Featured in the July 2012 edition of Black WNY
Natural is Back!
Excited to say, people are buzzing about “going” natural. As I like to say, you don’t “go” natural, it is the state in which we were born in & had maintained for as long you did until you received your first chemical process, some of us sooner than others.
Today a lot of people are very intimidated and down right afraid to be back natural (as far as speaking with consumers)! Some of the intimidation stems from the problem of combing, styling or day to day maintenance of coarse textured hair, which can be a hand full, literally!
However some of the “fear” or “worry” stems from having to look “nappy headed” or perhaps too cultured, ethnic, or African, let’s just keep it real. God forbid the relaxer companies closed down, the wig and weave business would traumatically increase. Why? We have become accustomed to the European look of straight flowy hair, silky layers of locks, & brushing our hair with ease.
People I am here to tell you, the versatility is great, being straightened, wavy, curly, short, long, red, black, spiked, or flowy. Just remember how u are in the mirror minus any makeup, weave, relaxer, or accessories, remember you the way God made us & love that person.
Liberate yourself from all societies pressures as to what looks good & is acceptable. You have the rights to change whatever you like on your body, hey go for it, heck it can be fun. Just don’t be a slave to it, love who’s underneath.
On that note here’s a few tips to help you tame that mane:
- Shampoo & Condition regularly, weekly or biweekly.
- A detangling shampoo works great for being able to get your fingers through, yes it can be challenging, hang in there! Non-sulfate shampoos are great, sulfates are harsh detergents that strip the hair.
- A hydrating or moisturizing conditioner is great depending on your needs ( consult with your professional stylist). Comb it through starting at the ends of the hair working you way to the roots. A wide toothed comb MUST be used or you risk breaking the hair, in addition to the discomfort of using a smaller comb. Also a pick or bush comb are acceptable. Rinse with lukewarm water, not hot. This assists in sealing the cuticle. Always work in sections.
- Keep ends trimmed every 4-6 weeks, your hair will be healthier fuller & any breakage reduced. A leave in conditioner/moisturizer and natural oil is great to use when setting the hair. Style or set while damp, then dry under hooded dryer or air dry overnight. If you blow dry, use a round-brush or comb attachment to smooth while doing so. Apply heat protector before using any irons. Ceramic is best. (my professional opinion) Wrap the hair at night or set with satin or satin like fibers. Daily creams or gloss are great for shine! Check out some natural images on your computer for inspiration as far as styles, or natural hair magazines & seek your professional!
P.S. Compositions Salon carries all the products mentioned above. Good Luck!
Myths About Natural Black Hair
Before relaxers became easily accessible, black people straightened their hair through a variety of means, many of which were very harsh and damaging. Although the majority of black women still prefer to wear their hair straightened, there has been a steadily growing movement toward wearing natural hair. However, there remains a lot of misinformation which prevents some people from accepting their hair as it grows from their scalp. They choose to straighten their hair because they still believe these myths about natural hair. What are the real truths?
1. Myth: Natural Hair Isn’t Versatile
Truth: If you think Afros are the only style for natural hair, you’re missing out on a ton of unique hairstyles that are beautiful and healthy for your hair and scalp.
Some of the many natural hairstyles you can wear include:
•Two-strand twists •Bantu knots •Braids •Cornrows
•Flat twists •Locs •Afro puffs •Coils
In addition, you can combine these styles to create your own one-of-a-kind hairdos. If your hair is short, that may limit your versatility somewhat, but the longer your hair grows, the more styles you can experiment with and enjoy.
2. Myth: Natural Hair Doesn’t Grow
Truth: Black hair in its natural state has a tendency to shrink up, preventing you from seeing its real length, leading to the popular belief that it doesn’t grow long. While everyone has a predetermined hair length that’s due to genetics, with proper care, you can grow your hair as long as it is destined to be and you don’t need a relaxer or perm to do so! A relaxer straightens your curls so that you can see length more easily, but the chemicals in it do not promote hair growth.
Hair grows an average of 1/2 inch per month, including black hair. Your hair is growing, but you may not be retaining the length due to chemical abuse, dryness, excessive heat styling and a general lack of proper care.
3. Myth: Natural Hair Is Strong
Truth: Natural hair looks strong, which is why so many people accidentally abuse it with rough treatment. In reality, black hair is fragile and needs to be treated with the gentlest of care in order for it to flourish. Wide tooth combs, natural ingredients and your own fingers are the best tools and products for natural hair.
4. Myth: Natural Hair Needs Grease
Truth: Many products you’ll find in the ethnic hair care section of your local stores are full of ingredients that aren’t the best for black hair. Ironic, but true. Petroleum and mineral oil make up a large percentage of black hair products and all they do is clog your scalp and attract dirt to your hair. You do not have to “grease” your scalp for it to be healthy. A better approach is to apply natural oils directly to your hair, paying special attention to the ends, which tend to be dry.
5. Myth: Natural Hair Is Hard to Manage
Truth: Natural, textured hair can seem hard to manage if you attempt to treat it like straight hair. If you use the same tools and expect the same results that you would on straightened hair, you’re going to be disappointed. However, once you learn to treat natural hair in a way that doesn’t try to change it or alter it, it can be as manageable as any other type of hair.
You’ll have to use different tools and different methods of styling. Your fingers, a wide tooth comb, natural boar bristle brushes and natural oils are all good ways to treat black hair. If you’re used to dealing with straightened hair, learning new routines and techniques that work with your natural texture instead of against it will yield the best results.
Article by Del Sandeen
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