Monday, 3 August 2015

Common myths about black natural hair

Growing up there were many myths that at the time were hard core truth, mainly based on believes that are passed on generation by generations. However I have since learnt that these were utter MYTHS, not true and came about from a lack of knowledge. Now I know why they say knowledge is power!

The following are the myths that are widely spread in the part of the world where I am from, please comment and share your side of the world's myths about black hair.

  1. Water is not good for our hair/stay away from rain,swimming and any water. Even shower water. This is not true: in fact black hair needs basic moisture in the form if water more than other hair types. Due to the curly coil shape of the hair, black hair tends to easily lose moisture and often it isn't easy for the moisture to travel along the strands from the root to the end of the hair. So one has to constantly spritz a water based moisturiser to the hair, even using distiller water in a spray bottle is good for moisture.
  2. Natural hair is hard work. Personally I believe natural hair requires more care and delicacy but once you get a good regime going, it isn't hard work. I actually enjoy my hair more now that I am in touch with it and don't opt for the easy/quick way out.
  3. Afro/natural hair is stronger than other hair types. No, natural hair isn't necessarily the strongest. It could appear fuller when it is actually thin and thus more sensitive. Not every girl with natural hair has strong hair so ladies, stop abusing that hair thinking it can endure all the strain!
  4. Hair products can grow hair, so always be on the look out for a cream,oil,or product that can give you amazing growth in a short period of time.   There is NO hair product that grows hair, longer and healthier hair comes with good hair practices, AKA regime. A good hair regime helps you nature your hair and retain length, so the growth comes with the regime. Plus we all have different rates of hair growth, if you measure yours per month then you will know whether you are retaining length or not.
  5. Plaiting hair grows the hair long especially when the braids/wool/cornrows are very tight. This isn't true, when you have natural hair, plaiting it stretches it, therefore gives you the true length by unravelling the coily shape. So your hair hasn't necessarily grown because of the plaits but it has been stretched. And plaiting hair too tight isn't good, long term it damages your hair and even results in the common 'bald' look on hairlines. 
  6. Trimming hair makes it grow longer than usual. This isn't true, trimming hair gets rid of split ends and therefore leaves you with more healthier strands than before the trim. Split ends can travel down towards the root of the hair, thus making it easier for your hair to break off easily, but to also break off a longer piece of the hair. 
  7. Natural hair is sore to comb. This can be true but only because the traditional ways if combing black hair in its natural state are wrong. Methods that work for white or straight hair were adopted without question. For example thin teeth combs are a no no for our hair. The teeth tend to cause more tangling/knots and more breakage. The tangling occurs due to the coily shape. Secondly, combing dry natural hair will definitely be painful. I suggest moisturising the hair and either finger combing or using a very wide teeth comb. Then when combing start from the ends of the hair and work towards the root. Don't ever push a comb from the base/root of the hair to the ends - it will break!  
  8. Natural hair is like a 'skirr-poto'. Very hard and course like velcro. If your hair is as hard as a skirr-pot or Velcro it is simply because it is DRY. Like I said our hair needs the most moisture compared to other hair types. You need to figure out how to moisturise it, preferably with water, followed by a good cream and oil so that you lock-in that moisture. I use shea butter as my cream, and different oils such as coconut oil or castor oil.
  9. Natural hair is for people who want to make a political statement and are fighting for a cause. Not everyone who has natural hair is a hippy or a soul sister or a dagga smoker. No! This is just a stereotype. 
  10. If you have natural hair you tend to have a low self esteem and aren't beautiful. My opinion on this is if you are quick to slap a relaxer on your hair and convince yourself that you aren't beautiful then you have deep issues you need to resolve. If you none of your friends know how you look like without a weave or relaxer then maybe you also have issues. Or you are plain lazy and are choosing an easier way out. I know that I can confidently look at myself in the mirror with my Afro and feel beautiful and confident. I know who I am. A former colleague of mine once told me a local radio station was speaking about a study from the US that says girls with natural hair have a low self esteem and was quick to want to tell me I also do because I'm a natural. My response was that yes it is possible to have low self esteem due to the constant pressure from the media, the constant promotion of sleek relaxed hair. I also asked her a few questions such as, "don't you think opting for the easier way out by being the first to relax your hair could mean you are the one with a deeper sense of low self esteem" and "if it was such an issue to be a natural would I not just get the quick fix which takes literally 10 mins to convert my hair and then overnight gain the self esteem?". She continued senselessly arguing that I have a low self esteem because I'm a natural but I realised she was a stubborn mule who misinterpreted what she heard. I even told her "why would I blog so much about natural hair if I hated it and wasn't confident about it" and she gasped in surprise saying "oh you blog about it" and I said "yes I do and obviously you don't know how passionate and sure of myself am I about our natural coils". 
  11. If you are a natural hair girl, you cannot wear a weave as that is contradictory and hypocritical. No people, no! Just because I have an Afro doesn't mean I'm committing a crime when I wear a weave. Is the problem the fact that the weave is straight? To me, the weave is a form of a protective style similar to braids or yarn/wool. When I choose to not relax my hair, it is because I would rather not burn my scalp from the toxic ingredients in relaxers such as sodium hydroxide. Also, I choose to still care for my hair through my regular regime even when my hair is in a weave or braids. Unlike some ladies who wear weaves for periods of a month to two months without washing the hair underneath, conditioning it and moisturising it. 

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