Last time I shared three practical hair tips I’ve learned over the course of my natural hair journey. But the gems of wisdom don’t stop there, oh no. As usual, I wrote far too much for one blog and started rambling. So here are three more tips to help you on your way to afro-fabulous hair. These tips will hopefully help those of you who are struggling to get used to the ‘new’ you/’do.
1. Become a Hair Whisperer
Listen to your hair. I can’t stress this enough. Get to know it, how it feels, how it looks, and how it reacts to moisture. When I started my hair journey, I ignored what my hair was telling me. I moisturised or protective styled only when it fitted with my lifestyle, rather than when my hair needed it.
If you react to your hair, you can minimise damage and you’ll start to retain length. So if your hair’s dry, tend to it asap – give it the moisture it wants. If you’ve got breakage, give it a trim rather than waiting and letting it the problem get worse just for the sake of retaining a few ratty ends. The better you treat your hair, the better it’ll react.
2. Run Your Own Race
Don’t try to make your hair ‘fit’ in terms of styling, the products you use and how you perceive your hair.
For example, scraping your hair back tightly doesn’t do your scalp or your delicate natural curls any favours. We all know this, yet we still try to style our hair in a way that fits either in the workplace or wider society.
The same goes for the products you use. Just because you’ve heard how great a product or ingredient is doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for you. If you persist with a product even though it’s not right for your hair, you’ll probably do more harm than good.
One of the biggest lessons for many of us natural ladies is learning to accept our curl pattern and texture. This is where the ‘journey’ really starts. It’s buried very deeply in our psyches that there is bad hair and good hair.
If your natural hair isn’t ‘Type 3’ and loosely curled then there’s nothing you can do to change it long-term, short of returning to the ‘creamy crack’. The fact that the term ‘good hair’ is still so often referred to within the natural hair community and elsewhere only serves to reinforce negative perceptions about our hair.
If you have frizzy, tightly coiled hair, get your head around it! The sooner you accept your kinky curly hair and its idiosyncrasies, the easier it is to care for your tresses. When you do reach that point of acceptance, you’ll realise that it’s pretty easy to deal with black hair after all – and you’ll also start seeing the beauty of your natural curls as well as their possibilities.
Which brings me on to my last, hard-learned lesson. Easier said than done, I know, but your hair will benefit if you can take a step back and relax about it. I’ve recently seen people lose all their hair – and I mean eyebrows and eyelashes too – due to chemo. It was a good reminder for me about what’s really important. So hair is just a small part of what makes you attractive, and it’s always worth keeping this in mind.
Being patient with your hair will not only take out the emotional ups and downs when you’re longing for long black hair, it will also help you to treat your hair gently.
One of the biggest factors when it comes to hair breakage is mechanical stress. If you’re frustrated with your hair, you’re more likely to be heavy-handed. Believe me, this can lead to you losing all the length that you’re trying to retain.
So patience is invaluable – as well as free. It may not be so easy to achieve, but it will help you on your journey to healthy natural hair. If you really want long afro hair, you have to commit to playing the long game. Give it time. Oh, and once in a while give yourself a pat on the back. 🙂
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