Here on BGLH we sing the prais­es of nat­u­ral hair con­stant­ly. We talk about how beau­ti­ful it is and how, with the right infor­ma­tion and tech­niques, it’s easy to man­age. But even we have to admit that there are just some things that are unde­ni­ably frus­trat­ing about nat­u­ral hair. Here is our hon­est list:

1. Protective Styling

Pro­tec­tive styling (or low manip­u­la­tion styling) is one of the car­di­nal rules of nat­u­ral hair, and although many nat­u­rals come to appre­ci­ate it, it is cer­tain­ly an acquired taste. I mean, who doesn’t want to show off their curls, coils and kinks?? Plus, we live in a non-pro­tec­tive styling cul­ture. From movie stars to street fash­ion­istas, wear­ing your hair out and long is the name of the game. While pro­tec­tive styles like tur­bans and head­wraps have gained some trac­tion, the aver­age Amer­i­can wom­an doesn’t have her hair tucked away. Still, in the name of hair health, many nat­u­rals hide their ends for days or even weeks at a time. The end result is beau­ti­ful, lus­cious hair, but Lord knows it can be frus­trat­ing.

2. Growing Out the Big Chop

I’ve nev­er seen a big chop I didn’t like. The low cut style works won­ders for high­light­ing a woman’s eyes and bone struc­ture. Not so much the awk­ward 4 and 5 inch­es that fol­low. It’s a weird length where your hair is not short enough to be a fade, but not long enough to be the curly mop so many of us crave. The best way to get through the awk­ward phase? Fig­ure out at least 2 styles that look good at that length (twist outs and flat twist­ed updos are good options) and stick with them. Also, buy copi­ous amounts of head­bands, flow­er clips and hair acces­sories.

3. The Product Chase

While there are some nat­u­ral prod­ucts that are almost uni­ver­sal­ly effec­tive (coconut oil and shea but­ter in par­tic­u­lar), beyond that there are seem­ing­ly infinite vari­a­tions; water-based moisturizers/spritzes, leave in con­di­tion­ers, hair but­ters, deep con­di­tion­ers, styling prod­ucts. They’re every­where! While prod­ucts aren’t the pri­ma­ry deter­mi­nant of hair health, and they cer­tain­ly won’t make or break your reg­i­men, it’s nonethe­less impor­tant to find a set of prod­ucts that work well togeth­er, and leave your cuti­cle feel­ing smooth and soft. And the time it takes to test out var­i­ous com­bi­na­tions of prod­ucts can be unde­ni­ably frus­trat­ing.

4. The Styling Learning Curve

It’s not so much that nat­u­ral hair is dif­fi­cult to style — most any­one can do a puff or a set of twists — it’s that it can be chal­leng­ing to learn styles for a vari­ety of sce­nar­ios. How do you style your hair for a date? A casu­al week­end? A work con­fer­ence? A for­mal event? It can take months to fig­ure out a set of basic looks that can work in a vari­ety of sit­u­a­tions.

5. The Regimen Tweak

There is a wealth of knowl­edge about nat­u­ral hair online — and while that’s most­ly a good thing, it can also present a chal­lenge. Every day dozens of nat­u­rals give hair­care advice — on blogs, in forums and on YouTube — and they’re all right because they’re all speak­ing from their own point of view. One might rec­om­mend co-wash­ing, while anoth­er rec­om­mends using sham­poo. One might rec­om­mend low manip­u­la­tion styles, while anoth­er rec­om­mends heavy pro­tec­tive styling. One might rec­om­mend a dai­ly spritz while anoth­er rec­om­mends a full seal­ing reg­i­men. It’s all rel­a­tive. Part of going nat­u­ral is try­ing out the­se dif­fer­ent bits and pieces of advice until you find what works best for you. It can be frus­trat­ing, but it’s an inevitable part of the jour­ney.

6. The Temptation to Compare

For every nat­u­ral who grows out a gor­geous, full head of hair in no time flat, there are plen­ty oth­ers that are strug­gling. But with blogs, Pin­ter­est boards and Tum­blrs pro­vid­ing a con­stant stream of “nat­u­ral hair porn” it can be tempt­ing to com­pare and become sub­se­quent­ly frus­trat­ed with your own pro­gress. Be sure to view hair porn as inspi­ra­tion ONLY and not a timetable or tem­plate of what your hair should be like. It’s also good to draw inspi­ra­tion from all kinds of nat­u­rals. All your nat­u­ral hair idols don’t have to have waist-length hair. There are plen­ty of gor­geous nat­u­rals with short, fine and mid-length hair to die for.

What about you ladies? What are some aspects of being nat­u­ral that frus­trate you? Let’s keep it real :)

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

Leave a Reply

92 Comments on "6 Undeniably Frustrating Things About Natural Hair"

Notify of
avatar
Natalie
I don’t think all the 6 are frus­trat­ing, not to me any­way. For exam­ple, I love pro­tec­tive styling they are styles I would do to my hair any­way. If I left my hair in a twist out I’d be con­stant­ly wor­ry­ing what it looked like espe­cial­ly when it is windy or the weath­er is less than per­fect which is the case in Lon­don. I didn’t do a big chop this time, I did one years ago before I knew about going nat­u­ral and I just put my hair in plaits for a year until it was long enough to loc… Read more »
Sandra

i have this big patche at the top of my head and around the hair­line fron weav­ing and braid­ing and i am tired ot wear­ing wigs i real­ly want to wear my twa but too embarass can you please help

Julia

You should try the Essen­tial oil mix on hair­scapades. Bet­ter still read the arti­cle on using monistat. Learnt it works super­nat­u­ral won­ders.

Natalie

San­dra

Try wear­ing scarves instead for a change. Also I’m sure you know this but mas­sag­ing your scalp dai­ly will encour­age the hair fol­li­cles to grow.
When you are at home don’t wear a wig or scarf to let your scalp breathe.
I wish you the best.

Dandelion

I don’t think it’s impor­tant to find a set of prod­ucts. But of course, prod­ucts must be pro­mot­ed on a sight full of ads for hair prod­ucts. Ive bought a few but they end up going par­tial­ly used and aban­dond­ed. I think it’s stu­pid to spend upwards of $20 on some pro­duct. I’m fine with my Shea but­ter and olive oil. It’s frus­trat­ing to have prod­ucts shoved in your face con­stant­ly lol.

Kailyn

For me, it’s damn fairy knots and shrink­age. They both just get on my nerves, although I think I’m com­ing to terms with my shrink­age (it can be fun to feel like you’ve got a short bob one day and then long hair the next). Peo­ple can be amazed by our ver­sa­til­i­ty. Fairy knots though, I get them sooo much and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I can spend hours cut­ting them out.

mangomadness

Fairy knots are part of hav­ing coily/curly/kinky hair. They can’t be elim­i­nat­ed so try not to fuss over them too much.

Cacey

i now leave mine be. i noticed that my longest hair strands would have fairy knots, so now i don’t touch them. i let them become my “lead hairs’. since i now han­dle my hair gen­tly, my hair doesn’t break with the knots and they don’t cause tan­gles. if any­thing, they pre­vent my hair from split­ting past the knot so i’m grate­ful for the few that i have.

J

What is fus­trat­ing is nat­u­ral hair in unpre­dictable just when you think you’ve mas­tered that braid out.…. LOL and also the pro­duct chase. –_–

Coconut And Cream

I actu­al­ly… I actu­al­ly hate my hair… I real­ly do. It’s been liv­ing in a bun for the past two weeks… Me no wan­na deaaaaal with this dead thing!

BeautyIAM

Why do you hate it so much?

df

That must be no fun…honestly.…I hope you get to the point where you do at least like your hair and learn how to take care of it.

Cacey
i was there a few weeks ago. then i just took a step back and breathed. like, i lit­er­al­ly was hold­ing up the scis­sors to my ears, pre­pared to chop 6 inch­es off my hair just like that, when i had a sober­ing thought: i’ve come this far. i didn’t wan­na repeat a year’s worth of growth, con­sid­er­ing that the hair i was about to chop was per­fect­ly healthy, thanks to my most recent trim. so i decid­ed i’d quit reg­i­ment­ing my hair and just have fun with a new style, and it worked. try curl­form­ers. try doing some­thing to… Read more »
Coconut And Cream

Aw this is real­ly good advice, thanks. I think I’ve been so focused on pro­tec­tive styling that I’ve stopped hav­ing fun and enjoy­ing my hair — I made a post about this here http://www.coconutandcreamblog.com/2012/05/natural-hair-im-over-it.html

cacey
hey sheri­da i have checked out your blog post. i rarely fol­low up with replies to my com­ments because i sel­dom check my email, so i am just now see­ing your respon­se half a year lat­er. But i loved your post and you know what’s crazy? i feel that way about my hair often, too! I think a lot of it is men­tal and that’s the part that tru­ly makes the jour­ney frus­trat­ing. i hope you’re hang­ing in there; i haven’t yet got­ten around to read­ing your updates but your hair looked great from the pic­ture i saw from that… Read more »
LillianMae
#1: I don’t mind because I’m a low main­te­nance girl so PS work for me in that they are con­ve­nient and sim­ple for my lifestyle…now by mid week, I’m restyling my hair so by Fri­day, I can wear my BnC to par­ty! ;) #2: Because I’ve been tran­si­tion­ing for the past 23 months, I’ve not expe­ri­enced the fade or the weird in between phase; how­ev­er, when I do BC next mon­th, I expect to have 7″ of hair so I’m look­ing for­ward to the curly mop :) #3: Tran­si­tion­ing has allowed me to over­come the ‘Pro­duct Chase’…my only con­cern (and this actu­al­ly… Read more »
Cacey
#6- one rea­son i like to com­pare- right now i’m using ser­a5244 (i hope i got the num­ber right lol) as my ref­er­ence- is because if i’m grow­ing out my hair, one good way of guag­ing how well i’m stay­ing on track with my pro­gress, even if it’s not the same as my ref­er­ence point, is to mon­i­tor my results as com­pared with theirs. i’ve cho­sen to com­pare my hair, on a mon­th by mon­th basis, with sera’s (as well as post pix mon­th by mon­th as she does) because it keeps me focused and on track, and lets me… Read more »
karla

Grow­ing out of the “Big Chop” now it’s too long for a fade and too short for twist outs, so I’m stuck with wear­ing wigs right now

kc

Me too! I have short, baby locs. It’s sum­mer now, so I often wear them out when run­ning errands, etc. But if I have to look presentable–my col­lege grad­u­a­tion, inter­views, any time I see my demand­ing African mother–I wig it up. It’s a has­sle.

glorybory

shrink­age .….….….….….….….….… that is all.

MissJoeyK
One of THE most frus­trat­ing aspects of hav­ing nat­u­ral hair are the con­stant changes in my reg­i­men that are con­tin­u­ous­ly imple­ment­ed. I often feel as though when I find valu­able infor­ma­tion, I should be doing it. I sup­pose that I should be more patient with each reg­i­men, giv­ing it a real oppor­tu­ni­ty to work for me pri­or to chang­ing it so quick­ly. The sec­ond frus­trat­ing aspect of hav­ing nat­u­ral hair is the time and ener­gy required sim­ply to main­tain. Take mois­ture, for exam­ple. I feel like although I use most­ly nat­u­ral prod­ucts in my hair, mois­ture leaves my hair QUICKLY,… Read more »
Tanya
Inter­est­ing. I don’t find pro­tec­tive styling frus­trat­ing at all. I wore my nat­u­ral hair out for 4 years, then start­ed pro­tec­tive styling 3 years ago. I tried some out styles again not too long ago, and my hair got dry and hard SO fast. It took weeks to recov­er (and I am con­sis­tent with giv­ing my hair mois­ture). I love how sup­ple and soft my hair feels in twists. As my hair has got­ten longer, I can do alot with them (not mini twists, either. I rock about 25 medi­um sized twists on a reg­u­lar basis). Now what IS frus­trat­ing… Read more »
Jewel

I can’t seem to keep my hair from being bril­lo pad dry, no mat­ter what I do to it

Martine

Spray with water every­day and seal with a oil.

df

i was there…it could be you aren’t mois­tur­iz­ing and seal­ing well, you could be con­sti­pat­ed (health,diet), you could have hard water (buy a show­er fil­ter or do more ACV rins­es).

intlgrrl

you could also try Marine’s sug­ges­tion and use a plas­tic cap on your hair for a few hours to help seal in mois­ture.

intlgrrl
there are two frus­tat­ing things list­ed her that get to me. Num­ber one is the whole com­par­ison bit. Now I think we can sub­con­scious­ly com­pare our­selves to oth­er nat­u­rals, but my expe­ri­ence with this isn’t quite what bugs me. I’ve had oth­er nat­u­rals actu­al­ly come up to me a vocal­ly com­pare their hair with mine, with ran­dom com­ments like “Oh, I can achieve that same style, but my hair is longer than yours” or “Oh I should try that, but I think my hair would be pret­tier than yours because I have xyz curl pattern”.…really? can you please keep those… Read more »
Julia

No! They didn’t say that. That is absolute­ly incredulous#meannaturals

Alisha

If they said that to you, it’s. Because they’re jeal­ous. That’s mean!

intlgrrl

Thanks Julia nd Alisha, but i just chalk it up to igno­rance.

trackback

[…] David, in the mid­st of his tribu­la­tions, I have to encour­age myself.    After read­ing this arti­cle from BGLH Online, I gath­ered the courage to admit a cou­ple of things to […]

Karen

I just saw this web­site and I am so hap­py to join the con­ver­sa­tion. My biggest chal­lenge is to get my curls to relax some­what. Then there is the dry look. How and what do I use to com­bat the dry burned out look? Miss Jesse didn’t work, thought about kinky curly hair but I heard it leaves your hair feel­ing hard. So what’s the next pro­duct, has any­one tried WEN? please share your thoughts if you have

Thanks much

Karen
Parched in FLA
T
T
[imgcomment image[/img]
[imgcomment image[/img]

Got alove for ma hair
Got alove for ma hair

sigh coconut oil caus­es my scalp to itch, they sell jojoba oil, cas­tor oil, almond oil and tea tree oil. which one do you sug­gest I use? btw my hair is 4b 9 inch­es at its longest and 6 inch­es at its short­est. Thanks!
:)

nikki

i wish that i was more hair tal­ent­ed so that i could fig­ure out some dif­fer­ent hair­styles for my hair. i get bored doing the same thing.

idris

I have some part of my hair with a lot of break­age and i don’t know WHY because the rest of my hair is fine and SL. The back is dry and it breaks A LOT and my baby hair is dry and harsh. Very frus­trat­ing because i pro­tect and take care of my hair.

wpDiscuz