December 23, 2014

Understanding and Loving Your Natural Hair

We have all had our share of hair disasters. Some experiences happen at home and others in the salon. At-home disasters might be easier to handle, as you or a close family member usually renders the offense. In that case, you can determine what changes to make. When the disaster occurs at the hands of a stylist, it can produce an ongoing fear since correcting his or her error can be more difficult. With our social networking across the world, it is increasingly common to share our hair catastrophes, one with another, which can sometimes perpetuate fear. With each situation, we vow never to put ourselves in a situation that makes us to want run for the hills.

This potential fear does not appear without reason. Natural hair newbies go through great lengths to achieve their goals. The amount of effort it takes to make the legendary transition takes courage, patience, and is rarely achieved without a strategy. Unfortunately, an understandable concern can easily transfer into a dramatic phobia. However, with every myth there might be at least an ounce of truth. Let's see.

Using a comb will cause breakage
Truth- Using a comb improperly will cause breakage. When using a comb, do so when the hair is protected and supported by a slippery conditioner, detangler, or oil. Comb from the ends to the roots and when the hair is clear, stop.

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Extensions and braids will cause breakage
Truth- Extensions and braids installed and handled improperly will cause breakage. Both braids and extensions should be installed on clean, conditioned, trimmed hair. They should be taken down after 6-8 weeks. Individual braids or twists should be redone around the edges to minimize tension, and while hair is in the protective style, the client must continually moisturized at least four times per week.

In conjunction with these concerns that address the hair directly, there are also natural women who are equally concerned about the social nuances that arise from life after and during the transition. Tamika Fletcher, co-owner of Natural Resources Salon in Houston, tells us the common concerns of naturals in her area. All such concerns are important because of the way they make us feel. Sometimes we need to look at such concerns with a different eye, a factual approach.

Will my hair grow?
Absolutely, hair grows at the rate of .25-.5 inches per month or a maximum of 6 in. a year, unless you have a health concern that inhibits your hair growth, in which case you should see a trichologist. How one cares for his or her hair will make all of the difference in retaining its length, such as sleeping on a satin pillowcase, deep conditioning, and getting regular trims.

Will I be able to comb it on my own?

You most certainly will. Search for curl meet ups in your area, link up online with other naturals, and ask your stylist to give you some tips for at-home hair care.

Will I miss out on job opportunities?
No, there are employers who are willing to accept qualified candidates for the exact way they present themselves.

Will I be able to find a man?
Of course you will be able to find a love interest who will be attracted to you and love you exactly the way you are. The world has changed for all of us and we are continuing to embrace each other.

What will my mother say?
This can tough, as your mother's highest concern is not whether you wear your hair in its natural state but that you look great, are well respected, and have all of the opportunities you deserve. All of these things take confidence and care. Rock your best natural styles by doing diligent research and proper care. Your mother will fall in love with the hair she and your father gave you. She may even start asking you how to care for her natural hair.

While there are many concerns that arise when wearing your natural hair, we hope to take a few off your list. Be free, have fun, and let's continue the quest of understanding and loving our natural hair.

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