Our hair is our crown. It grows upward to be kissed by the sun. It curls and coils tightly to represent the many twists and turns we experience on our journey through life. Our hair can be worn in so many different styles and it comes in so many different, beautiful textures, but society has so much to say about it. Everyone has something to say about how we, Black women, should wear our natural hair, why we shouldn’t wear it certain ways and how we should or shouldn’t take care of it. Below is a list of the top 10 misconceptions related to natural hair.
How many of these have you heard or said yourself?
1. Natural hair care is expensive. Caring for your hair does not have to be expensive at all. This is one of those times where less is definitely more. You don’t have to purchase lots of products to achieve any natural hair look. All you really need are three tops. We suggest you use whatever is best for your hair. If one product does the trick and provides your hair with enough moisture, then stick with that. Ideally, using a leave-in-conditioner, oil (as a sealant), and a hair cream can have you looking like a goddess. By the way, water can be used to dampen your hair while you’re getting ready to section and style it. Making your own products is always a cheaper alternative and more meaningful for your natural hair journey than store-bought products. Getting a whole set of products from different manufacturers just simply isn’t necessary. Save your money girl.
2. We have to use multiple products in order to take care of our hair. This goes hand in hand with thinking that natural hair care is expensive. If you’re not buying multiple products, you’re saving money and learning what your hair really needs versus listening to every opinion on the internet and trying every product that is out. Taking care of your hair is not about buying the latest products. It’s about knowing your body and watching how your hair responds to the bare minimum. Once you have a baseline established, then you adjust and add natural hair care products as needed. Don’t feel peer pressured to buy what your friend is using or what a Youtube naturalista is using because everyone’s hair needs are different. The beauty in the journey is finding out what you need and moving accordingly.
3. Natural hair is ugly. Natural hair is beautiful in all its shapes, sizes, colors, thickness, nappiness, etc. How you feel about yourself and your hair will always show. If you’re not taking care of yourself and if you’re not loving yourself, your hair will reflect that same energy. Instead of thinking of your hair as a burden or ugly, remember that everything about you is a reflection of your inner self. Once you do the spiritual, inner work, your outward appearance, including your hair, will be beautiful and will reflect your true self, the beauty within your soul.
4. Natural hair is considered unprofessional and is inappropriate for the workplace. This statement is usually made with a racist connotation. Queens (and kings) wear your crown proudly. Do not allow someone to force their societal norms on you, especially when hair has nothing to do with your work performance. The flip side of this is showing up to work with unkempt hair in the sense of just waking up and coming into work looking any kind of way. Have enough respect for yourself to always present yourself in a professional manner. If you’re having a “bad hair day,” use a headband, beautiful scarf or head wrap to dress your hair up. The main point is to never lower your self-esteem to meet society’s silly expectations.
5. Natural hair is hard to maintain. Caring for natural hair is not a walk in the park especially if you have super long, super thick and/or tightly curled/coiled/kinky hair. However, that does not mean it is impossible to establish a regular routine to make sure your hair receives all the love it needs. It’s all about having a change in mindset and perspective towards your hair. When you learn to love yourself and your hair the way it is, then your whole attitude changes. Embrace your hair in all of its nappy glory and find out what works for you.
6. Your natural hair will look like the naturalista influencers on Youtube. We should all know this is false. Everyone’s hair has a different texture even within the same family. I have two younger sisters along with my mom and their hair is completely different from mine and from each others. You cannot base your natural hair care routine off of someone’s Youtube video. It’s okay to get advice, but make sure the person who you’re getting advice from has a similar texture in hair. This also takes us back to not being fooled into thinking you need to use every product someone on Youtube uses. Be smart and find out what works best for your hair.
7. Natural hair doesn’t have to be washed often. The days of washing your hair once a month or once every 2 to 3 months are over. Washing your hair frequently is one of the first ways to show love to your hair. Whether you choose to wash it twice a week, once a week, 3 times a month, etc. depends on your hair goals, hair texture, and scalp needs, but keeping our hair and scalp clean helps us to shine and show the beauty of natural hair even more. Our body is over 50% water. We need to drink more water and give our hair and scalp more water to thrive.
8. Heat will damage our curl pattern. Heat can be used but in moderation. Heatless methods of styling are definitely preferred, but straightening your hair with heat for length checks every once and a while should not damage your overall curl pattern.
9. I’ll just wear protective styles to cover my natural hair. I know sometimes this is done because some people just like the look of braids, wigs, and weaves, but just remember, our scalps need to breathe. Rocking protective styles is possible with just your plain hair without anything added to it. Again, make sure with wearing protective styles and using heat for styling, only do them in moderation.
10. Natural hair doesn’t grow. This is simply not true. Natural hair grows and grows and grows when taken care of properly. It all goes back to finding out what your hair needs and setting a routine to promote healthy hair and growth. Also, be conscious of what you are putting in your body. Drink lots of water. Nourish your ‘fro and watch it grow.