I used to perm my hair religiously. Every six weeks, come rain or shine I was about that creamy crack. Natural hair was not on my radar, I wasn’t interested, wasn’t about it, it did not apply to me: I had that tough hair you see.
As with most things life very much got in the way. My hairdresser/best friend and I went through a heinous break up and all of a sudden I was natural. I won’t pretend that I was in the midst of discovering myself (even though that did happen a little later), or even that I was on a path to being ‘woke’, circumstances forced me to get in touch with what was growing out of my head.
It was rough. I cried. I had no idea where to start, I had matted curls and straight ends. I turned to my source of comfort in my time of need: YouTube.
I ended up watching a hundred hours of videos, armed with my new knowledge of surfactants and homemade deep conditioners my hair flourished. It was popping, slick, and I felt fresh. The more I experimented with my hair and learned my curls the more my confidence grew.
‘What does this have to do with me?’ I hear you say… Just sick with me. Many women of colour have approached me and said, “I just couldn’t have natural hair: I don’t know how and I don’t know what.” I assure you that you can. There is a wealth of knowledge, not just YouTube but mainstream bloggers (Care For Your Hair), regular haircare events (Curlvolution), and effective natural haircare products in high street retailers (Boots) all of which is at your disposal.
Don’t let lack of knowledge, fear, or the expectations of others hold you back from getting in touch with the curls on your head! I was told for years that I had tough nappy hair that was unmanageable, but when I learned how to look after my curls they had life!
If you are reading this and have thought about wearing or experimenting with your natural hair, I implore you, take advantage of the role models around you and be courageous!
My five top tips to help you go natural:
- Water is your friend. I was told for many years don’t wash your hair too regularly, it’s just not good for your hair. The opposite is true, kinky coily hair is naturally dry and keeping it hydrated is the first step in maintaining healthy hair.
- Pick your tools wisely. Fine tooth combs can cause severe breakage, the teeth are so tight that the precious coils on your head can get trapped and cause the hair to snap.
- Hand in hair syndrome. When your hair is fresh and you are feeling yourself, sometimes it’s hard to keep those fingers out of your hair, however the manipulation of your hair when dry can lead to irreparable damage.
- Give it time. Learning your natural hair is a process from figuring out what products work best to finding a style that fits in with your activities. It may be frustrating finger detangling or flat twisting your hair but the results are always worth it.
- Become a wiz in the kitchen. There are thousands of hair care products that can be made at home. The market for natural hair products is on the rise but it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and become a product junkie. Try an avocado, yoghurt and honey mask and your hair will not regret it!
P.S. I was feeling myself.
By Rhianne Robinson