In a utopia, wearing our hair naturally would be all roses… just perfect! In reality, many of us have either been or are currently in a war involving our hair. I call these the ‘Hair Wars’ (HW). I’m going to break these battles down in scenarios as follows:
HW I – You VS. Hair
You’ve been pouring over blogs, forums and You Tube videos. You finally decide that today is BC day. Your relaxer is cut and…wait, where are your curls? Why is it dry? Why is it fine and thin, rather than big and full?
Or, it’s been six months and you’re like, where’s the growth?! Or, it’s been growing pretty steady, and you’re just waiting to wear that big fluffy afro or rock some flyy two-strand twists, only your hair is too fine and your afro flops to the side or your twists are scalpy or won’t stay together. Still you continue growing your hair out, but the longer it gets, the harder it is to detangle. You begin to avoid washing your hair, because you’d rather walk on hot coals than attempt to detangle your hair. Do any of these sound familiar?
HW II – Hair VS. Environment
You’re rocking the cutest braid-out or wash-n-go ever. It’s well defined, its shiny and bouncy. You apply your makeup. You feel great! You walk outside and …BAM! It’s like someone set off a frizz bomb that landed in your hair. Or it begins to pour down raining and your braid-out swells until you are looking like Side Show Bob. You thought that “going natural” would free you, but you still find yourself running from the rain and avoiding swimming pools. You just can’t win once the humidity, the rain, the fog or the cold air hits your hair.
HW III – Hair VS. Others
You’ve built up your confidence and you’re finally ready to big chop. You like the result and you feel sexy standing in the mirror dancing, listening to your favorite CD. Hubby comes home and …record skip – he hates it. You are in love with your natural hair and he’s mourning the loss of your long relaxed hair. Or maybe it’s not your husband. Maybe you have a co-worker or boss that keeps making snide remarks about your hair. Or your mother is trying to force you to go back to relaxers. Whoever it is, if their remarks are bothering you and making you feel bad in any way, you are in a battle.
Maybe none of these fit your current situation. You’ve conquered your battles (or never went through any) and now your satisfied.
Ironically, my hubby, who is white, & his family love my natural hair much more than I do. I'm a year natural & was natural all my life until 16 (so you'd think I'd know how my hair) – currently, 35. It's been rough and I'm at war; it's currently 5 inches long & 4c/d, I'm resistant to trying new things (probably to my detriment but I'm afraid), I prefer natural pure products, am willing to be patient but my hair is currently doing it's own thing & I NEVER get compliments – other than from my male cousin who has dreadlocks.
My girlfriend who's also natural tends to tell me everything I'm doing wrong & my other girlfriend who's relaxed & is a hairdresser keeps inviting me in for free despite me being financially well-set. It's depressing, honestly. At times, I don't care because I have a final goal but, I am human, sometimes, it really gets to me. My natural friend says "your hair is your ultimate accessory" 🙁 My hair is currently in flat twists to protect it from my fur collars, NYC winters, & give me easy mornings – honestly, I refuse to spend more than 45 mins getting it together in the morning.
While it seems like I'm a sad, charity case; I know that with enough time, it will grow out & I'll be happier. I'm in the war of in-between but I shall prevail!!
Hey Thanks so much for this article! I've been natural for a year last month and am at War! For the first part of the year I did wash and go for about the first 10 months ( i didn't know what else to do). When the colder weather began- I tried my hand at twist outs, roller sets, braid outs, and have been discouraged since.. my hair won't grow, seems to has lost the small amount of growth.. I'm in a complete war! But this article and the subsequent comments have been encouraging! Thank you! Thank You! My hair seems to grow so slow! If any one has any suggestions I'd appreciate at it. ( on hair growth, on wash and go's, ect. ect.) Again thanks for the article!
I am most def at war with my hair. Im still somewhat transitioning. My hair has been in extensions and under wigs, but i bc'd a few months ago. Its currently braided underneath my wig, but its just so dry! At first i just thought, well thats my hair, i should get used to it…but its not! When i was my hair and use a great conditioner, its gorgeous beautiful curls, and then dryness -_-….i guess i just need to find what'll work for me
@anon 4:25pm – I had to do a 2nd big chop also and funny enough, my hair grew back in an easier to manage texture. I was finally able to say bye, bye hair battles. It is growing back now, but I am loving it!
I big choped again after being natural for 2 years. I didn't have a shape and hair was not acting right. I big choped again on 1-18-11 got a new style this time. My hair is at peace now I don't have to do much just wash n go and hair is growing so fast. This time it has a different texture and is easly manageble. I loving my TWA and no more HW's for now.
Right now I'm in a battle with myself. I have always had natural, long hair. Somewhere along the line I decided to textlax my hair to relax the curl pattern. Did that about 4 times and decided to quit…it was getting too straight and too thin. (Grass is always greener right?…NOT!) I didn't know it was called transitioning at the time, but my last texlax was April 2010.
So I've been transitioning for about 10 months now and my hair is about half natural and half texlax. The war is with myself!! I like to do twist-outs and twist n curls, but I hate my straighter ends. To chop or not to chop?…that is the question.
I am anxious to see what my hair will look like completely natural again. I mean I lived with natural hair my whole life, but didn't know how to take care of it or what to DO with it. Now I do, thanks to CurlyNikki and people like her. But, I've never had short(er) hair and I'm nervous.
So in short…the battle was getting to know my hair and how to care for it…battle won! Now…DO I CHOP OR NOT?
I was going to transition for 2 years to keep my length throughout, but I think I might chop on my 1 year Napturalversary…I'm getting too antsy. Wish me luck!
I JUST BC'd on Tuesday, (Feb. 15th) so I am at complete peace!
@ atasteofcaramel, thanks for the tip re: detangling.
I really enjoyed this article. If nothing else, it tells me I am not alone in the battle. 🙂 Getting the flat twists professionally done today (thank goodness). I have come this far and I will continue on my journey to be at peace with her.
I'm mostly at peace with my hair. Although I loved it from the very beginning just because the limiting relaxer process wasn't for me, I've had my days when I wanted looser curls, silkier hair, and simply just less dense hair!
Now, since I've started keeping it stretched 24/7, styling and detangling has become less painful. If I can just get wash and styling days to be less time-consuming, I know I'll be happy at last with what I've got. 5 hours to put in medium-sized twists just isn't efficient right now, though. =)
my husband hates my bc!! he wants me to wear a wig until my hair gets longer,,,it sucks because i just started feeling comfortable showing the world my hair
I thought I was content with my hair. I was deep conditioning once a week, using henna twice a month (I def want thicker hair), and getting trims every three months. I am almost at my year mark and I am at war with my hair! I was hoping my hair would be somewhat thicker once I went natural but I was wrong. It is fine, thin and limp! At first the henna seemed to be working but my texture is crazy now. My hair is thinner on the ends and it the roots are bushy (kinda like the look you get when its time for a relaxer). I don't know if the henna did that or if it is just my hair. So I have decided to stop with the henna even though I am itching to do it. The back and sides of my hair are very loose curls, the middle is kinda kinky, the top is thicker and loose but not as loose as the back and sides, and the front is frizzy with waves. Lets just say a wash and go, is a no go! I usually twist my hair, take the twists out and then pin it up. I am at a lost and the war continues!
I'm in my anti-detangling phase. Just the thought of it…. ugh!, also, my family wants me to relax again, and I feel like im not retaining length at all even though its not breaking and I barely shed any hair…. I'm just frustrated!
I wore a beautiful bantu knot-out out dancing for New Year's Eve with my husband…a rare date…of course after hours of dancing and sweating and sweating…my hair shrunk up to a shrunk up messy looking fro…I learned my lesson about wearing my hair out dancing! My husband didn't even tell me!
Now I am dealing with my hair thinning and breaking off in the back of my head due to thyroid issues which I have to fix now…something that takes time…in the meantime I have to figure out how to style my hair with it short or missing in the back of my hair…!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am HW1. My hair is just too fine to do anything nice with it. It only looks nice slicked back in a bun. It is also a lot weaker than I imagined it would be. My relaxed hair grew relatively easily but this natural hair breaks if I look at it the wrong way. It has been two years and I will probably relax at the end of this year. It is too much of a struggle and I think I should be able to enjoy my hair but I am not. My hair can't even take any type of color without becoming brittle. I am so disappointed b/c I love the look of OTHER peoples natural hair, whether it be 3c or 4d, as long as it is lush and full.
I am definitely in HW I. My hair is very think so I have the scalpy type of braids when i do a braid out. I've started to learn what works for my hair, but I was very disappointed to not have the big hair of woman I see on this site and youtube.
Made it past HWI once I found my hair likes aloe vera and castor oil as moisturizers. Still battling HWII, but I go with the flow and either leave it in chunky twists until I reach my destination or pineapple it before I put on a hat. Too old to care so I'm not having HWIII
Yes….and I go into battle this weekend. It's almost 6months since BC. I have been wearing braids for 8 weeks and will be taking them out Saturday. I miss my curls….I think. My TWA is getting big and I might need to try something other than a WNG.
"I'm at Peace". I grew my hair out for three months and my mom and aunt cut it for me. After it was all cut I liked the results but, it was really dry and no curls seemed to appear after I washed my hair. No, I didn't watch youtube videos to know what I was getting into, I was wondering, " Why is my hair so dry & rough?". Only to find out that I wasn't supposed to use Sulfates and stuff. But, I must say, I love my hair now my hair is more defined, my twist-outs look awsome, and my hair is thick full and most of all healthy! I'll be 6 months natural tomorrow:)
P.S- I'm 14 and natural BC'ed a coupe of days before my birthday.
In a war for the second time!!
Both times I did "long" (about 9 months) transitions. I still like my hair natural ("type 4") but I can't do anything with it. Super cute in the morning, major shrinkage and dryness before lunch. **stressed out** but still not perming. Looking for the right product… or routine… or stylist…
I am at war with my hair, after 3 years and 10 months. My twist outs are not cute, twists are showing my scalp too much and wigs are a chore to wear. Right now I'm in a protective style of braids and I'm not missing my natural hair one bit. I'm even going to re-do these braids when they get too messy!!! My hsir is a lot of trouble and I'm not sure how to deal with it.
I was in HWI and I think that my hair and I have FINALLY called a truce! I have been natural since July of 2009 and my style consisted of a wash and go and that's it!
Every time I tried to do a twist out my head looked like I was wearing a tumbleweed and I would just get frustrated and re-wet it… I just recently purchased some new products (yes I am a product junkie) and I did a twist out last night and it actually turned out good! So hopefully, no more hair wars for me!
Except for the "Hair and Others" part (I was VERY lucky there) everything else listed I've experienced. Like the first commenter, I am at peace…about 99% of the time. Right now I'm starting to experience the thinning that comes with getting older, but because I'm natural, it's only obvious to me. I shudder to think of what it would look like if I were relaxed…
Great article I sooo can relate! Im 5 days shy of being 12 months post relaxer!
Im struggling in styling even though I love wash day. ") I strive for peace so I have to fight for it! 🙂
Love this article! Thanks LV, and thankfully, I'm at peace!
I'm in a war! Environment, glad winter is ending. my hair is tripping.
Ugh. Yes. Today is a particularly hard day as it is raining in LA. I leave the house cute and arrive at work looking frizzed out. I almost cried. My hair is growing and the back is at shoulder length but it's falling out all the time in the middle crown and in the front where the texture is different. Gah!
i just BC'd 5 days ago… (after 10 months of transitioning)… and I can actually say that I'm NOT in a hair battle. I was so prepared to be. but it hasn't happened yet. I get some side-eyes… but most people either like it or find it interesting. …then again, I've been rocking the side mohawk all week… a style like that gives a little. not too much will mess it up.
At war with my hair it just stop growing at shoulder length when stretched. I want length that was my goal for my hair. over a year and no growth I figured what my hair lilkes and what it doesn't. I am running out of options, my breakage very minimal less than it has ever been, I got a clean bill of health from the dermatologist. I have very few options left I have been fully natural for almost 2 years no progress. My options are comb my hair every 3-4 weeks and washing once week without changing or ruining the style or start wearing extensions again like a weave or braids. Sigh I just want length. I just spoke to my mother a week ago and she says that I might have reached my max length because all women on her side of the family only have shoulder length I hope thad not the case.
I'm still transitioning but I'm definitely in HW III. Most people have been very supportive of my jounrney. A few have even been asking questions, out of curiosity, about what's happening. But the few people that have been unsupportive have been absolutely brutal. Jumping to their defense(a little) I might add that I did shock them(and myself!) by chopping most of my relaxed hair off after claiming that I planned to be a long-term transitioner. But their comments were unsolicited, hurtful, and to say the least selfish. After all this is my head, my hair, and I plan to do whatever I please that make me happy. That mini chop was my first haircut ever, and after the initial shock I loved it! Down right the best thing I ever did. Now I can't wait to BC…which will be soon 🙂
Thank you so much ladies, I was Anon 4:18. I've been putting off henna because of the mess, but you have motivated me to take action now!
Yeah I did some twists the other day and I was like oh yeah these bad boys are going to look good when I take these out the following day. Humph those critters decided they weren't going to play right and left my hair the minute I took them apart started to puff up and lose it shape. I was pressed for time and was like I got to throw it in a quick style, so I left the back lose in the twists and the sides pinned up with the twists undone for the bangs. Needless to say I stepped outside and the wind got ahold of my hair, and I went into the places that I had to take care of some business. Not realizing that my hair had seriously turned into side show bob, it was sticking out on certain pieces lol… I was like where is my fairy geanie godmother to wish my hair back into good shape. But oh well, I have my beanie hats with decorative flowers that I brought and will be using when my hair wants to go it's arse out.
I totally agree with anon 4:42 re: henna. If you can do it, it is great for the hair. I started henna treatments in Oct. 2009 and have done it faithfully 1-2/month since then. My hair is stronger, longer, shinier and fuller than ever. I also order from mehandi. I have used Jamila, Dark of the Moon, and Celebration henn, as well as cassia. I also do weekly DC treatments and use sulfate free shamppos. My hair has been like a whole new head of hair.
Give it a try. I'm sure your hair will love you for it.
Thanks for all the responses!
@Raezin, you're very welcome! I figured that people would benefit from this article. I think doing the cornrows and taking a break is a good idea! It'll give you a chance to become inspired once again. When it comes to dealing with hair issues, remember that, "this too shall pass"! Believe me, I've been through my share of hair battles!
To the person who wrote this article, THANK YOU SO MUCH! My hair and I are definitely at war. Just the other day, my hair was full of curls & shine yet for the past 2 days, its dull, hard and I have absolutely no definition. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I read CN daily, purchased some new products and have developed (somewhat)of a routine. Yet my hair seems to have hit a plateau….it won't curl (unless it's wet) won't grow (others say it has), won't shine, won't stay soft…it just won't! My cornrows go in tomorrow. My hair needs a time-out!
Has anyone tried the Henna N Placenta Hair Mask that you get at the BSS yet?
To me more clear each pack of henna that I purchase for my medium length hair consist of 100grms of henna/Indigo. Depending on the length of your hair you may order more grams 2,3, hundered grms etc. You call and speak to the people and they can advice you of what to purchase also they have on-line directions that you can print out as well. Since I just placed an order today I'm going to provide the number as well.lol (330) 673-0600 Ask CN she knows how Wonder Henna is!!!
@anon 4:18 I actually started to notice results pretty quick…in a about a months time I could see a diffrence in the strength of my hair. I did 2 henna treatments within the month. I've been hennaing for about 1 1/2 yrs. now and, I tell you it's one of the best things I've ever done for my hair! It's time consuming and can start to put a dent in your pocket so I would suggest when you get a enough money put aside;order in bulk if you can. I order from Mehandi.com. I order Henna for African hair/Indio, I purchase like 3 of each @ 100grms. (medium length hair)cost about $50 give or take..but hun it's worth it! At least to me it is.
Anon 4:18-re: henna, how long before you started seeing results, or did your hair start feeling stronger right away?
I'm not totally at Peace yet, but I'm def getting there! 🙂 Henna's have done Wonders for my hair…making it stronger and I'm starting to enjoy some long awaited length! I've been natural now for 4 years and am a SLOW grower so this was really a CHALLENGE to get to this point! So all of you natural sister's in a War with your hair…Hang in there…I promise it get's better…really it does! Keep you Head & ur Curls up!:)
At peace, glory GLORY!
It took a while, though.
I love it, the hubs loves it, and I work with my hair so we play well together. I was never one to want a brand new style every other day, so I don't strong arm my strands into one now that I don't relax my hair. If a simple bun/pony/bob is fine for those with straight hair, what's wrong with a bun/puff/pulled back twists/twists hanging down for every day wear? Accessories jazz it up. Out and big is for occasional wear (right before another wash session).
As for detangling in the shower, some hair types and/or densities (not the same thing) would take too long for that. See the recent post called The Tears I Shed. It works for some…but not for all. Arming yourself with a spray bottle as you go may be a better option.
I transitioned for 8 mths and have been completly natural for 1 week shy of 3 months and I'm happy to day I'm at peace. I don't miss the permed hair and when things look a little "different" I wear a pretty silk scarf as a headband and all is well!
By the way check out Marshall's and TJ Maxx for nice silk scarves that are gentle on the hair line and pretty for all occasions.
I am at peace. I fully accept my hair, what it can/will and can't/won't do. Im at the point where I just want to LOVE – my hair, and everything else that I can.
If you live in peace, seek it, and absorb it when it comes your way, it will reflect itself in everything else- including your hair.
I'm definitely at war! I'm at the dreaded in between stage where my hair is about 5 inches. My hair is also very fine so my two strand twists are very scalpy. I want to gain length but I'm not good at protective styles (I'm learning how to flat twist from youtube). And i'm a product junkie! Whenever I read a blog or a message board post about a product that worked on someone with hair similar to mine I buy it. I'm not running back to the creamy crack but I am tempted to BC and start ask over again
@Pecancurls Try detangling your hair while still in the shower.Wash and condtion your hair before you wash your body. try and detangle your hair with a wide tooth comb or brush working from end to root.
Hope this helps
I'm definitely at war; with the weather, styling my natural hair in ways that last longer than 2 or 3 days without having to wash it all over again, making a braid or twist out last, etc. etc. My hair has always won. I have to just let it do what its gonna do and adjust to that 🙂
Ive been natural for about 6 months and I want GROWTH and I want it NOW. No I am not at peace with my hair lol
In a war. I bc'd after 9 months of transitioning. The process was not good for my self esteem. And now post bc my husband hates it, my hair is so dry and brittle, I don’t know what to do with it. I had planned on twist outs or something but with the hubby hating the length have opted to cover up with wigs. 🙁
I am in HWI definitely. I have been transitioning since Sept. I plan on a long transition. My staple styles have been flat twists with a 2 strand pony tail and straw sets. Mind you, my stylist has been washing and styling my hair. Most recently I washed my hair by myself this past weekend because of scheduling issues. OMG the tangles!!! It is pulled back in a pony tail now until I can get in tomorrow. The garnier leave in did not help, nor did the kimmaytube home made leave in help. So yes, I look forward to walking on hot coals than to attempting to wash my hair again 🙂
My status update last night was that my hair and I are at war and I'm losing. Everything that used to work is now failing, every style I used to love now bores me, I haven't had a hair compliment in months (not that I need other people to affirm me, but a girl likes a nod every once in awhile!) and the last 3 washing sessions have ended in tears. Needless to say, I am definitely losing this war.
As of about a month ago, I can say I'm at peace! And it feels so good!!
And to Anon @3:20…give up the battle now because if you remain natural, "hair" will win! lol
I fall into that "fine hair, lots of scalp showing when in individual twists" category. So far, out of the many hairstyles that I've tried for my short length of hair, I've found two that look half decent. My whole hair journey has indeed been a workout but to me it is well worth it. So,to answer the question, (HW I)seems to be my biggest war.
Allnatural1 (Michelle in TX)
I have been natural for about 2 weeks now and my hair doesn't seem to know who is in charge here!!! LOL!
I am at peace.