Over the past few years I’m sure many of us in our respective cities and neighborhoods have noticed an influx in women proudly wearing their newly natural coifs. In my own personal life, I’ve seen what can only be described as a growing coalition of Fro-Action in and around my city….and I live in Brooklyn! Even a few close friends have chosen the natural route, BIG CHOPPED and are now finding their own way along this journey.
For many years I felt as if I was the only young Fro-in rockin’ & styling her own hair, figuring out this natural hair-ish, not a single relative, BFF or co-worker to share and discuss product info, hair styles etc. Ironically, this imposed isolation I was in really did help to instill within me a strong sense of confidence, especially when it came to the reaction of those who simply could not understand my choice.
But I did not run out of the gates knowing much…if anything about dealing with my hair, and I understand firsthand that this is the most defining common factor facing many newly naturals. Where do I start? What products do I use? How much time do I have to spend on my hair?!
Here’s the deal. You have to TRY.
I’m not talking about seeking advice from you natural hair peers, stalking your favorite YouTube gurus and asking a bevy of questions on the Twitter #naturalhair hashtag (…these certainly do have their place). Nope. I’m saying that you must put forth the effort to manage your own hair the best way you know how. Get your hands dirty, attempt to know something about the strands that run through your own fingers as opposed to someone else.
Sounds simple, yah? But what I’ve continued to notice is this need for immediacy when it comes to caring for our hair. This instant need to figure it all out within one single breath or one hyperactive episode of Glee.
“How long do you spend on your hair?! 3 hours…WTH!”
I’ve been natural for well over ten years, and continue to receive off handed comments about how long I dote on my Fro. Truthfully, it’s of no consequence. But if you’re seeking advice from me or any other natural haired gal who cares for her strands with a dedicated approach, yet refuse to transfer it into action…it’s a disservice to how much you could in fact learn.
Time really shouldn’t be the issue here, nor the type of product or styling tool you use, because with practice, patience and a better understanding of what it means to nurture textured hair…that is when you’ll see results that you are most proud of. What was often a 4 hour ‘ordeal’ mixed with detangling and shingling, can realistically be cut in half with the right approach. And practice, no matter the intended style!
In reality many of us live busy, structured lives with families and friends to hold our attention from day to day, and for the most part cannot fathom spending anywhere from 2-4 hours on our tresses. But all of us need to start somewhere. Whether you’re natural for 10 years or 6 months, it’s often about the approach heading in. If you’re on this journey, you have to abstain from standing still. Give it a go!
This article is so true. I have been debating and trying to find someone to help go natural for almost 6 months now. And I just realized that no matter how much I read, ask questions etc. I will have to TRY things myself. Sigh. Still scary but will persevere!!!
LOL I'm so late with this because I haven't kept up with my CurlyNikki (I know, shame) but that's me in the pic! Yay!
Really enjoyed this read. I've been natural for 11 years and get a lot of questions about my regimen. But, each head of hair is different, so I give the best advice I can, but always try to temper it with, "What works for me, might not work for you." Also, last year, I spent hour upon hour on this site researching different topics. I just read and read and read. It seems that often, some are looking for quick answers that, with a little research, are at their fingertips on the very sites on which they are making their inquiries. I'm never sure if they just couldn't find the answer, didn't know to look or just want the quick answer, so I always try to be helpful. But, as you indicated, learning what works and doesn't work for your own head of hair takes effort. Doesn't mean that you have to spend hours on it on a daily or even weekly basis. But, it probably does mean you will spend hour upon hour figuring out what works best for you, even if it is a 20 minute wash day with a WnG.
I loved this. Finally some no nonsense advice.
I spend about 2 hours on my hair once a week unless I henna and it is 2 hours well spent. That is so not a lot of time. Even if it took 3-4 hours it's your time to care for yourself. Somehow we can find time for everything else except exercise and caring for our own bodies (including our hair). No wonder we as women of color suffer from so much morbidity. Slap that deep conditioner and a scarf on and go for a walk or get on the treadmill or fool around in your garden.Create some steam in that plastic cap and get a better body. Win-win.
Thanks for whipping me back into shape lol. This is very true. I big chopped a week ago and I have been obsessed with my new hair, products and natural process. I really have to find what works best for me. So, thank you! Your hair is beautiful by the way.
Hey Ladies!…Just needed to vent. I was annoyed today by a co worker whom was natural a few months ago, but has since reverted back to a relaxer. Anyway she felt the need to question and pick apart my reasons for continuing my natural journey. Now.. I have had a very rewarding journey thus far(1yr./8mos. natural) and really love what my hair has become. She on the other hand did not enjoy her journey, which I felt was due to pure lazyness. Yes natural hair can be time consuming but to me it's so worth it..you truly have to pay your dues to get the results you so desire. So I guess it just pissed me off that because she was'nt willing to countiue her journey,that she tried to steer me from mine. When she decided to go back to relaxers, I said nothing because it's her choice. My attitude was to eaches own.. She almost seemed to cringe at the multitude of compliments I receive daily. So I just figure her issue is with herself, because before I left work I heard her telling someone else how negative her husband,family,etc… had been toward her new look. LOL!
@ Vetsnatural, I'm with you! I refuse to spend all that time on my hair. Even when I was relaxed with APL hair and went to the salon every other week, I was never in there longer than 2 hours, 15 mins. So I'm like, there's no way in the world I would want to take more than that here at the house. I'm a WnG girl all day. They keep my hair more detangled as well. On a wash day with a pre-poo and DC, it may take me an hour, if that, to do everything including styling. On other days, it may take 20 mins if that.
I never really counted how many hours it takes me to do my hair. I just keep going til it's done. I have two young kids. I usually style when they are asleep. I've done mini twists about every 3 months. That is an all day affair… sometimes it takes two days. But it's worth it to give my hair so much TLC.
This was right on time for me, Chai. I have lately been doing either overnight DC or Henna, so we are talking about long hours. lol My problem is when it is time to style, I don't want to spend over 1 hour in doing so. However, you are so right. I need to be willing to experiment and you and other naturals I have met recently have given me the push to do so. On my next hair wash, I am going to try twists. How will I learn other styles unless I try. 🙂 Thanks
LOL@WTH. True 3 hours is a long time. I usually spend about 30 minutes on it for styling but on wash days and henna days it's anywwhere from 3 hours to 10. Can't help that but the good part is it feels rewarding so…
Great and insightful read…couldn't agree with you more!
I need to start taking longer more time on my hair. I need to do a deep treatment at least twice a month included in that is a pre-poo. My hair is healthy and is thriving but I know it has so much more potential. I feel that my wash N go's keep my hair more detangled than some of the protective styles. I don't have alot of breakage but I am going to up my protein and deep treatments through the remainder of the summer to see the effect. I have never been a 3-4 hour hair person, even in the salon. I would go at 10pm so that I could be out by 12 if not sooner. I don't have time for the "What I did Last night" convo. I also only went about once every 3 months if that. Take downs of protective styles seem to take the most time for me and without patience can create tangles. I save those twists and braids for winter when I am sporting my head gear. In warmer months I am a WNG and updo Momma!
It takes me between 3-4 hours to do my hair weekly and I love every minute of it. It's the one time out of the week where I'm totally focused on "me", and I pamper myself lovingly. Yay Natural Hair! :-)))
I think it is ridiculous when people get shocked when I tell them it takes 4 hours to wash and style my hair when they sit in the salon for over 5 hours to wait for and get a perm.
Your article is insightful and TRUE! Thanks for the encouraging words to all of us reminding us that there will be difficulties on this journey but they too are temporary as long as we take the time to learn ourselves and our OWN hair!
It hasn't been a week since my BIG CHOP but reading this post has inspired me move forward and learn how to build a healthy hair care regimen for my kinky stresses.