hair to make it do things we never thought it could do. Well, embrace those memories cuz those days are gone! If you want healthy natural hair, you do not make your hair do what it does not do naturally.
Don't try to fix it. Embrace it.
Remember getting up in the morning and realizing that your hair was curled in some places and straight in others? The first reaction was to pull out the curling irons, so you can fix your hair. Now as a healthy natural, you do not "fix" it. You embrace whatever your hair is doing. If I plan to wear my hair in a twistout and my twists are not looking fresh, then I may either pull it back with a scarf or pull it up into a puff. Either way, I do not always determine what style I will wear, sometimes my hair determines it and I just go with the flow.
Learn to listen to your hair
If you're a mother, you can relate to this: your strands are like your children. When your baby cries, you generally know what kind of cry it is - scared, pain, hunger, tired or just wanting some attention. If you don't know, you figure it out. Your hair also talks to you, you just have to learn how to understand the language. Is it shedding or breaking? Take a strand that came out and look for the root and look at the length. If the hair is shedding, then it should have a root and the length should be consistent with the length of your hair. If it doesn't have a root and/or it's much shorter than the length of your hair, then it's breaking. Is it damaged? Inspect the strand for split ends and mid-strand splits. Is it dry? Take the strand, hold each end between your fingers from tip to tip and lightly pull the strand as if you were stretching a rubber band. The strand should bounce. If it snaps into two, your hair is too dry. Need protein? From what I understand, most naturals don't need protein, but if your hair is limp, you may need to invest in a light protein, but be careful. Protein can make your hair brittle, which can lead to breakage. Those are the "cries" that I understand right now. The "cry" that I'm trying to figure out is the mid-strand split. I have some of those, so I'm trying to figure out what my hair is crying for. I think it may be in need of a gentler comb, so I now I have a seamless comb. Also, I think I may have been letting my hair get too dry in the winter (due to that horrible Chitown wind and bitter cold), so I'm adding water to my nighttime regimen and looking for other ways of getting more moisture during the winter.
Water = Moisture
Our hair is naturally dry, so embrace water. Put away the shower cap and let your hair enjoy a steamy shower. Stop running from the rain (unless it's a down pour) and let your hair soak up the water. Don't starve your hair of moisture because you're worried about shrinkage. Natural hair will never show it's true length, but it will be healthy because you're giving it what it needs most. Also, remember what you do not see in length, you will see in width. One time, I was relaxing in a hot tub. I didn't even think twice about my hair. When I got out, I was shocked to see how much it shriveled up (length) and how much it expanded (width). Also, it felt extremely soft, so I learned to embrace all forms of moisture - rain, humidity, steam, etc.
Don't get frustrated
Natural does not mean carefree. Natural hair is a lot of work. When you feel yourself getting tired and/or frustrated, put your hair in a protective style and give yourself a break. It's good for your hair and it's good for you and your sanity. Everybody wins! When I'm feeling that way or if I know my schedule will be extremely busy, I put my hair in twists. For me, that's an all day activity, but then I will have low maintenance for the following 2 or 3 weeks only needing to spray it with some water and using a little oil. I will then wash it and after it dries, take the twists out for another 2 or three weeks of twistouts and puffs. Also, unless your hair detangles easily, never wash/detangle your hair when you're in a hurry. I promised myself I would never do my hair unless I have time to deal with it because my impatience is not good for my hair.
Don't get bored
Natural hair is versatile. I think we all generally fall into the cycle of twists, twistouts, puffs and fros. When you start getting bored, combine the styles. Why not try twists in the front and back and a puff in the middle? Flat twist the front and have either a twistout at the top or a puff at the top (those are my favorites). Flat twist one side and have it lead into a cascading twistout or fro. No ideas? Check blogs and natural hair groups for pictures to get some ideas. There are many "Do It Yourself" styles out there and most naturals are more than willing to give you step-by-step instructions on how to achieve that style. I'll be on the hunt for some new styling ideas this spring.
Create your own beautiful reality
|Photo by: Triple L Photography|
All the best to you all!
~Loving Me Naturally