In the spirit of keeping things all the way 100, today I’m sharing with you my natural hair blunders. No one’s natural hair journey is a bed of roses, but it doesn’t have to be a thorn bush either. I’m hoping that this post will save you some unnecessary heartache, and open your eyes to some mistakes that you may be making too. Brace yourself; it’s a wordy one…
MISTAKE #1- Shear Shyness
Let’s face it; at one point in our hair journey (or maybe at this precise moment) we all covet that waist length hair. Not that that’s a bad thing-our dreams are valid- but holding on to damaged ends in a bid to have ‘longer’ hair is not the way to go! Our ends, being the oldest parts of our hair, are prone to breakage, damage/splitting, and should be trimmed on a regular basis. I used to avoid those shears like a plague, but now that I’ve embraced trimming at least every 4-6 months (depending on the condition of my ends) my hair looks thicker/fuller, it is easier to detangle and I have fewer single strand knots. TRIM, TRIM, TRIM!
I trimmed and shaped my hair a few months ago, my hair has never looked or felt better!
MISTAKE #2- DC Deprivation
Now that I’m writing this, I feel like this should have been number 1! I cannot emphasize to you the benefits of regular deep conditioning, but I am going to anyway. When I used to deep condition monthly (sometimes the laziness was REAL and I’d even go two months) my hair was constantly dry and wiry, I had loads of breakage and shedding, and my hair was dull and lifeless. I now deep condition my hair for at least 45 minutes, every 7-10 days WITHOUT FAIL and my whole life changed-say hello to strong, shiny, soft, moist tresses. Type 4 hair is delicate and prone to dryness and therefore needs regular protein treatments to promote growth and maintain strong, healthy hair.
MISTAKE #3- Persistent PS
Oh how I love my protective styles, lets have a moment to just bask in the glory that is two strand twists. I rant and rave about how I owe a lot of my length and retention to PS, however, I realized that serial back-to-back protective styling for more than a period of two months is a no-no. You need to give your hair and scalp time to breathe and relax from the protective style otherwise you risk damaging your hair. Some protective styles such as weaves may not give you the full access you need in order to hydrate and moisturize your hair, and taking a break between wear can help you replenish and avoid traction related breakage and hair loss. Make sure to wear a protective style that doesn’t pull on your edges too!
Wearing my hair out after three weeks in two-strand twists.
MISTAKE #4- Did someone say shampoo?
This is a very controversial topic for some naturals, so at the end of the day, I’d advise you to find what wash routine and cleansing products work best for your hair. Before I knew any better, I would shampoo my hair after every four weeks (primarily because I was serial protective styling, which I’ve now come to learn is a no no!). With the increased frequency of my DC, I have incorporated more washing into my routine. I co- wash my hair every 7-10 days, follow up with an ACV rinse to cleanse my scalp, deep condition treatment for at least 45 mins, and finally I rinse, use my leave-in conditioner, seal and style. After every three co-washes, I deep cleanse my hair (typically after every four weeks) using a sulfate-free shampoo, which helps me get rid of all the product residue and build up on my hair and scalp. Like I said, this is controversial because some naturals find that frequent washing doesn’t work for them, so always stick to what is working for you and for your hair. This is merely my experience, and I have to say my 4c strands are the happiest they have ever been since I started weekly cleansing and DC.
I hope you’re able to identify, and better yet, totally avoid some of these natural hair mistakes that I have made over the course of my journey. What’s most important is that you find out what works for your hair specifically and remain consistent in order to see results. Consistency is key!
Happy Nappy Hair,