March 5, 2014

Top Questions I Get About My Natural Hair

by Tammy Goodson of CurlyChics

1. What products do you use?
I use a variety of products depending on what my goal is. You will have to determine which product line works for you but regardless of the line, here are my essentials:

Read On!>>>

• Non sulfate shampoo
• Moisturizing conditioner
• Leave in conditioner
• Styler cream – depends on season, hairstyle, etc.
• Oil and shea butter to seal in moisture
• Deep conditioner

I usually tell people to start off with a less expensive product, such as Shea Moisture, or sample size products, for the following reasons:

• Experimentation should never be costly. That way if for some reason they don’t work out, you haven’t lost a fortune.
• Accessibility - You can obtain many on the ground at Target or Walgreens for instant gratification.

2. How do you deal with your edges (while transitioning)?*look of disdain on face*
Define “deal with”…this will probably only be an issue if you desire a straight look during your transition, which I would not recommend. I recommend doing braid outs and twist outs exclusively during this period and “edges” are not necessarily an issue. I use eco styler gel to tame the hair around the perimeter of my face.

3. How long did it take you to grow your hair completely out?
I transitioned for 2 years. It was not easy but absolutely worth it. My hair basically looked a hot ass mess the entire time (in my eyes) but I worked it out. My stylist would gradually clip off an inch or so whenever I would get it done (every 2 weeks) until eventually all of the relaxer was gone completely. Then I had an entirely new head of hair that I had to learn. Again, I would not recommend transitioning the way I did, which was wearing it straight. My hair survived but I had zero length retention and I wanted my hair to grow.

4. How do you wear your hair to work?
The same way you see it right now. I do tone it down a bit for work but that has more to do with the time of day, the occasion, how I’m dressed, etc. I am not afraid of my hair anymore. The great DMX once said, and yes I’m quoting DMX, #dontjudge, “people are afraid of honesty. They are afraid to be who they really are”. I am completely honest about my hair, meaning, I’m not ashamed that it kinks u and I’m not afraid to let the curls do what they do. So if I want to wear my hair out, I do.

5. How do you get it straight?
I wear my hair straight twice per year, this time it will end up being three because of a photo session I am doing. Nothing at all against wearing it straight, it looks nice but I usually grow bored and long for my curls. Plus, me and my color may never part ways so the less damage the better. Anyway, the last time I straightened my hair I applied a leave in conditioner after blowing it dry, sprayed on some heat protector before flat ironing and that’s it.

6. Why won’t my hair grow?
This is such a general question as there are a lot of contributing factors but generally speaking if you are doing the following, you should definitely experience some growth. At least this is what worked for me.

• Trims as needed
I don’t have a “trim clock” so to speak. I trim as necessary.
• Much of length retention is dependent on how well you nurture your ends. Sealing your ends is a crucial step in your process.
• Maintain moisture levels
Add moisture and keep the moisture in.
• Wrap it up!
Satin scarf and pillow case are a must! I can’t tell you the feeling of panic that comes over me when I can’t find my scarf!

7. Do you have to wash it every day?
Absolutely not! When it was shorter, I was partial to wash and go’s which for me meant daily cleansing. As my hair grew, the wash and go was no longer conducive so I started trying other styles such as braid outs and twist outs and I started cleansing once per week. Now, I sometimes go two weeks before I shampoo. Honestly it depends on the weather, how I’ve been wearing my hair and how much product I’ve used throughout the week.

8. My hair would look super short like that. How do you get it to not shrink up?
Shrinkage – battle of the naturals. ☺ Depending on the look I’m going for I don’t mind shrinkage. I sometimes want certain parts to shrink and others to hang a little more. When I want to combat shrinkage I stretch my hair. What does that mean? After shampooing/conditioning I braid my hair into 4-6 sections and allow it to air dry, typically overnight, before styling. The next day when it’s completely dry, the curls are more relaxed and stretched. I then proceed with whatever style I choose. Another way to stretch is through heat which I don’t do often but when I do, I blow it dry and then proceed with styling on dry hair.

9. So you don’t put any relaxer in it …..ever? (Emphasis on “ever”)\
This is the question I get mostly when it’s straight. People usually don’t believe me when I tell them I’m relaxer free. I’ve had someone actually go behind my back and ask my stylist if I really had a relaxer. *Side eye* Really? Like who really cares that much? But anyway.
Take the time to learn your hair and have fun with it. You will have your own experiences to share.

What questions do you get about your natural hair?

Sharing hairstories and life experiences from a curl’s perspective. Find Tammy at her blog, Curlychics, on Twitter, and Facebook.

40 Weigh in!:

Fatima said...

#1 question I get all the time: "What do you put in your hair to get it to curl like that??" LOL...Some people actually have a hard time believing that my hair is naturally curly!

Anonymous said...

This was a great and needed post. The question I will get is from those who relax wanting to know can they do twists or twist outs on their hair.

Anonymous said...

question I get: "Can I touch it?"

Answer: "NO! I don't know where your hands have been!" LOL... but that's only when I freshly wash my hair. People have dirty hands. And if I can't touch my own hair for fear of breakage then whyyyyy am I going to let someone else touch it...with their own oils from their hands. EEW! (one more time) EEW!

K I'm done. haha.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic posting!

Shak said...

Just recently I got "Is it all yours?" And apparently the dude touched my hair (I didn't notice because I wasn't looking at him, but my co-worker, who was facing me) told me he did, and I'm glad I didn't notice that he did that...

Aside from the occasional pain in the butt, people have been cool, wanting to know about different products and very complimentary, especially men. I think people sense that I'm just being me and I'm very comfortable with myself, and that rubs off on some people.

T Monique said...

I usually get: Is that all your hair?
Or wow I bet if you straightened it, your hair will be down your back.
Is that a wig?
Are you mixed?
How do you get it to curl like that?
Did you go natural because you dont know how to style your hair?

So much more but those are the common ones. Men seem to gravitate toward my hair and I often catch people staring or pointing. Its all good.

Candace said...

This is a pretty good list of questions. I think it would be especially good for new transitioners.

The one thing I will say to people though is beware the satin pillowcase! It seems to be the one thing naturals agree on not being able to live without and I haven't seen one person (and trust me, I've looked around A LOT) saying they don't use one. Let me be the first! I dutifully tried to use the satin pillowcase both with permed hair and natural hair and both times resulted in a face full of pimples. The oil sits on those things like nobody's business! So, I just say no to the satin pillowcase -- I'm not sacrificing the health of my skin for the health of my hair. (As my mother would say, cutting off the nose to spite the face.) So, I just sleep with a bonnet, scarf, what-have-you, and my COTTON pillowcase :)

Anonymous said...

To the poster above at 3:28pm, I have two satin pillowcases and swap them frequently. Satin pillowcases have been attributed to fewer facial wrinkles (though I don't have evidence-based documentation to back that up!)

What questions do you get about my natural hair?

Q: How do you get your hair in those little curls like that!

A: (wants to imitate Rihanna, "It's because I'm black b_tch!". I state, afro hair can be very tightly curled. This is my natural curl pattern.

I have 4c coils worn in a tapered TWA. I use KCCC to make small coils at the nape and sides and do a twist out at the crown for height.

Ayanna Blueford said...

LOL @ feeling of panic that comes over me when I can’t find my scarf! I am the same way!!!

Anonymous said...

Q: Is that color natural?
A: Now it is haha. (I used to color it. I stopped a few months a go so most of the coloring is out. But I have natural blonde/red/brunette highlights.)

Q:Can I play with it?
A:Yes, Only because I'm a sucker for having someone play with my hair.

Q:What ethnicity are you? I did you end up with curly hair like that?
A: My father was African-American. I am caucasian

Anonymous said...

"tame the hair around the perimeter of my face" aka deal with your edges...

Anonymous said...

Most people have never seen a head full of natural hair. This is a recent phenomenon, so I try to cut people a little bit of slack. Usually the natural hair they have seen is dreads or locs so they don't fully understand the whole natural hair thing. It's okay to answer questions without getting snippy.


People who know my family usually ask "What did your mama/granny say???" because neither one are fond of natural (nappy to them) hair.

NegRican24 said...

I SWEAR i hate the no perm question, or the that's ALL your hair question, or the what are you question. Women especially black ones- which i am by the way- give me the most grief and i don't get it. The BIGGEST one that gets me is the compliment/insult: Oh my God your hair is so pretty and thick how do you deal with it, i'm glad i don't have to do it. It really grinds my gears.

Bri said...

LOL ive gotten most of these but #1 is....

"do you like having natrual hair (ps, and i whish they didnt say this part) why dont you just perm it or throw some weave in it

My Answer: no i dont like having natrual hair... I LOOOOOVVVVE IT!!!! and well because im a curly chick.

Anonymous said...

this has been so helpful & encouraging thanks for posting

Anonymous said...

Thanks Guys

Anonymous said...

I have gotten... I didnt know your hair was curly, anyway I prefer it straight... and what is that poof about... I am new to naturals and its been hard, especially trying to find the right product for my hair I am still looking - tnks all

8thof11 said...

Great post! I don't really get the crazy questions but my daughters (8 & 10) do. Kids are usually more forgiving so they pay it no mind. They are comfortable in their skin and know who they are. They see hair as #1 a blessing and #2 as an accessory that mommy changes up everyday with their mood and their outfit. When asked (and I ask often) they prefer their hair kinky curly over having it straightened.

Anonymous said...

I mainly get "How do you get your hair curly like that?". One woman asked how to get her hair curly and she was permed -__-
Then the next thing they ask me is if I went natural because it's a trend...what??!

Anonymous said...

Q: are you mixed?
A: yes, black and black.
That is always my reply when someone asks me that question. I am a chocolate girl with long curly hair that grows out of my scalp. No, I am not mixed, yes this is all mine and no you can not touch it.

KosherKurly Girl said...

I know that my hair must be starting really come into its own judging from the number of guys I catch checking me out recently ;-). I have had more people asking me what I do get it to "curl like that". I know for sure that somehow,I feel much less stressed over styling my hair in recent days

Anonymous said...

People always say,"you got good natural hair." What the hell is good natural hair. Lol!!!

Anonymous said...

Ya'll need to get a grip, if you can't handle the questions or comments--go back to the crack. Stop whining and enjoy the hair by now you know most black folks are ignorant when it comes to our natural hair so stop sweating it!

Anonymous said...

I just recently cut my hair soo it's really short. When I put products on it it curls up really tight and it looks wet even though it's not. The one question I have gotten is asking if it is a jerrycurl....I didn't know how to respond so I ignored her and kept on moving. I love my natural hair and I am looking forward to it growing out. Thank you for this post, I will have to find my scarf and a satin pillow case because I don't have one. Thanks for sharing!

Nyjae said...

Thank you for the article and thank for the encouragement and support... Funny thing is I didnt want to come to this site because I thought it was another afro-centric website that wouldne get updated for years on end...

Angela said...

Last spring I stopped flat ironing my natural hair and started wearing it in its natural state. I can't tell you how many women said, 'oh cute ... Is that your summer 'do?' Um yeah, and it's still gonna be here in the fall, and the winter, and next spring ... Lol! Also bc I'm not fair skin I suppose, it was quite the mystery to people how I got my hair curly. People were asking me if it was a straw set, finger coils, etc. I didn't even know what most of those styles were. And people were in utter disbelief of that.

Angela said...
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Angela said...
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Coyadre said...

@ The comment about Jerrycurl - I use to get that A LOT. This 1 guy at school use to always make fun of me and tell people I had a jerrycurl when I most definitely did not... And also back when I was in school this girl asked me all the time as if the first no wasn't enough.

And I also use to get the "how do you get your hair to curl like that?" question all the time.. Smh

Anonymous said...

Wow...I cut my shoulder length permed hair off to my postnatal natural 9/12. I will stop wearing the wig, and rock my moisterized curls.

LYNN B. said...

I have been natural two years and I love it, but I have yet to find something the maintain moisture, my hair is SUPER SUPER dry, I drink plenty of water and use a moisturizer daily HELP!!!

Anonymous said...

People often ask me if I have a jerri curl. This one woman asked me "how do you get your hair like that?". People seem confused when I tell them that's just how it is! I've been relaxed since age 12, so everyone I know today at age 24 thinks that my hair was naturally straight and that I had to put chemicals in it to make it curly. I should have never fought my curls with relaxer!

denise said...

agree 100percent

Tammyintransit said...

I had a woman ask me the other day how I got my hair so curly, when I told her this was my natural hair she asked me if I was spanish. When I told her all I had in my hair was olive oil, grapeseed oil and water she looked at me like I was nits. I felt like Hakeem in Coming to America ...Juices and Berry... I did my big chop July 1 of this year and I have been asked more about my hair in 18 days that in 31 years.

Tammyintransit said...

What oils do you use?

Falleaves said...

Co-wash(moisturizing conditioner) leave-in conditioner like cantu shea butter leave in, shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie (walgreens target etc), then coconut (coldpressed) or extra virgin olive oil. This combination in this order has been a life saver for me. :) Hope it works out for you as well

Tonia said...

I was joking with my husband's friend's about his hair last night. He has naturally curly hair and I teased him about juices and berries. Since he is dark I know people think he has a S curl or something.

Fe said...

Wear hair natural is nothing NEW. In the 60's and 70' during the "I'm black and I'm proud" era the bigger the "natural" the better. I cut my "past the shoulder length" hair to wear a natural. We did not have the advantage of the the knowledge of caring for natural hair, that we have today. Wearing natural back in the day was very dry and kinky. We would wash our hair with everything from dish detergent to castil soap. Thank God for the research that has gone into proper care of our very special and beautiful hair.

KosherKurlyGirl said...

Hi Lynn B!
I hope you're having better results with the dryness issue. I used to have proper haystack issues myself ;-P but then I began to adjust how I handled my hair.
First,the silk or satin scarf is no fad. I used to do wig caps but the combo of satin or silk scarf and pillowcase has been a lifesaver for me. Wig caps proved to be somewhat drying,alas.
Second,less is really more with product. I have narrowed it down to one regular conditioner ( for me the choice, depending on what I find in the shop, lies between Aussie Clean& Mend, Suave, Hello Hydration or Giovanni Smooth as Silk), one leave in conditioner applied at night (again depending on what I find,between Queen Helene Cholesterol- yes,I use it as a leave-in particularly in winter- and Luster's Pink Oil) and one oil. My oils of choice are coconut, grape-seed and olive. I feel that just four or five products total simply lends itself to efficiency, especially as you can also apply any of the oils mentioned as a body oil.
Third, when washing my hair I detangle it in about eight sections,braiding each section up as it is detangled. I wash and deep condition the hair whilst still in the braids(vital to avoid having the natural coils in the hair tangle up again and also to keep the hair stretched out if a braid-out or twist-out is in my immediate future). I find braids are less likely to unravel during the washing process than twists.
Fourth, I don't know if you are a fan of the co-wash but it really does up the ante for moisture. Every conditioner I mentioned above has proven a reliable co-wash product. I only use shampoo very rarely,as I have grown fond of the baking soda/ACV mix for cleansing. It has to be some serious muck in the curls before I will use shampoo. In fact I have this 2 ounce travel size bottle of Giovanni shampoo that I have not even finished in over a year still on the shelf.
I hope it works out for you.Shalom!

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