Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Going Natural

     Sooo I've been kind of going back and forth on whether I should go forth with speaking on this topic and if I did, how should I approach it without offending a whole "community" of women. Well this whole subject is one that I'm kind of iffy about because it's like I get it and it's awesome that women of color have FINALLY decided to break the horrible hair habits that we grew up on and show not only ourselves but other races that, contrary to your beliefs, women of color can  grow our hair down our backs like you all. Yeah it may grow down our back and up and out every which way but we too have beautiful hair!! However, I also feel that we are doing way too much and we put too much emphasis on regimens  and product and protective styling and blah blah blah. When in my opinion it's completely unnecessary. On top of that some of you go on YouTube and you praise these women or "Natural Hair Gurus", when they probably know as much as you do when it comes to hair and hair care.
     Now don't get me wrong this is not intended to slander or degrade anyone at all. I'm just stateing my opinion on it. (p.s. I'm only addressing the things that i feel we put too much emphasis on or not enough and things that I think should be explained more in depth)

Co-wash: When I 1st heard of co-washing I thought it was by far the dumbest thing I had ever heard of. For those who don't know co-washing is basically washing your hair with conditioner. (click here to learn more about co-washing) After talking to a relative of mine who is going natural I decided to do a little more research just to make sure I'm clear on what people think it is. To no surprise it's exactly what I thought. However I don't believe it's the dumbest think I've ever heard of but let's be real for a sec co-washing is nothing more than conditioning your hair. Not washing it. Ok yeah you may put this conditioner in rub it in a little like you would as if you where shampooing your hair. But your not removing any build up or unwanted oils and dirt. Then these women say "Oh yeah co wash every so often but make sure you wash with a regular shampoo to remove all the dirt that co-washing doesn't." So doesn't that ultimately mean your not washing your hair? Yep your just conditioning it. Some people say "yeah I definitely noticed a change in my hair texture after co-washing" or "yeah it was much softer" That may be the case but that's what conditioner does!!

 Product: This is one thing I'm kinda on defense for both sides. Simply because product can really help a style but too much can just cause a build up. All I really have to say about this is less is more. Trial and error products and try not to mix too many together. Try to lean more towards creams rather than gels because most gels dry up and flake and also dry the hair out.

Regimens: I'm a firm believer in hair care regimens or just regimens over all whether it's a skin care regimen daily regimen. You just have to make sure your doing what's best for YOUR hair. Just because it works for the next girl doesn't mean it's whats best for you. Meaning if your natural hair is thin you shouldn't be using a bunch of heavy conditioners or product. Your best bet will be to get a consultation by a licensed hairstylist to find out exactly what your hair needs.

Protective Styling: At the salon I previously worked in we would get a few people asking about protective styles. Now a protective style in general is any style that is protecting your hair from everyday damage. A protective style can be anything from a sew in to box braids to twist outs to up-dos. However, too much protective styling can be causing your hair more harm than help. How? Well manipulating the hair (especially when wet) is one of the most damaging things you can do to your hair. Right under flat ironing, blow drying and curling. Pulling and tugging twisting and tensions can ultimately cause breakage. Your hair is weaker when it's wet therefore doing twist outs too much can also cause the same breakage that a pony tail does. Just try not too do too much styling that involves rough manipulation. Or be as gentle as possible.

Some Natural Hair Myths:
1.Dirty hair grows faster.....FALSE......Dirt and build up actually makes it hard for the products you use to work because it blocks penetration.
2.Greasing the scalp makes the hair grow......FALSE.......No product makes your hair grow. Your hair naturally grows on its own. Unless you have a medical problem or your follicles are damaged or your taking some certain medication then yes your hair is growing. Product only helps protect and keep your hair in good condition.
3.Clipping the ends makes the hair grow......FALSE....As I said before your hair grows on its own. Clipping the ends just makes the hair look better and style better because broken and split ends tangle more easy. Also you cannot repair damaged hair or ends. Yeah some products say that they do but they don't. It's just a way to get you to purchase the product. What i can say is split ends do get worse and the end up just breaking off. Therefore if the ends of your hair keep breaking and splitting you won't see any growth. So if you trim your ends and you don't cause any breakage you will in return see your hair growing.
4.Braids and sew ins make your hair grow......FALSE......This false into the "nothing 'makes' your hair grow" category. The only reason women think braids and sew ins make your hair grow is because while your hair is in the braided style more than likely you leave them in for at least a month. So during this time your hair is getting a rest from all the styling damage you cause which makes you then see the growth in your hair. I do think that braids, when done correctly, are a good way to protect your hair from you. Just remember to always give your hair a resting period in between braids and sew ins.

Random Rant.....I often get asked about product recommendations for natural hair and my answer is always the same. "There is no product out that is specifically for natural hair or chemically treated hair or black hair or white hair etc etc etc." Hair is Hair!! You don't treat your hair according to your race or whatever the case may be. You do what's best for your hair. Yeah there are products with black women on them and say they are for women of color but that's just their strategy to get you to purchase their product. Think about it...If there is a bottle of conditioner with a black woman on it and its saying that its a moisturizing conditioner. Just because its suppose to be for black women a white woman can't use it even tho her hair needs moisture? Makes no sense right??

Ladies the best thing for you to do is leave your hair be. A healthy diet, lots of water, vitamins, and proper maintenance is all you need for your hair to grow long and strong :)

Ive been growing my hair back from nearly being bald for the past 7 months. My hair is in good health (although I could use a trim lol) and the only thing I've been doing is wearing weaves. In between weaves I'd wash my hair apply 100% Coconut Oil and a moisturizing leave-in conditioner. I don't even bother with wash out conditioners unless I'm going to be wearing my real hair for a while. That is it and that is all!!

My progess so far:

when i first began growing my hair back 7 months ago
3 months later
2 months ago
after i took down a sew in and after i washed current situtation

As I said before my intentions are not to down play or degrade anyone who is a natural hair advocate or natural hair guru or anyone with natural hair. Let's keep in mind that I am a licensed cosmetologist therefore everything that I have said is from my professional experience and knowledge. At the end of the day do what works for you. If your hair is growing and beautiful and healthy then good for you. Just don't let people who have little to know knowledge of hair brainwash you. And don't be afraid to ask that person Why? If they can't break it down and explain why...keep it moving. lol

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