I am pret­ty vocal about pro­mot­ing the idea of per­son­alised hair care. This is the view that hair is indi­vid­ual and while we can have a list of best prac­tice ideas, the only method to guar­an­tee suc­cess is to lis­ten to your own hair’s likes and dis­likes. I think that there are some peo­ple who like to com­pare their hair to oth­ers and in my view, this can be help­ful but it can also harm­ful. In my view, your nat­ur­al jour­ney should real­ly have your own stamp on it, do not let it be a com­pe­ti­tion to match or out­do some­one else. Here are 4 rea­sons why nat­ur­al hair is not a com­pe­ti­tion:

1. Not every­thing you see on YouTube is real

I have seen many peo­ple get dis­cour­aged by YouTu­bers for because some appear to be able to retain a mas­sive amount of length in a short time. The truth is, although some peo­ple may indeed have above aver­age growth, those who are suc­cess­ful at retain­ing length when they pre­vi­ous­ly did not, have actu­al­ly done their research. You end up see­ing a pret­ty 3 minute clip where hair goes from shoul­der length to mid back but the real­i­ty is real­ly much more than that. It is not pos­si­ble, at least not in a mild­ly inter­est­ing way, to cap­ture all the hours spent reading/googling on how to retain length, the sev­er­al hours of detan­gling or prod­uct hunt­ing nor the months and months spent in pro­tec­tive styling.

A good video will be edit­ed to show you the best bits. Very few peo­ple will show you their fail­ures.

2. Your hair does not need to be curly to be pret­ty
‘Why can’t my hair curl up like that?’ or ‘It takes ages to look half decent with my hair.’ If I am being total­ly hon­est, you do not need curly hair to feel pret­ty, you can make the deci­sion to believe you are pret­ty regard­less. How­ev­er, switch­ing back to hair, the nat­ur­al tex­ture of your hair real­ly IS what it is. You can­not adjust it, it will keep grow­ing out that way. Even the girls with curly hair will not always have per­fect curls, frizz will hap­pen and if you read num­ber 1, you will know that you will not see that in a video.

You absolute­ly can and should be able to admire a tex­ture that is dif­fer­ent from your own. How­ev­er, if you can­not look in the mir­ror and grad­u­al­ly over time learn to like your own hair, you will be paving the way for a life­time of inse­cu­ri­ty.

3. Your hair WILL grow longer, stop think­ing it will not

‘I think my hair is always going to be short, all my fam­i­ly mem­bers have short hair, my hair always breaks when I comb or style it,’ or Why can’t we just accept African hair can­not get that long, she is mixed.’ I know that despite the best of infor­ma­tion out there, the truth is that some peo­ple real­ly just believe their hair can­not grow longer. This is a ter­ri­ble thing because many of these peo­ple sim­ply stop work­ing on the errors that could fix the prob­lem.

It is not a com­pe­ti­tion, your hair may take more work and time to retain length com­pared to some­one with a loos­er tex­ture or a thick­er strand, but if your goal is long hair, it IS very achiev­able with the right recipe.

4. Hair typ­ing is not that seri­ous, in fact it is pret­ty ran­dom
Oh it real­ly does pain me when I see tex­ture wars. ’ I’m a type 4a’.….….‘Oh no, you are def­i­nite­ly 4c with a bit of 4b.’ Seri­ous­ly who cares? Do you know that 3c and 4c were made up by the online com­mu­ni­ty? If you are using a store-bought con­di­tion­er, it is like­ly it was test­ed on straight Cau­casian hair. Hair real­ly is just a fibre and it is real­ly more impor­tant to know what can soft­en your hair for flex­i­bil­i­ty when styling, what can mois­turise your hair well enough, what can add strength if nec­es­sary to your hair and what can fix any styling dam­age. Read­ing ingre­di­ent lists will help you pick your prod­ucts, not know­ing your hair type.

You are also bet­ter off know­ing how thick the indi­vid­ual strands of your hair are, the lev­el of shrink­age of your hair when wet and the over­all den­si­ty of your hair. These things will help you to know how to han­dle your hair and whether you need pro­tec­tive styling or not. What­ev­er hair type you have, it is won­der­ful pro­vid­ed you are tak­ing care of it.

Ladies, how do you view your nat­ur­al hair jour­ney? Do you some­times see it as a com­pe­ti­tion?

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43 Comments on "Natural Hair is not a Competition"

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DJ Barbi Doll

ummm whats with every­one want­i­ng long hair??? It is so weird to me. If that is your idea of beau­ty (sounds like it is) then that is sad.…I know some pret­ty beau­ti­ful peo­ple with short hair cuts or just short hair…


Because it is hard to attain.

DJ Barbi Doll

ps, going to You Tube for Hair Info.…REALLY??? omg

DJ Barbi Doll
Here is the thing that kills me. It is not a com­pe­ti­tion yet black women go nat­ur­al and they “brag”, talk about it etc. I have been asked if I am nat­ur­al and guess what??? I am 1/2 BLACK, AND 1/2 Domini­can. I have beau­ti­ful hair Curly its awe­some, & straight (how I like to wear it) is awe­some. It is silky and shiny and nev­er had a relax­er!! But what if I did?? What is the big freakin deal. If some­one wants a relax­er, then get one!!! If I need­ed a relax­er, I would not care what oth­er black… Read more »
Random Trini Chick

JC, I always appre­ci­ate the straight for­ward, unadul­ter­at­ed, sci­en­tif­ic approach and infor­ma­tion you pro­vide.

Some­times I just want facts on a mat­ter, not an opin­ion, not an edi­to­r­i­al.

For exam­ple, some­times I just want to know which oil is effec­tive so I don’t dri­ve myself crazy or have so many oils in my cab­i­net that Amer­i­ca is ready to invade it.

I appre­ci­ate your work.


Fan­tas­tic arti­cle.


WHAT?! but of COURSE it’s a com­pe­ti­tion! what else would it be? lol jk. i agree very much with the points made.

You Tube part is 100% cor­rect!! I been say­ing for ages that YOU TUBE IS NOT REAL LIFE!! What i see on YOU TUBE IS NOT what i see on a dai­ly basis in NYC! out­er bor­oughs. One of the MAIN THINGS THAT REALLY URKS ME is that most of those ladies dont have issues retain­ing length. How can you advise me on grow­ing my hair long WHEN U HAVE ALWAYS HAD LONG HAIR AS A CHILD?? Some of those women dont even have BLACK HAIR kinks coils. UGH. You can sug­ar coat it all u want but i’m call­ing… Read more »
actu­al­ly i think most of the women i’ve seen on yt with those vids didn’t always have long hair. else­wise, what’s the point of a video? who have you been look­ing at? i think the most pop­u­lar ones at the very least went from short hair to long at some point, even if they had long hair as a child. take me for instance. as a child i had long hair MBL until at the age of 12 when i got a relax­er. even with a relax­er my hair was BSL but it had begun break­ing hor­ri­bly and so i end­ed… Read more »
Lizz Am
Wow, I tend to dis­like the arti­cles that come from The Nat­ur­al Haven. They’re so self-right­eous and preachy. This one takes the cake. I guess she wrote it to attract atten­tion or feed into the inse­cu­ri­ty of many strug­gling nat­u­rals. The prob­lems in this arti­cle lie with points 1 and 4. The point of mak­ing a youtube video is to teach peo­ple. A teacher can briefly ref­er­ence their sources, but they are there to con­vey knowl­edge. Most peo­ple don’t watch videos longer than 7 min­utes. Peo­ple have short atten­tion spans. How­ev­er, if one explores a person’s entire youtube chan­nel, they… Read more »
You make some good rebut­tal points but your over­all judge­ment of Jc’s writ­ing is unfair. Nat­ur­al Haven (Jc) is one of the smartest writ­ers on this site. Her own blog dis­pels a lot of the myths and fan­tasies that some women still like to hold on to about hair in gen­er­al and nat­ur­al hair care in par­tic­u­lar. I may not agree with every­thing she says but I rarely agree with every­thing ANYBODY says. That’s called hav­ing the abil­i­ty to think crit­i­cal­ly. When­ev­er I hear any­body call some­one online “preachy” I usu­al­ly take that to mean that the person’s talk­ing way… Read more »

well said

The Natural Haven

The point when you have detrac­tors and sup­port­ers is the point when you are most valu­able because you are encour­ag­ing peo­ple to think, talk and debate. Guess I am going to keep on writ­ing :)

Well, I think The Nat­ur­al Haven writes the best arti­cles. I may not always agree with what JC has to say, but I’m always left with some­thing to think about, some tweak that makes my reg­i­men that much bet­ter for my hair. And anoth­er thing, I think this arti­cle hit the nail on the head–for some peo­ple. I nev­er got caught up in the YouTube hype, but I sure had some curl envy when I first BC’d–wanted some Cor­rine Bai­ley Rae spi­rals and got a head full of coils and cot­ton fluff. It was only through mak­ing my own mis­takes, giv­ing… Read more »
Thank you for post­ing this! it was bold and very offi­cial! A dec­la­ra­tion! I think we need to keep a healthy per­spec­tive in this indi­vid­ual jour­ney! stop look­ing for what oth­er peo­ple con­sid­er beau­ti­ful and look at who you are and accept it! Once you do that grow­ing your hair and keep­ing it healthy is actu­al­ly very easy! The best thing a nat­u­ral­ista can do for her­self is research in books. Yes Youtube is good and fun to watch but real­ly pick up a book and read about our hair. When I start­ed read­ing and under­stand­ing what our hair needs… Read more »
I think that this is not a com­pe­ti­tion. But, unfor­tu­nate­ly for many of us these are the only images of nat­ur­al black hair we see. I live in Mil­wau­kee and the loose nat­ur­al hair com­mu­ni­ty is very small. I have hun­dreds of heads of locs, perms, braids, and weaves to admire. But there are few which look like my hair. I enjoy the side chan­nels not about hair, because the youtu­bers are seen in their every­day envi­ron­ment. No one’s hair is hair show per­fect every­day. Once you accept this, you hair will rep­re­sent you in a pos­i­tive light — no… Read more »

“If you are using a store-bought con­di­tion­er, it is like­ly it was test­ed on straight Cau­casian hair.” Gasp and clutched my pearls!!!


It is def­i­nite­ly not a com­pe­ti­tion but an indi­vid­ual and unique jour­ney. Love this arti­cle and BGLH. <3 Keep inspir­ing our com­mu­ni­ty!
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Sad­ly a lot of peo­ple do make it into a com­pe­ti­tion and we are con­stant­ly hav­ing ideal/tumblr nat­ur­al hair shoved in our faces. It’s not hard to see why peo­ple feel like their hair isn’t what it’s sup­posed to be. Curl prod­uct retail­ers have preyed on some nat­ur­al women’s inse­cu­ri­ties to get sales, kinks to curls and all that. It’s only now that nat­u­rals are start­ing to go their own way and just do what works for the health of their hair rather than try­ing to meet these unre­al­is­tic stan­dards set by the images we see on tum­blrs, blogs, curl… Read more »

Per­son­al­ly, my hair jour­ney is just a part of my quest to be a health­i­er, more organ­ic ver­sion of myself. If I inspire oth­ers along the way, GREAT! I’ve nev­er thought of it as a com­pe­ti­tion.

I have 4b/mostly 4c hair. By under­stand­ing the con­cept of typ­ing, I have been able to iden­ti­fy what my hair can/cannot do. The time, effort, and tears I put into try­ing to achieve a “wash and go”. My 4c hair can­not wash and go. Again, it just helps me out when it comes to my styling options. I think typ­ing can be use­ful and I choose to embrace all that is good in the sys­tem. So say it’s good hair vs. bad hair, but in my opin­ion you have to buy into the idea of bad hair in order to… Read more »

Can i say, with or with­out the hair typ­ing sys­tem you would have fig­ured out what did & what did not work for your hair via tri­al and error. If you nev­er saw the hair typ­ing sys­tem before you would have still fig­ured it out.




What exact­ly does it have to do with then? Remem­ber that my com­ment was about styling my hair. Noth­ing else.



The Natural Haven

OMG I AGREE WITH TINA SMITH — I actu­al­ly have pret­ty much dis­agreed with every­thing Tina has com­ment­ed on in the past, includ­ing the typ­ing in caps but today, I actu­al­ly agree, hair type will very rarely be help­ful in find­ing what works.

Great arti­cle. I admit I had hair envy when I first start­ed out, I didn’t envy tex­ture, but my good­ness I craved me some length.  I was nev­er mad jeal­ous though. I can want some­thing with­out hat­ing those who have it. I would see a nat­ur­al with long hair and just be in awe. Im sure some could see the drool com­ing out my mouth. It was moti­va­tion though. It inspired me to con­tin­ue my hair jour­ney, and now my hair is a lit­tle past bsl. I still get a lit­tle envi­ous though when I see some youtu­bers with hip length… Read more »

I sec­ond that! I wish an arti­cle like this was post­ed ear­li­er by a few years; regard­less, those long-haired idols gave me the moti­va­tion to research and prac­tice good hair care — even patience, as I noticed some of them went through tri­al and error, as did I. Now, I reap the ben­e­fits! So keep at it, ladies — those YouTu­bers are on to some­thing!


You’re fun­ny. You also pret­ty much summed it up for me as well when it comes to some you-tubers-the long haired ones. Gosh I love me some long hair. Def not a short hair girl. How­ev­er since my BC i have had to deal with my hair being short. Patience and work. That is what I know will work. That is what I do.


The best arti­cle on this web­site.


This is a dang good arti­cle.

I am on YouTube and it is nev­er my inten­tion to mis­lead peo­ple. My hair growth rate is suu­u­u­u­u­per aver­age and I only check my length every 6 months (twice a year). Because that is such a big span of time my hair appears to grow a lot in each length check video. I am very clear about the dates, but yet I con­stant­ly get peo­ple con­tact­ing me and ask­ing how my hair grew so fast or what is the secret.  In respond­ing to an ear­li­er com­ment, I don’t think unre­al­is­tic expec­ta­tions can be total­ly pinned on the youtu­ber. It… Read more »
I believe that’s exact­ly whats going on. Most peo­ple don’t pay atten­tion to detail. Alot of peo­ple not only do not look at the dates, they also don’t watch all of the video or all of the jour­ney videos. Peo­ple are very quick these days, they want a quick answer, quick solu­tion, and quick sat­is­fac­tions, so that is what they look for. So many times even on here you will see peo­ple take the time to ask ques­tions about the hair fea­ture that were clear­ly answered in the arti­cle, prov­ing that they either did not read the arti­cle, or did not… Read more »

I didn’t see it has a hair com­pe­ti­tion. Everyone’s hair grows at dif­fer­ent rates. I think there is a “push” for longer hair (for real), but that takes time…lots of time and effort.

One day I found a chick with hair sim­i­lar to mine on the tube. She had an awe­some twist out. In the tuto­r­i­al for the style, she showed us how to apply prod­uct. She showed us how to do a twist. She even showed us how to unrav­el a twist. Then fade to black and she returned with an awe­some, fluffy twist out. It was the most ridicu­lous thing. Any­one watch­ing that video is try­ing to fig­ure out the fluff! I know the few times I’ve attempt­ed a twist out, I end­ed up with a fro like Flori­da Evans. The whole… Read more »
Lizz Am

Wow, I can’t believe you said “those you tube chicks” are self-absorbed and fish­ing for com­ple­ments!!! With­out youtube, A LOT of nat­u­rals would be LOST when it comes to how to take care of their hair. Thou­sands of nat­u­rals would be lost. You are so ungrate­ful. The visu­al aid that youtube pro­vides is extra­or­di­nar­i­ly help­ful to thou­sands of nat­u­rals. Nat­ur­al or not, styling hair is an actu­al prac­tice. Peo­ple study it because it IS a study that requires time, patience, and a TEACHER. “Those youtube chicks” are teach­ers!! What you said is so hate­ful, I can’t even.…

Ubah Luar

Youtube is gro­ing out of hand nowa­days.
First it was all about main­taing­ing healthy nat­ur­al hair. Now its modre of a curl pattern/curl def­i­n­i­tion war.

Some Youtu­bers wear their 4a hair only in a twistout state…acting like somthing else…

What do you mean? (I very very rarely watch YouTube videos.) I’ve only ever watched nap­tural85 and a cou­ple post­ed on BGLH and I’ve been nat­ur­al since 2000! Any­way, I’ve stopped wash/gos and have begun braid­outs and updos because I’ve decid­ed to grow my 4a hair long (for me wash/gos won’t a let me grow hair past my col­lar­bone, but I like the short coily bob look and had done that for many years). ANYWAY. Are some peo­ple doing twist outs and act­ing like its their nat­ur­al hair pat­tern or some­thing? That would be sil­ly, cause I love my nat­ur­al… Read more »

Sor­ry about any typos (I’m on my phone). And I am one who loves kinki­er or frizzi­er hair (not obsessed with per­fect curl) so please no one take offense about me say­ing “very defined.” I just want­ed to help any­one who was beyond frus­trat­ed and may have slight­ly more porous coarse 4a hair like mine. Oh, hen­na has helped my poros­i­ty too.

There are still a few women out there that haven’t suc­cumb to the hype of try­ing to get famous via you tube. They are real. They make real videos and show you how to do a real hair­style. If they have received any finan­cial ben­e­fit from youtube, they deserve it. How­ev­er, I stand by my state­ment that MOST (maybe you need to re-read my com­ment) of those you tube chicks are out there try­ing to hop on the band­wag­on of free prod­ucts, spon­sored videos, and self-absorp­tion. The point was not every­thing you see on youtube is real, and they are… Read more »
Sec­ond that. The first time I con­sid­ered going nat­ur­al was in col­lege, back when the inter­net was real­ly just becom­ing a thing. I went to the store to find mag­a­zines to get ideas about styling and I could not find a nat­ur­al style that wasn’t locs or braids (which are both fine of course, but I want­ed to know how to style loose nat­ur­al hair). Most styles in black mag­a­zines were on relaxed hair, which made me won­der what the point was–I can find straight hair styles in white mag­a­zines. It was 10 years before I tried again and those… Read more »

Or just des­per­ate­ly seek­ing a larg­er fol­low­ing for free products/endorsements.


*applause* Well said!