By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom
There are many articles on natural hair sites about what you can do with or to your hair. While wading through this information and trying new things or retrying old experiments with new products or techniques, you should always bear in mind that some things we do, can cause damage that will eventually break hair or stunt hair at a particular length. Here are thoughts that I know were crucial factors that kept my hair at less than neck length. If you were taught or had these ideas as I did, you should challenge them.
1. Thinking your natural hair is thick when it really is not
Natural hair tends to have a lot of volume and texture which leads many of us to make the conclusion that our hair is thick. You may not really have thick hair at all. Your hair may actually be quite fine if you looked at an individual strand rather than the full head of hair. Do not automatically class your hair as thick or coarse. There are many tender little kinks that have ended up on the floor as the result of too much force applied while combing. This is because the person manipulating the hair thinks that the hair should be able to handle that force as it is thick. Compare your individual strand hair thickness to members of your family or to your friends and make a judgement as to whether it really is thick or fine or something in between.
Side note: I have never really understood the term coarse but some do use it to describe texture (as in hair with small coils and multiple kinks) while others use it to describe hair strand thickness.
2. Thinking your hair SHOULD be able to do a particular style or technique when it cannot
The versatility of natural hair is talked about frequently. We can wear our hair in an afro, in curls or straight………or can we really? There are certain things that some hair can simply not do. Someone with natural curls may be doing unnecessary damage to their hair by dry brushing it to get an afro texture. Someone with many beautiful kinks may never be able to shingle their hair into curls. Someone with fine hair may never be able to use high heat to get a perfectly straight style without causing immediate breakage and damage. This does not mean that you should fear trying new styles or techniques, it does however mean that you should trust the reaction of your hair and determine whether you should go on or stop based on whether that reaction is good or bad.
3. Thinking that EVERYONE can do a wash and go
Wash and go’s are the main stay of naturals who have done the big chop. When hair is short, they are fast, easy and one of the least damaging styles. However, as hair grows, a second factor, shrinkage, can crop with some naturals. After a wash, if your hair shrinks to the point where strands start to intertwine or form knots, requiring you to detangle hair yet again, you are probably not suited to wearing a wash and go, at least not if your aim is to get longer hair. My suggestion is to modify the wash and go by stretching hair out in large braids or twists which can be pinned up and allow your hair to dry without the added shrinkage that free wet hair will produce. If your hair does not shrink much or if your hair forms orderly protective spirals, then a wash and go is for you.
Ladies, have you ever made one of these assumptions? How did you come around and “see the light?”