There’s no one size fits all when it comes to hair. The choice is 100% yours when deciding which way to go. People like me are just here to help you out with information that can help you make your decisions.
No matter which team you have picked we are all part of #TeamHealthyHair 😀 Our main focus is hair health and hair growth and you can achieve this with ALL THREE. If you read my first post on MY Hairstory you will know that I have been on all three hair teams. Lol. Yes it may seem like I’m confused and indecisive but it’s ok, this has been part of me discovering and getting to know MY hair, what it likes/dislikes and what works/doesn’t work. Right now I’m on #TeamTexlax and LOVING IT!
**I am however, obsessed with natural hair so don’t be surprised if a few years from now you hear me saying I’m transitioning to natural.
Anyway, that’s enough babble from me let’s talk about the hair types, or hair teams as I have put it. Natural, Relaxed and Texlaxed hair. What they are and why I love/hate them. It’s quite bit of info so I’ll take you through each type one post at time. Today let’s start with natural hair, because, that’s what we are born with so it should take precedence. Ps- this is long so brace yourselves!
This is hair its’ natural state. It has not been altered by the use of chemicals i.e through relaxers, perms or texturizers.
As Africans our hair is usually type 4a-c when referencing curl patterns (Refer to the hair type chart I posted). It grows in tiny tight coils that look like springs and it’s this kinky curl pattern that makes our hair appear fuller and more dense than other hair types. There’s no ‘silly hair go back,’ or cool breeze blowing through your hair when you are natural. Rather you have a beautiful thick mass of hair on your head. Personally I love it! I’m obsessed with natural hair but unfortunately with my scalp it’s not the best way to go for me.
Back in 2008 I started transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. This process actually started by accident. I was braiding my hair so much that before I knew it, I hadn’t relaxed for a year. I had been considering going natural for some time so I decided to make it official. I stretched for another year then did a big chop! Luckily my new growth had grown out a lot so I had a nice medium afro and my hair was at neck length (NL) when straightened. I was LOVING my natural hair but I had no clue how to manage it and really dropped the ball. I was also quite lazy with my hair and this contributed to my hair being all knotted and matted together. Something I definitely could have avoided…
Here are a few things I know now, that I WISH I knew then about natural hair and hair care….
Moisturizing and sealing:
Daily MS is of paramount importance when you are natural. I used to wonder why I would wet and oil my hair in the morning but it would be so dry by the end of it. This was actually very frustrating an painful for me because I would make the mistake of combing on dry hair as well, so my scalp was in agony. Why does our hair get so dry? Well, our scalps naturally produce an oil known as sebum on a daily basis. However due to the curl pattern of our hair the sebum does not travel down the shaft of our hair which makes it a lot drier than other hair types. Because of this we MUST use a daily moisturizer to combat this dryness and maintain the moisture balance in our hair which improves our hair elasticity. Our curl pattern again makes our hair susceptible to breakage and so hair elasticity is of utmost importance for natural hair and any hair type for that matter. Sealing helps to lock in moisture and the oils add to the health of our hair as well. As usual, focus a lot on your ends during MS this will prevent them from tangling when your hair is out.
Remember how I told you my hair was actually at neck length? Well it never looked that way, and the only way it would was if I took a flat iron to it. When you go natural you have to be ready to embrace your curl pattern 100% percent. Our curls are so tight so there’s no way you will get the length without the WAIT. So be ready to be patient. When water hits your hair be prepared for shrinkage and embrace it. I was loving my curls but I was still too connected to my straight hair ways so I was very frustrated a lot of the time!! I didn’t know how to style my hair and the shrinkage made combing almost impossible! I wish someone has told me about detangling on wet hair in sections prior to my natural hair journey! It reduces tangles and reduces the risk of breakage when done correctly.
Single Strand knots
You will have definitely experienced these on your detangling days and hated them! If you’re wondering what they are its when I our shed hairs get caught around our non-shed hair and form a nice tight knot around a number of our strands. Kind of like a nice little bow tie, but it’s never that pretty gift. Like me, you may have made the mistake of getting impatient and just ripping it out but then your jaw is left hanging on the ground when u see that it’s taken half of at least 5 strands with it! Ughhh. Well just so you know you’ve seen them before and that’s not the end of them, especially if your hair is natural and you are wearing it in its nice kinky state. The trick is keeping hair moisturized, in hairstyles that keep it stretched like twists and detangling or combing as effectively but gently as possible so that you can remove the shed hair before they form knots with the rest of your hair. When you do encounter them, patience and a good detangling stray are EVERYTHING! Do not rip them out!!!
Wash Day Sections
I used to dread wash days… All I envisioned was the knots and the pain I would experience combing them out. It really didn’t have to be that way! If only someone had told me about washing in sections back in my natural. Heck I wish someone told me about washing in sections before this year! This is my DREAM !!! I love it and I will never look back! Because I stretch my hair always has growth and this helps transitioners or stretchers as much as naturals. Unfortunately people believe that scrubbing scalps in rapid sideways and up and down motions is great for your scalp and will make it clean. Sure I guess….. but what about our hair?!? It’s usually a tangled and knotted mess afterwards and then we or our hair dressers proceed to comb out the knots with a small tooth comb( gasp) if only our hair could talk! It would be yelling and cursing us back and forth up and down! Lol…wash days are essentials and must be done correctly. You can make or break your hair on washdays. Part your hair into six big sections (I put in braids, you can decide if you will or not) then proceed to wash each section one at a time. Focus on your scalp them work the product DOWN the shaft to cleanse it. This will reduce tangles and help removes those shed hairs that get caught up in our hair.
We need to keep our hair nice and strong so maintaining our moisture and protein balance is very important. We can do this by doing deep conditioning and protein treatment on a regular basis. (DC more often than PT for moisture. Too much protein isn’t good for our hair) If you have a heat cap or get to go to the salon, doing your DC or PT with heat. This opens up your cuticles and allow the moisture or protein to penetrate your hair and scalp. Hair becomes softer, stronger, more elastic and manageable. You will love it! This must be part of every natural’s hair regimen.
There’s so much more info to learn about natural hair but i will stop here before your eyes pop from too much reading!! I really hope this helps some of my natural ladies out there!
* For your patience, here’s a pic of me mean mugging with my transitioning afro back in my transitioning natural hair days 🙂 How I miss them! (i hadnt fully big chopped at this point, but it’s 70% natural)
oh and here is is after a blow dry and straighten at neck length! So you can rock both ways but just try to limit the heat so you don’t damage it.