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?