Monday, March 25, 2013

Two Posts in One:Top things You wish you knew about your hair

In making the decision to become natural,a lot of us read and perform some research to decide if it is something we really want to do.Let me just say right now that I didn't do that.I should have,but I didn't,mainly because I kind of just started the natural thing having no idea that it was this big deal or that so many women were doing it.So it didn't even occur to me to go look for information on it.Having become natural,for the first few months I didn't even read or check to see how I could take care of my hair.If you're newly natural or considering going natural or transitioning,let me salute you for reading this because it shows your commitment and readiness to make sure you know as much as possible before you jump in.So what's this post about?I am going to attempt to summarise the basic things I should have known and that you should know at the start of our hair care adventure.I know I know..nearly impossible.I started yesterday and nearly quit so clearly,its tough!But I am gonna try anyway,because I am just foolhardy and will do anything because its a challenge.Please note that this is intended to be a guide and not a rule post,so adjust the information to suit you and your personal needs.

1.Being natural is a commitment
I know some people who went natural because they thought it required less time and care than permed hair.No true.You need time to care for your natural hair if you want it to grow long and healthy.You can't get away with putting on a wig or braids and ignoring your hair ,otherwise you only end up with a tangled,dry unmanageable mess on your head.I should know,because I was like this when I first went natural!

2.Dirt is not your friend
I don't know about anyone else,but when I had permed hair my hairdresser urged me to keep my scalp dirty before relaxer treatments because it was better for my hair.Not true.It might help to reduce chemical damage from the relaxer,but its bad for your hair.In order for your hair to grow healthily,it needs a clean scalp that allows air circulation and proper blood flow(sorry to go all sciencey..lol).Therefore,if you want good hair,keep your scalp clean.And this means washing your hair even when its in braids or other protective styling.It might mess up your hairdo a bit,but its worth it.

3.Your hair growth isn't the problem,length retention is
 A lot of us attribute short hair to genes.We see some ladies with long hair and begin to assume its because of their family,or genetic make-up and hence their hair grows faster.Not true.There are individual differences in hair growth rates,but the averages are very similar no matter who you are or what family you come from.You might not be experiencing the same growth rate though as someone else because there are several factors that influence this.Hormones,diet, exercise and the growth phase your hair itself is in might have a contribution(more on this later) but to a large extent,long hair isn't dependent on the rate of growth.It depends on how much of that growth actually stays on top of your head(lol).This is what you might see commonly referred to as length retention.Therefore,assuming two people have the same hair growth rate and are in the same phase of the hair cycle,the only thing that would influence hair length would be their length retention.How much length you are able to keep depends on how well you care for your hair.This is basically what having a regimen is about:caring for your hair to retain length.The basic in any regimen is moisture,cleaning and strengthening.Everything revolves around these 3 things.And then,keeping your hair in a protective style helps retain length because the ends of your hair aren't being stressed out and breaking off.Since this is the oldest and most fragile part of your hair,this usually results in healthy hair.

4.Water is your friend
Water is one of the single most important things that will help to make your hair what you want it to be.Drink it,wash your hair with it,spray it on your hair.This is the basis of moisturizing. If you have natural hair,its really hard to keep the hair moisturized and so you need to keep applying water to it.This helps make your hair soft and easier to manage so that when you style your hair,you aren't straining it.After applying water,in order to ensure that the water actually stays in the hair and doesn't escape(lol) you then apply an oil or butter to the hair which is referred to as sealing in the moisture.So now if you see moisturising,thats all it is is.Water on hair and sealing with an oil or butter.

5.Trying to fix your hair when it is completely dry is crazy!
Yep.I learned this the hard way.Before you even put a comb in your hair(assuming you use a comb),there has to be some moisture(water) in your hair.Completely dry hair that is my hair texture is a nightmare to try and style or comb.My friend told me once that she didn't know this and was trying to comb her natural hair with a comb.Her mom told her to stop but she didn't pay any attention.2 broken combs later,she decided to listen to her mom..lool.Dry hair is too tightly coiled to be manageable If you need to do something to your hair,back to water first.Better to style damp hair than dry hair.

6.Have some fun and stop obsessing
Haha!This is a good one.Sometimes we become so obsessed with oUr hair that we don't even enjoy our hair anymore.Please,relax!Hair is just a part of who you are and not your whole person.Try and enjoy it,and make it a complement to your already awesome self.Trust me,obsessing will leave you with nothing but a broken comb..haha!

7.Your hair can grow long,but it will NOT look long
Lol..another good one.Our hair texture is so interesting that you can have really long hair and look like you just chopped off all your hair.I didn't really know this before I became natural.Now that I'm natural I have experienced it and I really like it.I see tons of videos with ladies that have very long natural hair,but immediately they wash it,their hair looks as short as mine..lol.That's shrinkage!And the good thing is that you can really enjoy shrinkage sometimes just to change your look.So don't worry about it,your hair is just too coiled to have that sleek long look!

8.Know yourself,your hair and like it.
No two heads are the same.No two people are the same If someone can wash their hair 3 times a week and you can only wash yours once a week,to thine own self be true.If you can't style your hair and  go to a professional so they can fix it for you,that's ok.Its your life.Do whats best for you.All you would probably need to do is take your own products and show the person what to do if they are trying to comb your hair dry,for example.Not all of us are natural for the same reasons,so no need to compare yourself to someone else.If you can't wear a wash and go,you can still wear a nice afro,so it all depends on you.Know your hair,and do what's best for it.

9.What goes inside usually comes out on top of your head
Yep.If you eat badly,your hair will suffer.What you eat and drink affects every part of you including your hair.Being natural is also for me about being as healthy as possible.Drink more water. Exercise more.Balanced diets.More laughter.Less stress.Better sleeping habits.Its about the whole you and not just your hair.If you use the best products in the world but don't have good habits,your hair will not be happy.

There's lots more,but this is already a long post.I'm going to end here and let you to finish it.What would you add to this list if you could?