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Curly Nikki

Facing Reality About The Hair You Have

By January 27th, 202169 Comments

Antoinette and I receive a lot of emails and comments from disgruntled readers that go a little something like this,

“My hair looks so curly and defined when its wet but when it dries it just gets all big like an afro. What products can I use to keep my curls?”

“My hair is so dry, it just wont curl up. I don’t know what to do to make it nice and shiny”

“I am just so frustrated with my hair, no matter what I do it shrinks up! What am I doing wrong?

Hey, granted a lot of you may actually be dealing with hair that is in need of better product coupling, moisture retention etc. I can dig it. I can empathize BUT some of you are simply in denial about your hair! You have this image of what your hair should be and could be if you only got the right products and retained more moisture but you are completely in denial about the true nature, texture and capabilities of your own hair! I know because I use to be in denial. All up until 2 years ago I thought I had Chilli’s hair from TLC waiting to emerge if only I’d find the right products and techniques.

Facing Reality About The Hair You HaveFacing Reality About The Hair You Have

what was I thinking?!

I swore my hair was chronically dry (sure it was) but that once it was moisturized it would shine and glisten like hers. It would lay long like hers, and some how the curl pattern would “correct” itself so that my baby hair would lay it’s ass down on my forehead like it had some damn sense. I just knew I had Chilli’s hair but in my head my hair was “damaged” and “uncooperative”. Something just had to be wrong with my hair because it behaved and looked different from the way it was supposed to look in my head. Cray Cray (I know) but I am not lying. I know a lot of you are nodding your heads, imagining the hair of someone else that you keep superimposing on the hair you really have. Whose is it? Say the name out loud just so you can begin to see the madness. Now stop it! Accept the hair on your head and love it for it is worthy. I can honestly say that through my process of learning my hair and understanding and accepting my curl pattern, I have come to really love my hair. I know what it can do and what it can’t do. I accept those realities with no resentment or sadness. The fact that my hair is not fine but coarse, will never have a glistening shine and that it will never have a Pocahontas look to is really freeing to me and my self esteem. My ish will always poof up and be unruly. I work it to my advantage now. I am proud of it.

So, I want you all to really examine the “issues” you are having with your hair.

Are you truly having moisture and curl definition issues or are you frustrated that your hair is not what you think it should be?

Have you been here? What did you do to embrace YOUR hair?


  • NewbieNatural1 says:

    thank you soooo much guru! I went india arie bald two months ago. (July 26) and chopped of my sixteen inches of relaxed hair. After almost two months of growth I have around three inches of tightly coiled 4c hair. (it only looks about one and a half though.) I have been just wondering how I I could get my hair to be "good" like my brother and now I realized that my hair is healthy as it is. I put lots of water in my hair. Lots of OVOO and lots of coconut oil, thanks to your post I now know that my hair is healthy and will continue to grow.

  • Hilary B. says:

    I really loved this article, it's so relatable. I don't like to 'fight' my hair and define it 'cause I hate gel and the shrinkage that I get. I'd rather have big hair! love my texture and all that it can do.

  • Unknown says:

    i love that you wrote this, i'm an african lady (southern africa) and generally ouy hair seems to be much kinkier than most of the i've seen on the internet. i say "seems" because up until now i never knew how to take care of my "kinky" tresses. my daughter's hair is what cused me to get on the internet and research about hair care because she has what we call "ugly" x_x…. Her hair breaks a lot more than mine (which is a lot).

    .Basically we (my family)had accepted that our hair doesn't grow past three inches, it just seemed to stop and you knew it was time for a hair cut. Every time my little sister asked me how the black american sisters did it I said "their hair is not as kinky as ours". I'm even embarrassed to say that i haven't encountered any hair stylist in these regions who knows how to deal with our hair and it's sad beacause the majority of people here in africa relax their hair a lot or wear it short (less than 2 inches)or wear it in protective styles.
    We basically wash our hair and put of vaseline and go, needlwss to say the results of this routine is dry, damaged hair that won't grow past your ears. Because of you beautiful black sisters i'm going to start taking better care of our hair and I'm determined to find a routine that will keep pur hair healthy under our scorching sun.


  • Anonymous says:

    Agreed. A tangled bush does not usually equal healthy natural hair. Tist and braid outs stretch the hair and hence less tangles.

  • Anonymous says:

    Aviva, that's not necessarily true…I rock twist outs the majority of the time b/c stretched hair=less tangles/knots. I don't know too many naturals that do wash and goes for the same exact reasons.

    It has NOTHING do with wanting to change hair textures.

  • Aviva says:

    Great article. I also want to point out that many naturals do braid outs and twist outs for the same reason: they can't accept the texture that they were born with.

  • Anonymous says:

    Let's face it, the online natural community has less love and scope for 4b and c hair. There's still a long way to go before people stop calling their and others hair coarse (often is not) dry, hard, nappy, ugly etc and using only positives to describe loose curled hair. I see it all the time, hair board fawning over type 3s and recently big chopped people who reveal 4a and 3 type hair. People type without thinking 'pretty curls', 'beautiful texture', ' I love your curl pattern' but 4b/c don't get these comments, just a curt 'congrats'. The real world is even less supportive of non curly naturals and you are lucky if that is not your experience. Many blogs seem to ignore tighter textures unless the hair is long or the person has a BAA. We're also not allowed to complain about this in this new natural landscape.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am currently about 6 months natural after a 10 month transition…I was the complete opposite–after 20 years of having a relaxer (the first one at 9 years old), I thought that my natural hair was going to be completely rough, but I was willing to endure b/c even though my relaxed hair was long, the area around my nape had broken off. My mom has stated to me before that my hair did not "curl" like my brother and sister as a child, and basically alluded that it was unmanageable. So I had zero expectations when I decided to "big chop" after my 10 month transition.

    Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that my natural hair was full of waves and curls; I'm not into hair typing.

    Everywhere I go I get compliments on it and questions if it is "all mine." One lady at church this past Sunday said that I reminded her of Corrine Bailey Rae. I say all this to say, that this is what I NEVER expected! However, I had made up my mind that even if nobody supported me, or if I never got a compliment, that was something I wanted to do for me!

    Also, my mom is now going natural and is convinced that my hair texture has changed as I've gotten older to be more curly–lol! It's funny how life works sometimes….

    Be you, and rock you!


  • BrownLady says:

    …and i HEART this post. Wishing it could be reposted weekly:)

  • Annie L. says:

    @Anonymous 7:25 – I see what you're saying but I feel the majority of us here use the term 'acceptance' in reference to our hair as APPRECIATION as opposed to RESIGNATION.

  • Trayemama says:

    Anon 3:43, Thanks so much for your post. You gave us "what God love. . .da Truth"!! Loved it:)
    I always describe my hair as "Tight!!" while holding up my fist like the one on the old black hair picks, or like the symbol for "black power", so I'm pretty sure my hair type is 4c–tightly coiled too:)

  • Anonymous says:

    @3:56 p.m. You are exactly right my very tightly coily hair does not need any products to help it coil. My hair coils with plain ole water.

  • Anonymous says:

    You know, I am a new natural, and I'm still on a journey to acceptance.Y'all, can I be honest for a second – do you realize how depressing it is to even say you have to ACCEPT something about yourself? It sounds like winning the booby prize.

    I can like and admire the kinkier textures of others. I love the edgy styles and the frohawks and even some of the electrical socket hairstyles that I see about. But on me… sigh. I am grateful for the hairs on my head, but resentful of the way it grows out.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think I had the opposite experience when I BCed…

    I thought my hair could NEVER curl, coil, etc but as I began religiously conditioning my hair (co-washing exclusively, DCing weekly, using conditioners as a leave-in daily), curls and coils sprang up all over my head! Now, I don't have anything close to Chili's hair but my hair is definitely a curly, coily 4a mass of lovliness! I've been natural for some time now and I have more or less let go of needing to obsessively make my curls pop because a.) I just don't care like that anymore and b.) I know exactly what to do to get them to pop out or wave-up if I'm wearing my hair back. Condition, condition, condition. Oh. Did I mention condition? Yeah. I said it. Condition.

  • Natural Beauty says:

    Can I just get an even texture, though? Is that too much to ask for?

  • Anonymous says:

    I STOPPED obsessing about my hair type. My first year and a half of being natural I would search and search and search to figure out what my hair type was and in all of the THOUSANDS of pictures I looked at NONE of them ever came close to what my hair looked like. I would such terrible hair envy and would think there was something wrong with my hair. Finally I had to give myself a mental shake and learn that my hair is just mine and that it's unfair to my hair and myself to compare it to someone else's. I had to learn to love my hair for what it is.

  • AcecentriclyNatural says:

    Okay, I'm guilty of this and its horrible because I've been natural since I was eight and I turn twenty-five this year.but I've noticed changes in my hair that makes me envious of my old hair sometimes… O_o I'll give you an example for instance, I didn't have frizz before and now I do like a lot. And my fuller hairline, yes the waves were so deep they'd make you sea sick lol. and before you ask I did do heavy styling on my hairline but my family (yes, the woman) have the issue of thinning hairline as we get older. Even after all these years I'm still having to learn new things about my hair and still finding new ways to love it!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Anonymous at March 30, 2012 7:26 PM asked, "what is SCAB hair?"

    "SCAB" hair is a new growth texture attributed to scalp damage from long use of relaxers.

    Some stylists believe the relaxer has altered the follicle opening on your scalp, and your natural hair strand extrudes from the follicle and takes on a rough twisted texture and shape as it grows from the scalp.

    What they REALLY mean is that after 4 months of natural hair growth, you STILL have hard, dry, tumbleweed hair instead of Tracee Ellis Ross hair.

    "Scab hair" is an urban legend. It's something they say to us kinky haired folks when they think our hair "shouldn't be this kinky" as it's growing from our scalp.

    smh -________-

  • Melissa E. says:

    I am in tears on how hilarious and true this was!! Im always thinking "if only i could just find that product that could take my hair where it needs to be and "reveal" my actual texture" -____- I was convinced that my curls were a 3b and if they just grew a little longer then i would be happy and my natural hair journal would be complete. I am now starting to realize how wrong and how DAMAGING that mentality is. I would constantly compare my curls to strangers on the street thinking "thats where i need to be" It was sad lol. I was convinced that my hair needed to look like Youtube Hair Guru Taren916…which we all know is ridiculous. (honestly WHO has hair like that?!??!! Jeez Taren.. lmao) But Im finally beginning to understand and love my hair through patience and a steady regimen. I know that my curls are not just ONE texture but like 4 different ones! (4a in the front, 3b and 2c in my crown, and 3c everywhere else…crazy right?!) I just have to love them for who they are and accept that sometimes my baby hairs will not have the damn sense to just lay the heck down! lmao

  • Gloria says:

    Since I was natural until I was 14, and then only relaxed for less than 5 years, I knew what my hair texture was going to look like going into the process. That didn't mean that I didn't search for the HOLY GRAIL product that would loosen and define my curls, completely protect my hair from humidity and rain, and reduce my styling time to 5 minutes…yeah, that never happened.

    That being said, once I learned to properly care for and moisturize my hair (getting it wet daily, sealing with oils and/or butters, finger detangling, no heat, no chemicals, etc.) my hair flourished. My 4b hair will never look like Chili's either, lol, but it does look amazing, and I get compliments on it almost every day, because it's SO thick and big and healthy. Understanding your true texture is essential…but focusing on the health of you hair will yield amazing results! (It's like accepting the color of your skin as beautiful, but also nourishing it with healthy lotions and butters to make it really flourish.)

  • thebrownesteye says:

    lol sooo tru after coming to terms with the fact tat i will never be tracee ellis ross i now loove my crazy coils

  • Annie L. says:

    ROTFL! Loved it!

    But agree with Abstract, I'd never heard of 'I thought my curls would look like…' until I began reading curly blogs! What about new growth? Other family members? Baby photos? What about your permed (relaxed) hair not being as silky, shining and swinging as Angelina Jolie's wigs?

    But I can't talk, I was just as disillusioned but in the opposite way. I expected the hard, dry, tumbleweed stereotype, SMH. I was surprised to feel soft, spongy coils and curls. I only knew my new growth which I ignored and years of racist imagery. I didn't know what loved natural hair looked like and the scale of variety naturals possessed – curly, straight, wavy, shiny, matte, loose, compact – whether from Africa, South America, the U.S., the Caribbean etc. In the end both delusions are pretty lame and I'm grateful we're clearing the air towards total love and acceptance.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow…nice to know I am not alone. Reality check and comical post!!!! I was there too. Stuck on whose hair I had and what my hair type is. I eventually got over it. I experimented with different products and found out what worked and how it benefited my hair, mostly due to Curly Nikki (Thanks Chica). I love my hair. It does take a lot of TLC but it is so worth and I am Happily Naptural!!!

  • brinabwell says:

    And you said "… and some how the curl pattern would "correct" itself so that my baby hair would lay it's ass down on my forehead like it had some damn sense." I holla'd when I read this because I have felt the exact way. My "baby" hair looks like pea rolls if I don't keep some shea butter or oil on it, for real. And sometimes, that may not work. I thought my hair would be spirally and bouncy with some shine, but nope! Oh well….wait, there are spirals the diameter of spaghetti. I feel better about my hair now that it's grown out some, but still have not gotten to the loving it everyday part. Keep me in prayer.

  • Natasha Owens says:

    I can't even lie, I always would think about how my hair should look and why doesn't it look a certain way. I have been natural for almost three years and I'm just now getting use to it lol. The compliments help but I wanted my hair to grow a certain way. But then a lightbulb popped in my head, 'Tasha, everyone has different texture. Learn to love and nurture your hair the way YOU should.' I adore my hair now!!

  • Anonymous says:

    LOL!!! @ anon 3:56PM…My hair is 3c/4a but I agree that we all gotta learn to let our hair "do what it do" so it can be "happy". Attitude is so key…just do YOU and rock YOUR hair. It's all hottt…from the almost-bald to the biggest, baddest 'fro.

    BTW…what is SCAB hair?

  • adelh says:

    i was looking for more volume in my hair – it always had shine when it was relaxed or straightened – well, it is still thin. and i am transitioning, and slowly cutting off the relaxed stuff, so i have no idea what the final result will be be like. my hair is SOFT and FINE, and nothing has changed there. wasn't looking for chilli's hair though.

  • lovnM3nataurally says:

    Great insight! Having read this post long ago for me still would have meant some self-realization! Lol! I'm 20 month natural, during transitioning caught a glimpse of 'the kitchen', thought wow curls! That was & is today the curliest part of my hair, probably what most would call 3c/4a, thought only if I could keep my hair moisturized. Through trial & error and YouTube I did just that & I’m loving ALL my kinks & curls! I believe 'curl realization' like self-realization comes from within. My hair mentor and buddy permed her hair this January after 2 years of being natural said her curl pattern was not what she expected…maybe she was visualizing the picture of Chili as well

  • Sydni_Michelle says:

    I wish I had seen this post a whole back. I get one person who tells me my curl pattern is this, and another person who tells me my pattern is that. Or that I need to perm it. Im loving that this post is telling me to just accept my hair the way it is!

  • RazzyYazzy says:

    So true, so true. I am transitioning, and one of the biggest fake outs is looking at your natural hair curl pattern weighed down by 8 inches of relaxed ends! My head snapped back, what! When I cut off the relaxed ends, my curls shrunk right up, tightly coiled, not the loose stuff I was seeing when I had the relaxed ends. I was so bummed. I had imagined another head of curls, and I was wrong. Glad to hear that I am not the only one who was faked out. I love my curls now! Love, love, love them.

  • Shani says:

    Amazing! And so very true. I had to accept that my hair is extremely voluminous and unruly. It will never lay flat or do anything else I try to make it do so now I just let it be itself and I'm so much happier (and so is my hair!)

  • Anonymous says:

    thumbs up @anon 3:43p

  • Anonymous says:

    ps. If I read one more lying article that says my hair comes out of my head in a "zig-zag -z-pattern"… -______-

    Who keeps propagating this caca-doody??

  • Anonymous says:

    Well – Ima speak out for the 4c girls and guys, because 4c is 4-real, and has demands and needs that must. be. addressed!

    For 12 months after my big chop folks were telling me I had "scab hair". WTF!?! I was co-washing, massaging, PJ'ing, brushing, oiling, and my "SCAB HAIR" wouldn't change into ringlets. Oh law oh law – what was I doing wrong?


    Once I accepted the following, I was at peace with the nature of my hair.

    1. If you have 4c hair, your hair DOES curl. It's a teensy-weensy curl. It is not a big loopy curl. 4c has curl.

    2. No product is going to make your teensy-weensy curls extend straight, hang down, or widen into big loopy curls. The only product that will make your teensy-weensy coils extend out is relaxer or Jheri curl. And we've been down that road before.

    3. 4c coiled tightly hair is happy-healthy hair. When you have shrinkage, it means your hair is in it's own littly happy-nappy world. Did I say it was happy? Yes, it's happiest when it's tighly coiled.

    4. Heat training for 4c hair is damage. Relaxers can damage. Flat irons can damage. Coiled tight is all-right.

    5. There is NO SUCH THING AS A CURL CREAM for 4c hair. No cream will curl your 4c hair. You can fingercoil your wet naked freshly shampoo'd hair with plain old water! You DO NOT NEED A GEL OR CURL CREAM to curl your 4c hair.

    6. Leave in's and oils will help to retain moisture. Your coily 4c hair likes them and so it coils up tightly in appreciation. Coiled 4c hair is HAPPY 4c hair.

    7. 4c hair needs moisture. When it holds it's moisture, it doesn't break. When it doesn't break, it retains length. When it retains length it will STILL SHRINK – because 4c hair is happiest when it's coiled!

    I hope this helps all my 4c sisters and brothers!

    Happy coiling!

  • braidsntwists says:

    I so need to read this all the time!

    I've been natural for almost a year now. I remember when I first did my big chop, I had these visions of having nice cute corkscrew curls. (I knew enough to know I would never have hair like Chilli lol! I at least tried to be somewhat realistic.) Well, I did end up with corkscrews…you just wouldn't know it without a magnifying glass because they're the size of pipecleaners. And the shrinkage is out of this world!

    Of course, then I bought all the stuff that was supposed to elongate my curls, define my curls, etc, with disastrous results. I hated the fact that I couldn't get a WnG to not look like an afro. Then I would see pics of people (not even celebrities) who had such nice curls and I swiftly had a case of serious serious hair envy. I spent months constantly thinking "If only I had _____ kind of hair…" It took me really until probably the last couple of months to start truly accepting my hair as it was and figuring out what styles worked for me. I got rid of all those @#$% curl defining products that didn't have a chance in heaven or hell of working on my hair.

    I now can truly say I like my hair. Yes "like," not love….Not yet, but I'm slowly getting there.

    And I still see pics and get hair envy. But only until I look at my own hair in the mirror with it's cute twistout and smile.

  • Marcia says:

    I first saw this on ACBF Wednesday and it motivated me to try a wash and go…glad that I did. Like always my various textures are a it annoying but I am working on embracing it…working on it…Maybe one day I will look in the mirror and love it, one day I will not be so self conscious about people making comments (and they do…had two conversations about my hair at work today..ugh)

  • Tiffany B. says:

    I agree with you all, most of us have gone through that stage at one point or another. I used to be curl-crazy, but after getting half-way through my kinky-curly products after one use I said bump dis junk (not to mention the tangles, shrinkage, and shed/broken hairs that were never ending). My hair is supposed to be how it is, I enjoy my hair and love it. I does get on my nerves sometimes but most of the time we're cool.

  • AusetAbena says:

    Lol. Good post. Honestly, the hair I have envied the most is from someone I know very well, a good friend of mine whose hair actually motivated me to cut my locs in order to experience "free" natural hair. I mean this girl's hair is BIG, her strands are thick, and her hair seems to be able to take anything. I have seen, even helped her, style her hair using brushes, combs, heat, and thick shea butter. Now, my hair? I love it. But its not her hair at all. My strands are so fine, if I even look at them roughly they'll break. I don't dare use brushes, combs must be used gently and sparingly, and straight shea butter on my hair is too heavy. And I have yet to grow my hair to her lengths, but who knows what my strands will look like. I love this post, because it is important for us to appreciate what we have, care for it so that it can be healthy (not to "reveal" the "true" texture that exists only in our dreams, and be US proudly. I agree with the poster who said that the type 3a/b/c and 4a/b does NOT help. I have seen people lose their religion bcuz of the hair typing system.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow! What an awesome article. I had to learn to love my own hair. Thank you.

  • Abstract says:

    LOL well said Anon 1:14

  • Anonymous says:

    Nice article.
    I think a lot of people go through this stage (desperately wanting their hair to do what it is not meant to do) when they first go natural, but I think many people evolve. Or they might simply go back to the relaxer or buy a wig/weave that gives them a look they want.
    While moving through this frustrating stage it's probably best to stop idolizing/studying/stalking vloggers/bloggers with that desired hair type, because it's like feeding the beast.
    I think the frustrated people should only go back to watching and following those bloggers/vloggers when they can honestly say they truly accept/embrace what they have on their OWN heads. And only they can answer this question for themselves.

  • Anonymous says:

    2 thumbs up 4 this post! I think most of us have felt this way @ one point or another! I mean how could we not, with all of the "brainwashing" when it comes to our hair. I digress, I've been natural for going on 6 years now. and I can honestly say that I've just started to really LOVE my hair! I was kind of nervous because I didn't think that I would come around.:(

    But praise the Lord…God is Good!Lol because I absolutly ADORE my hair now!!! And the CHERRY ON TOP was when my cousin came to visit me at my job this week. And thought I had a wig on! lol It was such a compliment to me!:) She was all like…get the helloutta here… IS THAT ALL YOUR HAIR, she goes, I was thinking damn she got a bad a** wig on! LOL I was like YES…i have 'FINALLY' arrived!

  • Anonymous says:

    Good post. I cringe when people say that "X" person is their hair idol. It's a silly phrase. It is about as logical as calling someone your skin or body idol(although I guess with plastic surgery, you could possibly copy certain body parts), b/c what they have it what they have and what you have is what you have, and genetic diversity being what it is, you are unlikely to have that.

    I love my hair more than anyone else's. Am I the only one who was never a fan of straight or wavy hair. I just never liked hair that hung down. It seemed so limp and small to me.

    At any rate, people would do well not to say that they have hair idols who have looks that they will never have. And I think it's silly to idolize someone for something that they have no control over. Why on earth would I admire someone for THAT? I kind of cringe when people ask about my hair, b/c it's like, you need to figure out the best method for what is growing out of your OWN head.

  • Anonymous says:

    My issue has actually been expecting my dry hair to look similar to my wet, it's like two totally different heads of hair. I'm happy with my dry hair now, but sometimes with new styles I'd like to know what my hair will look like at the end of the day, so I've taken to testing out styles during down times to make sure I'm happy with the dry look.

  • Jeannette says:

    This article is so on point. First of all, I truly love my hair but it took me years to finally accept my hair the way it is. First I wanted hair like Chilli's then Joan from Girlfriends then like my Friend Gilmara. Until one day I started really playing in my hair and realized that I had some beautiful hair. My hair is just as beautiful as Chill's, Joan's and my Friend Gilmara. My hair is unique unto itself and unlike theirs, I have a head full of THICK hair. My hair can hold twists and braids very well and when my hair is straightened, it is full of volume, body and shine. I had to see the goodness in my hair in order to appreciate it and stop comparing it. I also had to come to terms that there is no product that can ever change my hair or "loosen" it's curl pattern and that's okay because it's beautiful just the way it is 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I wanted hair like Kelis (when she first came on the scene) or a softer looking afro like Angela Davis. At the very least hair that wasn't so hard to pick! My hair is neither of these things. I have accepted this more but still struggle with the idea of having hair that moves when I move. But the process of full acceptance and self love is on-going.

  • Anonymous says:

    LOL..great post!!! Who hasn't had hair envy? I never really knew what my hair could do but now I'm learning. And I love your hair the volume the craziness of it all!! It's hard to realize that your hair can't do everything everybody elses does but once you do it allows you to figure out what your hair can do. That's when you find the beauty that is you!


  • Anonymous says:

    Glad someone came right out and said it! There are no secret products that will make your hair curl up. I hate it when people ask what did you do to it or put on it. Ugghh, water and conditioner!. No, you had to use something else! SMH. I remember my texture before relaxing at a young age, so I knew what my hair would look like once it grew out. I never coveted anyone else's curls. I actually love shrinkage. I care nothing about length. I am wash and go. Very simple. That's it.

  • Anonymous says:

    When I first went natural in 2005 I had the same issues you spoke of in your article. I was devastated when my curls didn't hang down and shrunk up, so I went to wearing braids and covering up my natural hair. Finally I gave up and went back to a relaxer….. wrong move of course. I cut out all of my relaxer a year ago and I had a short cut and I learned to love my hair and my curls. Embracing my curls literally changed my life. I don't spend hours looking at youtube videos or reading about what other people do with their natural hair, because my hair is unique to me. I love the way my hair shrinks and how curly it gets I love my curly textured afro. I don't spend hours in the salon and my hair is so low maintenance now I love it! Once I embraced myself I was able to embrace every part of me and end the dysfunctional relationship I previously had with my hair. I love being chemical free it provides me with so much more versatility.

  • Anonymous says:

    I can relate to this post as well. Desired those Chili type locks, but now, after a few years of learning what my hair needs, I wouldn't trade my 4bc tresses for something else. Sometimes I look in the mirror and say, "Damn, this is some sexy a$$ hair", LOL.
    I agree w/ other commentors: Thinking Chili would love to have the fullness you've got going on. Rock it sistas, Rock it!

  • Anonymous says:

    This is hilarious! I don't fight shrinkage because it is what it is. I don't try to elongate the curls with stretching creams and blowdrying at the root. I LOVE the tight curls because it allows me to have a short looking style without the hassle of short hair. I'm African-American and I live in South Africa and people always say "my hair will never look like yours." And I tell them, it shouldn't/doesn't have to. My hair isn't the standard. Be your own standard. Create your own kind of beautiful.

  • Cheekie says:

    I love this! What's funny is that when I was much younger I coveted curls like Chilli and Ananda Lewis. But at this very moment, I actually think… the bigger the better! Whenever I do twist-outs and see it lying down I try to fluff it out because I'm absolutely in love with big hair. I don't really like it flat. I want it big an obnoxious. I guess that's the Leo coming out of me, wanting to present my mane!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. My hair is more coily and curly and black women approach me confused, always asking me "what do you do to it?" I always want to scream that's how it grows out of my scalp. Not only is the question annoying, but the insecurity that underlies their question is painful to tolerate. I wanna scream what is yours is yours. Make it work! Do what you need to do for you! I never thought about what my hair would look like before going natural and I didn't have any hair role models. I just let it do what it wanted! I guess it is a learning process for some people. Healthy hair is good hair!

  • ExpatCentral says:

    I think I accepted my coarse 4a/b hair easier because I watched my twin sister go through all the "woe is me" a few years earlier. She's accepted it and she RAWKS her hair(I'm a little jealous since I only have about 4 inches on my head at the mo')! I may still sigh at the shrinkage, but I love my hair as I continue to figure it out….even when I come across those fine 3a strands that pop up out of nowhere. Dang squatters keep sticking up out of my fro… o.O

  • Ayisha B says:

    This kind of honesty (with yourself) is priceless!!! Shanti is so correct, I too went into my natural hair process thinking it would be like a combination of the hair of a few people. My hair texture is a mish mosh of curly, wavy and straight. I was once told by a beautician that my hair was unruly (needless to say I never returned to her again. She didn't know how to love my hair), but I love my hair for what it is and I make it work for me. Even those with hair straight by nature ask me for curly hair tips!

  • Anonymous says:

    Love this-I thought I had Chilli's hair from TLC waiting to emerge if only I'd find the right products and techniques.

    This post was great!!! Thanks!!

  • Anonymous says:

    This is a great post. I think that many beginning naturals are not sure of how to care for their hair. I struggled after my big chop.. I wanted a certain textured look. But after much research and soul searching I have come to best care for "my hair" and I am happy with it just the was it is. It is naturally unique. Of course, I admire other textures of naturals but I love mine more. The key to beautiful hair is moisture!


  • Abstract says:

    This is an interesting read. I can't really relate as I've never heard of all this "I thought my hair would look like Joan Clayton from Girlfriends" talk until I started reading hair blogs over a year ago. Sort of makes me think we have a ways to go until more of us embrace the kink and not just long for looser curl patterns. Looks like we are really making strides thus far though 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    No product can prevent shrinkage!!!! I cringe at those questions. Accepting shrinkage is huge to embracing your natural hair. Sure, it can be a major buzzkill to patiently grow your hair out only to have it appear much shorter than its actual length. But I just view shrinkage as one attribute of my natural hair…not bad or good. Gentle stretching via twistouts or braidouts is very effective. IMO blow drying (even low heat) is not worth the potential damage.

  • D Hill says:

    Ooo wee! This was right on time. Thanks for sharing this. I've been natural for several years but have been straightening my hair. Just last summer, I decided to go heatless and embrace the true texture of my hair. Obviously, I didn't embrace it enough because I find myself pulling it back A LOT! My hair is two different textures. So, I find myself saying "If only the back of my hair would lay down like the front". I just need to let it go and work with it. Thanks for the eye-opening read!

  • myroyaltresses says:

    ROFLOL Wooooooo! This was funny but SO true. I'm glad that somebody just came out and said it. It's best to just accept our hair (and ourselves) for who we are. That's when we can learn to really work WITH our hair, instead of trying to slam it into somebody else's mold.

  • Anonymous says:

    @ Anonymous 10:10 AM…
    I thought the same thing about liking her hair better than Chili's. I bet Chili would love to have her volume and body. I know I would.

  • Jen B says:

    I really enjoyed this article. Thanks for posting it. I've been natural for 5 years now, but only started growing out my hair 3 years ago. It took me forever to understand what my 4c in the front/ 4a-4b in the back head could do and how to take care of it. I FINALLY feel like I have the right products and styling options (i.e., my wash and go will never magically curl up). And, thank goodness for my YouTube hair mentors who offer practical instructions on styles, so I'm not stuck rocking the same look every week.

  • Anonymous says:

    funny I like your poofy look more than chili's …I think its beautiful and wild!!!!!!!!!!!!! do you have any suggestions on where someone with your texture can get a cut to enhance curl pattern?

  • Sheree says:

    I'm almost 14 months natural but it's been 17 months since my last relaxer and I love my hair. I'm just holding on for more hang time. I really don't get the hair system of 3a/b/c or 4a/b? I'm not sure what I am I do know my hair is so curly that when I wash it you'd think I did another BC or something. Kinda annoying, I feel like I'm at this in between stage and lost for ideals on how to style it at this point!

  • Anonymous says:

    THANK YOU! ::stands up and claps:: No matter what I do to my hair, it shrinks. Even if I put a curl definer that is "designed" to elongate the curls. Oh the curls will be defined but the hair will still shrink once dry. I've tried stretching it myself with a blow dryer set on cool or warm…nothing… SO, with that being said, I have come to accept my shrinkage. I realize that I can have longer hair (if straightened on warm setting) or short hairstyle based on shrinkage. And you want to know something? I AM OKAY WITH THIS! ::tears of joy:: LOL.

  • LaShon James-Major says:

    Love this blog. People need to concentrate on what they have and not what they want.

    I have the opposite problem because I just knew my curls were hopeless. They just looked stringy and lifeless but when I cut off the rest of my perm they came to life! I'm still in shock as I look at the ringlets and coils in my hair.

    I'm actually grateful for my kinky, curly hair because I'll always have volume and I'll always have a big poof of hair. I'm so happy I started this natural hair journey sooner then later.

  • NikNak says:

    And the hair typing system of 3a/b/c and 4a/b does NOT help.

  • LaWanda says:

    I'm thankful for this intervention! I'm actually just in the process of growing out my natural mane. I've been natural for 7 years now, but up until October 2011 I was going to the barber for brushcuts and kept my hair very low to my scalp. Now I have about 1.5 inches of length and I can finally see the texture of my natural hair. I look at videos and pics all the time saying to myself "I wonder if my hair is going to look like that once it grows more." No one person or celeb in particular, but i do try to detect if I think who I'm looking at might have hair like what I think mine looks like right now. LOL! I get it, embrace what my own natural hair is showing me it has the ability to do. Thank you!

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