If you’ve had the experience of transitioning from a relaxer to natural hair, you know that the learning curve can be steep.
You have to come up with a whole new hair care routine, new products, and new styling techniques. Many naturals find their new hair care journey to be frustrating and time consuming. But does it really have to be so hard?
The biggest hurdle that many of us have to overcome when dealing with our new curly-kinky manes, is to get rid of the straight hair mindset. Oftentimes we transition from straight hair to curly hair, but we still hold our hair to straight hair standards.
Here are 5 natural hair myths that may be making your hair care journey more difficult than it needs to be.
1. I need to get rid of frizz
There are tons of products on the market that are promoted as the key to frizz-free hair. Creams, gels, hair sprays, etc. – and many naturals spend hours loading their hair up with heavy, harsh, or damaging products to keep their hair from displaying any signs of frizziness.
So what’s the problem? Well, curly hair is frizzy. The idea that your hair should be completely frizz free is a straight hair standard that should not apply to your curly hair.
Straight hair that is frizzy, is a sign that the hair has not been combed, brushed, or properly cared for. Curly hair that is frizzy, is a sign that the hair is – well, curly. All curly hair has some level of frizz and that is perfectly normal.
There is nothing wrong with a little frizz. You don’t need to load your hair with gel and other products to prevent it from being frizzy.
Healthy, hydrated, curly hair is bound to frizz and the sooner you embrace that instead of fighting against it, the easier your hair care journey will be.
If you style your hair in a twist out for example – day 1 may be frizz free since your hair is fresh. Day 2 may have a little frizz and then it will subsequently get frizzier as the week goes on. This is not a sign that your style needs to be redone.
Focus on how your hair and scalp feel – is your hair soft, does it feel dry, is your scalp dirty or itchy? These are indications that your hair needs to be washed and then re-styled. When it comes to curly hair, frizz does not = messy.
You can control your frizz to some degree by wearing a silk scarf at night and keeping your hair moisturized, but don’t obsess over keeping your hair completely frizz free.
2. Every hair needs to be in place
This is an extension of the myth about frizziness. The idea that every strand of hair needs to perfectly in place causes many black women to wear hairstyles that are much too tight and can cause permanent damage to your hair.
The crown and edges are particularly vulnerable to breakage and thinning due to excessive stress on the hair follicles.
If your hair is straight, it is fairly easy to smooth the hair down into a ponytail or bun. For curly hair this becomes much more difficult because each curl has a mind of it’s own.
Curly hair is hard to smooth down and keep in place. Excessive brushing can cause breakage and split ends, tight pulling can cause hair loss, and heavy products can cause dryness and more breakage.
If you are wearing a style like braids, ponytails, or buns – smooth your hair as much as you can with your hands, use a soft brush with natural bristles, and use a light gel or mousse with natural ingredients. Tie your hair down with a scarf to assist with smoothing.
Having a hair or two that escape your bun does not ruin your style. Don’t damage your hair trying to have picture perfect hair every day.
3. I need to redo my hair every day
This myth causes naturals to waste a ton of time styling their hair each day. It’s sort of an offshoot of the first two. If you think your hair needs to be perfectly coiffed and frizz free every day, the only way to achieve this is to spend time refreshing your hair each night or each morning.
Once you let go of the idea that curly hair is messy or unkempt, then you’ll find that you actually can maintain your wash and go or twist out for several days before redoing it. This will save you so much time and make maintaining your hair less of a chore.
Styling your hair less frequently is also much better for your hair’s health and long- term length retention because daily styling leads to breakage and split ends which will cause you to have to trim your hair more often.
If you find that your twist out or wash and go does not last more that one or two days, it could be that your products need an upgrade, or you have to work on your styling technique to get the style to last longer.
4. I should be able to run my fingers through my hair
Again, curly hair behaves very differently from straight hair. There is no need for your hair to be 100% tangle free at all times. And running your fingers through your hair is a recipe for poof and frizz.
Make sure that you are detangling gently with a wide tooth comb every 1-2 weeks. You may follow up with a detangling brush if you like, but you do not need to comb or brush your hair every day.
If your beau likes to run his fingers through your hair, suggest a nice scalp massage instead.
5. Natural hairstyles are unprofessional
This one is just false. There is nothing unprofessional about wearing your natural, curly, kinky hair to work, to church, to a gala, or to any other event. Now that doesn’t mean that you can just roll out of bed and go.
Of course your hair should be styled to some degree, but you do not need to cover your natural hair with weaves or wigs in order for it to look presentable.
If you work in a conservative office environment, there are still many styling options that will help you feel confident and beautiful while maintaining your professionalism. Twists, braids, buns, and curly sets are all great options.
Take some time to perfect one or two styles that you can do yourself and keep them as your go to style for work or for a formal event on short notice.
Accepting your hair as it is and working to keep it healthy is much less stressful than trying to force your hair to be something it’s not. Curly hair is in! If you’re having trouble caring for your hair or need help with style ideas, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how I can help!