Friday, April 8, 2011
10 Things They Don't Tell You About Natural Hair
Going natural. If you’ve made the journey yourself read these revelations and see if you agree, if you’re thinking about it, heed these warnings and if you love your bone straight tresses read what your fellow sisters are going through out here.
People will judge you, based on your hairWhether it’s your grandmother who’s practically disowned you because she thinks you don’t get your “hair did” anymore, or an associate eyeing with a look of sympathy, it will take time for the people in your life to accept your hair. Not only them, people you don’t even know will prejudge you based on what they think your hair is saying. A few months after I had undergone the “big chop,” I started my freshman year of college. A girl, a black girl I might add, who later became one of my good friends, told me that she thought I was mean when she first saw me. When I asked her why, she said because of your hair. Even though she couldn’t pinpoint why my hair made her think I was mean it influenced her opinion about me before we ever had a discussion.
It’s not easier than having a relaxer
Remember those days, pre relaxer when you had to sit in between your mother’s (or father’s) legs while they combed your hair? For some of us, this time was torture. There was squirming, yelping, and crying on those special occasion days. That’s what I liken the maintenance of natural hair to. Taking care of your natural hair can be like styling a thick haired, tender headed little girl the night before Easter Sunday. And you’re not the child anymore, your hair is. It kicks, screams and rebels against what you want it to do. When I first started wearing my twist-out afro, people would say, “ooh so you just wake up and go?” Uhhh…no. Not that natural hair is harder to manage than relaxed hair, it just presents its own challenges.
You’ll hear from different men on the streetLike it or not, for a lot of us what we do with our hair is a least influenced partially by what we think a man, whether he’s our father, husband, boyfriend or stranger, is going to say about it. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard women say “I want to go natural, but I’m scared he won’t like it.” That opinion is potentially important; but that’s not my point. What I’m saying is while some men prefer the silky, straight don’t-care-why-it’s-long type of hair, you’d be surprised at the number of men who have a preference for natural hair and will go out of their way to compliment you on it.
Your hair is not going to act like hers (No, not even your momma’s)
One of the biggest shocks in the natural transition can be the fact that your hair won’t do what someone else’s will. It’s a tough concept to grasp as we have hair inspirations. (You know you’ve gone into a salon requesting to rock Halle’s pixie.) We would like our hair to do and look a certain way, but you’ll soon realize that your hair has a mind of its own and while you may be able to ask it (nicely) what you would like it to do, it will tell you what time it is. You’ll just have to adjust to its patterns.
You might go through an ‘am I still cute?’ phase
Whether it happens when the beautician spins you around to the mirror for the first time, when you wake up to a matted mess or when you’re just having an off day, you might wonder if your new natural do has affected your attractiveness. You’ll wonder if you’ve made the right decision and may find yourself wandering the black hair care section of Wal-Mart longing for a perm. Sure your transition has affected your look and sometimes certain hairstyles look better on certain facial structures etc. Some women can’t handle this phase. Some feel the solution is waiting until it grows out, others revert back to the relaxer and others, experiment with other, more flattering styles. Either way it’s about accepting the new way you look or doing something to put you at peace with your appearance.
It will take you a while to get used to the way your hair looks in the sink
Unless your hair is naturally straight, you’ll notice the little curly ques that come out of your head and how much they resemble some hair elsewhere on your body. You know, the hair down there. It’s not so much you; you know that hair came from your head, you just don’t want house guests or non-natural folks to think you just let your pubes run loose like that.
You might find yourself saddling your natural high horse; but get down, quick!
Once you get your hair looking right, you’ve found a style that works, you’re receiving compliments and your mane makes you feel powerful, you’ll want your other sisters to have this same feeling. And that’s great and really admirable of you. But in your quest to empower other black women don’t forget that some women simply don’t want or don’t like natural hair! And it doesn’t mean they don’t love themselves either. It’s a preference. I’ve seen women so ready to convert a “straight hair” they don’t realize that they’re being offensive and counterproductive. If your intent is to empower another woman, attacking her based on the way she wears her hair, especially a black woman, is not the way to go about it.
It might not be as healthy as you thought it would
Ooo don’t let these online tutorials fool you, if you don’t take care of your hair, relaxed or natural, it will look a hot mess. I’m a witness. There’s this assumption that your hair will immediately take on lioness power once you do away with the perm. Not so. Your hair might even become weaker in some ways. It will require more moisture, will tangle easily etc.
You won’t hate relaxed hair
When a family member, friend or associate would go natural and then two weeks later go back to perming their hair, I’d be appalled. It took me a minute to learn that it doesn’t have to be and isn’t an “either-or” for some people. For some people it’s a “both-and.” I know sisters who are technically natural but will wear a weave/wig in a minute to switch the style up. It doesn’t mean she’s conflicted in her soul; it means, she likes variety.
You’ll want somebody to touch it, just the right somebody
We have a thing about people touching our hair. Definitely no strangers and even our most intimates don’t get the privilege under the right circumstances. But this might change along with the texture of your hair. As I said, you’ll take pride in your hair. And maybe, just maybe you’ll want to share it with others. So if that means letting a genuinely curious person explore the jungle that is your hair and scalp then so be it. And if it’s a lover, then let him experience first hand how magnificent it is in there.
-Courtsey of Madame Noire