by Shel­li of Hair­scapades

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So, you’ve recent­ly dis­cov­ered the online nat­u­ral hair com­mu­ni­ty: blogs, web­sites, YouTube chan­nels, Fotki albums and Tum­blr… the list seems to go on and on. How­ev­er, while you are ecsta­t­ic because there is soooo much infor­ma­tion out there, you are also over­whelmed due to the influx of infor­ma­tion! Wel­come to the club ;)!

I was recent­ly think­ing about the advice I would give to some­one who is new to this world and try­ing to nav­i­gate through it all. It’s not like any­one gives you a roadmap and it can be very easy to find your­self spend­ing end­less hours online, aim­less­ly wad­ing through infor­ma­tion and try­ing every pro­duct and tech­nique under the sun. Ulti­mate­ly, if the time and ener­gy spent is fruit­less, it can be extreme­ly dis­cour­ag­ing and frus­trat­ing. So, I thought that it might be help­ful to put togeth­er some tips about nav­i­gat­ing through all of the infor­ma­tion online in the hopes that it’ll make the expe­ri­ence a lit­tle eas­ier, more effi­cient and reward­ing for some­one.

  • MASTER THE LINGO: Oh my gosh, I remem­ber my first day on CurlyNikki and see­ing all the pre-poos, EVOOs, VCOs, SSKs, HEHHs, CGs and think­ing, “What the heck are the­se peo­ple talk­ing about?!?!” LOL!! So, find a site that includes a Dic­tio­nary, Terms, Abbre­vi­a­tions and/or Lex­i­con page and book­mark it until you are famil­iar with all of the nat­u­ral hair short­hand. It’ll make read­ing posts and watch­ing videos a lot eas­ier if you are speak­ing the same lan­guage!
  • LEARN THE BASICS OF HAIR COMPOSITION: Arm your­self with a basic under­stand­ing of hair struc­ture (i.e. medul­la, cor­tex and cuti­cle), the func­tion of each com­po­nent and the hair life cycle. It’ll give you a head start in regard to read­ing arti­cles that ref­er­ence the sci­ence behind how prod­ucts and tech­niques work. Here are a cou­ple of resources: Follice.com, NaturallyCurly.com and Kim­may­tube: The Struc­ture of Hair – Part I.
  • UNDERSTAND THE BASICS OF POROSITY & pH: This is kind of part and parcel with the above. How­ev­er, I want­ed to high­light the­se two areas as they will be impor­tant to under­stand­ing your own hair and how cer­tain prod­ucts and tech­niques work and how they may affect your hair. Here is anoth­er Kim­may­tube video, which does a real­ly good job of explain­ing the­se areas: The Struc­ture of Hair – Part II.
  • ANALYZE YOUR OWN HAIR: You will read and hear the­se two state­ments over and over again, “What works for one head of hair may not work for anoth­er” and “Every head of hair is unique.” It is real­ly impor­tant to learn and under­stand the hair grow­ing out of your own head. Is it over­ly-porous, under? Is it fine, thick, dense, thin? Is it tight­ly curly or bare­ly wavy? I don’t sub­scribe to the phi­los­o­phy that only cer­tain prod­ucts and/or tech­niques work for cer­tain hair types and I think that we all can learn from each other’s suc­cess­es and fail­ures. How­ev­er, I do believe that one must know one’s own hair in order to make the best choic­es for it and some­what pre­dict how cer­tain prod­ucts might work.
  • UNDERSTAND THE KEY COMPONENTS OF A HAIR REGIMEN (i.e. Detan­gling, Cleans­ing, Con­di­tion­ing [Pro­tein vs. Mois­tur­iz­ing], Moisturizing/Sealing, Pro­tect­ing): This is extreme­ly help­ful in regard to iden­ti­fy­ing what you are already doing and where you may be able to incor­po­rate, elim­i­nate and/or mod­i­fy prac­tices, tech­niques and/or prod­ucts to max­i­mize healthy hair growth and length reten­tion. Books are also a great resource to build and sup­ple­ment your knowl­edge. Some that you’ll find ref­er­enced most often in the online nat­u­ral hair com­mu­ni­ty are Chicoro’s Grow It!, Lor­raine Massey’s Curly Girth Method and Teri LaFlesh’s Curly Like Me.
  • RESEARCH & CORROBORATE: No one is going to hand you all of the answers on a sil­ver plat­ter. I often see ques­tions post­ed on “hair boards” and the infor­ma­tion the per­son is seek­ing is read­i­ly avail­able all over the site where they are ask­ing the ques­tion, they just need to take the time to look for it. Research can take a lit­tle work, but I am a firm believ­er in “check­ing my facts” and not rely­ing on any one per­son to answer all of my ques­tions. And, I still get it wrong some­times. The key is to under­stand that “facts” are not sta­t­ic, they are just the “facts” for that point in time. Infor­ma­tion and research is always ongo­ing and what we know as a “truth” today, may evolve and be refined to a dif­fer­ent truth tomor­row. How­ev­er, that being said, if I read some­thing on one site, I tend to “Google” it and see if I can val­i­date it via oth­er cur­rent and rep­utable sources.
  • DEFINE YOUR FOCUS AND NARROW THE PLAYING FIELD: First, fig­ure out what you are online seek­ing. Are you just look­ing for new styles, may­be it’s pro­duct reviews that strike your fan­cy or per­haps you need a lit­tle of every­thing? I would sug­gest ini­tial­ly stick­ing with a few (one to five) very orga­nized and rep­utable sites as your main sources of infor­ma­tion. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t check out oth­er sites, blogs and/or YouTube chan­nels. How­ev­er, try­ing to read 50 dif­fer­ent sites on a dai­ly basis or bounc­ing all over the place in no orga­nized fash­ion can quick­ly lead to sen­so­ry over­load and make it dif­fi­cult to sort through all of the infor­ma­tion. Test how deep the water is first, then jump in when you know that you can swim. I would def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend BlackGirlLongHair.com, CurlyNikki.com and Kim­may­tube on YouTube as places to begin your research.
  • ACCEPT THAT THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL: Ulti­mate­ly, no one thing will solve all of your hair chal­lenges and change your “hair life” overnight. Though one thing may make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence, there are a vari­ety of inter­nal and exter­nal fac­tors that impact your hair. Also, absent chem­i­cals and/or faux hair, no pro­duct or tech­nique is going to give you hair that is fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent from what you have genet­i­cal­ly (e.g. my fine, medi­um den­si­ty, 3abc strands are not going to sud­den­ly become the coily, thick, dense strands of Mwedzi, no mat­ter how much hen­na I use ). I point this out to say, it’s fine to have hair crush­es and lust after hair that is very dif­fer­ent from our own (I know that I do!). How­ev­er, it’s impor­tant to be real­is­tic in our aspi­ra­tions and expec­ta­tions. (And per­son­al­ly, I have no com­punc­tions about get­ting that head of hair that I lust after, if only for a lit­tle while, with a wig, weave, or exten­sions. I final­ly got Mwedzi-lush twists with some Nafy Afro Puffy Twists hair. But, you know, that’s up to you.)

 

Yeah…I know, it’s a lot! But, there’s a LOT of infor­ma­tion out there. So, here’s hop­ing that this “roadmap” ulti­mate­ly makes someone’s jour­ney a lit­tle eas­ier and slight­ly less over­whelm­ing!

 

What sug­ges­tions or words of advice would you add to the list?

Shel­li is an insur­ance pro­fes­sion­al by day, nat­u­ral hair blog­ger by night, fit­ness and yoga enthu­si­ast, fan­girl, and 40 some­thing new­ly­wed! She has been nat­u­ral since 2000 and start­ed Hair­scapades at the urg­ing of curl­friends who fol­lowed her “ama­teur” Grow Out Chal­lenge blog on NaturallyCurly.com. She wants to share the things she’s learned and con­tin­ues to learn in hopes of help­ing oth­ers love the hair they’re in!!

Fol­low her on Face­book, Insta­gram and Youtube!

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11 Comments on "8 Tips For Navigating All the Online Information About Natural Hair"

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[…] 8 Tips For Nav­i­gat­ing All the Online Infor­ma­tion About Nat­u­ral Hair … http://blackgirllonghair.com/So, I thought that it might be help­ful to put togeth­er some tips about nav­i­gat­ing through all of the infor­ma­tion online in the hopes that it’ll make the expe­ri­ence a lit­tle eas­ier, more effi­cient and reward­ing for some­one. MASTER THE LINGO: Oh my gosh, I remem­ber my first day on CurlyNikki and see­ing all …. for any woman—black, white, asian—such a thing a hair 2 long. could look dragged out. Thumb up Thumb down -8. Reply. Ingrid says: March 14, 2014 at 3:03 pm. […]

Blair

Soon, Nat­u­rals that “mag­ic pill” will be made it you will find ALL the infor­ma­tion in one cen­tral­ized place. Keep a look out for YouTube in the next few months ;)

Its time.

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[…] Click here to view orig­i­nal web page at blackgirllonghair.com […]

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[…] Click here to view orig­i­nal web page at blackgirllonghair.com […]

cacey

i like this arti­cle, and i do agree. the lin­go threw me off ini­tial­ly as well lol

Gigi

Love the gra­tu­itous hair porn in the thumb­nail lol

TP

nice arti­cle shel­li!!

Tyler

I wish I could have read this when I start­ed. Every­thing was so frus­trat­ing!

Tyler
onelittleblackdress.com

Ingrid

Con­grats for the arti­cle!!!

dd

for any woman—black, white, asian—such a thing a hair 2 long. could look dragged out

LBell

I only have one addi­tion­al bit of advice for new nat­u­rals: Book­mark this arti­cle and return to it as often as you need to.

Well done, Shel­li! :)

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